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Seeing the MIG Joint When it is Under the Nozzle

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  • Seeing the MIG Joint When it is Under the Nozzle

    I used to have good eyes. I never needed glasses until I hit 45 years old. Now I have trouble seeing the MIG joint to be welded when it is under the nozzle. This is often the case when I am welding in the pull direction. It typically isn't a problem when I'm pull welding Tee joints because I can estimate the joint based on the intersection of the two plates. It also isn't a problem with push welding because the arc lights up the joint to be welded. I have read several discussion threads regarding this and I tried out the various suggestions. This is what worked for me.

    1. Using a lighter shade
    I use a manual hood with a #9 shade lens that is gold plated to reflect some of the arc light and this works very well. I tried a #8 lens and I found that although I could see under the nozzle better, the arc was too bright and distracted me.
    2. Replace the Polycarbonate lens
    Cleaning the lens works up to a point, but I found that many tiny scratches tend to make the background cloudy. I have found that I need to change the lens often so that I can get all of the available light on the joint. With a new lens I can actually see under the nozzle pretty well.
    3. LED Lights
    I bought a 10 watt Motorcycle flood light and a 12 volt DC power supply. I mounted the light on a magnetic base. This arrangement works well and I can actually see the joint with my hood down provided the metal is slightly reflective.
    4. Welding outdoors on a sunny day.
    Works great but is of limited usefulness, especially when it is windy or 23F outside.
    5. MIG light that mounts to the torch, just behind the nozzle.
    I tried it out but I didn't like it because it didn't provide enough light and it got in my way.
    6. Looking from the side
    This helped because I could see more of the joint under the nozzle.
    7. Weaving or making cursive e's
    This works well because it moves the light around, which helps me to see the joint.

    This is still a work in process, but I wanted to share my observations to date. I did a bunch of MIG welds to try out the various lighting arrangements and I included a close up of one of the vertical up weld from my trials.

    Don
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Don52; 02-06-2016, 09:47 PM.
    Miller Thunderbolt
    Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
    Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
    Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
    16" DuAll Saw
    15" Drill Press
    7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
    20 Ton Arbor Press
    Bridgeport
    Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma Torch

  • #2
    Good, Don, you speak to a problem a lot of us old goats have, seeing what the heck we are doing!! All too many times I have been capping a butt joint and lifted the hood to find out that my bead has wandered out of the joint and off across the plate. I don't even try to finish off a project by "writing" script (the customer's company name, for instance) anymore. Making a neat hardfacing anti-wear pattern of beads is nearly beyond me now.

    I had never heard of that MIG-Light gizmo until your post, and I have to get one, great tip!

    I concur with all you said, except maybe the welding in sunlight, which for me seems to hurt as much as help. One thing you didn't mention in your list is a helmet-cape (or whatever they're called) to keep light out of the inside of the helmet. This is a must-have for me for outdoor work, and even helps against indoor back-lighting.

    Good post.
    Last edited by old jupiter; 02-07-2016, 12:06 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by old jupiter View Post
      One thing you didn't mention in your list is a helmet-cape (or whatever they're called) to keep light out of the inside of the helmet. This is a must-have for me for outdoor work, and even helps against indoor back-lighting.
      I'll have to try the cape when welding outdoors.
      Miller Thunderbolt
      Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
      Miller Dynasty 200DX
      Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
      Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
      16" DuAll Saw
      15" Drill Press
      7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
      20 Ton Arbor Press
      Bridgeport
      Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma Torch

      Comment


      • #4
        What helps me, especially when doing a lot of mig welds...I set my hood to a lower then normal setting and wear sunglasses under it. The sun glasses don't seem to add much, but it's just enough that I don't end up with a big blue spot in the middle of my vision and yet I can take advantage of the lower shade setting.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Don52 View Post
          I'll have to try the cape when welding outdoors.

