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What shade lens are you guys using for MIG?

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  • What shade lens are you guys using for MIG?

    Well guys,
    I've never really been comfortable with any lens I've used to date.
    I currently use my trusty old fixed shade hood, which is shade 10 for MIG.
    I've never really been able to see the joint that I'm welding very well. Granted, I can see the puddle/arc no problem, but I've always wanted to go to a 9 or even an 8.
    I found a brand new, GOLD, shade #8 lens lying around today, so I popped it in, and I also read on the package, a sidenote that stated something like "your eyes are not being damaged, due to the brighter conceived light that you will see when using this Gold shaded lens."
    SO, I ran a couple beads, and I raised my hood, and I felt kind of funny, and lightheaded. The best I can describe the feeling, is that it was the same feeling you have, about 1-2 minutes after a REAL, FULL flashing. You know, after a minute or two, your eyes aren't really bothering you, but you can still tell that you were previously flashed? Well, that's how it felt.
    I did not have time to run any more beads, so I will test the Gold lens out once more tomorrow.
    I'm just wanting a lens that will let me see ahead of the arc/puddle a little bit more, as sometimes when running a long t joint (or any long joint), I get off track a little, due to being unable to see where I'm going very well.
    I would like to know what shade everyone is using for MIG?? I've heard of some guys using up to an 11 shade for MIG, and I know I couldn't possibly see where I'm going, if I were to use an 11.
    I'm thinking a regular (non gold plated) shade 8 or MAYBE a 9 would work for me best.
    That gold lens was not OVERALL that much lighter that my shade 10, however, the arc itself was much brighter. Kind of hard to explain.
    Thanks guys...

  • #2
    The vast majority of my MIG welding is with my helmet turned to its lightest shade, which happens to be 9. I get good visibility of my joint and puddle, and it's not too bright to be distracting or lingering. Each person's mileage will vary, of course.


    • #3
      Paul, I usually have the BWE at 10, the XLix at 10.5 and still use my #11 gold. IMO, I can still see everything better with the gold lens. I was running dual shield the other day and couldn't see the joint...switched to the gold and all was well.

      '06 Trailblazer 302
      '06 12RC feeder
      Super S-32P feeder

      HH210 & DP3035 spool gun
      Esab Multimaster 260
      Esab Heliarc 252 AC/DC


      • #4
        I normally run my OPTREL SATELLITE at shade 9


        • #5
          I had the same problem and the dorks at the LWS wouldn't sell me anything under a 10 - I did pretty well for welding blind all those years till I got the auto.

          Now it depends on how hot I'm running. Light gauge stuff (1/8" or less) it's on 9 (lowest my hobart hood goes) and when I get up into the 5/16" plus range, I bump it up to around 10. For spray, I get it up to 11 before it looks properly exposed (rather than a big white spot).

          The dial on the side of the hood is nice. I just wish they'd put a power switch right next to it so I didn't have to reach up my nose to turn it back on when it times out.
          Syncrowave 250DX
          Invison 354MP
          XR Control and 30A

          Airco MED20 feeder
          Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
          Smith O/A rig
          And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at


          • #6
            I'm with Jim between 9 and 11 depending on how many amps I'm running.
            5 Passport Pluses
            2 MM 212's
            MM 210
            MM 251 MIA
            MM 350 P w/Python
            Syncrowave 250
            w/ tig runner
            Trailblazer 302
            12RC w/meters
            Spectrum 1000
            Spectrum 2050
            2 Black BWEs
            Joker BWE
            Star & stripe BWE Digital
            2 star & stripe xlix's

            CUMMINS BABY


            • #7
              i think the amp's will make the biggest difference, as i am usually in the low amps range i run on an 8 or 9, also a new unscratched shield or shield cover will make a big difference. also aluminum will reflect the light more so a higher shade could be needed there. each person is different, so go with whatever shade works best for you. if it starts bothering your eyes bump it up a shade.

              FWIW: i have a BWE and can see much better with it than i could with a fixed shade shield of the same shade.
              thanks for the help
              hope i helped
              feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat.
              summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.


              • #8
                I use a 10H which is a little darker than a 10...Bob
                Bob Wright

                Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.


                • #9
                  The only reason I even know what shades I run, is because I look at the hood when I take it off to see what it ended up at. You shouldn't be squinting.

                  Auto's are great, but I wish for the life of me mine went down to 8 for some thin stuff on tig. Even at 160A, I never get off 9 for that.
                  Syncrowave 250DX
                  Invison 354MP
                  XR Control and 30A

                  Airco MED20 feeder
                  Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
                  Smith O/A rig
                  And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at


                  • #10
                    Mine is at 9 for almost all of my work. I've run some higher amperage work and bumped it up to 10.

                    MM210 w/3035 Spooler
                    Stars & Stripes BWE signed by Andy

                    TA185TSW w/Miller Radiator 1
                    Miller Spectrum 125C
                    Victor O/A
                    Parker Plasma 40


                    • #11
                      Both the Jackson NexGen & the HTP Striker Ultra XL stay at 9 most of the time. Above 200 amps gets a setting of 10 or higher.

                      Check the front lensplate. If it's dirty or spattered (like you get from lots of MIG use), it is really hard to see through. On TIG, a front plate lasts nearly forever. With MIG, it may last only a few hours.

                      If you wear prescription glasses, make sure that the prescription is set for the distance you weld at. Or use a cheater or Optivisor lens plate inside your helmet. All three of my helmets have a #4 Optivisor plate taped inside, which gives 2X magnification. Without the Optivisor plate, even with new prescription glasses, I could never clearly see the weld pool.
                      Barry Milton

                      HTP Invertig 201
                      HTP MIG2400

                      Miller Trailblazer 302, Spoolmatic 30A, Suitcase 12RC
                      Clarke Hotshot