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Shade for TIG welding

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  • Shade for TIG welding


    It is my understanding that every shade will block out the UVA, UVB and UVC rays and the darkness is just for comfort.

    I have been welding with a 13 shade for TIG and for some of the lower current (60-100A) mild steel welds I have found that a 13 is rather dark.

    Is it OK for me to drop the shade to a 11 or 12? What shades do you guys use for welding. In the end I would hate to hurt my eyes because the shade was not dark enough.

    How much of the puddle should you see? How bright should it be?

    Once again, thanks for your responses.



  • #2
    I don't do Tig, but I would try 9 or 10. No matter what works for anyone else your eyes may be more comfortable with another shade.


    • #3
      Steve, I use a no.11 shade for everything, the odd time 12. I have been welding 20+ years and my eye sight is still 20/20. I recommend using the darkest shade that allows you to see what you are doing, dropping down to an 11 or 12 no big deal. Scott


      • #4
        You will know if you go to light, you won't be able to see the detail in the puddle, and you will be squinting because of the brightness, I have gone as low as 8 for low amp stuff, 40 or so amps, I didnt even know they make a 13, I thought it jumped from 12 to 14, now that 14 is a dark one...Paul
        More Spark Today Pleasesigpic


        • #5

          I would suggest using a shade 9-10, for most of your welding applications, This way you can see the weld puddle and what your doing, my belief is if you can't see it, it's going to look like you know what. Plus you'll be able to tell once you use the different shades, normally the shades aren't to expensive if you have a good relationship with your distributor then you can get different sahdes for around $6-$7 bucks, not to bad and for the time it takes to change them, it's well worth it. Good luck in your welding ventures.


          Dynasty 200DX
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          • #6
            What shade of lens you use depends on the amperage that you are welding with, the type of material you are welding on and any ambient light!

            I always set my helmet so that I can see "through" the arc and see the edge of the weld puddle. The reason I do this is to try and ensure that my welds are as straight as possible (not tapered, wobbly, etc.). If I was doing a butt weld with a V prep I try and maintain the any difference in distance between the edge of the weld pool and the edge of the V prep (I hope you guys get the jist of that, clear as mud I know!). Since I was shown this technique my welding has improved in leaps and bounds and I no longer just slap the welding lid on and weld away, spending a minute adjusting things can save a whole lot of grinding down the track!!

            So in a nutshell, you need to experiment a little with the shades you use. I've found that too dark a shade can be just as bad as too light a shade because of the amount of eyestrain it causes. Work out what you need to see, what is comfortable and what works for you.

            Sorry for the novel guys!
            "Its the way it spatters that matters!"


            • #7
              Pretty good description, My buddy does some micro welding of aluminum at around 3-5 amps and he uses a speedglas with the hood in the off position, equal to shade 5.
              Oh BTW he welds .005 AL sheet skins on 1" square tube frames--to make drums--the musical type. OK I have some odd friends.

              Weld well,


              • #8
                Thanks for all of the input.

                So. In a nut shell, as long as I am not squinting because it is too bright or squinting because it is too dark I should be ok.

                I was afraid of hurting my eyes if I went down from the suggested 12 to a 10 or 11.

                Just to be clear, can you get 'flash burn' if your shade is too light?

                One day, I will get this welding thing down. Actually I have improved. When I started about 6 months ago I was the worst welder in the world. Since then I have moved up to the 5th or 6th worst welder!! (Quite the improvement!)

                Cheers and thanks for all the help.




                • #9

                  That is cool about the micro welding!! For someone like me who is always welding 3 - 6mm aluminium on my boats, it really blows my mind to hear about what others are doing with their welding, and what they are welding!! I think that would be THE best thing about welding, there are so many different things and environments that you can weld in and on!! So to my mind, not strange, but very cool


                  I don't believe you can get flash burn from having the shade set too light, I have found in the past using a pair of Oakley Sunnies under a flip hood that they seemed to keep the flash at bay quite well. I find that I can't oxy cut with sunnies on as they leave the bright dots in front of my eyes, so I am the proverbial sissy with the shade 3 - 5 full face oxy visor on!

                  I've had flash before from the old style helmets and it really hurts, I know on a few occasions I have welded for a long time on too light a shade and it has never felt anything like flash. In my experience you are more likely to get flash from tacking without a helmet on or your down and just closing your eyes or looking away, because invariably you will nearly always get yourself at least once, especially if you are trying to tack quickly!!

                  Excessive eyestrain can be pretty bad, I find that I get headaches and so on from prolonged squinting. I think if I was to recommend any one thing that would improve someone's welding it would be to get comfortable (or as much as possible), and that goes for nearly every aspect of welding. The less things that you have distracting you, the more it frees you up on concentrating on the job at hand.

                  Yes, another novel by me, but hey!

                  Have fun!!!
                  "Its the way it spatters that matters!"


                  • #10
                    WHOOOOOO WEEEEEE!!!! I tried a 12, then 11, then a 10.

                    So THAT is what a puddle looks like!

                    So THAT is what that little dot that you chase around looks like!!

                    BIG difference. Big help!

                    Thank you! I was welding in the dark before with a little glow, I can actually move my face further that 6" from the puddle and see what is happening!