Welding helmet advice?

Discussion in 'General foundry chat' started by Zapins, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Zapins

    Zapins Silver

    When I bought my hobart 140 from the local guy I tried out his vulcan 63749 auto darkening helmet and liked it quite a bit. It fit well and housed my glasses well. Seemed to react fast. https://www.harborfreight.com/arcsafe-auto-darkening-welding-helmet-63749.html

    I'm thinking of buying one, but before I do I want to ask is it a decent helmet? I see it is sold at horrible freight which makes me suspicious. I'd like to keep my eyes for the next 100 years without cataracts so I'd like to spend money on a helmet thats not going to blind me.

    Also, I see in the vulcan 63749 info that it says not for oxy/acetylene welding but it works for MIG/TIG. Why is that? I don't understand. It seems to go from shade 3 to 13 so shouldn't if work for oxy/acet as well as all the others?

    Any other brands I should be looking at?
  2. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

    I have a Hobart auto, I like it. I've only used it a couple times since I don't have a welder. I used the one at the forge for a couple small projects. I would suggest you use an old pair of glasses, those little weld berries seem to find there way in somehow and stick to the lens.

    Here's a few hundred helmets. I would be sure to get one that takes standard lens covers and headbands... anything you may have to replace, even the battery shouldn't be something special.

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
  3. Mister ED

    Mister ED Copper

    Not sure on the unit you are looking at. However, I will admit that I did buy the cheaper Horrible Freight automatic helmet. I can say ... it works, and coming from a fixed lens helmet is a great improvement. I was a little leery of dropping too much coin without knowing if it would help me make better welds. When I need to replace this one, I will probably look at something a little better.
  4. J.Vibert

    J.Vibert Silver

    Worth a watch... I own a cheapy and have no complaints.

    I'm not an authority on the tech behind auto-darkening lenses but if I was to hazard a guess as to why the one you tried wasn't recommended for oxy/acet is because of a lack of light intensity. Meaning, the lense isn't sensitive enough to be triggered correctly by the flame. <- That's a guess
  5. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    I spent 100bucks for a striker. Not high end and not HF either. Got it at USA weld.. no complaints.
  6. Robert

    Robert Copper Banner Member

    I have owned a Speedglass a Jackson and now a Miller. The main difference I see is the consistency of the senors and ease of adjustment to pick up the arc. J.V. is right about OA not being bright enough to cause the helmet to dim in some cases. My Miller helmet is superior to the other 2 in terms of arc sensing especially at low amps. Nothing like striking an arc and welding for a few seconds before you realize the lens did not dim. Then you have to wait about 10 minutes for the spots to go away! The cheaper helmets will work for most of the welding you do so it is really up to you to decide how much you want to pay for superior performance.
  7. Red97

    Red97 Copper Banner Member

    The cheaper helmets seem to work fine for small/home use.

    Like others have said the sensors are better, along with the recharge ability.

    The more expensive helmets typically have larger lenses/ view area. 2-4 different modes. More comfortable head gear.Some you can even get corrective/magnifying lenses for.

    I have a Miller digital elite cooling hood here at work, but it is sitting on my head for 12+hours a day.

    Have a Lincoln Viking for general use while on a job.

    Picked up a cheap farm store auto darkening for the house cause the good hoods were on the job.

    Cheap ones just don't hold up to the heat or cover enough skin to fight off the arc rays.

    20180226_113750.jpg 20180214_091018.jpg
    You can see the 4 sensors on the front, and the large viewing area.

    I'll get a better pic next to the Viking hood.
  8. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Red97 likes this.
  9. crazybillybob

    crazybillybob Copper Banner Member

    I have a HF helmet. I don't weld all day or even every month.... But I can still see. I can see that if it's your bread and Butter a few hundred for a helmet is a good investment. For my weekend warrior projects HF is good enough for now (I have had the helmet for 10 years...Still works!)
    J.Vibert and Red97 like this.
  10. moya034

    moya034 Lead

    I use the HF AD hood when doing what very little TIG welding I actually do. I do quite a bit more stick welding and I prefer traditional hoods for that as they get dirty quickly and I don't like dirt and smoke on my AD.
  11. Zapins

    Zapins Silver

  12. Zapins

    Zapins Silver

    Well I ended up buying a Miller Digital Elite Performance Series Welding Helmet. It was around 278 before tax. Seems it can do everything, oxy-acetylene, Tig, Stick, MIG, and grinding. It also has X mode so I can weld outside, but lets be honest the only UV light I'll be getting in my near future is not going to be from the sun ;).

