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Auto Darkening Hoods

Discussion in 'Tools and Fabrication' started by texas dogman, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. texas dogman

    texas dogman

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    Just got new Miller 180 today. Should get new 220 outlet ran in shop tomorrw and begin to practice my mig welding skills. Have two older welding hoods I used with cracker box stick welder. Are the auto darkening hoods worth the $$? Seems like it would be a real nice thing to be able to see exactly what your fixing to weld the instant before the arc occurs.

    I guess if you practice enough with the standard hood, like any thing else, you would eventually get good enough to put the gun tip exactly on the spot you intend to strick the arc.

    What are some opinons from those who use these a.d. hoods?
     
  2. Arya Ebrahimi

    Arya Ebrahimi

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    For the occasional welder, I think an auto-darkening hood is an excellent investment. I used a fixed shade hood for a long time, and my welding improved so dramatically when I switched to an auto-darkening hood, you wouldn't have thought the same person was welding.

    I too just picked up a MM180 and also picked up the Miller Pro Hobby auto dark hood as well. I'd been borrowing friends' auto darks for a while, and used them in my welding class, and am so glad I finally have my own!

    Ary
     
  3. photogod

    photogod

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    Auto dark is great. I picked one up at Northern Tool on sale before Christmas for $65.00. Well worth it.
     
  4. LandCruiserPhil

    LandCruiserPhil Peter Pan Syndrome Supporting Vendor

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    Auto dark is the s***z ....dont know how I got by so many years without it.
    Jackson w/ large viewer,adj dark,adj time,and solar not cheap but you will never need to upgrade.
     
  5. D'Animal

    D'Animal Rescuer of Beagles & Landcruisers Moderator

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    If you have the old school helmet with the large glass, you can get just the out darkeing assy and put it in it.
     
  6. spressomon

    spressomon glutton Moderator

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    The auto darkening hood that came with my MM175 package was an inexpensive model without any adjustment for darkness and sensitivity. It worked fine for my uses; however after a couple uses the lense popped out and cracked as it hit concrete:rolleyes: . It was almost as cheap to buy a new hood as it was the auto-lense! And of course I thought if I spent $$$ I would get much better performance (with adjustable darkness and sensitivity thresholds). But I had trouble finding an auto darkening hood that didn't get confused when welding with sunlight at my back or side (even with the sensitivity adjusted). I don't know if I just got a bad unit or what (the MM dealer told me they have never had a problem with them!).

    Short story based on my experience: Get a non-adjustable auto-darkening hood (cheaper route too!) that has a well designed (read: Solid) retainer so the glass won't pop out!
     
  7. Mace

    Mace rock scientist.. Staff Member s-Moderator

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    the non darkening hoods are lots safer. occasionally I noticed that if there was anything in the way of the sensor I would get flashed with mine.

    Get a standard hood (large glass) and then get a auto later. Get used to flipping the hood up and down. It helps with concentration..
     
  8. spressomon

    spressomon glutton Moderator

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    That's what I started with along time ago...and agree wholeheartedly: KISS!
     
  9. brian

    brian SILVER Star

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    i know a bunch of guys that like the auto's. seems every one of them has had a lense crap out while in the middle of a joint.
    i've played with them and i'm still not a fan of them.

    regular old flip down wide screen for me thanks. i've never had a battery or sensor go bad yet, same hood since 2002:flipoff2:
     
  10. 450 DUDE

    450 DUDE

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    Im old school straight 10 for me.

    even though the autodarks are fun to play with.

    ken
     
  11. xtremitys

    xtremitys

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    Its like most things you buy really , you buy cheap thats what you get . I bought a cheapy one as had always had the manual flip one , i could'nt belive how easy it was the auto , kinda got lazy and did'nt want to use the manual one , well until the cheapy auto started stuffing up, i could'nt adjust the shade after awhile on it and the it would swich on late , went to a welding shop and had a look at the expensive ones , aahhhh what a difference . the $$$$ ones are awesome but they cost like $300 - $600 to buy , never got one as sold the WIA Mig and moved to NZ from Aussie .
     
  12. cruiserhead

    cruiserhead

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    I use a auto darking shield 40 to 60hrs a week.It`s a Jackson,about $300.Change the batterys once in a while.Mostly tig welding.Love it,I can move to the next weld without having to raise the shield.
     
  13. El Cazador

    El Cazador

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    I guess I'm with cruiserhead on the use of the auto dark. I love it for tig, especially for aluminum, as I'm not an expert by anyone's standard. Not as essential for mig or stick for me. For the beginning welder I think the auto dark removes a lot of tension in getting the arc going and the puddle established.
     
  14. 2badfjs

    2badfjs

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    i'm with jason on the n/darkening hood.

    #10 i use to use the auto but switched over...my eyes don't hurt anymore.

    i'll never go back to a/d
     
  15. Trollhole

    Trollhole THC Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Been welding for 21 years. Have had all of the above. Small, big flip and A/D. For a novice I'd say go with A/D. Mig take all the fun out of welding anyway. It's not hard to lay a pretty good bead and get good penetration anymore. Why not just make it one step easier.
     
  16. wckgitcrazy

    wckgitcrazy

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    I started out with a medium priced auto darkening fixed @#10. In my workhop or outside did not matter I found it very difficult to see what I was doing. I never got flashed but lost track of the weld right away and had some fancy curved welds nowhere near where I needed them. Talked the wife into letting me upgrade. Looked at alot of high end units and settled on a Miller Elite Boyd Coddington because it had sat on diplay for a few months without interest so they gave it to me for $285. Canadian.
    Tell you what I can weld, I can see what I am doing and would drop the cash again in a heart beat. I am doing alot of metal replacement on my BJ42 and still blow the occasional hole but for the most part due to the helmut I am doing a pretty good job compared to when I could not see properly. Once that is done I may only weld a couple of times a year.
    What I am trying to say is do DO NOT CHEAP OUT. Other companies put out as good as or better than Miller. Shop around and get a good one, whatever brand. You will not be sorry and if you can find a clearance price you will probably be able to get most of your money back on resale.
     
  17. mhinch

    mhinch

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    I've got both and probably like most experienced welders I'll use my Jackson #12 A/D for TIG and tacking by MIG or if I'm just going to run a few small beads. When I have alot of wire to run or rods to burn I'll use my Jackson 5x4 #12 fixed. Trust me, if you're young and have good eyes use the darkest lens you can get.
     
  18. yooper

    yooper SILVER Star

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    I love my auto helmet. I am an occasional novice welder and I have a hard time managing a non-auto helmet. It makes the difference between good and bad welds for me.

    I got mine from an offer on http://www.offroadfabnet.com/ when the board was just starting up. I've learned alot by lurking on that board, btw...
     
  19. Cuerno Largo

    Cuerno Largo SILVER Star

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    Almost a year, so I am resurrecting the thread.

    Here is the deal.

    I have about 250 dollars in Amazon.com gift certificates and I have been trying to figure out what to get with them.

    All I have right now is a cheap HF auto dark helmet and after today I remembered that many mudders say you get what you pay for in a helmet.

    If someone with some insight does not mind, I would greatly appreciate them doing a search on amazon for "auto-darkening" and helping me pick from the models listed. There is only one page of helmets in the above 100 dollar range when sorted from high to low price.

    There have been several recommendations for Jackson on this thread, but there is only one helmet there and it is about 75 dollars which is not much more than a cheapie somewhere.
     
  20. Gold Boy

    Gold Boy

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    a a/d helmet has been a great help for me.