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Seeking advice on seeing what I am doing.

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  • Seeking advice on seeing what I am doing.

    I just discovered this site and am am very happy to find it. I am 70 year old amature blacksmith- weldor with a simple shop but anxious to learn and lots of questions. I greatly enjoy making things of steel at the forge and at the welding table. I have a Millermatic Challenger 230 Volt wire welder and a Johnson automatic darkening mask with #10 lens. I chose the #10 because I was told it would be more safe for my eyes. One of the many things that I read is reference to seeing the molten pool and seeing the weld as it is being made. I have a really hard time with that. I have tried to add ambient light which has been of some help. I think I could make significant improvement in my work if I could better see what was going on. I would greatly appreciate any advice, and look forward to the valuable "welding wisdom" that I find on this site.

    Don Agostine

  • #2
    I am 65 and use a Optrel satillite auto-darkening helmet. I chose it because it has a range of 5-9 & 9-13 and suberb optics. You can use whatever setting your eyes are comfortable with, I use shade #8 for most tig work, 9-10 for most mig work, and 10-11 for stick work, and I can also set it to #5 if I want to use the helmet for plasma cutting. I do wear glasses with verilux lens and need a cheater lens behind the helmet lens, with all the adjustment I have I can easily see anything I need to. Sometimes you might find that you are letting too much light in and won't be able to see well, on the other hand you might be letting too little light in to see well. Welcome, and I hope this helps ...
    Regards, George

    Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
    Hobart Handler 140 - Great 120V Mig
    Hobart Handler EZ125 - IMO the best 120V Flux Core only machine

    Miller Dynasty 200DX with cooler of my design, works for me
    Miller Spectrum 375 - Nice Cutter


    • #3
      Like George says, the variable shade models only adjust the visible light shade. At all shades, or even when turned off, they still block UV light at a shade 14. My BWE is almost always on shade 9 for most of my work.


      • #4
        My answer would be much the same as Sundown's. I had a hard time seeing the puddle, especially with fairly low amp tig work. The solution for me was the Satellite hood, which I also run at 8 or so for tig and 9-10 for mig. The improvement for me was huge over a darker lense. Mac's comments are correct and important, you aren't sacrificing safety at a lower setting (with these hoods).

        The other thing that helps is a cheater lense (magnifier, like reading glasses) that can help the up-close work when welding.

        Don't stop experimenting until you can see that puddle well. It will make a huge difference in the ease and quality of your welding.



        • #5
          trouble seeing the puddle

          Hi there,

          I would agree that a cheater (magnifier) lens may be of help to you, but I would add that at work, I too use an "auto helmet" for most of my jobs (Optrel satelite) but I also keep my very cheap "old faithfull" helmet on hand for work that requires the upmost clarity. I find that the multiple layers of plastic (wich are usually curved and sealed poorly) simply dont provide the quality of vision (especially after long periods of smoke and condensation) as that of the flat helmet. Go buy one, $20.00 and get a 9, 10 and 11 lens to see what is comfortable for you. I'll bet you've never seen so clearly! Also, in low light conditions whether it be in a silo or your garage, it's so nice to flip up the lens and have a clear view for grinding. Technology is great but sometimes the old stuff is just plain better.