Helmet recommendations

Hi Guys,
Just ordered a Tig welder, I'm going to learn to Tig aluminum
to start. (first project is aluminum)
I need to get a helmet, already been through a Harbor Freight
helmet, doing stick welding. It worked until it didn't.
I will be used only for home shop work, maybe a lot for practice
while learning and then only occasionally.
So, I need a comfortable helmet that will still be with me 10 years
from now, at a good price.
What do you recommend?
btw, what other accessories do you find handy?
Mikek
PS.
If you're curious, I ordered the Everlast DV200
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Reply to
amdx
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I have had two Harbor Freight auto dark helmets. The first one was the cheaper of the two they offered and I loved it but it had no provision to change batteries without breaking it. I used the heck out of it for about 5 years before the internal battery died and/or it quit working.
The second one is ok, and it works fine, but it has one issue I don't like. It takes about 1/2 to 3/4 second after the arc stops to go clear no matter how I set it. When I am doing a continuous bead its no big deal, but often on thin stuff the timing is to slow for a stacked bead method I use when continuous beads would just burn thru. Unfortunately I have to use that trick often enough to make it irritating. I have had that helmet for 6 or 7 years, and while it does have the ability to easily replace the batteries its still running on the ones that came in it.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
I have the 250EX... I also use a HF helmet , and it's fine for aluminum . I do however have occasional problems with it losing "trigger" when welding steel at low amps . Pulse eliminated that , but a better helmet wouldn't have that problem - or so I've been told .
Reply to
Terry Coombs
Several mentions of the HF helmet, the one I had just quit working, I don't think I had much over an hours worth of darkened time on it. By that time it was already a couple years old. I don't have a local store, or I'd try again, I don't want to be shipping a defective unit back. I looked at Gunners Optrel helmets, If I pay that much for a helmet, it better sleep with me and have breakfast ready when I get up! :-) Mikek
Reply to
amdx
I bought a Harbor Freight helmet to experiment with and it turned out to be a good helmet. It was the one with the blue flames on the side. The batteries eventually needed replacement and I had to crack the case to put new batteries in. My neighbor also has a HF helmet but it is a different one. I cannot focus very well when using his. I went to HF and discovered that the three different helmets they were selling were made in different factories. As it turns out the blue flame ones are very easy for me to see through so I ended up buying a couple on sale for less than 50 bucks. When the batteries eventually die I'll just crack the case and replace them. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Look on Ebay. You can get a lense assembly for about $15 with free shipping. So no need to have a local store.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
I broke down this morning and bought another Harbor Freight Helmet. They have one on sale (surprise) for $44.99 with coupon # 50269392
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Mikek
Reply to
amdx
My welder just came by UPS, now I need to wait till next week to get the helmet. I'll get an Argon bottle next Tuesday. I went to Airgas, they lease the bottle for $75.00 per year and about $90 to fill it. Any other ideas about how to get argon? Mikek
Reply to
amdx
Find an old O2 owner bottle and swap it for an Argon bottle. Also try Praxair if you have one in your area. They don't give you the option of either paying way to much or signing an evergreen contract that harder to get out of than a contract with the devil like some gas sellers who shall remain nameless.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
Instead of a lease I would buy a bottle. Here in WA there are sizes that are only owner bottles and sizes that are only rent or lease and there are some sizes that overlap. So I would buy the biggest owner bottle that I could afford. When you get it filled it is cheaper to just exchange the bottle than to wait while it gets filled. It has been my experience that when I exchange bottles I don't have to pay for hydro testing. Also, if you own the bottle you can shop around. I have several gas bottles and each is the largest I can use for the application or else it was a bottle I got a good deal on. If you can, buy a used bottle that doesn't need hydrotesting, or if it does need testing make sure the price you pay reflects that. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Hmm, I have a O2 bottle with a torch set that I got from my dad 10 years ago. I don't use it. I need to look a little more to see if there is anyone around that would sell the bottle rather than rent it. like Airgas. Mikek
Reply to
amdx
My big argon bottle is an owner bottle , and Airgas swaps it for me - well , the small shop here where I live will . Not sure what a regular Airgas dealer would do with it . I do know that the bottle I swapped for it had another suppliers sticker and collar on it - and when I called about it they said it was their bottle and they wanted it back . I told 'em to F off , if they really wanted it they could come and get it . They said they'd get it back eventually , I told 'em not from me ...
Reply to
Terry Coombs
I have a big number of tanks that I bought or picked up free at auctions and bankrupt companies. I found a gas supplier in Cicero who is quite liberal in their bottle policies, and they swap our bottles pretty liberally. We are their loyal customers. Go through a lot of O2 on some weeks.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus26576
Private-owner shops are a LOT more likely to be liberal than company stores ... and we have 2 indies up here but not a single co. store . Small market , too small to be profitable for them . The couple of big gas-using operations up here are supplied from Little Rock , from the same trucks that supply the indies . Works for me !
Reply to
Terry Coombs
I have heard that those collar stamps are easily removed. DAMHIKT. Actually, it was from an AirGas counter guy. The stamp disappeared one night, and they took it into inventory, and threw in a free hydro. Their local competition has a very bad reputation on attempting to seize tanks. Said I had to turn one in that was in the back of my truck, and I said I didn't think so. Went to AirGas, and counter guy gave me a very workable solution.
Go figger. The collar stamp is actually out in the shop in thousands of tiny pieces of metal. Those flapper wheels on grinders work very well for finish work, too, if I may say so.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
I considered a similar solution , but found it unnecessary for the dealer I buy from . Neither dealer up here gives a flip about where the bottle came from as long as their supplier will take it . Works for me .
Reply to
Terry Coombs
I bought my 80cf Argon cylinder from Airgas ($150 or so if I recall) and just swap it when its empty. I don't get charged for hydro testing or the like and the last Argon fill was $30 or $40 if I recall (I don't fill too often).
One time when I stopped in for an exchange on a Friday they didn't have any 80cf cylinders on hand so they gave me a 20cf at no charge to get me through my weekend project and had an 80cf for me on Monday afternoon.
Reply to
Pete C.
Good shops that want to get and keep your business will do things like that, and not make you feel like you are some homeless derelict trying to get a few bucks for a bottle.
Steve
Reply to
SteveB
I'm not happy with the situation, as I have found it Praxair is the only place in town to get gas. They will sell small bottles and rent or lease the big bottle. $26 per month or $75 per year. I went in yesterday to get my bottle and found I had to fill out a credit application and won't get argon until Tuesday. I would have did it last week if I knew I would have to wait. My helmet should arrive today and I thought I would get started practicing Saturday and Sunday. Oh well! Mikek
Reply to
amdx

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