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Are cheap welding helmets any good? (recommendations?)

Discussion in 'Garage' started by NCBurb, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. wanderinthru

    wanderinthru Full Access Member

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    Also my experience with auto dark. If your doing a job and spend an hour a day actually welding, they are fine. If your spending 4 or 5 plus hours looking at a puddle, my eyes were always scratchy at the end of the day. Plus, being how I learned to weld with a stick, then learned to flip my hood...I always picked it up and flipped it down anyway, so the auto dark was useless. The lenses and hoods were high dollar "quality" Lincoln, and Miller and a Jackson I believe, still have the Miller around here somewhere, it's a blue shade never used a cheap one. Learned to weld with Pa's Lincoln AC Cracker box when I was 10 to 12? I don't recall, do remember that before I was in High School Pa just "let" me do the welding around the place because he didn't like it, and I was better. So, my auto dark experience lasted about a year, year and a half out of 40 ish. I digress!
     
  2. bigcountry78

    bigcountry78 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I landed a welding job right out of college. Did it every day, 8-12 hours a day, for close to 2 years. I used a cheaper auto darkening helmet from tractor supply. It worked, but ultimately it wore it out pretty quickly. I had actually bought it for my dad, and then he told me to use it for my job instead, because that’s just how he is. I did burn my eyes once or twice, but I don’t think it was the helmet’s fault. Can’t remember though. Anyway, If I had to do it over, I probably wouldn’t use one again. It was fairly common for it to be slow to darken, and sometimes it just wouldn’t darken at all. Obviously, the less technical stuff you have, the less there is to go wrong. And this is one place where you don’t want to mess around, as it can ruin your eyes. You only get one set after all. So my vote is skip the auto darkening one.
     
  3. Paladin

    Paladin "LET"S ROLL"

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    The feeling of sand in your eyes when they are burnt is actually jillions of tiny blusters raising on your eyeball! That's why they water so bad as the little blisters burst from movement of the eyelid! And there is no way to ignore the pain, heat, and irritation!!:cheers:
     
  4. Frankenchevy

    Frankenchevy Lying Dog-Faced Pony Soldier

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    I’ve never burnt my eyes, but I have built up immunity from staring at the sun a little every day.

    I use an auto-dark helmet, but I don’t have as much time looking at molten metal as some here. It’s not a cheapy, though. My machines are in the 150-225 amp range, so maybe they just don’t produce as bright of a light.
     
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  5. Vbb199

    Vbb199 B-rate Hillbilly Customs

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    I will say after looking at my arc welder thru a helmet all this time , when my dad is doing mig welding, i can practically look at it with no protection on my eyes and it dont bother them, its about like looking at fireworks hahaha

    (Not that i look for long periods haha)
     
  6. skysurfer

    skysurfer Full Access Member

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    It seems like the seasoned welders here prefer a static lens and the hood-flip method. I'm a self taught hack and could never get the hang of flipping the hood into place without moving my hand a little bit. Or a lot. Started a LOT of beads well off the target before switching to an auto dark. I have two helmets, an old Lincoln that was my dad's and a Jackson that I got from Craigslist for $50. My actual welds haven't improved with the Jackson but at least they start in the right place now.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a pic for the old timers. I remember being with my dad when he bought this from Montgomery Ward around 1970. Century made these AC-only tombstone welders and were sold under the Powr-Kraft name. Still works great. (and yes, I know I need to fix that ground wire at the strain relief.)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Paladin

    Paladin "LET"S ROLL"

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    Here's a couple photos from back in the day when I used to be somebody in the West Texas oilfields!:cheers: DSCF0710.JPG DSCF0712.JPG
     
  8. shiftpro

    shiftpro Full Access Member

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    Did you build the deck? It's awesome. All it takes are few angles, follow the body lines a bit and this make a big difference. It looks like something I would build.
    Except that... wtf?... your acetylene tank is on it's sid? How can that work without the acetone getting onto your torch? Or is that just oxygen and and a spare?
     
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  9. shiftpro

    shiftpro Full Access Member

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    I've burnt my eyes from welding in a shop with other welders close by going at it. It was the constant flashing in my helmet from the guys behind me. Not direct unprotected flashes but 'second hand' basically reflecting into my eyes from inside my helmet. Those are the worse because it really sneaks up on you.
     
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  10. bigcountry78

    bigcountry78 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    And if you ever burn your eyes once, you’ll never forget it. I woke up that morning and my eyes were stuck shut. Man what a miserable day that was.
     
  11. Paladin

    Paladin "LET"S ROLL"

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    No didn't build the bed, was already on the truck when I bought it from the bank repo lot. Whoever did it did a pretty good job tho! Yep, both of those are oxygen, acetylene is right behind them on the other side. Two bottles also, sure didn't want to go out on a job in the middle of nowhere and run out of either one so always carried a spare of both!:cheers: DSCF0723.JPG
     
  12. wanderinthru

    wanderinthru Full Access Member

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    Nice rig! That a 200 or 250? Couldn't make out the exciter cover???

    Alot of work on a truck bed. I'm ready to redo mine but, it's on down the list....
     
  13. PrairieDrifter

    PrairieDrifter Full Access Member

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    I've got a similar tombstone welder from our farm, sittin in my garage, almost guarantee it still works lol.
     
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  14. Paladin

    Paladin "LET"S ROLL"

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    It's a 200, already had the diamond plate hood and a few other custom touches done to it when I bought it used. Made a ton of money with that old machine! Glory days!! LOL:cheers:


    Those tombstone welders are damn near bullet proof, you could about run over it with a Mack truck and it would still hum away and lay a nice bead!!:cheers:
     
  15. wanderinthru

    wanderinthru Full Access Member

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    Damn 200 don't need you there except to change the rod. Execelent welding machines, possibly the best ever made. Have never used a 250, though have heard they do not run near as smooth as a 200?
    !00% correct on the old tombstone welders, could build a battleship with them! Hurts my heart that Mig, has gotten so simple and cheap. These young guys could do the same thing, alot better if they would take the time to learn to weld with one of them old things. Hell, get an Ac/Dc and the sky is the limit.
    Taught both of my daughters around the age of 10 to weld/melt metal together with a torch and a clothes hanger, when they got it told them you now know every welding process there is, just in slow motion!
     
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