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1 Millionth helmet thread

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  • 1 Millionth helmet thread

    Merry Xmas all,

    I want to first off apologize to any and all if this, which I am sure it has, has been covered in depth many times over. I have indeed used the search option but I think that is what has me so confused.
    I am a first time welder and my new Xmas present(to myself) my Millermatic 211 is still in the box just waiting for me in the basement. I did purchase the spoolgun for aluminum as well. My question is this; I want a helmet that is as close to perfect for my eyes as possible. I will be using it for MIG only. The uses will be home auto and farm work with some home projects thrown in. All the different options I read and see that are available has me absolutely baffled. I truely do not know what is the best for me or where I should start. I do have a fairly shaky hand so field of view is important for me. Max view I definitely want. The idea of finding my work spot then flipping down my lid has me concerned because I'm sure my shaky *ss hand will have a hard time holding the work spot when I can see it all the time and have the helmet do the darkening for me. I will be welding for the most part in my basement or garage all the time where the light source will be the same or constant. I definitely do not want to spend 250.00 for a helmet either. I want to be safe for my eyes, be able to see my work zone with no hindrance or variability in clarity. I want the helmet to be absolutely reliable 100% of the time or as close to that as possible. Who makes it I do not care.
    Please if someone on this holiday time can toss me a few suggestions I would be most thankful. Just trying to sort through the web of data for welding helmets.

    Thanks and again....Happy Holidays


  • #2
    get a miller auto darkening helmet it's got all the different shades that you can adjust to what suits you best. just after you buy it and use it the first time don't think it's broken because it flickers a few times it's just something to do with the helmet after a few minutes it will set itself and will be good to go.


    • #3
      I have this Miller helment and really like it. Saw some on ebay for 125 bucks...Bob
      Bob Wright


      • #4
        You are going to have fun with your 211 Cityjack.

        Autodark hoods are a recent developement, maybe 20 years old perhaps. Positioning and dropping your hood should not be such a chore. What you need is to brace your hand, then drop the hood and pull the trigger. Takes practice, but that is what has been taught for 100 years at least.

        Weather mig, tig, gas, or whatever, get something to brace your hand while you learn. I would suggest a really bright light to illuminate the weld area also, and pickup a cheap fixed shade hood and bounce back and forth between it and your autodark.

        I use my Huntsman 711P with gold lense fixed hood 80% of the time because some days the autodarks just won't behave. I have Millers, Optrel, Linclone, and ArcOne. The only one that is bullitproof is the 3m Speedglass.

        Happy wirefeeding!!
        Nothing welded, Nothing gained

        Miller Dynasty700DX
        3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
        Miller Dynasty200DX
        ThermalArc 400 GTSW
        MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
        Lincoln SP-170T
        Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
        Hypertherm 1250
        Hypertherm 800
        PlasmaCam CNC cutter
        Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
        SiberHegner CNC Mill
        2 ea. Bridgeport
        LeBlond 15" Lathe
        Haberle 18" Cold Saw
        Doringer 14" Cold Saw
        6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite


        • #5
          Trigger shy

          Evening all,

          Thanks for the replies guys. I think I am going to get a fixed lens first just to get accustom to bracing my hand and maybe later will appreciate the auto darkening. Any other manufacturers out there other than the ones you all listed for fixed shade? What does gold lens mean?
          I think I have watched this Miller DVD like 5 times and read the manual at leat 3 times and still have not pulled the trigger. Just jump in. Yeah i know. Too afraid to screw something up I guess. I got the 220 wired into my box with the correct 50 amp breaker. 2 tall bottles of Argon and Argon mix just waiting for me to pull the trigger. I spent the better part of the afternoon cutting and grinding and cleaning the tongue on a small trailer that I need to repair and here it is dark now and still no trigger pull.
          Tomorrow night is the night. I burrowed my buddies Harbour Freight hood just for the day but said I would return it tomorrow to him after I visit Tractor supply tomorrow during my lunchbreak while at work. Gonna go check out to see what tractor supply has for a fixed lens. My buddy also recommended some MIG pliers. Anybody have a clue what they are used for?

          Thanks and have a good week.

          I'll keep you all posted.



          • #6
            I agree with a fixed lens hood also. Because an autodark isn't for every welding job that might come along. Like welding in the rain or in a confined space where its real humid and everything gets soaked or welding overhead (although people do)...Bob
            Bob Wright


            • #7
              For fixed shade helmets i like the fibre metal 880gy its got a large viewing area and its nice and light.


              • #8
                To be different

                I would get a cheap $40-$50 harbor freight autodarkening helmet to start with. It's a cheap investment, and it really speeds up the learning process for someone new to welding.

                This is my perspective as someone completely new to welding, having just purchased a Millermatic 251 a few months ago.

                Thirty years ago, as a teenager, I bought a Millermatic 200, with the same intentions on learning to weld. I had no mentors, no welding school, a fixed lens and no internet. I had a difficult time getting good welds, trying to keep things lined up while flipping the helmet down. After a while, I got okay at it, but within a few months of buying the welder I went off to college, my dad sold the welder and I never welded again until now.

                Fast forward to today, and with my $40 Harbor Freight autodarkening helmet and my Millermatic 251 I was laying down decent looking beads almost immediately with minimal effort.

