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Thread: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

  1. #1
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    When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I assume most of you like myself are using an auto-darkening lens. For those of you that use the fixed shade lenses, probably mostly old-schoolers, how do you know where to strike the arc with out seeing? I know practice and experience is the solution but is there a technique or tips that could help speed up the process of getting better?

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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    welcome back billy boy, its called "coordination". im not claimioming to be the most cooordinated, but conventional lense is all i use.

  3. #3
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    Mastering the hood flip is the key. If possible I will steady the rod or gun over my off hand when I light up and then pull it away.

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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    Perhaps somebody could suggest setup for conventional flip and technique. I use convention in the field mostly stick and tig. I have never had optimal flip in 20+ years.

    Keeping the helmet up and flipping it down in one motion? Favorite helmet?

    In shop, I use auto darkening. Can not flip every 5 seconds.
    Last edited by tapwelder; 10-24-2021 at 05:33 AM.

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  6. #5
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    Good Golly Miss Molly....How in the world did I survive learning to weld years ago when the dinosoars ruled the Earth? . Put the thing on your head, grab a rod, stick it in the stinger, get it close to where you wanna strike the arc, nod your head, and down she comes, strike an arc and go to town til its too short, push the weld hood up drop the stub and repeat. Been doin it that way since I was a kid. It goes easier when Im using a wire feeder.

    I used a Huntsman hood for years It worked well then I rigged it up for on a fibre metal hardhat they gave to me after after I got beaned with a spud wrench some cat dropped. I used that for years until it got too wet in the rain one day and got all twisted out of shape when it dried so I bought a firbre metal tiger hood and been using it ever since.

    I tried a few auto dark hoods and never liked how they go dark before you are ready and get clear when you are welding sometimes. Bein as how I work outside all the time it rains on occasion and Ive seen some guys ruin their auto dark hoods in the rain. I have one that I use once in awhile when Im in a tight spot but very rarely do I use it.

    Using a conventional hood is all second nature and instinct, pretty much like what welding itself is...it comes with practice and experience
    Last edited by old miner called Pop; 10-24-2021 at 06:33 AM.

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  8. #6
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    When I was learning to weld, we only had a fixed helmet,, the US NAVY was the "teacher"
    The weld sample was two pieces of 3/8" steel,, butt welded with a backing strip , the plates beveled, and there was an 1/8" gap between the plates.
    The finished weld was 100% x-ray inspected, we were welding with 1/8" 7018 to start,
    It took a LOT of rods to weld one sample, and none of the rods could arc strike away from where you were supposed to start the weld.
    (Heck, if you ever let the arc get over 3/16" long, you knew to stop and grind out the weld, it was not going to pass x-ray inspection)

    The FIRST DAY ONLY we were allowed to weld ONLY THE FIRST sample flat on the weld bench.
    After that,, for over 15 weeks, we only welded vertical and overhead position samples.
    (I had welded maybe 30 welding rods in my life prior to starting that class, most of the guys had come from the fleet, and had welded for years)
    As we progressed, the plates got thicker, and different welding rods were used.

    There was ABSOLUTELY ZERO weld strikes allowed outside of the small "V" groove that was being welded. (which was called the weld zone)
    It was strict instruction,, but that was what was required for "pressure hull" type welding.

    If there was an arc strike on the pressure hull of a sub outside of the weld zone, that area was cut out, and replaced.
    The pressure hull of a nuclear sub was 3/4" thick, from what they told us,,
    It was mighty costly to strike an arc outside of the weld zone groove!!

    That instruction ended exactly 50 years, and one month ago,,
    to this day, I can walk into a dark bedroom at night,, and flip the light switch without touching the wall,,
    So, I guess it is kind of a learned skill.

    From watching blind people on TV, pretty much, they learn to live their life like that??
    It can be done. I still weld like that, when I use a fixed helmet.

