My aching eyeballs after practicing FCAW.

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  1. Duggie

    Duggie Well-Known Member

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    I'm opening myself up for some great smart ass responses, but here goes anyway;

    I got a deal on a 140 amp Lincoln MIG welder and picked up the accessories at HF including an auto darkening helmet. I have had three sessions (using FCAW to save the gas) of about 15 minutes each. After each time, my eyeballs ache for a longer period than the last time. I made hood filter darkening adjustments, and practiced with thinner material to reduce the arc each time. Still the eyeball ache lasted longer each time. I searched the problem on the net, and could only find info on Welder's Eye, or Flash Burn. Mine feels like I got punched in the head along with sensitivity to light. No redness, itch or surface burn. The eye doc says he can't find anything wrong, and put me on steroids for a couple weeks to reduce possible swelling. I researched the HF auto darkening helmet too, and didn't find much trash talk there.

    Anyone hear of or experience anything like this? The doc says I can give it another try in a couple weeks, but I'm not sure what variable to change next. I only have one old wrinkled up lab rat to test on, and I'd hate to blind myself, er... it by screwing around here.:eek:
     
  2. inertia

    inertia Well-Known Member

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    Borrow/rent a different mask .
     
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    • mopar74

      mopar74 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Hello Duggi,
      As stated above try a different hood preferably a name brand hood, IE Miller, Lincoln, Speedglass to name a few. Also FCAW burns hotter and brighter than GMAW. With that little machine, hood should be on a min of 10 if using variable shade. This is somewhat dependent on your eyes, you might need to go to an 11 or higher. I weld for a living and also teach welding at a local college. Myself when I'm welding with a smaller machine I set it to 10. When I'm running .045 wire and larger, carrying upwards of 280 amps I'll set my hood to 12. Compared to when I GMAW weld or GTAW weld when I'm on a 9. Almost all SMAW welding I do the hood is set on 10. So first thing is to try another hood.
      Good luck and if you have any further issues give me a shout out. more than willing to help.
      Kevin
       
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      • Dana67Dart

        Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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        Could the off gases be a factor?
         
      • 67Dart273

        67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Maybe there is something wrong with the hood I assume it's an electronic "auto darken" deal. Maybe it just needs batteries.
         
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        • 67Dart273

          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Good point, you aren't welding something plated/ galvanized, are ya?
           
        • Duggie

          Duggie Well-Known Member

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          Thanks for the help!! I'll start looking for a different helmet to try. Had to promise the little woman I wouldn't try again until January. Man, my eyeballs ache...
           
        • Duggie

          Duggie Well-Known Member

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          I wondered about that. The flash lasts an instant before the lens darkens. It's supposed to darken in 1/250,000 of a second.
           
        • Duggie

          Duggie Well-Known Member

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          No, just cheap ass steel. Bought a few different thicknesses and migrated towards the thinner stuff so I could reduce the power. And I set up a box fan to blow over the work area just because I could.
           
        • scott657

          scott657 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          I think when you first start out, welding is like a big event for your eyes. Straining to see the puddle and what you are actually welding etc. After a while you start adjusting to what you are doing that feeling will subside.I use a magnifier to help me see the work better. I also have one of the newer Miller helmets that gives a better "picture" of what you are looking at. After a while it will be no big deal and that will subside. also
          have good ventilation and good equipment
          digital-elite-series-welding-helmets-m00471
           
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          • mopar74

            mopar74 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            60868733621__6D88778D-B0C5-4B45-9B57-5BED084B5E3C.JPG As posted above by Scott657, It is a a big event for your eyes when starting out, a lot of my new students like to concentrate on the light(arc) instead of watching the puddle. My saying is do not stare at the light like a moth is attracted to a light bulb, told to me by one of my old welding instructors. So spend more time watching the puddle instead of the arc. Its tough I know but with underhood time it gets better.
            Kevin
            My preferred hood on the right right ( use it more than my 400 dollar speedglass hood), same hood on the left but purchased for a good friend of mines son when he passed his 6G pipe test. Hood is about 60 bucks on Amazon but comes with a fixed shade lens. I installed a Lincoln True color, hi def, auto dark, variable shade lens (about $120 for the lens). I have since modified it more by installing a flip up lens in it so I could add my cheater lens to it. It is very light weight and comfortable to ware all day if need be.
             
            Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
          • Dartsun

            Dartsun Mopar Dude

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            If your eyes hurt, cut some potatoes and put them over your eyes and lay down. My moms BF been welding for 50 years tells me to do that.
             
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            • 67Dart273

              67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              Something wrong. I have a cheap one I bought at the local welding store, much like a Horrid Freight, and it works great. I have a very expensive one I bought "at a thrift store." Neither show a "flash" that I can detect at weld start.
               
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              • Demonic

                Demonic Well-Known Member

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                Your flashburn has nothing to do with the welder, shield gas (or lack of) or materials. You only have one set of eyes. Cheap shields are not the way to go. I'd toss that one and get a quality one from a welding supplier.
                 
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                • dartindanno

                  dartindanno Well-Known Member

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                  This is the right thing for relief!
                   
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                  • RustyRatRod

                    RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                    I have never never had that problem. I only have one eye so it's REAL important to protect it. Also, I was a certified welder years ago, so I've done a lot of it in the past. I agree. Get another helmet.
                     
                  • Kendog 170

                    Kendog 170 Let the boy go !

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                    I bought one from Summit years back (Not there brand). Had the same issue. Lens wasn't darkening quick enough. I returned it for a replacement and had no issues after. As said you can't replace your eyes.
                     
                  • Duggie

                    Duggie Well-Known Member

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                    Great input you guys. Thanks for the time to educate me. I was definitely focusing on the arc first, and puddle second. On Jan one, I'll have a solid filter helmet at the ready to try out. Man, I'm glad I don't have to sell this equipment and go sit in the corner. :D
                     
                  • gregcon

                    gregcon Well-Known Member

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                    You reach a certain point in life....if you're lucky...when you start to understand your body doesn't last forever.

                    At the forefront of that realization lie the eyes....easily the most important sense that a person has, and easily damaged.

                    So...what I'm trying to say is don't F around when it comes to protecting your eyes. A Harbor Freight helmet? No way.

                    I have a friend who was a welder for years. He tells me of his co-worker who was also a welder....but now he spends his days giving speeches to companies on welding safety. He's very effective, not because he speaks that well but because he uses a white cane and a dog to get around.
                     
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                    • Duggie

                      Duggie Well-Known Member

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                      Man that's a tough lesson. I read somewhere a person can't live long enough to make all the mistakes possible, so we need to learn from others. :BangHead:
                       
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                      • Kendog 170

                        Kendog 170 Let the boy go !

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                        I had better that 20/20 vision up until 42. Now at 62 I wear bifocals. I don't think welding was the culprit just getting old.
                         
                      • barbee6043

                        barbee6043 barbee 6043 FABO Gold Member

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                        I have welded in my shop ( NOT pro) for 50 odd years. Never had an auto dark helmet till last yr, got one at HF and had same problem as you. Then picked up a "little" more expensive one at Northern Tool and it is way better now. But also flux wire gives me a headache even weldingoutside. Mig welding outside flux is must!
                         
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                        • 67Dart273

                          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          You guys should consider getting "gas." That alone has helped me improve my welding. At my age--a lot weaker and a little more skaky, and my eyesight....I need all the help I can get.
                           
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                          • Duggie

                            Duggie Well-Known Member

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                            I was looking at Northern Tool also. Huge price range!

                            I'm willing to start using gas in the learning to weld process if that's what it takes.
                             
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                            • Tooljunkie

                              Tooljunkie King of cobble/master of the broken bolt FABO Gold Member

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                              I also use a cheapo welding helmet. Its better than my old expensive auto darkening helmet. Technology has changed, and this stuff gets cheaper.
                              But,some arent as good.
                              Hurting your eyes,that has to stop. Fixed shade 10 or 11 should do, i do add light to my welding area when i can, as my eyes arent what they used to be either.
                              The thing about cheap helmets is the uber shitty headgear,with a name brand you will never go back.
                               
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