Can't see what I am welding

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  #1  
Old 05-30-05, 07:08 AM
ebikerman
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Cool Can't see what I am welding

I am new not only here, but to welding, so be prepared for some dumb questions. I just purchased a new Clarke 130EN MIG welder for hobby type welding. The problem is that I can't see anything except the arc itself through the #11 lense that came with the welder. I am using flux core on mild steel outdoors. (do not want to use gas) This welder has an electrically cold torch that makes it relatively east to start in the right place. I just touch the wire to the metal and then look through the helmet, then pull the trigger. It is after the start that I can not see where I am welding. It is way too dark to tell anything about the weld or where you are welding. Please tell me how a lighter lense might affect my view and my eye protection or anything else you may decide will be helpful. I am already considering getting rid of the welder and giving up on this hobby (only had it for two days). Thanks, ebikerman
 
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Old 05-30-05, 08:46 AM
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ebikerman, Welcome to the DIY Forums.
As I got older (or at least my eyes did) I had to go from an 11 lense to a 9. You have to be able to see the puddle to be able to put your weld where you want it and proper width and height. #9 is as low as they go and still have proper eye protection. Good luck with your projects.
 
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Old 05-30-05, 11:28 AM
ebikerman
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Cool Can't see what I am welding

Thanks for the reply...Is much eye protection lost as you down scale on the lens numbers? Is MIG welding more demanding on the lens protection since a higher number (11) is reccommended? Thanks, ebikerman
 
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Old 05-30-05, 02:53 PM
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Guess it depends on how you look at it. I love welding and I see no problem with moving to a lighter lense. My prescription lenses for my regular glasses do not show any dangerous side effects. Just age catching up with me.
 
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Old 05-30-05, 09:20 PM
phillyguy
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Any arc welding process requires a darker lens it's not specific to MIG welding itself, TIG and stick need the darker lens as well. Brazing, cutting and oxy/fuel processes you can use a lighter lens for, you can even look at somone doing those processes without a lens and it won't damage your eyes like an arc will, it's bright as hell, you can't see anything and I wouldn't recommend it but it won't hurt you. I had the same problem when I started welding, I just stick my face as close as I can and it helps a lot. Try getting up close and by close I mean like six or eight inches. Just make sure your neck is covered because you can get a sunburn from the arc, it's happened to me. Once you get familiar with what to look for namely the puddle, the arc and your joint line you'll find the darker lens will be fine and you'll be able to weld further away comfortably. I would also by a helmet with larger lens plate you can get them with a 4 by 4 inch plate on them and it also helps a ton, they cost around 15 to 20 $.
 
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Old 05-31-05, 07:29 PM
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I will have to agree with Majakdragon, you have to see the puddle. I weld everything with a number 10, well almost. All the arc welding I do is with a number 10. When I wire weld with high amps I will use a number 10. When I wire weld stainless sheet metal I have to use a number 8, I can't see what I am doing with a 10. When I Tig weld aluminum I will use a number 10 as long as it is with a high amperage. If I am doing something with a low amperage on thin stuff I will use a number 8. Tig welding on thin mild or stainless steel I will use a number 8, on the thin stuff you need to use low amperage. Low amperage makes a less brilliant flash than high amperage. You have to see the puddle. I would go to a shade lighter lens and try it, if you can see a half-inch around the weld zone go with it. If you still can't see go with a lighter lens until you can see. If it looks bright beyond a half-inch past the weld area your lens may be too light. Larger electrodes require more amps, more amps makes a bigger puddle, bigger puddle is brighter, bigger puddle, darker lens. With a plasma cutter the manufacture says to use a number 10. I can't see a thing, so I use a number 5 gas-cutting shield. I have been doing this for quite a while like the dragon and my eyes have maybe changed over the years also. You have to be able to see what you are doing to do a good job.
 
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Old 05-31-05, 08:55 PM
ebikerman
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Advice taken with appreciation.

