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Practical TIG Welding: Welding Masks and Respirators

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Welding Masks and Respirators


00:00 - Now that you've got a better understanding of the TIG welder, we need to speak about the risks to our safety that welding can pose and the ways in which we can limit these risks.
00:10 The best safety measure is always a careful operator but accidents can happen and it's especially important that we equip ourselves with the best protection as we learn and develop our TIG welding techniques.
00:22 Personal protective equipment or PPE as it's commonly known plays an extremely important role in keeping us safe while we're welding.
00:31 As we work through the different fabrication and welding processes you'll quickly notice how much time we spend going back and forth between different tools and setting your workshop up with the right PPE is a really easy way to cut down the time it takes to get these fabrication jobs done.
00:48 Setting up zones in your garage or workshop and equipping these zones with the appropriate PPE at arm's reach means that you'll decrease the temptation to take a shortcut and perform the job without the right safety equipment.
01:02 A good way to do this is to designate a bench or an area in your workshop specifically for welding.
01:09 Have a designated hook for your welding helmet and remember to leave it on this hook when you move onto other fabrication processes.
01:16 This will dramatically cut down the time you spend looking for your PPE and decrease the urge to go without it.
01:23 The danger of welding and its associated processes can be quickly diminished if we properly understand and prevent them with the right PPE.
01:31 There are plenty of professional welders that have skipped on the simplest PPE requirements and had major injuries as a result.
01:39 Spend time shopping for the PPE that suits you.
01:43 If it's comfortable and you feel good wearing it, it'll motivate you to spend more time in the workshop and that will in turn prove more productive for you and your project.
01:53 For the purpose of this TIG welding course, we're going to work from the top and move our way down and the first thing we think about in the welding environment and the most important to our eyes is a welding mask.
02:05 When welding, we need a clear view of our weld and to have a clear view we need to have a quality mask that needs to have a few key features to allow us to see and operate our welder to the best of our ability.
02:19 It's common knowledge in the industry that the best weld is always one that you're comfortable doing.
02:24 Being comfortable requires a clear line of sight and the welding helmet or mask as it's commonly known can make a huge difference to all aspects of our weld.
02:34 Welding emits light called an arc and it's the reason that we need to always wear a mask.
02:40 Weld arc gives off radiation over a broad range of wavelengths including ultra violet, visible light and infrared.
02:48 The dangers of not filtering the UV and infrared light can cause an extremely uncomfortable eye condition called arc flash or arc eye.
02:56 Arc flash is the result of exposure to the intense UV light that the arc gives off.
03:02 Just a few secconds of UV light exposure, arc flash can begin to cause inflammation of the membrane in front of the eye and prolonged exposure can cause extreme pain which feels like having an eye full of sand.
03:15 To protect our eyes from this arc radiation we have a few options out on the market but there really is only one viable solution for TIG welding and that's the auto darkening helmet.
03:26 This uses a battery powered sensor that senses the arc strike and immediately darkens your view to a preset shade.
03:33 The biggest benefit of the auto darkening helmet when TIG welding is that it allows complete visibility of the weld prior to striking the arc.
03:42 This is important with TIG welding because unlike MIG welding, we'll be using both hands.
03:47 One on the torch and the other holding our filler rod.
03:51 This means we don't have a free hand available to flip up and down a conventional welding helmet.
03:56 The auto darkening feature allows us to ensure our tungsten is correctly located before we strike the arc and begin the weld.
04:05 These welding helmets will also have an adjustable sensitivity which might need to be turned down when using very low amps or up when working overhead or outside where sunlight may trigger the auto darkening mode prematurely.
04:17 There will also be a delay setting that changes the length of time the lens will remain dark after the weld arc has finished.
04:25 We typically turn the delay up on high amperage welds where the weld pool may stay bright for longer or down to save time and increase visibility while tack welding.
04:35 It's also common for an auto darkening helmet to have a grinding or cutting mode which allows the mask to be used like a face shield.
04:43 Although this can save time, it will decrease your visibility when grinding and it'll make it difficult to wear ear protection at the same time.
04:51 Using this feature isn't actually something we'd recommend as grinding in particular can damage the lens, making it harder to see our welds clearly after a while.
05:00 Ultimately there's much cheaper forms of PPE that are better suited to grinding operations anyway.
05:07 It's also worth mentioning that the shape of the welding helmet plays a part in protecting your skin.
05:13 The same UV light that produces arc flash will also cause burning of the skin similar to sun burn.
05:17 The shape of the helmet protects your neck and ears and although this may prevent you from getting your head into that tight spot inside the car, it'll eliminate those nasty UV burns that can do some real damage to your skin.
05:31 Spend some time shopping around for a helmet that's comfortable for you.
05:35 TIG welding can be a time consuming process and that means you'll be spending a lot of time wearing your welding helmet.
05:42 Having this helmet fit your head and be adjusted to the right height is an important part of the welding process.
05:48 A more expensive helmet isn't necessarily a better welding helmet so try on a few before deciding on the one you'll go with.
05:56 Most helmets will also come with a spare battery so keep this nearby as it's bound to run flat at the worst possible time.
06:03 As we spend more time welding, we also need to be mindful of the respiratory risks associated with TIG welding.
06:10 A lot of what we weld as motorsport fabricators will be coated, plated or painted and we need to be vigilant against the dangerous fumes that could be produced during the welding process.
06:21 Amidst the visible smoke emitted from our weld, could be a mix of dangerous gasses that may cause nausea, dizziness, throat, eye and nose irritation.
06:31 While the best way to eliminate this is to clean and prepare the work piece thoroughly before welding, it can still be beneficial to use an extraction fan in confined areas.
06:41 Unfortunately it's impossible to eliminate every potential harmful gas from the welding process but if we have an extraction fan or a regular fan pushing the air about, it can dramatically reduce the risks.
06:54 If you are concerned about the respiratory risks of welding then you could also use a respirator.
07:00 The simplest form of respirator is one designed for general use which can be fitted prior to putting on your welding helmet.
07:07 If you do want to eliminate all respiratory risks or you have a confined welding environment, we'd recommend looking into a powered air purifying system that uses a battery operated fan and filter setup to supply filtered fresh air direct into your welding helmet.

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