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Miller Infinity shade setting for home workshop welding?

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  • Miller Infinity shade setting for home workshop welding?

    I have a new Miller Digital Infinity Helmet and am using it in my home workshop doing hobby welding on 11 gauge square tube (approximately 1/8" thick) and 3/16" flat stock.

    I am using the suggested settings on my Multimatic 220 AC/DC for GMAW welding.

    1/8" thickness: C25 17.7vDC and 304 WFS
    3/16" thickness: C25 19.7vDC and 413 WFS

    I have been trying to use the shade setting of 12 and then tried 11. Today I was watching an instructional video and it suggested that with low energy work such as what I am attempting in my workshop that 9 is a good choice.
    I tried the 9 setting today and found it much easier to see what I was doing.

    Is 9 safe at these home shop energy levels or am I fooling myself and hurting my eyes?

    I do a lot more cutting and fitting than welding, so it is not like production work.

    What have you found to work well? What do you know about the safety etc.?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I never went less than a 10, but just me. After 45 years of welding I can still see to thread a needle
    Bob Wright


    • #3
      I am just learning, and previously just used what ever helmet and glass was available where ever I had the opportunity to weld.

      It seems like what I am learning is that someone working in an industrial ship building yard may never go below a minimum that is still greater than the maximum someone welding sheet metal in a hot rod shop may never go above.

      I had not previously thought about the context of when and where you would swap shade levels, but with the new helmet and the ability to make setting changes so easily the subject has become something I would like to learn more about.

      For myself, I already struggle with good close up vision, but I think it is just age and genealogy rather than damage induced.

      It was a sort of revelation to use the 9 setting and see so much of the work piece and the weld pool, but I don't want to fry what's left of the squinters.


      • #4
        I'm just a hobby welder now, but when I was still in the land of the employed, I used a Huntsman fixed shade #10 for years. Now that I'm 60 and the old peepers aint what they used to be, when I mig weld, I dial in a 9 shade and use my reading glasses under my hood. Been doing that for a number of years now with no problem.


        • #5
          A lot of “seeing” problems with our hoods is also that we all are terrible about cleaning or replacing the front and inside protective lenses. Slap in some new cover lens and then test your settings.

          For me, I generally run a lower setting and then slap a pair of sun glasses on, especially if I’m running a lot of wire.


          • #6
            Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

            As or if you try less protective settings, are there any early warning signs that you might watch out for?

            For example; I have heard professional production welders speak about headaches etc. when working long hours with early tech auto darkening helmets.

            Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

            Thank you!


            • #7
              Take a look at the Lens Shade Selection Table from the Digital Infinity manual below, or grab the OSHA, AWS and ANSI charts available online.

              One thing that people don't seem to understand about auto-darkening helmets is that the lenses ALWAYS provide some UV and IR protection. Any legitimate ANSI Z87-1 autodarkening welding helmet will have a non-removable filter that blocks IR and UV, regardless of shade. In the latest ANSI Z87.1-2020 standard, the lightest possible state of the helmet explicitly has to meet the UV and IR transmission of the darkest shade provided. (That was the prior intent, but the wording was vague and subject to misinterpretation.) That said, extremely bright visible light will still fatigue your eyes, causing spots like a camera flash, and at high enough intensity, can cause damage your eye.

              Can anyone from Miller clarify if the Digital Infinity line would meet 2020 ANSI requirements for UV and IR transmission in the lightest state?


              • #8
                Don't go lighter on the lense shade. Go darker in the shop.


                • #9
                  Whichever shade you use the lens provides the same UV protection level, so if you go to a lighter shade it's just letting more light in, not UV. For most welding I doubt you would use a shade less then 9, you need to be able to see the arc, but if it's so bright that you can't distinguish the tip of the electrode then moving up to a darker shade is probably best.
                  West coast of Florida


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparky Sizzlebritches View Post
                    ... less protective settings ...
                    This is a common misconception. The shade setting is for the comfort brightness of the visible spectrum only. At all times, the lens is providing the same full coverage against the damaging UV.

                    Most don't know this, either, but your CLEAR safety glasses provide this same UV protection. This is why you always wear your safety glasses just being anywhere near the welding area, and you should have them on underneath the hood to stop the UV that bounces around and comes in from behind.
                    Last edited by MAC702; 03-21-2022, 08:31 AM.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MAC702 View Post

                      This is a common misconception. The shade setting is for the comfort brightness of the visible spectrum only. At all times, the lens is providing the same full coverage against the damaging UV....

                      Here is a more common conception

                      from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

                      "Near‐Infrared Exposure and Cataracts
                      The most common eye disease associated with near-infrared radiation is cataracts. Prolonged exposure to IR radiation causes a gradual but irreversible opacity of the lens. Other forms of damage to the eye from IR exposure include scotoma, which is a loss of vision due to the damage to the retina. Even low-level IR absorption can cause symptoms such as redness of the eye, swelling, or hemorrhaging.

                      Cataracts caused by near‐infrared radiation have been noted historically in glassblowers and furnace workers. Radiation between 800 and 1,200 nm is most likely responsible for temperature increases in the lens itself because of its spectral‐absorption characteristics. Visible wavelengths may also contribute to the problem, since the heat absorbed by the iris could result in heat transfer to the lens

                      from: Welding Safety

                      "Chapter 5: Helmets/Arc Rays

                      Q: What are the two forms of radiation given off by the welding arc?
                      A: The two types of radiation are IR and UV radiation. Infrared (IR) radiation can cause retinal burning and cataracts. IR can usually be felt as heat. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which cannot be felt, can cause an eye burn known as “Welder‘s Flash.”

                      Q: How can exposure to IR and UV radiation injure your eyes?
                      A: It is essential that your eyes are protected from radiation exposure. Infrared (IR) radiation can cause retinal burning and cataracts.IR can usually be felt as heat. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which cannot be felt, can cause an eye burn known as “Welder‘s Flash.” This condition may not be apparent until several hours after exposure. It can cause extreme discomfort, and can result in swelling, fluid excretion and temporary blindness. Normally, Welder‘s Flash is temporary, but repeated or prolonged exposure can lead to permanent injury of the eyes.

                      from: Why are Welding Glasses Green?

                      "As you know, when a welder strikes their arc a bright light is emitted. What you may not know, is that this light is made up of Ultra-Violet light (UV), Infra-Red light (IR) and Visible Light. An auto-darkening welding lens worn by welders contains a UV/IR filter which is made up of multiple metallic layers and a thin glass substrate. The metallic layers, including 5 silver layers and 6 aluminium oxide layers work in combination with the glass substrate and the polarising filters to reflect and/or absorb the IR and UV radiation.

                      It is these metallic layers which give an auto-darkening welding lens a metallic purple colour. This makes sense when you consider how it reflects and absorbs the RED (Infra-Red) and Blue (Ultra-Violet) ends of the colour spectrum.

                      The photoreceptors in your eyes are sensitive to light and relay messages to your brain. You are able to recognise objects when light reflected by these objects hit the receptors in your eyes.

                      The three primary colours of light are red, blue and green. Given that the UV/IR filter absorbs the majority of red and blue components of light, it makes sense that the remaining visible light that passes through the lens will appear green."

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