My son will be a freshman in high school this fall. He is signed up for all his classes, and the only thing he seems to be excited about is taking welding. I was thinking it might be time to get him a nice automatic welding hood.
Do check with his welding teacher if the welding hood will be used at school. Unless you school district is flush there will be some students who are not as well off as you and I and there will be peer problems.
In between the $50 Harbor Freight version and the $300 professional version is the $175 Miller helmet that I have and like a lot.
I ordered through one of the eBay welding supply stores and it was drop shipped to me by Miller. They have three lines I think, I got the middle one which has extra sensors for low amperage TIG capabilities. They have a "Which helmet is right for you" guide. Here is the link to the one I got, but again, at a lot less than list:
He will be the stud of the class with one of these!
Google some of Ernie's comments. IIRC, he likes SpeedGlass the most. I like my NexGen, but admit I'd like to try the SpeedGlass and see if it is lighter. Maybe just go to the shop and try several on. Find some good ones, then give him a CERTIFICATE for one and he can pick it. Go with him to make sure he doesn't get sold a case of snake oil. He may want the skull model, or the Dale Earnhart model, etc. That would be a more personal thing, you gave it but he picked the model. Like you giving him a Ford Falcon, and he would have preferred a Mustang...............
Trouble is with these things, it's hard to find a place where you can test drive the $300 purchase.
If he's excited, be sure to give him good tools that will keep that level up. Just like fishing, a kid will stay excited if he isn't jerking around with inferior equipment.
I have had absolutely NO problems with the Harbor Freight $49 blue helmet. A large number of others have posted similar comments regarding this helmet. The only other HF tool that I know of that has got similar support is their cheapo angle grinder.
I took a welding class, (actually, four of them) at my local community college - Austin Community College, highly recommended. Like you, I had already been welding for some time, and like you I expect, I learned a lot. OA/stick/mig/tig. I ended up buying setups for OA, mig and tig, and I really enjoy it.
After the first class, everyone went down to HF, including me, to buy their helmets, but after two classes where my eyes hurt afterwards, I traded up to the Miller. To my knowledge, everyone else was happy with their HF helmets.
Unlike the general opinion here, I always buy HF first, then upgrade if I use the tool a lot or if it turns out to be a POS. If it wasn't for HF tools, I wouldn't have no tools at all. But in this case, I upgraded and am happy I did. Ymmv...
No, however one significant difference will be the lens area. The high end units have a much larger area than the HF ones. I still need to get one of the cheap HF ones at some point for the rare occasion I have help in the shop.
An additional note - go off to the millerwelds site and order him the set of "welding calculators" they sell for something like $4 for the full set, they are worth every penny and then some for the beginning or hobby welder.
On Wed, 09 Jul 2008 19:39:00 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm, Ignoramus2215 quickly quoth:
Google it, Ig. Someone posted a review like that here last year. The HF was said to have more lines in the viewing screen than the more expensive models, but I don't think it affected the welding, IIRC. I believe that most of us were happy enough with the HF helmets.
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Sounds like our sons have some things in common. My son went to see them at the Hard Rock when he came to visit me in Vegas a while back. Saw someone from the band he knew and waved at them and they talked. I left and went home, came back later and picked him up.
Sorry about the obvious glitch there. I'm on pain meds.