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  #1  
Old 06-23-2013, 12:21 PM
BodhiBenz1987's Avatar
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Choosing a welding mask

Thought this would be as good a place as any to ask ... . I need to buy a welding mask and learn how to weld. I bought a little arc welder from Harbor Freight about a year ago, and I've been afraid to try it. I've discovered some big holes in my 300D's wheel well, and decided I just need to learn. My biggest fear is the safety of my eyes. I already have vision problems and predisposition to macular degeneration, so it's really important to me that I do everything to protect as thoroughly as possible. Aside from meeting ANSI Z87.1 standard, what should I look for in a welding hood/mask? I was thinking an auto-darkening one would be best so I don't have to worry about flipping it up and down (and leaving the potential for forgetting to flip it down). Would the ones at Lowe's be just as good as any, or is there a particular brand I should try to order online?
Also, I've seen some site saying goggles should be worn under the hood. Should I get goggles as well?
And one more: What about fumes? Do people use respirators? My garage is pretty airy with the doors open and I'm not planning on doing a lot of welding.
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1987 300D, arctic white/palomino--314,000 miles
1978 240D 4-speed, Euro Delivery, light ivory/bamboo--369,000 miles
2005 Jeep Liberty CRD Limited, light khaki/slate--140,000 miles
2018 Chevy Cruze diesel, 6-speed manual, satin steel metallic/kalahari--14,500 miles
1995 S320, black/parchment--34,000 miles (Dad's car)
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2013, 12:54 PM
Posting since Jan 2000
 
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For a beginner an auto darkening will help a lot. There are many good ones for around $100. I have several, but have one I think the brand is Entech that is my favorite.
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  #3  
Old 06-23-2013, 01:20 PM
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The one at Lowes, if it's the Kobalt for around $100, then it's a good one. I've used one of them off and on for a number of years. The one I used to use professionally was really no better than the Kobalt...I think the shade was the same, but the mask was different. Stay away from the crap at Harbor Freight. The regular masks are ok, but the auto darkening ones don't seem to get dark enough.

My mask was custom airbrushed as a Dodge Ram symbol by a guy I know in Utah (he also did the paint on the Big Dog I used to own)....I sold the mask off last year to Dodge fan.
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2013, 01:23 PM
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I use a lighter to test the auto darkening. Just strike the flint in front of it and it should darken.

If I were welding on a regular basis I would be very concerned about my eyes and lungs. As I weld only on an occasional basis I am more concerned about my lungs than my eyes. If you don't know what COPD is then read a little before you weld. Vaporized metal has no place in your body.

Wire feed welders are great for auto body work. I still haven't learned to TIG weld, it's coming.
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2013, 03:52 PM
BodhiBenz1987's Avatar
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Thanks guys. I think I will check out the Kobalt one when I get a chance to get to a Lowe's.
Twitchkitty, thanks for the tip on weld fumes; researching that now. I have a 3M half-mask I can buy new filters for ... hopefully it fits under a hood. I will also be sure to use a fan to blow the vapors away out the garage doors as best as possible.
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1987 300D, arctic white/palomino--314,000 miles
1978 240D 4-speed, Euro Delivery, light ivory/bamboo--369,000 miles
2005 Jeep Liberty CRD Limited, light khaki/slate--140,000 miles
2018 Chevy Cruze diesel, 6-speed manual, satin steel metallic/kalahari--14,500 miles
1995 S320, black/parchment--34,000 miles (Dad's car)
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2013, 04:16 PM
BodhiBenz1987's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
Heh heh! I read the title as WEDDING mask....thinking how ugly is she?
This gave me a much-needed laugh. Fortunately I don't need to choose a wedding mask yet.
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1987 300D, arctic white/palomino--314,000 miles
1978 240D 4-speed, Euro Delivery, light ivory/bamboo--369,000 miles
2005 Jeep Liberty CRD Limited, light khaki/slate--140,000 miles
2018 Chevy Cruze diesel, 6-speed manual, satin steel metallic/kalahari--14,500 miles
1995 S320, black/parchment--34,000 miles (Dad's car)
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2013, 04:28 PM
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I use a cheap-o auto darkening mask from Harbor Freight tools. Has worked fine for years. It has a little solar panel on the face, I assume to get power from the welding light.

I've been welding on my trailer so much lately that I'm "sun" burnt all over my chest in inner arms!
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2013, 04:40 PM
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Buy the best you can, don't skimp out you only have one set of eyes
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2013, 05:28 PM
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Auto Darkening

If you have "scratchy eyes" after welding using the Auto Darkening glass, look at adding a +2 gel filter behing the glass (inside). It can help a lot. Also wear a decent filter mask that is designed to filter out metals
(lead, Moly, etc) these can be found at any welding supply house or on line. Be really careful when welding Galvanized metal. Google "metal madness" and be VERY aware about what you use to clean the weld area before welding...there was a pot here a few years ago by a guy who accidently used Carb cleaner to opre clean a piece and did not get it all cleaned off. When he began to weld he hit a pit where there was a small amount of residue and woke up 10 min later with serious nerve damage and lung damage (the carb cleaner chemical became phozgene gas when exposed to the arc and he suffered serious damage to his brain and nerves).

