One of the most important items of safety gear to a welder is the welding helmet, also commonly known as a welding mask. This headgear is designed to protect the head, neck and eyes from dangerous sparks, heat and light. A welding helmet is made up of a helmet and a darkened viewing window, from which the work can be seen. Helmets and masks in the past used to be a shield that covered the face with a permanent darkened lens. This made it difficult for the operator to see the work piece under normal light conditions and it also caused inconvenience to weld the remote corners.
The technology has now helped to produce helmets that come with auto-darkening lenses. These lenses are made to block out 100 percent of harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation and to filter visible light from the welding arc. This makes it easy to view the work piece while you are welding.
The most expensive part of the welding helmet is the view screen. The auto-darkening lens can also be gauged by the time it takes to darken after the arc is struck. It is safe to use the lens that darkens within 4/10th of a millisecond. This is because the human eye cannot perceive the light change during such a short time interval. Many welding helmets will also have a switch or a knob which allows you alter the darkness of the screen manually. The view screen has a darkness range which automatically alters itself according to the energy output of the welding torch. If you are constantly welding with the same amperage and the same metal, you may want to use a fixed darkened view screen. If you do various types of welding you should always use the automatic shield that will adjust itself and darken to the right shade. These viewing screens need to be scratch resistant, impact resistant and fog resistant for protection and clear viewing.
Nowadays, welding helmets are also battery powered for indoors. Welding helmets also come in various models with different shapes, materials, decals and colors. Some of them come with accessories such as filters that reduce fogging and allow in fresh air. Make sure that your helmet isn’t too heavy and that it fits properly and comfortably on your head.