I moved to a new shop about a month ago, and one of the biggest changes in my work-load is MIG welding exhaust work. Whether it be custom dump pipes for race cars, or making reproduction exhausts for standard cars which the dealer doesn't have access to any more, I'm getting to the point where I need to invest in some quality eye protection.
The biggest issue for me is compact size, as I'm a bit over 6 foot, and the vast majority of my work, is under a lift, with the exhaust tacked into place, and finish-welded on the car, with the suspension loaded. I don't have a lot of room to work, and I have to use a mirror to weld up the top portion.
So, currently I'm either borrowing a mask like this:
Or using a pair of blacked out sunglasses. I really prefer the blacked out sunglasses, as I have a lot more maneuverability, and less light is blocked out. I guess it's a double edged sword. I want to see as much as possible, but not cook my precious eyes.
I'm pretty much against auto-darkening. I may be pretty immune to flash, but I have no intention of staring at a bead, and having the mask quit on me. It's not a big deal to me to have to pull down the mask, or prop up the sunglasses, so solid state viewing is fine by me. My other issue is having a big viewing area. The classic 3x2 inch view welding mask might be great for bench welding, but it just doesn't work under a car. The less light reduction the better, as I like to watch my bead, to make sure it's nice looking as well as functional.
So, I know this site has a lot of welders, so what are you using?
Small size; fits over my normal glasses; and minimal blocking of light (just enough to be safe) are my criteria. Thanks guys.