Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade
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  1. #1

    Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I did a quick search on the site to see if there was already a thread on this and didnt find anything. If I missed it feel free to delete this one and redirect me to the other one.

    I was wondering which type of hood ya'll prefer. I've only used one auto helmet and didnt really like it. I have a fixed jackson 12 shade and a fixed hobart 10. I just dont feel safe using auto helmets...is that just me or does anyone else feel the same?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Wisconsin
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    For TIG and MIG I prefer an auto darkening. For stick a fixed shade is fine. I have a speedglas and love it. Also have an old fibre metal with an auto shade that I use for stick welding.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Illinois
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    8,700

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Hi, auto great for tacking without raising hood. Great for fine pin point tig or art work. Great for beginners . Actually, best to have both. Once you use a auto you can get spoiled.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Luis Obispo, CA
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    1,258

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I tig most of the time and prefer the fixed lens. I use a big window huntsman with a gold shade 10. I like the gold because I can see in color, which is nice for tig. The big window is good for out of position work.
    Ian Tanner

    Kawasaki KX450 and many other fine tools

  5. #5
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    Jun 2010
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I have an old fibre metal fixed shade( small lens) and thats all. I feel that I don't weld enough to justify the money for a good auto and a cheap one is asking for trouble.
    Miller thunderbolt 250
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    WV
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I have a low end Hobart auto darkening and a couple Jacksons with fixed shade that have the big window. I prefer the Jacksons because i think it is easier to see what is happening around the arc than when using the Hobart auto darkening helmet. Its like my view is cleaner. Also I had trouble finding clear lenses that would fit the Hobart. I never felt unsafe when using the auto darkening helmet because the window is always shaded and blocks the UV light. One day i will get a top of the line auto darkening helmet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Concord, NC
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    89

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    As a beginner I think that the auto-shade made a lot of difference in how I was learning to weld. I tried a fixed shade for a little while and felt like I was struggling to see around the arc. Then I got a kind of cheap auto-shade and I got better but was still having some trouble seeing around the arc. I went and got a better auto-shade, A Lincoln Viking (I have a review of that helmet with photos and a video at the link below) and that seemed to help me a bunch as I could adjust the shade yet see much better around the arc which in turn has helped me get welds where I really wanted them. It also lets me see the puddle more clearly - MIG and stick - which again helped me make better welds,

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    87

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    i bought the fixed shade helmet when i first started, #10 and i couldn't see crap! i almost hated welding cause if i didn't have the sun shining on the work i couldn't see where i had my gun.


    Couple weeks ago i was at Northern Tool and seen an auto darkening helmet for $49 and got it. What a big difference! I enjoy welding now. I don't see how anyone can see through fixed shades, i couldn't.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Queens, NY
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    574

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I use a fibre metal fixed shade with a #11 lens most of the time.
    Fixed lens big window for tig, and I use a miller hobby something shield that I got for free when knocking around the shop and tacking stuff.
    IW Local 580 NY, NY

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    97

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Fixed shade = Carpenter using his harmer to build a house
    Auto darkening shade = Same carpenter using a airgun to build a house

    No contest here.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Fixed shade = Carpenter using his harmer to build a house
    Auto darkening shade = Same carpenter using a airgun to build a house

    No contest here.

    I can see your logic but look at it this way. The guy with the nail gun goes to toe nail (nail on a 45 degree or so angle) and the nail deflects and goes flying off and damages something or someone. The guy with the stick welder and fixed shade strikes the arc in an area that doesn't need to be altered in any way.

    I don't have an auto darkening helmet but have what I would consider fixed and flip up shade types. I have another one which is leather whole head one with a flip up shade which I bunch up and hold some in my mouth when there is too much light getting in to see what I am doing. Upon getting outside in bright sun generally you can pretty well see before starting and a bright light bulb will do it inside if necessary.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    54

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I have an auto darkening helmet and I would not trade it for the world. I have had expensive helmets and cheap helmets, they pretty much all work the same, just the expensive helmets have more adjustments.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Prunedale, Ca
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    552

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Gold Lense fixed 10. Seems a magnifier may help me too. Haven't got one yet. I'm. 30$ into my helmet.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    15

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I'm spoiled to my Miller Elite auto dark that I use for tig. It's the only quality auto dark hood that I have experienced. On mig or stick applications I have my trusty Jackson fixed shade that has been with me since the beginning. Mr. Jackson and I have traveled all over and made alot of money together over the years. Aaahh the memories,lol.
    When in doubt, carry two guns instead of one.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    15