    I have an auto helmet,, it is great outside, but, inside the light over my weld bench it too bright, and the light will darken the lens,,
    so, sometimes with the auto lens,, I am back to welding like it is a fixed lens helmet,,,

    When first learning, you prop yourself against anything that does not move, with ANY part of your body to get steady.
    The more you practice, the less you need to prop your body against things,,

    I would recommend cutting the 14" weld rods in half to start learning, that way you can be much more successful,,

  9. #7
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    I think Pop's got it down pat.
    That's what I have now is an auto dark, yeah it's nice but I'm just as comfortable with a flip. Besides, with a flip there's no batteries to go dead, if they end up getting cracked you can repair it with a bit of PL, water don't hurt 'em and you don't have to worry when (not if) you drop[ it.
    I'm 65, got out of trade school at 18 and been in the trade ever since, up 'till I retired 6 months ago. I still think the schools should teach old stuff, gas welding, brazing etc and use old helmets, when the student gets good enough then go to the new fangled gear, just my 2 cents worth......Mike

  10. #8
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    I'll often use an autodark to tack everything up, then switch to a conventional non-autodark shield to weld it out (because I can see better with that).

    One trick is to use your non-stinger hand (wearing GLOVE) to hold the rod in close proximity to the weld, drop your shield, then strike arc like striking a match. Other than that, practice, practice practice.

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  12. #9
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    I've occasionally been using my fixed shade after being spoiled with the auto-dark, and it's been a little frustrating. I'll keep at it.

    Thanks, All.

  13. #10
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    In my younger days when I started welding back in the UK A hand held dark shield was the normal thing. And
    as I suppose as you knew nothing else. I cant remember it ever being a hindrance to the welding. In fact I would
    still pick it up some times even to day. For one thing. It taught Me to weld using one hand. Which I have always
    been doing all my welding life since.

  14. #11
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    My self auto-darkening is great.
    I can not see where you could not use auto-darkening hood.
    My leather still is old fashion type.

    Dave

  15. #12
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    I prefer fixed for field work for dependability also primarily stick /occasional tig. I would use it in my shop, mostly mig, more however it is not practical with the availability of an auto-darkening option. Literally, popping a helmet down and pushing it up every 10 seconds would be unnecessarily time consuming.

    I have considered hand held masks.

  16. #13
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    I was surprised To see Fibre metal still sells a hand held version.

  17. #14
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Brewer View Post
    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I assume most of you like myself are using an auto-darkening lens. For those of you that use the fixed shade lenses, probably mostly old-schoolers, how do you know where to strike the arc with out seeing? I know practice and experience is the solution but is there a technique or tips that could help speed up the process of getting better?
    Your torch or stinger is an extension of your hand. It takes practice and repetition to develop the muscle memory and intuition to know where your hands and torch is. I am primarily a tig guy. I touch the tungsten point on the joint where I want the arc to strike, then raise a few thousands and drop the hood. Hood down I gently roll onto the pedal and initiate the arc. When I see the arc with my fixed shade hood I move to zero in, go to full pedal, make the puddle, then cram the rod, and jam forward. I repeat the same sequence every time without even thinking about it. Touching the point also dissipates and magnetic field built up in the circuit that may prevent a crisp arc start.

    Same thing with mig. I find the place on the joint to start my arc, find my stickout distance, lock my hands and arms, and drop the hood. Quickly trigger the arc, zero into the joint, and move without thinking. I show newbies these movements and they mimic pretty good. All of my fixed shade hoods are Huntsman/Jackson fiber hoods that have lock points when raised and when dropped. No in between and they just go there. My only autodarks are all slide joint hoods and I hate them. The droop, sometimes not drop all the way, and they slow me down with production work.

    Of course I learned to weld 50 years ago when there were no such thing as autodark hoods, but lots of masters in the art of welding to teach the tricks of the trade.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
    MillerDynasty700DX,Dynasty350DX4ea,Dynasty200DX,Li ncolnSW200-2ea.,MillerMatic350P,MillerMatic200w/spoolgun,MKCobraMig260,Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm1250,HFProTig2ea,MigMax1ea.

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  19. #15
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    Re: When not using an auto-darkening lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post

    When first learning, you prop yourself against anything that does not move, with ANY part of your body to get steady.
    The more you practice, the less you need to prop your body against things,,

    I would recommend cutting the 14" weld rods in half to start learning, that way you can be much more successful,,
    Those are great tips

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