                I'm sure that there are valid reasons for using a fixed lens and certain situations where it's the best way to go, but it seems to me that the autodarkening lens is a much quicker way to get up to speed for someone with no prior experience and the $40-50 is money well spent. If you find later that you want to upgrade to a fancier autodarkening helmet, you can always replace the lens in the HF one with a fixed lens.

                Good luck with the new hobby, I know I am having a blast!



                • #9
                  personally I HATE auto darkening hoods and perfer fixed shades all day long over auto darkening so when i bought my hood a few years back I decided to think outside the box and get something a little different and that fit my personality. doubles as a grinding shield just by swapping the lens out and it come with the clear lens also


                  • #10

                    ...that helmet is cool, but swaping lenses to switch to grinding mode has me "ducking."
                    MillerMatic 211 Auto-set w/MVP
                    Just For Home Projects.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cityjack View Post
                      Evening all,

                      My buddy also recommended some MIG pliers. Anybody have a clue what they are used for?

                      Thanks and have a good week.

                      I'll keep you all posted.


                      Mig pliers are used to clip the end of the welding wire, tighten or loosen the contact tip, but mainly you can use the long thin jaws to stick up in the nozzle and clean out the welding debris that builds up.
                      Miller Challenger 172
                      Hobart AC/DC Stickmate
                      Older Sears AC Stick machine


                      • #12
                        @ giles45shop

                        Originally posted by giles45shop View Post
                        To be different

                        I would get a cheap $40-$50 harbor freight autodarkening helmet to start with. It's a cheap investment, and it really speeds up the learning process for someone new to welding.
                        Two observations John,
                        1. My eyes are worth more than $40-$50 and
                        2. I was told (right or wrong) that the HF auto lens is not "fast" enough.
                        I am not here to debate it, just what I was advised of.
                        I too would get the best autodarkening helmet you can afford.

                        Happy New Year...Everyone.
                        MillerMatic 211 Auto-set w/MVP
                        Just For Home Projects.


                        • #13
                          i have a Speedglas 9100X, a 9100XX and a Miller digital elite(i don't like it). i use mostly the 9100's except for overhead. i grab my blue flame HF ad hood for overhead. as for switching speed i can't tell the difference. if i fry the HF i'm not out a whole lot.
                          miller 225 bobcat
                          miller aead200le (with miller hf tig trailer mounted)
                          mm175, mm211, TA181i
                          mm252 w/30a spool gun
                          precision tig 225
                          hobart stickmate LX ac/dc
                          Speedglas 9100X & XX / Miller Digital Elite
                          hypertherm 380 & cutmaster 52
                          victor journeyman & super range
                          ridgid chop saw, kalamazoo band saw
                          steel max and evolution carbide saws
                          6 4.5" & a 20lb 9" rockwell grinders
                          case 580 backhoe (for what i can"t lift)
                          if first you don't succeed
                          trash the b#####d


                          • #14
                            Nothing Wrong with HF AutoDark

                            I used 2 Harbour Frieght Auto Dark Welding Hoods made by Chicago Electric, one lasted 7 years and the other 6. I had one in the shop and one on the truck.

                            I started out with my dad's fixed shades, #10 in the shop and #11 on the truck. My problem with the Fixed Shades, I couldn't see where my mig gun was or the end of the electrode when welding stick. The shades my dad used were also too dark for me to see correctly when welding.

                            I was able to use an Auto Dark in 2002 and that was the cats meow in my book. I don't remember the brand but it was sweet. I was told it was a $350.00 hood.

                            We talked to someone that had a Harbour Freight Hood. We, my dad and I, bought one and tried it. My dad liked it but didn't have enough room for his glasses. He did buy another hood for $99.00 from Lowes that had more room. He got it the same time we purchased the 2nd HF Hood, 1 year after the first one. The original hood when dark at 1/20,000 of a sec. The newer HF Hood you could set at SLOW (1/20,000) or Fast (1/25,000). Like I said, they worked great. You can get a coupon and get one for $39.99 plus sales tax or less if already on special.

                            Now, I have both a Miller Elite and Digital Elite; My Choice, my money. I could have gotten the Pro Hobby or Classis Series VS or Performance Series for Less, but the Elites had the features I liked and wanted. I also did tons of reading on here, like you said, there are lots of threads about choosing a hood on this forum.

                            I you want a Fixed Shade old school hood, I have boxes of Fibre Metal and Jackson Hoods with several differnt shades and extra shield glasses. You can contact me via PM (Private Message) and we can arrange something. If you want a decent Autodark to start with, get the Harbour Frieght, maybe you could get 6 to 7 years out of one like I did. In the mean time, you can study and research the various hoods available out there and start a rainy day fund to get the hood you want in the future. In your research, try some of them on to see how they fit and feel. If you have an opportunity to weld with one, do so. That's my $0.02, the gov't got the other $1.98.
                            '77 Miller Bluestar 2E on current service truck
                            '99 Miller Bobcat 225NT for New Service Truck
                            '85 Millermatic 200 in Shop

                            '72 Marquete 295 AC cracker box in Shop
                            '07 Hypertherm Powermax 1000 G3 Plasma Cutter in Shop
                            Miller Elite and Digital Elite Hoods