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helmet shade # for mig

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  • helmet shade # for mig

    Any recommendations for shade # for a helmet shade for mig welding? The flip-front helmet that I'd bought came with a #11 shade, and I can't see a **** thing when I'm trying to weld.

    What do you guys use? It might just be me.


  • #2

    A #10 shade is considered a standard minimum shade for most applications. People perceive light in different ways. Therefore, you may require a lighter or darker shade for a particular welding current/process than I do. You want to be able to see the weld puddle and a small amount of the surrounding area so you can make a good weld. You can try a 10 lens and see if that helps. Here is a basic shade versus welding amperage chart you may find helpful:

    NUMBER 6 1-30 AMPS

    NUMBER 8 30-75 AMPS

    NUMBER 10 75-200 AMPS

    NUMBER 12 200-400 AMPS

    NUMBER 14 400+++ AMPS


    • #3
      Low Amp Shade

      Hey HAWK,
      I know you use an Optrel Satellite and a BW Elite. I'm guessing you must use the Satellite for low amp tig since the BW Elite only goes down to a shade #9. Right?

      Be cool,



      • #4
        Number 10, numero diez, numbah 10......
        Wheat Stalker

        Millermatic 210
        Dynasty 200DX
        Fisher CZ-5...CZ-3D..
        Trek 5500
        1966 Amphicar


        • #5
          Shade 10 will work, its all I use for mig and it works for me.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Alex
            Hey HAWK,
            I know you use an Optrel Satellite and a BW Elite. I'm guessing you must use the Satellite for low amp tig since the BW Elite only goes down to a shade #9. Right?


            Actually the #9 on the Miller Big Window Elite responds better than the 5-9 on the Optrel Satellite. I use the Satellite almost exclusively for drag shield plasma cutting and as a second helmet for my fitter.

            I always thought the Optrel Satellite was the best electronic hood on the market until I tried the Miller Big Window Elite. After a few weeks with the BWE I pretty much shelved the Satellite.

            I requested a demo unit from Hornell on the new Speedglass unit to test and compare to the Miller and Optrel. However, they did not respond to my request. Draw your own conclusion...


            • #7
              Hiya All,

              I have used a whole plethora of welding helmets, autodarkening and manual flip ones, and by far and a way the best helmet I have used is the Speedglas range, not the cheaper fixed shade one but anything from a 9000V upwards is the go. The latest news as far as I know is the Speedglas line has been bought by 3M which should allow the helmet and its accessories to be sold through a more diverse range of channels. What conclusion should one draw from the lack of response from Hornell Hawk? As far as I can see the Speedglas is a small in profile and lightweight helmet that allows you to work more comfortably and allows you to get into smaller spaces without fouling.

              Derek, with the shades, it can also depend on what material you are welding and what process you are using. I find I have to go up at least a shade when I am welding aluminium compared to welding mild steel, especially when using a low fume electrode because there is less smoke to absorb the light. Likewise if you are using stick electrodes or flux cored MIG wire it sometimes pays just to lighten up a shade because of all the extra fume in the air! As Hawk said, if you can see the weld puddle and its edges and it is comfortable for you to do so then it is the right lens. Don't try and go to dark with the lenses as you'll find your eyes will get sore from straining so hard!!
              "Its the way it spatters that matters!"