The monster coupon is a fairly common test given because it qualifies for a greater range of diameters and thickness. This video shows some techniques for the stick fill and cap and body positioning tips.
There is a lot to talk about.
things like tungsten electrodes..type and size ( i like 2% lanthanated for everything and 3/32 takes care of most of my daily welding)
shielding gases ...argon is best to start but if you begin to specialize in thicker aluminum, it might make sense to use a blend of ...
The current waveforms are advanced square wave, soft square wave, sine wave, and triangle wave.
They all have slightly different looks, sounds and characteristics.
Some waveforms are supposed to be better for thin metals, others for thicker metals.
There is another advanced feature on a very few...