Welding stores in SF Bay Area with auto-darkening hood?
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    Default Welding stores in SF Bay Area with auto-darkening hood?

    1. Any good stores I can walk into and try on a good quality auto-darkening helmet?

    2. What about just a 4 1/2 x 5 1/4 lens replacement with smaller lens area?

    County Specialty Gases in Redwood City?
    Last edited by rons; 11-04-2019 at 03:43 PM.

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    While I don’t live in the area and can’t recommend a specific store, I have never found a local welding supply store that doesn’t at least have the major brands (blue and/or red, possibly more) when it comes to hoods. If you are wanting a pancake hood or a low profile system, then it might be harder. But a standard auto-darkening setup is fairly basic and should be standard ‘on-the-shelf’ stuff for your LWS.

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    Air Gas comes to mind. Not sure I'd buy it there, but my local stores always have a few models on display.

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    Nothing comes to mind, but beware of turds and used needles

  5. Likes moonlight machine liked this post
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    Are you trying to do actual work in the SF bay area? Why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pathogen View Post
    Nothing comes to mind, but beware of turds and used needles
    I happened to notice a welding helmet box in a recycling bin. The brand was "Chicago". Never heard of that brand.
    Inside the box there was the plastic shield protection piece.So they were throwing away that plex-glass sheet. Not so smart I thought.
    Next day I see the box again and I look closer. Harbor Freight is on the box. So that is why I never heard of this brand before.

    Bottom line:
    Don't trust your eyes to ChiComms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adh2000 View Post
    Are you trying to do actual work in the SF bay area? Why?
    Have you been to the Bay Area lately, ever? Kind of a stunning amount of work being done there from my viewpoint.

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    Seems like there would be a Praxair or an Airgas near you. Both would carry a selection of industrial quality hoods. Of course, they are gonna be cheaper online, but you cant try em on.

    I have had a few, and currently am running a Miller Digital Elite that I like a lot. Not cheap, but I consider a good hood worth spending money on. I had an Speedglas for ten or fifteen years, but I never liked it. Finally broke down and bought the Miller, and retired the Speedglas to a backup. For many years, I had a Jackson, I liked that one too- lighter, less bells and whistles, but solid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adh2000 View Post
    Are you trying to do actual work in the SF bay area? Why?
    California Prop. 19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Seems like there would be a Praxair or an Airgas near you. Both would carry a selection of industrial quality hoods. Of course, they are gonna be cheaper online, but you cant try em on.

    I have had a few, and currently am running a Miller Digital Elite that I like a lot. Not cheap, but I consider a good hood worth spending money on. I had an Speedglas for ten or fifteen years, but I never liked it. Finally broke down and bought the Miller, and retired the Speedglas to a backup. For many years, I had a Jackson, I liked that one too- lighter, less bells and whistles, but solid.
    What Ries said.....

    I used a Jackson for years then bought a new Miller Digital Elite when they had a great rebate last year. Like both of them a lot. I like the head gear on the Miller as it is super adjustable.

    I bought my hoods at cyberweld.com. They have a warehouse in AZ so I get stuff in two days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adh2000 View Post
    Are you trying to do actual work in the SF bay area? Why?
    Why are you asking? You seem rather uninformed about the Bay Area. I and a few million others not only try, we succeed quite nicely, thank you very much. If having practically the highest housing prices and lowest unemployment rate in the entire US is not good evidence of that, I am not sure what is.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Try these guys,
    Air Gas, S.F 415-826-8627
    Praxair, S.F. 415-648-9353
    Alliance Welding, Berkeley, 510-533-3002.
    They all stock auto darkling helmets. Stay away from cheap cost/low quality auto darkling helmets, your eyes are not something to go cheap on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dana gear View Post
    Stay away from cheap cost/low quality auto darkling helmets, your eyes are not something to go cheap on.
    I never trusted auto darkening lens before. But I'm wearing a #10 or #12 shade and my starts almost always suck. I'm tired of not being able to see and sometimes touching the electrode to the work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rons View Post
    I never trusted auto darkening lens before. But I'm wearing a #10 or #12 shade and my starts almost always suck. I'm tired of not being able to see and sometimes touching the electrode to the work.
    The helmet still has the UV protection even when not darkened, so you really don't have to worry about that.

