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Technical How I hate a welding helmet..

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by verde742, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,479

    from Brooks Ky

    I have a $39 Harbor Freight Auto darkening. It works pretty well but unless the newer ones have changed, the battery isn't replaceable. How long they last depends on how much you use it, but figure about 2 years. I still use the one I have and have no complaints but when the battery dies, I doubt I'll buy any more.
    I have a Lincoln Auto dark that I paid about $150 for about ten years ago. I have replaced the battery a couple times and it's a nice helmet. I used the HF helmet because I didn't want to scratch the pretty paint when crawling around. Got scratched anyway, but still works well.
    Bought a Miller Auto dark because it had a larger field of view and was on sale. It usually works well but my son was having problems with it, so he gave it back to me. It seems the the auto. dark blinks or something ever once in a while. Can't remember what he bought to replace the Miller, but he says it's much better. I tried it once, and it was nice. Wish I remembered what it was. I" ll try to remember to ask him.
    So the point to all my rambling here is that you need to get a good helmet if you want good results and long life. The HF will eventually cost as much over time.
    When you turn your head sideways to tack, close your eyes and listen.;)
    chryslerfan55 and Budget36 like this.
  2. Like 31 Vicky I have been tacking sheet metal for a long time and don't wear a hood either.. Its instinctive as soon as finger starting to squeeze your eyes close at same time listen for the burn and release, Also will wear just sun glasses to help also just incase, One can also cup end of gun with other hand to cover the flash for that quick tack also. Just NEVER tack or weld with eyes open with out a hood, probably why you getting flash burns.
  3. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 610

    bill gruendeman

    Another add on I did for my auto darkening helmet is mounting a led light I can aim at the puddle it helps my old eyes a lot.
  4. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 6,101

    from Ks

    Been welding a long time. I still Tack without a helmet on sheetmetal panels but cover the flash with my glove hand and turn away. Getting pretty good at it. But if I do any welding, bead wise I use a helmet. Crazy not to. I'm 65 and don't want to be blind in the nursing home. Got some good looking nurses in there. LOL
  5. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,780

    from washington

    I have two high dollar Speedglass hoods but my son bought a couple of the cheap Harbor Freight hoods that are solar powered. They work just as good as my Speedglass hoods and the head bands are much more comfortable for me.
    chryslerfan55 and ekimneirbo like this.
  6. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,636

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.


    Attached Files:

  7. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,492

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    I bought and returned several “yeswelder” helmets. The helmet itself seemed pretty nice, but the box it comes in is about 2” too narrow. They ship it fully assembled. Stuffed in the box, this pushes the sides of the helmet in, and it takes a set, resulting in it being about 2” narrower than my head. Couldn’t wear it for more than a minute.

    Bought this one instead.


    Seems to be pretty much the same helmet. Same box. Slightly modified design. Ships unassembled, not crushed in the box.

    The bigger screen is nice, helps get my progressive lenses in to a place where I can focus on the area I’m trying to weld. The view is better than the KT I started with. Headgear is maybe a bit flimsy for the long term, we’ll see, but supposedly you can order and swap Miller headgear on to it.

    If you’re shopping inexpensive import auto dark helmets, watch for things you weren’t expecting to need to look at or think about, like where the controls are. This one has them on the inside. For me, I like that, it keeps them from being accidentally changed. But mounting the “weld / grind” switch on the inside, top center of the screen, seems rather stupid.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  8. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 8,707

    Bandit Billy

    I have had my welding helmet for years and paid a ton for it back when, I recently added a 1.5 reader lens to the inside of the shield. I will likely own this Harley Davidson lid for the rest of my days. I thought I spent too much for it a decade or so ago, I didn't.
  9. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,120

    from PNW

    I've used an Optrel Solarmatic for better than twenty years. Gotta say, those Swiss know how to make a welding helmet. Remember it was a bit pricey though, 7 or 800.00 bucks. But it's really proved that old saying 'that you get what you pay for'.
    thintin likes this.
  10. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,397


    Look up retinal burn...then look at (one eye closed) the little piece of skin that covers your eyeball. When you get a "sunburn" there it not nice.

