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Welding fears

Two posters – in an aside from the thread’s topic – were discussing potential eye damage from welding. That reminded me why I’ve never tried it. I really dislike bright lights. When they had those cameras with the popping disposable flashbulbs, if someone took a photo of me, that was pure misery. Besides the eye pain from the bright flash, and the blind after-spots, I’d almost always get a big headache that would last for hours

So I’m wondering if welding is just not something I should try? Or is there a way to weld without subjecting yourself to any bright lights? The kind of stuff I’d weld for the most part would be more like for making specialized tools, welding a nut or bolt to a piece of metal, that kind of job. I don’t see myself doing much in the way of chassis welding, stuff like that.

The sparks and stuff, the hot metal, that’s no problem. I have no fear of that other than taking common sense precautions. But I can’t tolerate bright lights.

So with my bright light fear, should I just accept I’ll never be able to weld anything myself?

Get something like this. They react very quickly and you do not get the bright light flash in your eyes

Don’t you have to avert your eyes or close them for a few seconds to allow them the darken? And how do they work? Do they require a battery? Are they fail safe?


If you’re asking these type of questions, it’s better that you don’t attempt any kind of welding.


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The old flash bulbs always left me with spots and often a headache too.

Honestly, I think a good evaluation by an ophthalmologist (NOT an optometrist) is a really, really good idea whether you choose to weld or not. If you get clearance by the doctor, you should not be afraid to try welding as long as you get the proper safety instruction and equipment. I haven’t looked, but I’d bet that there’s a good book on welding with a good safety chapter at the local bookstore. The department chair at your local community college might even be able to recommend a good textbook. It might even post the books for the welding course on their internet site.

I’ve seen people without the proper safety instruction even get sunburned, a common side effect from welding without the proper knowledge and equipment. Welding is safe and even enjoyable if done properly, but dangerous if done without the proper knowledge and protection.

Besides, research and training can teach you things that will help make the work much more enjoyable and less frustrating. Like joint preparation (including beveling and multiple passes for thick materials), materials compatibility, not-obvious dangers like trying to weld galvanized material (zinc is toxic!) and other cool stuff.

IMHO the first thing someone that wants to try welding should buy is a good text. It may be the most important piece of equipment you can buy. :relaxed:

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Yeah I got an auto darkening helmet because I couldn’t see anything otherwise. The lenses are so dark that really is not bright unless welding 14 hours a day. Now you will get a sun burn if not covered up.

+1 for an eye exam if you haven’t had one in the last couple of years. Everyone should do it, especially if you are approaching senior citizen status. Many (most?) older folks have problems with glare from bright lights. It can be related to cataracts form in your lenses. That’s what it is for me. Five years ago, my ophthalmologist told me that in five years I would likely need lens replacement. Five years later, I’m about where I was then. An ophthalmologist will also check for glaucoma and retina condition. All worthwhile tests that can keep your eyes, age-impaired as they are, in good condition.


I’m guessing you won’t notice the 1/25,000th of a second delay from clear to full-dark. :wink:

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George, if you really want to take up welding, I recommend finding a course at a nearby community college. I did, learned a lot, mostly that folks that do great welding have a LOT more skill than I do!

My auto-darkening helmet triggers very fast- as long as you make sure it is turned on :wink:

I didn’t know welding from a gelding.
Once in a while, I’d have to have something welded and it was inconvenient to haul things (like a mower deck) to a welder and it was expensive, too!

I went to Harbor Freight and bought a 110v 90 amp wire feed welder and an auto darkening mask/helmet for not much over the cost of one trip to the welder (about 125 bucks total)! It is for welding not too thick steel and that is what I mostly need welded.

I’ve used it several times. I’m doing some on-the-job, trial & error welding. Don’t watch! My welds look like the work went through a meteor shower! Hey, that’s what angle grinders are for, right? :wink:

No more trips to the welder. I set the adjustable helmet to the proper darkness for my welder and it is not too bright.

I love my auto-darkening welding helmet! Solar panels to keep the battery charged, instant darkening allows me to see right where the MIG wire touches first. I don’t have nearly enough practice to be a decent welder, but as @common_sense_answer says, that’s why they make angle grinders!

But they are very, very handy as are gas torches. Oxy-Acetylene is a real art form!

If you know someone that has a wire feed welder, and auto darkening helmet, ask if you can give it a try! Or take a class and see if you like it. You’ll never know if you don’t try @GeorgeSanJose

I was an old school welder, pre instant darkening, you would get the rod close, then snap yuor head to swing the viser down before welding. If there is some guy welding in the open, do not look at the light, look another direction.

One trip to boy scout camp the driver said while passing any welding shop don’t ever be the groom in a welding, merged for life you are. I think there must have used to been more welding shops, heard it at least 6 times in a 100 mile trip to the Piasa Bird trail

Here’s an explanation of a weld symbol.

For the rookie welders, in the specification, process or other reference area, we would put, GWG.

Gob Weld/Grind.


Watching a water tank being built, there were 1, maybe 2" gaps between the pieces that was filled in by welders. I have a friend that certifies fire trucks and they xray the welds for inspection.

And for the holiday weekend:


The person that made that sure knows how to TIG weld.


That is a nice bead!

Very nice! :astonished:

A long time friend of mine can run beads like that. He can also use a cutting torch on 1/4" steel plate that will look like it was cut with a saw when done.
Funny thing is he shakes like a leaf all the time. Both hands tremble quite a bit (think Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan) but once the torch or welder comes into play he’s ice.

Many years ago I suffered a bout of flash burn to the eyes. I was welding on one bench, stopped, raised the hood, and turned around about the time another guy was striking an arc. It only lasted a second but I had to go sit down for several hours.
Both eyes were throbbing and I was constantly seeing spots. Not a pleasant experience at all and not something I want to go through again.