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Old 04-22-2008, 08:02 PM
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welding helmet que and?

It seems I have the most trouble seeing my puddle in my weld (MIg) just because. It seems that I just can't see it and I don't want to guess all the time! I can see o.k. My helmet is solar type, I let it sit out in the sun for hour or so and before the arc it's great but when I start to weld it seems to dark for me to follow, whats wrong cheap helmet or what? Dana
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:24 PM
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Cheap does not matter it's just the nature of the beast. I have posted about this very problem a couple of times before (and complained about it for years ) and some others have even mentioned the same thing. I have used these auto dark helmets since they first came out and even though they have improved in other areas they have not gotten a bit better in this respect. The variable shade adjustment also has little effect on this problem because of the way the darn thing works, it gets darker the more intense the light so it is the darkest right over the arc no matter what the shade is set to. I have long since gone back to my old conventional helmet for body work or anything else that requires a precise control of the weld puddle, it may be a bit annoying to use until you get used to it but, for me anyway, being able to see the weld so much better more than offsets the having to drop that helmet before starting the weld. If you have a conventional helmet try it with a no.10 or no.11 lens and you can see there is a world of difference when comparing the auto dark to the old style, the auto dark may be the most convenient thing to use but seeing with the darn thing is another story!
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:34 PM
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I have to agree with you on that. I get so mad when I get 'zinged' with the auto dark when the sensor gets blocked out when I'm welding in bad situations. I guess I grew up on the 'head shakers' and still shake the auto dark. #$%& thing.

It really makes a difference when welding the thin stuff especially aluminum. I always use the head shaker for the thin stuff. I have all the normal shades too.
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:02 PM
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I have heard suggestions from illuminating the weld area with a bright light to running a chalk mark alongside the weld seam to make it easier to see but if someone has to do all that then what is so convenient about those auto dark outfits? Really what is so bad about a "headshaker" (never heard it called that before ) once you use them for a while? I know a lot of people swear by the auto dark outfits for auto body work but I found myself swearing AT them so much I just got out my old Tiger hood with a no.10 lens for body work or most anything else when I am using the small MIG. I still like the auto dark when stick welding and sometimes it was really handy in tight places when I still did heavy equipment repair but at night or any low light situation they quickly became a PITA! They can be nice to have around and I do use mine often (a $400 Jackson and it is no better in this respect than the cheapies) but if I could only have one helmet it would be a conventional type. People often recommend an auto dark for someone learning to use a MIG but IMHO this is a big mistake because they can make it tough for even a pro to see when doing body work and a beginner will have enough problems without having a hard time seeing what he is trying to weld!
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:21 PM
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hmmm. i love my auto darks. except when the batteries go dead. they make welding so much easier.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:45 PM
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aux light

I use a light stand that has 2 500 watt tube bulbs also I bought a cheater magnifing lens. they are good when you are at the focal length but miserable when doing equipment and can't get your head close enough.... there are about 4 helmets hanging on the rack that i trade off depending on the work i am doing old jackson.old big square lens... and 2 auto darkening with adjustable shade.
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timothale
I use a light stand that has 2 500 watt tube bulbs also I bought a cheater magnifing lens.

That's the recommendation I have heard before and I have seen several people resort to doing that (the light) and also the magnifier lens but the magnifier does nothing for the problem of the auto lens blocking the arc. Personally I wont bother taking the time/trouble to set up a light just so my "high tech" equipment can be used, if you have to set up a thousand watts of lighting and use a magnifier to see the weld where is the convenience of using the darn thing? The adjustable shade lens are really no better than a fixed shade for this problem because in the immediate area of the arc the light is so intense the lens will be at the full shade at that spot regardless of setting. Usually this is no problem for most welding but with a small MIG and for really precise weld control such as body work it can simply block the view so bad that it becomes hard for the welder to see what he is doing and can make a small seam really hard to follow. For me anyway the visibility is so much better, and I mean a LOT better, with the old style lens that it just becomes easier for me to use. I have to admit that having the ability to see the weld area through the lens before starting the arc is easier but that advantage is then traded off in lost visibility after the arc is started and that is a bad trade IMO, for me anyway.
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:55 AM
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I tried the light thing too and it is just another PIA thing to work with. Laying on your back under a hotrod and trying to get in position to operate the TIG pedal with some part of your body then dealing with the light is just too much. My rule is I get 'zinged' once and the auto dark goes on the shelf.

I guess I'm just old fashioned but my head shaker has been with me for 40 years now and still works fine.

As for magnifying, I wear glasses so they are constantly in the way. I usually take off my regular glasses and use the prescription safety glasses. Most of the TIG welding I do I seem to need to get my nose right in to it so I use one of 3 reading glasses. Lo, med, and high mag. These work great under the helmet. After wearing glasses for half my life you get used to dealing with them so it is no real problem welding. I just take care of them and use them only for welding. I do have side shields on them which are about as effective as any safety glasses. Been to the eye doc 3 times for metal in the eye all with approved safety glasses. Go figure. It could have been worse without them I guess.
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:47 AM
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mig welding......

Hi,am i the only person not using ANY helmet to (ONLY mig )weld?????i have been welding (again,mig onl;y) without a helmet for probably 15 years. i still have 20/20 vision. of course,i dont look directly at the glare.
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:10 AM
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Ever hear of skin cancer? Just turning your head away to weld leaves your skin exposed to the UV rays. At the risk of sounding like I am downplaying a risk however I have to admit that I seriously doubt you do that for long periods (just body work maybe?) and so you probably would not expose yourself to harmful levels and unless you are getting "'sunburned" from it you probably are not being harmed. If however you have even slight reddening of the skin at the end of the day you very well could be at risk.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:51 PM
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no helmet.......

Hi oldred,no,im only using the mig for MY bodywork.never get a sunburn,and usually only weld 2 or 3 minutes at a time.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatbob2
Hi,am i the only person not using ANY helmet to (ONLY mig )weld?????i have been welding (again,mig onl;y) without a helmet for probably 15 years. i still have 20/20 vision. of course,i dont look directly at the glare.
No, me too


Sometimes with small jobs, poor lighting, and other "lame" excuses

I did a little today I was welding a loose clutch conduit tube inside the frame tunnel on a restored 67 bug conv. I was more concerned about seeing fire or knowing where the sparks were going in the interior. Plus there is a gas line right next to it. I do what I got to do, to get through the job. Like Oldred says about the poor vision with autodark and the PITA of extra lighting...I DID try all that stuff on THIS job and it just wasn't working out at all.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:34 AM
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I love my autodark helmet, and I don't feel I see less using it than the welding shield I used before. Maybe there are differences with different makes. Mine is an Optrel.

Never ever would I weld Arc MIG or TIG without any shield or helmet though.
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