    Do what ya think is right.
  11. a bloke
    Joined: Jul 6, 2007
    Posts: 235

    a bloke

    Wear polycarbonate safety glasses as well - UV doesn't penetrate and you wan't get 'arc eye'.

    I worked as a welder a few years ago and always wore them. After a day of eyes shut tacking, I would have a welder tan but not where the specs were.
    31Vicky with a hemi likes this.
  12. Just like @31Vicky with a hemi I have a set of brazing/ gas welding goggles I use at times if I’m taking something or welding upside down or sideways, just to get the parts stuck together.
    works very good.

    I had a cheap princess auto auto darkening helmet for about the last 10years and it worked great, think I paid $150 it way back then when “ quality name brand” helmets where touching the $300 buck plus range.
    After 10 years the head band fell apart from all the fat heads in the shop adjusting it to there fat heads.

    I bought about 6 months ago a Lincoln auto dark helmet for around 150 works very well and is a bit more comfortable then my old one.

    I do have an old school gold screen flip down helmet that never gets used anymore, but I can’t throw it out either.
  13. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,789


    OF COURSE, I spelled it wrong to push the point.

    Okay, not to belabor the point (BTW, spel, is spelled with two "LL's"...
    My standard Jackson hit hit the bricks after 12/13 years, so use my wide frame one (Jackson) now...It'll die soon (after 30 years or so) and I'll get a new one.

    Okay, that said, just get a good auto darkening lens/helmet. Hey, I have bad teeth, has to do with bad bone structure in my can be fixed with implants...can "they" replace your eyes?[/QUOTE]
    chryslerfan55 and warhorseracing like this.
  14. verde742
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 5,789


    Leo, did you find a leather key fob? I saw a couple in my mess.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  15. Tacking without a helmet can lead to very burnt eyelids, this I know for sure.
    As my sight gets worse, a handy ad-on was a head torch attached to my helmet, makes the stop starts a lot easier when tacking or stitching. 361477A1-BE47-4035-B903-0B124AEDCD87.jpeg
    chryslerfan55 and bobss396 like this.
  16. I also have an early speedglas.....a very good helmet for the time and still good today, trouble free, lightweight,with a level of flexibility(in tight places). I have also run under a leather hood/cape/executioner's bonnet, for extended periods,and while good for difficult access(think laying underneath work head-wise, it ain't optimal or natural,being nothing more than a leather bag with a flip-up lens. That being said, with the resources we have available to us in terms of product access(i.e. internet, good weld supply houses,etc.) I think it's possible to pretty much find exactly what anybody needs in terms of comfort, fit and safety in a welding helmet. You pretty much only get one set of eyes and you gotta make em' last.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  17. I have a brand-x auto darkening helmet that takes AAA batteries.. pays to change them often. I'd like to get something a little better since I'm in the market for a TIG welder. I tossed most of my old helmets recently. I still have a face-mask one made from a busted helmet. Attached a stick to it so I can get in close to tack something in a tight spot.
  18. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,863

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Used a LOT of cheap helmets. I dont mind any of them.
    I got arc burned eyes, and burnt eyelids enough times I finally decided enough of the tacking with my eyes closed.
    I bit the bullet and bought a Miller digital Elite. yes, it was spendy. It fits nice on my head, has all the features, can use it to gas weld, tig weld, wire, grind, etc. mode for in the shop or out in the sun.
    My eyes have thanked me so many times for dropping the cash on a good lid.
    Youre stuck with your eyes all your life, might as well take care of them
    61Cruiser and chryslerfan55 like this.
  19. I’m keeping track,,,
  20. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,963


