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PostPosted: May 3, 2019, 12:39 am 
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
I know there was a thread on here a while back regarding needing more light while welding, and some of the ideas folks here came up with for throwing extra light on welds.

I tried various things, and none of them worked all that well for me. This idea actually WORKS!! And it's cheap, too!!

I was kicking around the shop and came across a new headband-style LED "headlight", and it occurred to me I could take the stretchy band off it & attach the base of the light to the top of my welding helmet. The more I looked at it, the more I thought it would work, so I tried it. The band just slips into a slot in the headlight's base, so it's easy to remove without damaging it (everything can be put back the way it was if you don't like it). I drilled a couple of small holes in the light's bracket, matching holes in the top of the helmet, and attached it with small (M4?) stainless bolts & nuts.

I was astonished when I tried it - no more shadows (and no matter where in the shop I am, my welding ALWAYS seems to be in deep shadow), great detail visible, and it has no effect on the helmet's auto dimming. You can even flip the light backwards, down onto the top of the helmet when it's not in use! The angle of the light is adjustable via detents in its hinge system.

Anyway, I'm sure others have done this, too, but I haven't seen it here so I thought I'd post it for the benefit of others with aging, tired eyes, dim shop lighting, and thin wallets.

Here's some pics - the helmet with light mounted & standing up, a view through the helmet lens under bright shop lighting but no headlight, and one with the helmet light turned on. The pics aren't that great - I used my cell phone camera through the helmet's lens, about 3' away from the subject. When you're at normal welding distance away from the subject, the view is MUCH better than it appears in the pics. The theoretical welding "subject" in the pic was the small steel rod in the vise.

By the way, as one who has to wear "readers" for close-up work (and whose vision is worse under low light....like in a welding helmet), I also purchased a 1.5X diopter magnifying lens for my helmet (similar to this: https://www.amazon.com/Metal-Man-MMAG1- ... way&sr=8-4 ) It's a generic type, 2" X 4 1/4", and I figured that when I got it I could adapt it to my helmet. Turns out that no adapting was necessary - it clipped nicely into my Miller helmet's auto-dim pack retaining clips perfectly. Now I have sharp vision, and LOTS of light!

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PostPosted: May 3, 2019, 8:24 am 
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That is a great idea :cheers: I'm going to check out my headband lite. Davew


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PostPosted: May 3, 2019, 8:37 am 
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Pretty nice! :cheers:

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PostPosted: May 3, 2019, 11:49 am 
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Location: Connersville, Indiana
Good idea. Now complete the thought and mount a light at eyeball level on each side of the helmet.

Bill


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PostPosted: May 3, 2019, 12:36 pm 
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BBlue wrote:
Good idea. Now complete the thought and mount a light at eyeball level on each side of the helmet.

Bill

Well, you could do that. As I'm often sticking my head into restrictive areas to weld, though, I was concerned about bulking up the helmet on the outside. Plus, at 250 Lumens, this light is bright. I suspect that even one more of these would be enough to trigger the auto-dim in the helmet, particularly when welding clean, shiny metal.

The light pool of this light, at the angle it's mounted at, lights up what's directly in front of your face, but because it's about 4" above direct line-of-sight, the light illuminates objects, yet doesn't reflect directly back into your eyes, as it would if the light(s) were mounted right at eye height. I was concerned about that, and this mount prevents that problem.

If someone wanted to try a multi-light system, I'd suggest duct-taping them on to the helmet as a trial before permanent mounting, to make sure it doesn't overwhelm the auto-dim function or result in unwanted direct-reflection glare.

By the way - this is the model I used - https://coastportland.com/products/FL19

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PostPosted: May 4, 2019, 11:10 am 
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zetec7 wrote:
BBlue wrote:
Good idea. Now complete the thought and mount a light at eyeball level on each side of the helmet.

Bill

Well, you could do that. As I'm often sticking my head into restrictive areas to weld, though, I was concerned about bulking up the helmet on the outside. Plus, at 250 Lumens, this light is bright. I suspect that even one more of these would be enough to trigger the auto-dim in the helmet, particularly when welding clean, shiny metal.

The light pool of this light, at the angle it's mounted at, lights up what's directly in front of your face, but because it's about 4" above direct line-of-sight, the light illuminates objects, yet doesn't reflect directly back into your eyes, as it would if the light(s) were mounted right at eye height. I was concerned about that, and this mount prevents that problem.

I suggested the eye level lighting because I'm often bothered by the parallax shadow when using my headlight. Does not appear to be a problem in your pic, but if you notice that you sometimes cannot see a critical area, that is likely the problem. I think that some genius will soon market a welding helmet with halo lighting built in. Maybe the first step will be a halo light to replace the headlights.

My helmet is a $50 HF and I find I can look almost directly into the sun without it tripping, which makes me think there is something about varying (or alternating) currant, not brightness, that trips the lens.

Bill


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PostPosted: May 6, 2019, 12:58 am 
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Location: Novato, CA
This is genius.

My welds have been getting steadily worse. Can't see the seam, the puddle, nothing. It's all guesswork. Part of the problem is I can only see out of one eye, so I can't always tell where the torch is in relation to the work. Could be right over the seam, could be two inches fore or aft. I have to bump the work to be sure, and that just hides everything. The extra light has to help.


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PostPosted: May 6, 2019, 1:41 am 
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I was having trouble, too. Often, I’d be just a little off, and set about running a beautiful bead - 1/4” away from where I needed it to be, and end up with a lot of grinding to do. Plus, in some “challenging” welds (tiny ones, where precision was crucial), I’d end up ruining the piece because I “missed it by THAT much” & have to start over.

I’ve had a chance to do a bunch of welds with the new light & magnifying lenses now, and it’s like a whole new world!! My welds are cleaner & more precise, with excellent penetration, because now I can actually see the bead, the puddle as it progresses, the edges to be welded, etc.

Guess I didn’t know what I was missing. :cheers:

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PostPosted: May 6, 2019, 2:51 am 
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I love it!! Off to HF in the morning (with a coupon!). Thanks for the writeup!

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PostPosted: May 14, 2019, 12:39 am 
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Kartracer47 wrote:
I love it!!


I also like an idea that is simple and I wonder why didn't I think of that? But I've been around here long enough not to be bashful borrowing these great ideas.
So I ordered a LED head light https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01JZ8JSN2/ref=pe_3034960_236394800_TE_dp_1

Took off the headlamp strap.
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Then I took a different approach. My helmet forehead tilts back a bit (homo neanderthal) so I opted for a chin mount. Instead of bolts I used velcro to attach the LED to the helmet.
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Amazed how it lights up the vision area.
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Thanks zetec7 :cheers:

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PostPosted: May 14, 2019, 3:51 am 
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You’re welcome! Glad someone got some use out of the idea!

Funny - I wonder why helmet manufacturers don’t offer something like that as an option?

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