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I own both a Millermatic 175 Mig welder for steel work, as well as Lincoln TIG welder for aluminum. I was bitchin’ to my buddy that my TIG skills are poor and I cannot seem to get a consistent weld. He said to get a spoolgun for my MIG and do MIG aluminum. After a bit of looking around I realized that I could get the Miller SpoolMate 100 spool gun for about $220 and with a little re-wiring I would be in business.

CAUTION: these modification will void your warranty. Miller suggest you do not make this modification because if the spoolgun motor shorts, it could fry the drive board. Also you will be working with lethal voltage and current – make sure you know how to drain capacitors before attempting any of this stuff. If you hurt or kill yourself, its your fault.

The Theory

The only reason why the Millermatic 175 cannot run a spool gun is that there is no drive power going to the gun and no switch to direct the drive power from the main roller to the spool gun.

All this modification does is to direct the drive power to a switch, which then will direct the drive power to either the main drive roller or to the spool gun.

What you will need

  • A 1/2″ DPST panel mount switch with 1/4″ blade connectors and a long threaded body
  • 6 female insulated 1/4″ blade connectors
  • 4 or so feet of 16ga stranded insulated wires
  • a foot or so of small heat shrink
  • A couple of CPC female pins – available from mouser, digikey, allied, newark – probably even your local electronics shop. Made by AMP, distributed by TE electronics – part number #1-66101-9
  • Soldering iron and some electronic solder
  • A pair of crimper pliers
  • A nut drive set


Get the welder ready

  1. Unplug the welder
  2. Remove the cover. Remove all the 1/4″ machine screws. There are 4 bolts on the handle – remove the two closest to the main drive roller.
  3. Drain the capacitor, use a meter to make sure there is no power in the capacitor

[click on picture to enlarge]

Identify the parts involved

The following picture shows:

  1. The main drive motor
  2. The plug which connects the main drive motor to the control board
  3. The plug that connects to the spool gun

[click on picture to enlarge]

Hole for the swtich

  1. Mark a location on the front panel for the switch – make sure there is nothing behind it. I put mine just to the right of the voltage knob.
  2. Drill a 1/2″ hole in the front panel of the welder

[click on picture to enlarge]

Connect Main Motor wires to Switch

  1. The motor wires are red and black – and they plug into wires that are both white. Mark the white wire that cooresponds to the black wire so you can match these up later (or else the main motor will run backwards!)

  2. Clip off the connectors from the drive motor and the wires that run to the board
  3. Each of these wires will need to reach the switch. If needed you will have to solder extra wire on to these wires to reach the switch.
  4. Crimp 1/4″ female spade connectors onto these wires.
  5. Connect the wires to the switch as follows. The motor wires from the board go to the centre lugs of the switch. The wires that go to the main drive motor go to the top lugs on the switch. Make sure to match the black wire of the switch to the wire you marked earlier.

[click on picture to enlarge]

Connect the plug from the spool gun to the switch

  1. Cut two pieces of wire that will reach from the switch to the spool gun plug.
  2. Crimp a 1/4″ connector on one end of each wire.
  3. Crimp a CPC female connector onto the other end of the wires.
  4. Insert the CPC female connectors into the spool gun plug.

  5. Connect the 1/4″ connectors to the remaining two lugs on the switch.
  6. Mount the switch in the hole

[click on picture to enlarge]


Your completed switch should look like the one below.

[click on picture to enlarge]

  1. Make sure there are no exposed wires or connections.
  2. make sure no wires will touch any other parts (like the hot transformers)


  1. turn the voltage to its minimum position, turn the feed to a medium position
  2. Flip the switch to the lower position – this will be for the main drive spool

  3. start the welder, click the trigger and the main driver roller should move forward
  4. move the swith to the upper position – this will be for the spool gun motor
  5. start the welder, click the trigger and the spool gun driver roller should move forward

If either roller moves backwards, you need to flip the wires on the switch – make sure to unplug the welder and drain the capcitor before moving the wires.

you are done!

Written on November 16th, 2011 , Machine shop, Mechanics

Well who doesn’t hate that dorkie rear fender that they put on the SE version of the DR?!?!?! The Dirt model looks so much cooler without it.

Three bolts under the fender pull it off, plus a little snip snip of the license plate light. Now thats better!