Rig up a fan to suck the smoke away from the work area. Set up plywood panels as spark shields (you would be amazed at how far weld sparks can fly). and above all DO NOT EVER WELD WEARING ANY POLYESTER/NYLON! COTTON/WOOL OR LEATHER IS THE SAFEST CLOTHING TO WELD IN! Gaulnlet gloves, boots and a turtleneck shirt and hood. Nomex gear is cheaper than 3rd degree burns. If you cannot afford Nomex, take a heavy canvas shirt and soak it in a heavy Boric Acid and Water mix and let it dry well. This will suppress 90% of spark fires on your clothing. Frayed jeans catch like tinder so don't wear ragged stuff.

Seriously I've worked around welders for years and am a CWI/ICC S2 Wedling Inspector and have seen guys pants/shirts catch on fire from small sparks that do a U Turn in air and go down between the neck and shirt.

Also contact Lincoln Welding on line, they have a lot of FREE info on welding techniques and suggestions as well as safety info.

Be safe and work safe!
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2013, 06:12 PM
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For welding sheet metal (cars) you need a mig welder, ordinairy arch welders just make the hole bigger (unless you are a very experienced).

  • Always remove every piece of trim inside the car close to the place you are welding.
  • If you accidentely look into the arch use Ortrivin nasal spray for children in your eyes.
  • Use good long sleeved welding gloves an wear nothing flammable.
  • Never weld gavanized metal, very toxic!!!!
  • Practice before you start on your car
For welding cars CO2 is usually enough, the small botles for home welders are empty in 5 minutes and professional gas bottles are expensive.
I used CO2 for beer taps and had a pressure reducer fitted by a welding tools shop.

Rob
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2013, 06:16 PM
Posting since Jan 2000
 
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Actually OP, I would recommend an auto darkening, a FAST reacting one for while you are learning to weld and it will be okay for the long term if you're only going to weld occasionally. Once you get the hang of it, if you are going to do lots of welding or do some really heavy stick welding, you should then go to a regular mask and use the darkest filter you can use for the job at hand. Learn to adjust the mask so that it will stay up until you nod it down.

Good luck,
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2013, 10:12 PM
BodhiBenz1987's Avatar
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Thanks for all the tips. I picked up a Kobalt helmet from Lowe's with autodarkening feature for about $100. Next I will look at respirators and clothing.
I'm debating riveting in a couple temporary patches so I can drive the car before/while I learn to weld and accrue all the equipment. I'm also starting to think this would not be a good beginner project because it's in the engine compartment.
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1987 300D, arctic white/palomino--314,000 miles
1978 240D 4-speed, Euro Delivery, light ivory/bamboo--369,000 miles
2005 Jeep Liberty CRD Limited, light khaki/slate--140,000 miles
2018 Chevy Cruze diesel, 6-speed manual, satin steel metallic/kalahari--14,500 miles
1995 S320, black/parchment--34,000 miles (Dad's car)
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2013, 12:07 AM
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In the old days before the Auto Darkening Helmets were around it was common for some people to wear some type of Sun Glasses or dark Safety Glasses with side shields under the Helmet.
You would start of with the Helmet open and sort of Rock your head quick and the Helmet would fall and cover your Face. Well sometimes it will not fall when you do that and you end up flashing (seeing the Arc). If it happed enough your Eyeballs are going to feel like some one put Sand in them (You would be feeling tiny Blisters on your Eye).

So some people wore Dark Glasses for that reason and if the Arc starts with out the Helmet down it is possible for hot Metal Splatter/Sparks to hit your Face and Eyes and even with the Helmet in place Hot Metal Splatter/Sparks get inside and gets you.
So wearing some sort of Goggles/Safety Glasses can be a good idea to protect your eyes from flying Spatter/Sparks.

I have worn Glasses since I was a little Kid so I always had some protection. Also although I managed to flash My Eyes with the Arc about as much as My friend who worked with Me I never had an Eye problem from the Flash. I think My Glasses filtered out enough of what ever light causes the little Blister.
But, My Bosses cure for that was no Welding and you lay down with Potato Slices on your Eye Lids.

Also what I am saying above is if you are in the standing position and welding stuff on a table about that is about Elbow height. If you are Arc Welding in other positions more stuff is going to get under the Helmet.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher handy.
And, remember that your clothing can burn.

When I welded the rear Cross Member on the Rear of the Mercedes I was under the Car in a cramped position. I had stopped Welding but there was still Smoke and the Smoke smelled different from the Welding Smoke. It turned out the frayed sleeve of the old Coat I was using had caught Fire. And that is with a Flux Core Welder that does not produce as much hot splatter as a regular Arc Welder.

My Friends frayed around the Pockets Jeans use to smolder sometimes. I wore mixed Polyester and Cotton work clothing that Sears Sold back in the late 1960s and holes would burn through them from the Splatter but I can't ever remember them smoldering like Jeans do.

Also a regular Arc Welder were like sun burn your exposed Skin and especially your Neck between your collar and the front of your Chin.
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2013, 12:19 AM
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having spent big $ on auto dark helmets in the past, i will say, i HATE them. sold both of them and stuck with my old fixed shade helmets.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2013, 01:05 AM
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Wear a (as non flammable as possible) hat that fits under your mask head band.
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