I didn't really like the spool either, because its heavy. I had to take it off multiple times as it was jamming up at first, mostly due to the fact that the sides are cheap plastic, and one face had a couple cracks in it already. A little duct tape and I was back in business sort of. The poor drive motor doesn't really like dragging around 44# of steel and so I'd start welding: BZAT BZAT BZAT ... nothing. Ok, turn up the tension some more. BZAT BZAT stop. Crank it some more. BZAT SPATTER SPOLT BZAT BZAT ... nothing. Dang it.
Ok, after destroying several weld coupons, turning up the tension a dozen times, and trying about same number of power settings; I finally produced a passable coupon. Partially I was thrown off on the power settings because I didn't expect to need that much power on a 1/8" plate, since this machine is supposed to handle 3/8" with ease. Ended up with a setting of 5 (out of 6) just to get it hot enough with CO2, so I'm not too hopeful about doing any work above 1/4".
So I was wandering around various welding sites when I see this picture, and I think to myself: ok, at least there's one person out there more stupid then me. Why? Well, lets look at what he's doing: he's MIG welding (obviously), and it looks like he's using a spool gun so he's probably working with aluminum (which makes a significantly brighter arc than steel, that's what those #13 lenses are for), and he's got bare arms. Now I had a helmet malfunction before that left me with a nasty sun burn on my neck, but that was on accident. This guy is just asking for skin cancer for lack of a jacket. Idiot.