    Here is my Helmet, I think with the add on light kit it was $400.00 or so. I would do it again in a heart beet ten times over! P4100005.JPG P4100004.JPG
    chryslerfan55 and warbird1 like this.
  21. j hansen
    Joined: Dec 22, 2012
    Posts: 2,850

    j hansen

    Like most of you I had a low cost helmet.Bought this a few years ago, added a light. Skärmavbild 2020-04-10 kl. 17.20.18.png
    So much better than the low cost helmets I had.
  22. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,282


    I have a Striker auto-darkening mask I bought a few years ago when I bought my TIG. Was $140 through Honestly, it's been great. It's a pretty basic auto-darkening mask with a big window so I can see what I'm doing. Nothing fancy, but reasonably price and does what I need it to do. I've been welding a whole lot recently an even hours into jobs, it's comfortable and works great.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  23. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,479

    from Brooks Ky

    Might want to look into some cheap $3-$5 reading glasses........the narrow ones that you see on the end of peoples noses. I found the progressive lens to be harder to keep in focus. You have to determine what is in focus about a foot from your helmet. Maybe buy 2 pair with different strength. Then depending on what I'm welding and how close my helmet/face will be, I move the glasses up and down my nose till I get the right focus. Seemed to work a lot better for me than the high dollar progressive lens I had on my non-welding glasses.
    Then when you get even older and probably have cataract surgery, things change again. Now I no longer need progressive lens, and only need the little close up readers. So I don't change anything when I weld now.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  24. Retrorod
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 2,032


    I got the HF Vulcan auto darkening helmet a year ago. Man...what a difference between the Vulcan and my old auto darkening "big name" helmet. By adding the 2.0 cheater magnifying lens I can weld as nice now as I did 30 years ago...only better. That Vulcan is very comfortable when adjusted properly, I can weld for a long time in comfort, That is an important feature when you get over 70 years old, a comfy stool to sit on and a proper fitting helmet.
  25. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 394


    Ive got a nice Jackson from about 2001 that I bought when i was welding in a factory (paid on installments to the job!) best money i ever spent and i did it right from the beginning, i've only flashed myself once over the last 20. Get a good quality auto dimmer and forget about the old helmets.
  26. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,652


    I spent the better half of my life under a Huntsmen, many 12 hr, 7 day weeks. Fitter mostly, but some time full time welder. Loved it. I had to leave the trade before auto darkening came along. My first AD was of all things, Harbor Freight (HF) when starting the rebuild of the '34 to the left, back in '95. It worked good but when rebuilding my grandsons handy work with his '96 Mustang and what another car doing 50 mph can do to it, he gave me his brand new miller flamed, big window, extra long neck protecting bad boy for helping him.
    Worked that trade 20 plus years and never had a single flash burn. Guys that did used Carnation evaporated milk to flush their eyes with that helped or so they said any way.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  27. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 5,150


    It’s interesting on how many of us will spend all kinds of dough on tools but not on a helmet. I am guilty as well and bitched about my welding helmets and bought all the cheap ones trying to find the best one. Until one day after welding for most of the day with a helmet on My eyes were hurting bad and my lovely wife told me to quit bitchen and buy a decent helmet. As she said you only have one set of eyes and they have to last ALL your life and once you screw them up thats it no replacements. She had a great point and got myself a esab and its like welding without a helmet and clear as day. Do yourself a favor and get the best helmet you can buy and save your eyes...
    K13 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  28. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,309

    Deuce Daddy Don

    When I was pipe welding in my trade, we used to make our own "Pancake" to keep the sunlight from entering from the rear of your head. We would take a gas welding solid face goggle with #10 lens & screw it to a flat thin piece of wood about 10 inches in diameter, this always worked both in the trenches or at your welding bench in bright sunlight.
  29. Penetrator
    Joined: Aug 25, 2011
    Posts: 514

    from SK CAN

    I hate breathing my own breath... so auto-darkening or not, I still flip the helmet, even between tacks.

    IMG_1219 - Binford.jpg .
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  30. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,652


    I hate breathing my own breath;

    Heard tell that's why toothpaste was invented. (just good hearted joking with ya)

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