I am the sad owner of an Optrel Satellite OSE Evolution welding mask. I purchased the mask three years ago. I have used it no more than 40 times. I paid over $380 for the mask. It was supposed to be the super duper state of the art mask that would give my eyes the best protection humanly possible. At the time, I was learning to weld at the local tech school for adult continuing education. I know that I only have one set of eyes. I would not skimp on something so important in life.

So here goes my saga. I started doing some welding again a few months ago. I was having trouble with my eyes twitching. I stopped welding for a couple days figuring my problems was probably from reading. I do computer networking for my main source of income. I also own a marina and do everything under the sun to generate revenue at the marina. With the crappy economy, the marina is on the back burner since disposable income is at an all time low. I took a job doing some small welding to a trailer frame. After two or three months of my eyes bothering me, I decided to go to the doctor. I went to a Dr Merrick Kane. He is one of the pioneers in Lasik technology and a doctor at the Wills Eye hospital in Philadelphia. Doctor Kane told me chances are my problem was eye strain related. So I dealt with the problem. My eyes stopped twitching for a while. Then I started welding again.

My problems came back. I asked around to a few welders in the area who work at the Philly Kaverner Ship yard. They all told me my problem was with the mask. Something about certain wavelengths of light traveling through the mask, while the important ones were blocked.

I then looked at my mask. I tried to put the mask in grind mode. Grind mode will not black out the mask when sparks are present. The mask would not go to grind mode. Now I know something is wrong with the mask. I then took my mask to the dealer (AIRGAS of Bensalem, PA), where I bought it. After a week of ignoring my calls and wasting my time, I called back and got the manager who told me the mask was made in 2004 and that the warranty is for only two years. I know I purchased the mask in September of 2004.

Bottom line is I have only used this mask less than 40 times. That breaks down to $10 per use. I am on the original clear cover.

If anyone here has any suggestion for how I should procede to help get a replacement for free, let me know. I think I am being realistic that a barely used mask should have held up better.

Thanks for any input with my problem.

Joe Francano