Which Shade Lens Do I Use for Welding?

When you begin a welding project you should should start with a shade lens that is too dark to see the weld zone.

Different Types of Welding

Unprotected eyes can be permanently damaged while welding.Unprotected eyes can be permanently damaged while welding.
You can then drop to a lighter shade lens until the weld zone becomes visible without going below the minimum requirements of shading. It is wise to keep your eyes protected as best as possible, and to remember that different welding operations require different filter strengths.

Light electric spot welding requires a lower shade lens than arc welding, so be sure to choose your shade lens based on the exact type of welding you will be performing. For light gas cutting and welding, around a number 5 shade should be sufficient, but even low amperes arc welding requires a shade rated around 10 or 11.

Amperes

Amperes are another factor in what shade lens you should use. For up to 30 amperes, you should use shades rated up to 7. For 30 to 75 ampheres, use shades rated 8 or 9. For 75 amperes and above, you should use a number 10 shade lens or higher.

Testing the Shade Lens

It is important to test your shade lens to make sure you have chosen the right grade. To do this, place the lens in the helmet and look through it as if you were welding. To make sure the shade lens will be sufficient, look at a bare light bulb which has been switched on. If you can see the light bulb's outline, use the next shade darker and repeat the test again.

Shade Lens Safety

Never view the welding arc without sufficient eye protection. The first purpose of the shade lens is to diminish the visible light that you will see through the welder's helmet so there is no glare, but the other purpose is to protect your eyes from harmful infrared and ultraviolet radiation.