The industrial process of welding produces sparks of very high luminosity that can easily cause some serious damage to the unprotected eye. Welding masks are used to protect the eyes and the face from these bright sparks and from any flying molten metal grit. They also protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays. They do not hinder your breathing and welders can also wear an additional respiratory face mask to protect them from inhaling noxious fumes. The masks feature a front shield, made of impact resistant, dark colored plastic. Features such as auto darkening of the viewing glass adjust the darkness intensity according to the welders' exposure to light.
There are different types of welding masks available for different types of welding processes such as electrode welding, stick welding, flux cored wire welding and plasma arc welding. The full mask covers the face and the head entirely like a full-face helmet and the shield allows for a clear view of the welding zone. Such types are used for high voltage welding processes.
For low voltage welding and light fabrication work, the welding mask is simpler and is made of a curved face shield with an elastic headband. The clear plastic eyepiece on a welding mask should be also be scratch resistant and fog resistant so your vision isn’t hampered in any way. Make sure that your welding mask fits you properly and doesn’t slip while you are welding. If it does slip and you can’t see it could lead to an accident. You should also make sure that the mask isn’t too heavy for you.
Welding masks come in a variety of sizes, and materials and most of them have an anti odor and anti bacteria sweatband inside of them. Many welding masks will let you adjust the darkness of the shield by a rotary switch that is on the mask. Welding masks are also commonly known as welding helmets. In the past, welders often used a helmet-like shield for protection. However, they only covered the person’s face with a permanently darkened lens shade or window. The welder would flip this shield up and down between welds.