          Is there any recommended suggestions as what to use for the cape and methods of attachment to the hood etc?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by gnewby View Post

            Is there any recommended suggestions as what to use for the cape and methods of attachment to the hood etc?
            Old Jupiter could jump in with his experience, but I would use treated cotton like from an old welding jacket. I would attach it with Velcro.

            Don
            Miller Thunderbolt
            Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
            Miller Dynasty 200DX
            Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
            Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
            16" DuAll Saw
            15" Drill Press
            7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
            20 Ton Arbor Press
            Bridgeport
            Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma Torch

            Comment


            • #7
              Phil posted a link to a video for the Jackson TrueSight II helmet on the Hobart weldtalk forum.

              I thought that the video was great for defining the four different aspects that make up Optical Clarity:
              1. Optical Quality - Straight lines appear twisted.
              2. Light Scattering - Point light source looks diffused.
              3. Homogeneity - Uniform color across the entire viewing area.
              4. Angular Dependence - See clearly in the center of the lens and off center.

              Below is a quote from my first post.

              1. Using a lighter shade
              I use a manual hood with a #9 shade lens that is gold plated to reflect some of the arc light and this works very well. I tried a #8 lens and I found that although I could see under the nozzle better, the arc was too bright and distracted me.
              The gold #8 lens that I used for this test was made by Weldmark part number 814508. For my test I used a brand new plastic cover plate on both the inside and outside of the lens. Based on the Optical Clarity definition from the video, I can now say that the problem that I had was that the lens caused the light source to appear diffused instead of a point source. The diffused light washed out the joint that I was trying to see. In the mean time I purchased a second #8 lens manufactured by Harris part number HAR1034508. This lens was perfect. With the new lens the light appeared as a point source and I found it really easy to see the joint. I have attached two pictures from the video. The "bad" one was exactly the problem that I had with the Weldmark lens. The "good" one was how I could see the joint when the light from the arc didn't wash it out. For my old eyes the arc wasn't too bright; It was comfortable.

              Don
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Don52; 02-13-2016, 03:59 PM.
              Miller Thunderbolt
              Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
              Miller Dynasty 200DX
              Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
              Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
              16" DuAll Saw
              15" Drill Press
              7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
              20 Ton Arbor Press
              Bridgeport
              Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma Torch

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Don52 View Post

                Old Jupiter could jump in with his experience, but I would use treated cotton like from an old welding jacket. I would attach it with Velcro.

                Don

                I ended up asking the wife yesterday if she had any velcro which she did have, so I told her what I had in mind and she told me to bring in my welding helmet and she would see what she could do. I went and grabbed all three welding helmets I have and brought them all in plus an old FR winter hard hat liner. She fixed up all three of the welding helmets so that the old winter liner worked in all three of them. Good Valentines gift for me yeah!

                I also replaced the cover lens in all three helmets. The helmet I use the most is my miller auto darkening it has a 2.50 cheater lens in it. Next I have
                an old auto darkening KT helmet it does not have any cheater lens and do not know if one would work in it unless it is just held in with tape. the third helmet I have has a gold lens, shade 10 with a 1.75 cheater in it.

                So far I have not tried any of them since changing the lens and getting the cape fixed up for them. Hopefully will be able to soon. I would like to get another of the 2.50 cheater lens for the fixed shade hood and try it to see how well it will work so I don't have to be switching it from hood to hood.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is a link to a store bought cape:

                  http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003L1...=welding+hoods

                  Don
                  Miller Thunderbolt
                  Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
                  Miller Dynasty 200DX
                  Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
                  Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
                  16" DuAll Saw
                  15" Drill Press
                  7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
                  20 Ton Arbor Press
                  Bridgeport
                  Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma Torch

