Welding with an auto-darkening welding helmet part 1

If you consider yourself old-fashioned, or people tell you that you are stuck in the stone ages, you may not own an auto-darkening welding helmet and you may even dread a discussion about owning one.

Don’t feel particularly bad about this as fixed shade welding helmets are used every day on pipe lines and shops all over this world.   But if truth be told, the number of guys holding on to their old ways and habits in the industry are shrinking on a daily business. Don’t expect them to ever completely disappear though.  If you are one of those people, or a rookie welder trying to break into the industry, an auto-darkening helmet is not something to be feared, but it is a valuable tool that can be used to improve production and even visibility in certain situations.   If you prefer a head nod to drop your hood, that’s still a possibility with an auto-darkening helmet, though you have to realize that nothing is going to drop like the old heavy helmets.

Some auto darks are not designed to be the most well balanced in the up position but in general, most are pretty decent at staying up until the nod if adjusted properly.  The auto-dark is designed to offer you visibility once the helmet is down, but before the arc is actually struck.  This improves arc placement.  During the head nod that is required with a fixed shade welding helmet, many times you may move slightly, pulling the arc out of the desired area, causing a weld to fail inspection.

The auto darkening helmet allows you to see clearly until the arc is struck so the helmet can be lowered and the electrode or gun can be re-positioned for optimum arc strike placement.