What to do about the license plate though. Well you could just bolt it right to the fender, but that bugs me. So with a little bit of .080 aluminum, a little bit of cutting and bending and there’s a simple license plate holder. Check it out.

Written on May 14th, 2011 , dirt bike, DR350, Machine shop

On my last trip into the woods I was caryying to much crap on my back and it got to be a real pain after a couple of hours. So I decided I needed a better tail rack so I could get stuff off my back and onto the bike. There were some nice ones to purchase, but it was either wait 4 weeks or buy one for a DRZ/DR650 and modify it. Forget that, I got myself a little bit of steel and used the existing rear tail frame as the basis for a rack.

It’s not as pretty as the CNC cut aluminum ones, but it sure works great. When you build yours you can adjust to suit your needs. I put holes in the top so I could attach my wolfman toolkit.

To do this, you’ll need a welder, a grinder and a hacksaw. If you dont know how to weld, find a buddy, or hunt someone down in your neighbourhood. There are lots of people who have welders who LOVE projects like this. Really.

You will need the following material:

2′ of 3/4″ thin wall steel tubing
2′ of 1″ x 1/8″ steel flat bar
3′ of 1/4″ steel rod
6 pack of beer for the neighbour with the welder


Here is the bare DR350 rear frame


First cut off the signal lights


Cut up two pieces of the 1″ tubing to the width of the rack. These will go across the fender.


Cut up four pieces of the 1″ flat bar. You will have to cut one end on an angle to mate with the steel subframe on the bike as shown.


Here is where it gets tricky, welding it together. Here is what I did:

  • Make sure the ends of the tubes are 100% square
  • Make sure the flat bars for either side are identical in shape
  • Weld the tubes to the flat bar
  • Do a test fit to the subframe – as mounted on the bike
  • from here you might need to:
    • splay the flat bars
    • grind the angle
    • twist the flat bars (especially for the rear piece)
  • Once you have a nice dry fit, then weld it up and test the fit. You might want to just tack it together and test the fit first though.


Bend up some 1/4″ rod into semi circles and weld them on for your tie downs.


Weld on the flat bars on top:


Weld on a little bit of rod onto the sides:


Clean it up with a wire brush…


and paint it! It ain’t a pretty thing – but it works!

Written on May 14th, 2011 , dirt bike, DR350, Machine shop

I am 6’2″ tall (1.88m). When I stand on my DR350, I have to hunch over to grab the bars. I already have bar risers, but its not enough. Some guys lower the foot pegs by using brackets, that’s fine, but the brackets make the footpegs lower than the skid plate. I don’t want that. So I built some foot peg mounts from scratch.

To do this you will need access to a metal cutting bandsaw (although a sawzall with a metal blade will work), plus access to a welder and a drill press.

Click on any of the pictures to see a larger image.

For raw material I used:
1″ x 3/16″ flat steel – for the base to be bolted to the frame
1-1/4″ x 1/8″ wall square tubing – to be used for the bracket to hold the claw footrest
1″ round stock – to be used to offset the base from the frame

Here is the stock cut to size. The length of the flat bars (base) were measured against the exiting foot pegs. The round stock was cut about 3/8″. For the RHS peg I also cut and extra round stock about 1″ long because that footpeg sticks out further.

A rough idea how it will go together. The square tube will make up the brackets for the claw footrests.
The round stock will offset the base from the frame.

Here is the base, with the round stock offsets welded on and ground down. Starting to look real.

Oh, an action shot…

Here is the base all drilled out, ready for the brackets.

Here are the brackets that will hold the claw footrests. I cut one side off the square tube, then cut an angle. They just need holes for the footrest pins, and they are ready to be welded to the bases. WARNING: when you weld the brackets to the bases make sure you leave enough room for the bolts to be inserted into the base.

Here is the LHS footpeg assembly after welding on the bracket and painting. Its ready to mount the claw foot platform and mount on the bike.

Here is the RHS footpeg assembly mounted on the bike. NOTE: if you look closely the RHS footpeg assembly has an extra 1″ of round stock spacer between the based on the fottrest bracket. This is because the original RHS footpeg sticks out about 1″ further than the LHS. This is about 1-1/4″ lower than the stock model.

(click on any of the pictures to see a larger image)

Went out for a ride. It is GREAT. I feel WAY more comfortable. I am surprised. Good modification.

Written on April 30th, 2011 , dirt bike, DR350, Machine shop, Mechanics

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