Welding helmets (Hobby use)

Hi all, I'm thinking of getting one or two welding helmets for X-mas.
I've got a Dayton welder in the barn that I've used a little,
with an old flip style helmet. My son (age 14) has gotten into metal working
and would like to try welding. There are a huge number of options.
Here's one review.
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From which I'm thinking of the Antra for ~$50, or perhaps the
classic Miller for a bit more.
Your thoughts?
TIA
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
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I may be the least qualified to respond on this. My welding helmet is about 5 years old, and cost $35. I had just read a review of both high and low e nd helmets ands the bottom line was the reaction time/eye protection was th e same, but the ergonomics was the difference. Within a year of very occasional use, the headgear inside the helmet fell apart. The fix is to buy a quality replacement for $30 or so. That puts t he price range back in the total for a name-brand with the good parts. So I think if I were buying today I'd be shopping in the $100 range just to get decent hardware that will hold up.
Reply to
Rex
I've had two HF automatic hoods. The cheaper one did not easily have a way to change the batteries and I destroyed it trying to cut the compartment open. The more expensive one ($10 or 15 difference) was easy to change batteries, but I managed to break it after a couple years it was quick enough to go dark, but was slow to go light when you shut off the arc. I liked the cheaper one better for that because there are some thin metal welding methods that really benefit from being able to see the weld bead/spot very quickly ater the arc shuts off. I bought a Miller automatic and I like it fairly well, but I bumped something with it welding under a trailer, and broke the adjustment knob off. I still use it all the time, but I can't lighten the shade easily anymore. LOL. Your mileage may vary.
Regardless of what you decide to use I truly believe an automatic wedling helmet improved my welding more than anything else except maybe learning what duty cycle means and that I just need to stop welding and let my machine cool down when it starts throwing a bad bead whether it has shut down or not.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
I feel I need to add that the larger the viewing area the better. Regardless of the type or brand of hood.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
I agree with Bob on the viewing area. I bought a Harbor Freight automatic helmet several years ago and like it.
I also wear glasses and use safety glasses in the shop. If either of you wear glasses, make sure there is room in the helmet for your glasses.
Paul
Reply to
Paul Drahn
Take a look at the Kobalt Auto Darkening unit. I replaced an OLD HF unit with it. (HF unit worked just fine, right up until I drove over it !!!) Decided I wanted something a bit nicer. The Kobalt is a 4 sensor unit, solar/Batt. with adjustable sensing, time to clear and shade tint. Also has a grinding function that I don't use. MUCH lighter than the HF unit with better headgear.
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Video showing the helmet and how it works.
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Reply to
Steve W.
That's great, Thanks Bob, (and Gunner, Rex, Paul, Steve.) I'm pretty much a welding idiot. My house came with a Dayton buzz box, (with a mis-wired plug.) I made a few bad welds, and then two that are ugly, but still holding, and haven't used it since. (I guess I better make sure it's still working and mice haven't made nests everywhere inside.)
Any other essential piece of kit I need?
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
Welding gauntlets (I buy 2-3 pairs of the HF ones a year, they hold up just as good as the more expensive ones I've used)
Long sleeve treated cotton or leather shirt/jacket to keep you from getting a burn from the UV and sparks. (I actually use wildland firefighting shirts, they are either a treated cotton or Nomex type material, and they are usually much cheaper than the same thing sold at a welding supply.
Scrap steel and a solid table with a vice for practicing and testing your welds.
Grinder w/flap wheels (the great equalizer for the beginning welder)
Reply to
Steve W.
For completeness, a chipping hammer and wire brush are essential for stick and flux core welding. A cotton cap and leather shoes help protect you from hot sparks. When I sit down to weld small delicate stuff I wear a long leather apron and shoe spats.
Since I can't dedicate a space only for welding I use firebricks to set up a temporary one shaped like a small barbecue pit. The sides deflect the wind, conceal the arc flash from neighbors and help hold pieces in place.
Magnetic angles and C-shaped Vise Grips are often very useful. Clamps made for welding have copper-plated screws to keep molten spatter from sticking.
I got by with one 4-1/2" angle grinder until taking on larger projects. Then I added a 7" one with dish wheels to remove metal fast and a couple of cheapo 4" grinders permanently set up with a cup brush for rust and a cutoff wheel to erase small mistakes. The original 4-1/2" grinder has a fairly fine disk for smoothing anything that could snag skin or clothing. I don't use flap wheels much only because the edge of a solid disk smoothes inside corners better.
Unless you are only repairing cracks the steel has to be cut to size first. Either a chop saw or a 4" x 6" bandsaw will serve for that. I prefer the bandsaw because it's more versatile and accurate. I use mine a lot for woodworking, with a 6 TPI blade it will smoothly and accurately cut 6x6 posts and landscaping timbers.
-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
OK, I've been using my carhart cotton duck jacket, and "the boy" is now big enough to not get lost in my old ones. (Or are we liable to start it on fire?) He's also taken my fire place gloves for his forging work... I figured they would be fine for welding too.
Yeah I've got plenty of scrap steel :^)
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
Got it, thanks. We've got a small angle grinder, I've mostly been using a reciprocating saw for slicing metal. If things get serious a chop saw would be nice.
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
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I used a saturated solution of feed-store alum plus borax to treat cotton welding curtains. A sample strip hung over an upright propane torch flame burned in the flame but only charred above it. -jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
I have lots of heavy duty welding tables for sale. 1/2, 5/8, and up top thickness.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus32669
My tool collection grew as projects demanded. The ones I listed were enough to fabricate a sawmill, a log splitter, and a bucket loader for my tractor.
The chop saw's advantage is that it will cut thinner or harder steel better, though both of those are tricky to weld. Its disadvantage is the shower of glowing sparks that may force you to use it outdoors. Fortunately my biker neighbors don't mind its loud noise.
-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Hmm, We used borax to turn toilet paper into non-burnable wadding for model rocket launches. Same idea. Welding will be done out in the barn, (concrete floor) away from the house. (neighbors are at least 1/4 mile away.) Is fire that much of a concern? Maybe a fire extinguisher for the barn is in order... probably not a bad idea even without the welding.
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
I bought my house from a very private man. He didn't want people pawing through his stuff, so he left it all behind. My tool collection grew by a factor of 10 or more. Lotsa wood working stuff, but all sorts of other goodies too. (A list would only make you jealous.) I've been giving or trading it away to friends and neighbors, but I still have more "toys" than I have time to play with.
George H.
Reply to
ggherold
It's impossible for me to tell from here what your specific risks are. I have an assortment of water-filled extinguishers around the property and bring one nearby whenever I'm running an engine out beyond hose range. So far I've only needed them once, when I saw the old man across the road lying motionless beside his driveway with the grass fire his acetylene torch had started creeping toward him.
You probably won't see, smell or hear a fire while you are welding.
-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
............
You won't make -me- jealous, I have more toys than space to store them. I wasted the morning digging around for wiring harnesses I made to test a solar panel controller and then put away until time to install it, which I've finally gotten to.
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Its price was $19 when I ordered it, $29 on their website the next day.
-jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Gloves, welding blankets, welding jacket... spare hood so the two of you can look and learn from each other.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Haybine and serious dump trailer went to the neighbor down the road.. lots of help with various things. Little cement mixer, planar and industrial size router table with many bits, to the guy who put on a new roof. 1/2 a dozen other buckets/ box scrapers and rakes that I still drag around with my tractor. The coolest thing is 'my' John Deere 400 backhoe. She is a tired old gal though. At the moment one of the side arm cylinders has blown it's seal. I'm not sure if that's something I can fix myself or not.
George H.
Reply to
ggherold

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