    Still makes me wonder with 1/20,000 seconds to switch doesn't that mean you are still getting a flash of UV light before the shade changes? Wouldn't that add up over time?
  13. crazybillybob

    crazybillybob Copper Banner Member

    no, the lens even when clear block the UV and ultraviolet light. You are safe when clear or dark.....you just can see for nothing when you strike and arc and it stays clear!

  14. Frank Clark

    Frank Clark Copper

    I have used an assortment of helmets. I own two identical Millers. Price really isn't bad. I get replacement outside safety plates (pack of 5 for $9) and inside lenses that allow me to ditch my glasses. For less than $100, it's worth being able to get the parts for them years after I bought them.

    Zapins, the 1/20.000 seconds is why many professionals don't use auto-darkening. My Son is at Texas Tech. In the shop there, they don't even allow them in the door. I personally close my eyes just before I start the arc. That saves me seeing spots. If I welded every day, I'd ditch the auto-darkening.
  15. Zapins

    Zapins Silver

    Shit seriously? I had wondered about that.

    I saw spots and my eyes felt like sand after using another auto darkening helmet whose batteries needed changing so I don't know about the lens blocking UV crazybillybob.

    Frank, so the professionals don't use auto darkening helmets? I figured they would with the need to have good welds and safety etc. Man should I just return the helmet I got and get a flip down?

    Problem with flip downs is I've flashed myself several times with one while forgetting to flip it down or accidentally touching the part when I didn't mean to. So I don't know if thats worse than the occasional auto darkening?

    I couldn't find a lot of data about auto darkening helmets online and how much UV light you're actually seeing.

    If only a little gets through its probably ok, akin to looking around on a sunny day at the beach or something?
  16. Red97

    Red97 Copper Banner Member

    The uv is blocked by the lens
    Most are stilll a 3-4 shade at rest anyway.

    I've got about 40k lbs of wire in with and auto darkening helmet. Prescription hasn't changed in the last 5 years.


    600+amp 42+volts 12hr a day 7 days a week since 2/12.

    Using a miller digital elite.

    I can't think of may who don't use a auto helmet. Some pipliners, or high heat where the lenses melt out. But as far as protection your helmet will provide plenty.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  17. Zapins

    Zapins Silver

    Hmm ok cool. I'll give the miller digital elite a go soon and let you know.

    I see they say the clear lens blocks the UV light without the dark shade being needed on several websites. But if the UV light is 100% filtered how come when I welded with another auto darkening helmet (batteries failing to change the lens quick enough) my eyes felt like they had sand/were sun burned that evening?
  18. Red97

    Red97 Copper Banner Member

    The lens should be polarized. Not clear just a low shade.

    Not sure why unless it was just major irritation from the strobe/flashing effects of the faulty batteries.

    Now If it did have a clear lens it may not have been blocking rays at all. Shouldn't be a problem with your new hood.
  19. J.Vibert

    J.Vibert Silver

    More experienced people giving better comments already, but as far as pros not using auto-darkening... I have yet to come across one that wasn't using one. Union welders included.
  20. Frank Clark

    Frank Clark Copper

    We must be running in separate circles! I'm down south (Texas) and I thought we were more lax than average on safety. I know pros from shops that make tanker trailers to guys I see at the power plants that are welding piping for days on end. Some of them do use auto helmets, but most tell me they will not and in many cases they are not allowed to. And like I said, even at Texas Tech, they won't allow them in the shop.

    But I whole heatedly agree that a good helmet is much better than a HF special and I personally use a Miller but not one of the top of the line models.

    It could be the newer auto helmets are great and the folks not using/not allowing them are biased because earlier autos were not as good.

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