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Thread: Welding Helmets

  1. #1
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    Welding Helmets

    So I got into a welding course at the ol' community college, and after a few weeks of using the evil loaner masks they have, I'm gonna get one of my own. What do all of you guys use?

    There isn't any tig in this class, but down the road there will be. I'd like to be covered for that, as well as some "out of position" welding if/when I decide to get certified.

    Price is a consideration. I know that you have to pay for quality, but I don't need any carbon fiber diamond-studded thing lol just a good work horse

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
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    You know what, after using a bunch of auto-darkening helmets over the last 10 years or so, I've actually come to prefer the cheapo tall windowed fixed shade helmets.

    No chance of the shade flaking out and "un-darkening" during a weld, and a nice big window to look out of . Just line everthing up with the helmet up and a nod of the head gets you ready to weld. And if you want to change shades, its only 10 bucks and 20 seconds.

  3. #3
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    Find the lightest hood that you can get with a large lens. Your neck muscles will thank you after a long day of doing "the nod".

    If you want to keep it relatively inexpensive, go with a standard lens. I'm a big fan of the gold lenses because of the color definition they provide vs. a green lens. You might as well get a lens in every shade from 8-12 so you can figure out which works for your eyes and the welding current you're working with. The higher the current or more reflective the material, the darker a shade you will need.

    If you can spend the bucks, I'm a huge fan of the auto-darkening lenses. I personally use a Jackson Shadow hood with a Jackson EQC lens. I work with a bunch of guys that use Speedglas hoods and lenses. I like that my Jackson doesn't require a proprietary cover lens.

    The nice part of the auto-darkening lenses is that you put the hood down and go. If you need to reposition your work or move to a different area you don't have to lift the hood. If you need to do a post-purge you're not sitting in the dark for 10-15 seconds. If you need a different lens shade you simply turn the dial.

    <-------welding engineer

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichauxYeti
    If you need to do a post-purge you're not sitting in the dark for 10-15 seconds.
    Well, in this situation I usually just use one hand to hold the torch.... The other hand is free to lift up the hood. My filler material doesn't generally require a 15 second post purge.

  5. #5
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    i like the miller elite auto helmets. i've also used the optrel but find the miller better. i prefer an auto helmet to a standard one but that is just my preference. they cost a lot more but are wel worth it in my opinion.

  6. #6
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    Hack TIG welder here who can't afford to pay attention....
    I had the chance to use a friends auto helmet and thought to myself "Wow, this is the greatest thing ever! I'll never be able to weld without one."
    Went back to more consistant practicing and welding using my el-cheapo plastic helmet with a #10 lense... Once I got used to the nuancses of using a regular helmet, I can't see the reason for a hobbyist/builder like us to spend the $300 and up to get the auto. Use it to buy some tubes.

  7. #7
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    My auto-darkening helmet made the red readout on the Ol' Lincoln impossible to see.

    Now I just run the cruddy standard one with gold lens.

  8. #8
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    I've tinkered with alot of helmets through the years, but keep coming back to one, The Huntsman.

    Likes...

    fiber body, light weight for long welding sessions
    easy tension adjustment, set it and forget it
    Large glass window for optimal viewing
    cheap
    lasts forever

    Dislikes...

    it's not new and sexy?

    Here's a link of the helmet in action... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3bbpffWffs

    To buy one, hook up with the standard helmet and throw on a gold lense...

    http://store.weldingdepot.com/cgi/we...pot/25030.html

    Nothing better for the money imo.

    cheers,

    rody
    As requested by the MTBR gods, I am the voice of Groovy Cycleworks, check it out... http://www.groovycycleworks.com

  9. #9
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    The shop here in town gives student discounts so I picked up an entry-ish auto darkening Miller that they said would work for 95% of the welding anyone would do. Later on down the road I imagine I'll know what I need in an upgrade if I get the itch. Thanks for the help guys.

  10. #10
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    Gold Lenses and shade number

    How dark are the shades you gold fixed lens guys run?

  11. #11
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    #10

    I found the #12 to be too dark.

    Want a #12?

  12. #12
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    I run a Miller Elite and LOVE it!

    Only thing is.... its pricy. but for the ammount of fab work i was doing when I bought it, it was worth every penny.

    http://www.weldingmart.com/Qstore/p003488.htm

  13. #13
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    Optrel Satellite.
    The best headgear, the adjustments are on the outside, and it is super light.
    It even has a cone adjustment for the sensors.
    A little pricey, but what are your eyes worth ?
    RTW.

  14. #14
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    Another vote for the miller elite.

    I used a harbor freight helmet, which was good too, for building my exhaust. Worked well for 50 bucks.

    Then, at a buddys house, who has a TIG welder. I was practicing TIG welding with his miller elite. The auto- darkening is less sensitive. Doesn't auto darken when you look at a light like the Harbor freight version. Also the darkening response was faster, and clearer. Also more comfortable. The ratcheting strap was better too, and more precise for setting the tension.

    If you have the money go with the Miller, but if money is tight, a 50 dollar harbor freight version will do you well in the meantime.

    Oh almost forgot about the Optrel Satellite, its been a while since I shopped for helmets. That one gets my vote too. If I remember there is a version that doubles as a grinding helmet by flipping up the lens, which is good if you need to grind really quick then weld back to back.
    2006 Turner 5 Spot
    2007 Trek 2100 ZR

  15. #15
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    The class is over, and the Miller I bought back in January worked perfectly. The instructor (who has been welding longer than most of us have been alive... 40+ years evidently) recommended me for the certification class, so the helmet will be joining me on that adventure.
    It's got adjustable sensitivity and shade, recharges itself, the whole 9 yards. The cool part is that when it's "off" it's just the right shade for gas welding/brazing stuff but I can crank it up to 12 or so for big ol' SMAW electrodes. The only issue with it is that it could be a tiny bit faster. I can't remember the exact specs on it, but the darken time is a little slow compared to some others that Miller makes. My eyes feel a little tired after a few hours of runnning beads, and I can only guess that it's from the slightly slower time on the lense. No flashing issues though, except the one time I neglected to turn it on... Man will you only do that once haha

  16. #16
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    I use a Huntsman 711P. It's one of those rivited paper units. Super light, adjustable drag and drop stops. I cut it down for light weight and attach a leather flap on the front to protect my neck.

    Typically, I light my arc over 1000 times a day. with a reaction time of 1/10 second per, that sounds like 100 seconds of light.

    I saw a film recently of a guy welding in a white T-shirt. I wouldn't do that either.

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