The lens shade is the most important thing to check while choosing the best welding helmet for you. Your safety from radiations, sparks, and spatter rely on this thing. Almost 10,000 eye injuries are reported in the USA each year, according to US consumer product safety commission. Most of these injuries are welding-related.
These incidents happen because we don’t use the right lens shade according to the requirement. Everything like the type of welding helmet, lens shade number, the amperage, and the kind of material you are going to weld, must be in your mind before endeavoring to weld adventure.
Important things to consider for the lens of a welding helmet
- Fixed or variable shade lens
First of all, you must decide between a fixed or variable shade lens. Fixed one only darkens to a single shade and is used in passive welding helmets. While the variable lens darkens to a range of shades. Thus, if you are going to weld single material with a single process, then a fixed shade lens will be enough. Otherwise, you have to consider the variable shade lens.
- Lens reaction time
The time taken by the lens to switch from regular to protective shade is called lens reaction time. A simple welding helmet has a reaction time about 1/36,00 seconds, but more robust helmets come with a reaction time above 1/20,000 seconds.
- Arc sensors
Welding helmets come with a range from 2 to 4 arc sensors. Sensors are essential to measure the surrounding level of light. If the helmet has more number of arc sensors, then there will be fewer chances of its failing at a difficult time. Typically, two sensors are enough for simple work, but you should consider more number of sensors if you are doing more out of position welding.
Welding Lens Shade Guide
What do welding shade numbers mean?
Shade number is the capability of the lens to filter the incoming rays. All the auto-darkening welding helmets are 100% safe from the Ultraviolet and infrared rays. These welding helmets naturally come in the range between eight (shade for low amperage applications) to thirteen (shade for high amperage applications).
While selecting lenses, the shade number is an important thing to consider. The shade number shows the level of darkness of the glass used in the helmet and the level of protection it can provide. The higher the shade number, the darker it will be. However, the shade number is also set according to the type of project you are going to engage with. It varies from one task to another. It will make your lens selection process more convenient for a particular type of welding or cutting process.
How to Select shade Number?
The selection of the lens shade depends on two factors; metal on which you are working and second is the amperage.
- Amperage: More the amps darker the shade you need for protection. By knowing amperage on which you are working you can have a rough estimation of shade number you should use.
- Metal: With the same amperage and different metal the arc intensity will be different. Hence shade you use also depends on working metal.
What shade lens for MIG welding?
Typically, it is recommended to use the shade range 10 to 13 for welding to keep you safe from all the flashes. However, it all depends upon the range of amperage you are going to use and the type of material you are going to weld.
For a material like steel, amperage varies between 80 to 500. So, the lens shade range will also vary accordingly from 10 to 13. Likewise, for material like aluminum, we usually set an amperage range between 80 to 250. Thus, the lens shade will also vary accordingly from 10 to 12.
Similarly, amperage and lens shade range has also been specified for flux core MIG welding. For this kind of material, the amperage range normally varies from 125 to 350, and the lens shade is also set accordingly from 10 to 13.
All these things have also been specified in the table given below. We have also shown the comparison table of shade number for TIG welding along with the MIG welding. Let’s have a look at this comparison table.