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Don I think what I have will work okay.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have always used glass shaded lens. It does make a big difference. I sandwich it between two plastic clears that I change as needed. Another thing to try is a cheater/magnifier lens. Once I used them I won't go back. I bought a few different strengths & use them always now. I just put it in place of my inner clear lens. As you get older these help a lot.
                      MM250
                      Trailblazer 250g
                      22a feeder
                      Lincoln ac/dc 225
                      Victor O/A
                      MM200 black face
                      Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                      Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                      Arco roto-phase model M
                      Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                      Miller spectrum 875
                      30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                      Syncrowave 250
                      RCCS-14

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Don52
                        Old Jupiter could jump in with his experience, but I would use treated cotton like from an old welding jacket. I would attach it with Velcro. Don
                        Old Jupiter can always jump in with . . . something to illustrate how NOT to do things. This morning I had some pieces of steel angle clamped to the welding table out in the Zeppelin Hanger to be welded together. A darkish day, too little light, and me too lazy to set up a light-stand. Can you see what's coming? Right, after making a bunch of one inch welds to get the structure stabilized for all-around welding, I raised my hood . . . and found that I had welded the bottom edge of one piece TO the welding table!!

                        Of course, this had to be a good weld, with good 6011 penetration, and it had to be in a right angle corner, inaccessible to a side-grinder. Oh, I finally dealt with it, but MUST I do these things??!!!

                        Anyway, the helmet cape. Mine is homemade, using a piece of fire-resistant Nomex I happened to have. It drapes very loosely over the back of my head just enough to keep the back-lighting out. The one shown in the Amazon link looks great for keeping hot bits from burning your neck, but it also looks uncomfortably hot for a warm day, and my hot breath might fog my lens on a cold day.

                        Hey, MY little Nomex cape is bright orange, OSHA would love it.


                        (EDIT) Here's some. It says "6 oz." I don't know if that's heavy or lightweight cloth; mine is light, which is what I want. https://www.pegasusautoracing.com/pr...FQeraQodIMMOBQ
                        Last edited by old jupiter; 02-15-2016, 12:29 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Jupiter, I will have tor remember that as we have all kind of old Nomex from work that are pretty much wore out. We also have several Bullwark pants that are always needing to be replaced that might make a good cape for the welding helmet. Our Nomex is very light weight and even if is FR material I am afraid it would get very hot on the neck if any welding sparks landed on it. The Bullwark material from the old jeans would probably be better as long as all the FR has not been washed out of them. The FR hood I have is cotton lined which will probably be very hot to work under when it is warmer but for now will give me a good idea as to how the cape will work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Welding something to your table...ha! And I've never accidentally cut into mine either...we might need babysitters in our shops...scantily clad cheerleader types would do.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gnewby
                              Our Nomex is very light weight and even if is FR material I am afraid it would get very hot on the neck if any welding sparks landed on it.
                              Never had mine catch fire, though it has some tiny black marks. I suppose if you were welding overhead and a big blob of metal fell out of the joint you could set the cape on fire. . . but my early experiences of those falling blobs was that they fell into my boot laces, not down the back of my neck.

                              In the middle of last summer, during record-hot days for this area, I was welding up a big frame for construction work, joining pieces of 12-inch I-beam. To have the frame come out acceptably flat, we laid out the pieces on a big hunk of 1 1/4" trench-plate. By late morning, all of this big steel was egg-frying hot. I was in full leathers, lying stretched-out on my belly on the trench-plate in the middle of the I-beam structure, my arms stretched out in front of me, running vertical-up welds in some tight corners. I did have a layer of cardboard between my bod and the trench-plate, but still the big vision problem was the sweat that was POURING off of my forehead. One of the few slight sources of relief came from pre-wetting down both my shirt and my little helmet cape, with the water evaporating out and cooling things a little.

                              You did say yours was old Nomex, and I don't know how age and usage might degrade the fire-resisting qualities . . .

                              (EDIT) Post links to your photos of scantily-clad cheerleaders, Ryan.
                              Last edited by old jupiter; 02-17-2016, 12:39 PM.

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