sambo1985 wrote:I forgot to mention this is 14 gauge mild steel in the pic
And what size filler rod? 14ga is pretty thin stuff. If you are getting "caterpillars" then you're adding too much filler or not using enough heat.
There's a delicate balance between heat, arc length, rod diameter, travel speed, and metal thickness. If you're new to TIG, guess which one is the most challenging to master? If you answered "All of the Above" you have a great understanding of welding.
Its simple really: you can be taught the technical aspects of welding. You can mimic what you see, you can make good technical decision about what wire for what application, but at the end of the day, laying strong, good looking beads comes only through hours upon hours of good practice. No one can short-circuit that for you. Critique what you're doing? Sure, maybe even provide a decent trick or two. But unless someone with significant experience is watching you weld by looking over your shoulder, offering advice and good instruction, you are simply going to pass through learning curves.
As I look at the picture, my impression is too much filler, and too long an arc length. The edges of your strings are "undercut" which is a result of under filling, or too wide a heat zone. On 14ga I'd be using a small cup (#5 or #6) a 1/16" tungsten, and probably a 1/16" wire. My cup would be in contact with the plate, my tungsten just barely sticking past the cup. Then I'd feed wire/lay wire and try to almost touch the puddle by manipulating the angle of the torch, pushing the puddle.
Watch for the edges to burn in, and when you see a bit of keyhole at the front of the puddle, you know you need wire. Minimize the keyhole, but you need to travel the torch to require more wire. That's what causes that "lay dimes" look. Those are the freeze lines of the puddle caused by the torch traveling. If your dimes are elongated, you're short on wire, too stacked up like a caterpillar, too much wire.
By the way, you're doing pretty gosh darn well for being a second semester welding student. Don't get frustrated.