Since Ive gotten into welding rather extensively recently, for
Christmas, all the dogs and cats got together and dragged home pop
bottles, rags,newspapers, cardboard and whatnot and presented me with
a gift certificate for Harbor Freight so I could buy a autodarkening
Damned nice of them!
So I went over and started checking them out. The one that was on sale
at the time was this one:
While it darkened just fine, the density pot is located inside the
mast and requires you to remove it to adjust the darkness and the
webbing put my eyes way far back away from the glass. The worst
problem was that when bending over in welding position, the short
"forehead" allowed a whole bunch of light to come in from overhead and
all I could see was the reflection of the store lights above me.
Since I weld outside..watching the clouds go by overhead while trying
to run a bead was not in my best interest. Last year I gave away a
nearly new Jackson helmet (big lens) as I had to wear a towel over my
head to prevent reflections that prevented me from seeing what I was
After finding faults of one sort or another with the other models I
tried this one:
A very high forehead, a tight fit (my nose just about touches the
glass), marvelous view that even allows a bit of peripheral vision to
some degree. Very light, closes off side and overhead light very
The density control is located outside and inside are two adjustment
Sensitivity, high/low. Both would darken on a bic lighter flint, but
in high, if I moved fast, would darken if a reflection off something
bright happened to hit just right. In one case..a passing car. Low
works great, even on very dim strikes. Should be great for low amp
This switch changes the time it takes for the lens to return to clear
after the arch stopped. On slow, after the arc stopped, the lens
remained dark for nealy 1.5 seconds and on fast, only for aprox 3/4
second. I tend to move fast, so the slow postion seemed interminable,
but fast is just about right, ymmv.
I got it home and on Christmas day I ran it through its paces both
with MIG and stick, while welding up some projects I have going on.
Frankly..I dont know how Ive managed to go this long without an
autodarkening helmet. Sweet sweet sweet.
However..its going to be a while to break myself of the habit of
automatically reaching up to swing up the mask after each weld.
It increased my speed in welding up assemblies by at least 25 or more
percent as I can now simply go from weld to weld and not have to futz
around hunting for the joint. Freaking marvelous with wire feeder!!!!!
I played with the density control while running some practice beads
with the MIG, and found a setting that allows me to see my puddle very
very well and my welds now look a hell of a lot better as well as
being good in penetration etc. The suspension allows me to wear my
..ahum..reading glasses..for fine work, which was a concern when I get
the tig stuff up and running, and the suspension has a sweat band
which is a nice added touch. Very comfortable to wear. Very light and
well balanced. Its not front heavy like so many others Ive tried.
For an inexpensive autodarkening mask..this is freaking great! I
asked the manager if the $59 sale price was graven in stone (only had
a $50 gift certificat) and he simply told the cashier to price it as
$49. I see its now on sale on the HF website for $49 as well.
The only issue I can see with this mask, is that the protective cover
slip over the lens is plastic, which is ok..but HF does NOT carry
replacements. Ive not tried any welding shops yet to see if this is a
standard size, as its almost square, rather than your usual rectangle.
So far, I give this hood a Gunners "Thumbs Up!"
Your mileage may vary, and this opinion is worth exactly what you paid
The cats spung the extra $9 for the two year warranty, but I had to
promise them additonal head scratching.
"Gunner, you are the same ridiculous liberal f--k you ever where."
- posted 17 years ago