The key to good welding is being able to see the metal. Ditch those old standard lens helmets and get yourself an Auto-Darkening Helmet. You'll see light!, but not too much. I remember when I learned to weld all I had was an old ARC welding helmet which was like trying to see through a black piece of paper. The only time I was able to see what I was doing was after the arc was started but at that point it was too late if the weld was not in the right place.
Auto-Darkening helmets are not new technology but many people are unaware of the benefits of using one. Almost all welders on the market today come with a small fixed lens mask but thats only to get you started in case you don't already have an auto-darkening helmet.
These masks are great because they only go dark when you are welding, as soon as the arc stops the lens isn't any darker than a pair of sunglasses. Many of you know the struggle of having to constantly flip your mask up after every weld just to make sure its right. Now you wont have to even touch the mask keeping your hands free to continue working. An Auto-Darkening helmet also gives you the ability to adjust the level of lens shade. This feature comes in handy if you do multiple types of welding since each requires a different level of shade to protect your eyes.
Would you believe that both of these pictures were taken under the same conditions. On the left is a view through a standard fixed lens helmet. All you can see is the faint outlines of the LED Work Light. Imagine trying to see where to weld once your mask is on. The view through an Auto-Darkening Helmet (right) is clear and bright, you can even read the side of the Eastwood MIG 250 on the other side of the bench. Once your helmet is down rarely will you need to take it off in order to make small adjustments or to change position.
You wont even need to take it off to change the settings on your welder. Making current and wire speed adjustments just became so much easier and far less time consuming. If you've ever used and Auto-Darkening Helmet its near impossible to weld again without one.
Eastwood offers three different Auto Darkening Helmets that will bring your welding to a whole new level. For a beginner welder these are a must have, you will find yourself making perfect welds in no time. Click the pictures below to find out more info on each of Eastwood's Helmets
Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects. If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.
- James R/EW