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    I have been wearing an auto dark (I didnt know "darkling" was a word- but I like it) . hood for about 30 years now. And, believe it or not, my eyesight has actually gotten slightly better over those years- I mean, I still wear bifocals, but my prescription is a small amount milder than whe I was 30.
    So, the stubborn suspiscion that auto dark hoods are going to blind you hasnt been true in my case.

    I have employed probably 30 or so weldors in my shop over those years- and ONE would not use an auto dark hood. Stubborn guy. But all the rest of em, of many different ages, creeds, colors, and sexual orientations, all used auto dark hoods and loved em.

    Try one, you will like it.
    But expect to pay maybe $300.

    and, yes, skip those Harbor Freight models.

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    Is 1/10,000 sec good enough or should I look at 1/20,000 sec?

    To fit into a Jackson HSL-100B. This one is 1/10,000.
    Jackson Insight Auto-Darkening Lens 46128

    Or just get a new one. This one is 1/20,000.
    Miller Welding Helmet - Black Elite ClearLight Lens 281000

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    Rons, I don't think the difference between 1/10,000 and 1/20,000 will mean much to you safety wise, though many suggest at least the 1/20K. As I understand it, the basic UV burn protection is always there in the polycarbonate cover plate. In fact, even the cheapest helmet should be relatively safe with that in place (buy a proper one) - the main difference being the cheap ones don't operate as reliably in weird positions and are more likely to flash you. That flash messes with your sight for a while - but again most of the damaging UV should be filtered out (see below).

    There's also IR protection - important for long term use and probably not as good in cheap helmets. Polycarbonate is a cheap and effective UV filter. Not sure there is an equally cheap and effective filter for IR.

    Either 1/10K or 1/20K time is too short to get seriously bright light blinded - especially given all the other ways striking an arc can sneak under a hood from reflections etc. The short-term blinding comes from "rhodopsin depletion" in the retina. With a bright flash (and longer the worse) it depletes. Over time (minutes) this restores. The UV burning is a whole 'nuther thing and can end in blindness -- you really don't want any arc light slipping under, around, or through a crack in your helmet. While there's some evidence that repeated bright flashes can cause permanent rhodopsin reduction - but Ries is likely an example of how that maybe isn't the top concern.

    As you've probably found, the best selection and prices are online compared to the local suppliers; at least for my local (Santa Cruz) supplier. If you really wanted to see a wide selection of auto-darkening helmets you might ask one of the Cabrillo College welding instructors if you could stop by one of their advanced day or evening classes. Most every serious student (seeking certifications) will have an auto helmet ranging from cheap to top. Might even get in on a group buy? I know they did one for TIG welders and also had some arrangements for $ off on helmets.

    The large inserts will have various window sizes, various prices. Also gives you some flexibility in either using a helmet you really like or replacing the one that came with an insert you don't like or gets damaged.

    Especially for an occasional user, like myself, an auto-darkening helmet with a wide range of shades will really help you strike where you want -- and see the puddle thereafter. If you don't do much out-of-position welding, the top dollar ($300++) helmets (more and more reliable sensors) may also not really be necessary. Something mid-priced (say $175-200) can be good, safe, and reliable. At least that's my experience in the four auto helmets I've owned. Even the cheap ones ($60?) were a step above a fixed shade, just not as well built or reliable. After replacing the polycarbonate cover plate for one clearly rated to filter UV even those should be fairly safe in occasional use?

    If you wear glasses under the hood, spend a few bucks more for a large viewing area.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails transmission-spectra-polycarbonate-plates-ranging-295-2500-nm.jpg  

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    The owners manuals for welding machines say to wear safety glasses behind any helmet.


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