It is good to communicate with experienced welders like you fellows. I appreciate the time you have invested in my concern. I have purchased a Jackson HSL2 helmet with a #10 lense. I also purchased a #9 lense to try as well. Also purchased a magnifier lense for this helmet. All this will replace the small hand held shield (#11 lense) that came with the welder. After a little use, I found that light entering the helmet from behind, reflecting on the rear of the lense was adding to the "no see" condition. I actually welded two pieces of metal together today...not very prettily, but well fastened. The day was overcast and I suppose there was less glare inside the helmet. I hope the new helmet when it arrives will correct the back light problem. And I am sure the lighter lense will add greatly to improved vision. I thank you for all the information, however one question still remains unanswered...How much decreased eye protection will be experienced with the lighter lenses if any? Also, do you think the magnifying lense when added to the other lense will magnify undesirable radiation? Hope you don't think I worry to much, but I am a thinking person and need much info to assimilate in the process of making decisions. You guys have been great. Thanks, ebikerman
 
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Old 05-31-05, 09:11 PM
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I don't believe the magnifiying lense will add to the radiation factor. At the same time, I don't think it will help you see better. If you can't see the puddle now, magnifying it won't help. Light coming in from behind you will make a difference. I have had to throw a rag over the back of my head due to welding outside with the sun behind me. Also, when welding in a room with white walls, I find that reflections off the walls will give me weld flash burns. Not fun sleeping those nights. It all takes time to figure out but keep trying and experimenting and you'll be happy with the results.
 
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Old 06-01-05, 10:58 AM
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i'm going to have to disagree with majakdragon on the last post. magnifying lenses are available and are used by older welders all the time. you don't see them very often but once in a while you will find them. magnifying the puddle does help with older eyes, especially eyes that need bi focals. just google "magnifying welding lens" or talk to you your reputable welding dealer.

rob "redlight"
 
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Old 06-01-05, 07:31 PM
ebikerman
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I have already ordered a magnifying lense from www.store.weldingdepot.com. Thanks to all for the great information. I am sure I will have more questions as I get into welding.
Thanks again, ebikerman
 
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Old 06-03-05, 08:54 PM
phillyguy
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This link has a good table with recommended shades for various arc processes based on output amperage. It goes as low as 7 on some of the lower outputs I however would not feel safe with a shade that low for arc welding.

http://www.hornell.com/hsi/faqautod.html
 
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Old 06-04-05, 06:21 PM
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magnifiers

i use dimestore glasses, i threw my "cheater lens" away...when youget in a tight spot and have to tilt your head just the right way....your puddle will go all haywire and you cant see what you are doing...i find with the "dime store glasses" this doesn't happen...also you can pick these glasses up at "a buck or two" store for just that ( a buck or two)...but to each his own..just another option
 
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Old 06-04-05, 08:03 PM
ebikerman
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Thanks again fellows. I went to the site suggested and made a copy of the filter chart to post in my shop. I already use dime store reading glasses for almost everything...probably should have saved my money spent for the magnifying lense. Thanks, ebikerman
 
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Old 06-04-05, 08:13 PM
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I have two sets of glasses. One is bifocal for reading (has almost no prescription on top of lense) and full lense prescription for welding. I also use a 4x4 lense. Apologies to Red Light as I meant that if your lense was too dark to see the puddle, magnifying the darkness would not help you. These 57 year old eyes have been flashed, burnt, slag infested and about anything else you can think of in 30 plus years of welding. When #9 lense is too dark, its time to hang up the stinger. Good luck with your projects.
 
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Old 06-06-05, 10:44 AM
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sorry majak

sorry majak, misread your post i guess. that is true, if you need a number 9 and you are using a 13, you will not see no matter how much you magnify. i know a guy that uses a 17 lens for welding when i can get by with 12. basically all eyes are different and you need to find out what works for you. a good rule of thumb is if you see blue spots any time after you weld you need to go to darker shade.

now i have a question, regarding lens shades. this guy that uses 17 for a shade, what he does is he uses a 13 main lens, a shade 2 safety glasses, and then for the protective sheild that covers his lens on the inside of the helmet he uses a shade 2 protective cover plate. this is all in a jackson with a 5.25 X 4.50 lens opening. so my question is this :

does 13 + 2 + 2 = 17 for a shade?? or would that be wrong?? i have always assumed that it would add up to 17. maybe not. let me know what you think. later.

rob "redlight"
 
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Old 06-06-05, 11:22 AM
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In MY OPINION the stacking of lenses lighter than the main lense will not change the strength of the filter. The stacking would amount to the same as wearing 2 or 3 sets of sunglasses, each lighter than the main set. You will still have a #13 filter. What your friend may be trying to accomplish, is to further reduce the amount of light energy that may reflect, and bounce around within the helmet enclosure. Just a thought and MY PERSONAL OPINION. One reason it may seem harder to see through the stacked lenses is that now yu have a THICKER lense. This does not mean it is stronger, but just thicker.
 
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