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    In my opinion, if you learn to weld with an auto dark you will always have to use one. I recommend learning with a fixed shade and evolving from there.
    When in doubt, carry two guns instead of one.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    83

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Quote Originally Posted by FabWizard View Post
    In my opinion, if you learn to weld with an auto dark you will always have to use one. I recommend learning with a fixed shade and evolving from there.
    I tottally agree when I start to teach anybody to weld I make them use a fixed lens if your auto goes out how are you going to weld . They never had them when I started and learned without I think I would be lost without but I could damn sure get by without if I had 2

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Quote Originally Posted by dumb as a stump View Post
    I have an old fibre metal fixed shade( small lens) and thats all. I feel that I don't weld enough to justify the money for a good auto and a cheap one is asking for trouble.
    Yeah, I can certainly identify with that.

    But after buying a Speedglas auto darkening, going back to the old fibre mask, I felt like a blind guy trying to find the weld with a cane.
    Cheers, Tony.
    _________________________________

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    Oxy acetylene
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    _________________________________

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    154

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    this has been beat to death.

    a crappy auto, even ones that fail entirely to dim, still protect you from the UV entirely. because that protection comes from a fixed UV filter and the not visible light electronic filter.

    it's just anoyingly bright.

  19. #19
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    Dec 2011
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    Texas
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Quote Originally Posted by dsergison View Post
    this has been beat to death.

    a crappy auto, even ones that fail entirely to dim, still protect you from the UV entirely. because that protection comes from a fixed UV filter and the not visible light electronic filter.

    it's just anoyingly bright.
    That is comforting to know. (The part about still being protected, not the part about it being beat to death!)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lexington, SC
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    16

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I learned with a fixed shade 20 years ago and struggled with welding, Bough an inexpensive Speedglass auto shade about 15 years ago and haven't looked back. My Speedgalss finally crapped out and now i'v got this (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6894_200416894) helmet. I enjoy it very much and is very adjustable.

  21. #21
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    Alaska
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    8

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I use both, I have a pipeliner with a gold shade 11 and a auto lense shade 11, i swap them out when i feel like switching things up.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,899

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I have a fixed lense in an automatic hood. My hood is specialized to when I look down it automatically drops. everynow and then I have to nod a little to speed it up, but don't nod too hard as you may flip the whole hood off your head. I have three hoods. one jackson that I have a number 5 lense in and two tiger hoods that have a 9, 10, 11, or a 12 in it depending upon what I am doing. one of the hoods carris a 12 for when I am gouging. the other hood typically carries an 11 or a 10 depending upon the conditions I am in. I have a 9 lense for these few times I need to see and I simply can't due to too few amps or the lighting conditions that surround me.

    Clear as mud?

    I also have some automatic pipeliner hoods that have fixed lenses in them too, but they are for onlookers to watch. I love thier reaction to using an automatic hood. the queer look on their face lets me know I have achieved my level of being off tilt honestly. For those who don't know what an automatic hood looks like or how it operates, simply place the hood of your choice on your head nod it forward and voila!! it is an automatic hood.

    I know I ain't right. but then again, you may be the one whose expense I may get to use to enjoy my day with.

    The last guy I had come out spent over 20 minutes trying to figure out what he was doing wrong with the hood. He finally came up to me and said, "I think it broke it. I can't get it to work automatically. When I put it on and nodded my head and said see it is an automatic "hood", the other welder who was drinking coffee blew hot coffee out his nose. then we all got a good laugh at his expression of expelling hot coffee out is nose.

    Life is good when you are simple.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    490

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I have noticed that welders who make a living at it use fixed lense helmet.I use fixed lens helmet for 55 years.I like a gold lense.Wont risk my eyes to a china lense.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
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    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    Another thing to think about is your age and eyesight condition.

    Some young gun welder with eagle eyes can probably see a lot clearer with a really crap mask than an old fossil like me, that needs to wear glasses.
    It is not just the ability to focus, but you definitely need more light to see clearly as you get older.
    Cheers, Tony.
    _________________________________

    Transmig 310 + Argoshield Light
    Oxy acetylene
    Oxy propane
    Prehistoric stick welder
    _________________________________

  25. #25

    Re: Auto Darkening vs. Fixed shade

    I've tried the auto dark helmets from a buddy. Went to buy one and the rep said they aren't friendly to bangs or drops. I work all position all the time and I am very careful with my helmets but they have to take getting banged ocassionally getting in tight spots. Is it true they are that sesitive to damage from being banged around? . I could see it if you were production welding or tig welder would use one .

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