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The Polycarbonate Solution

Welding is a dangerous hobby or occupation, and anyone involved knows that. I remember watching my father weld many times when I was young, and he would always hand over his old gray welding helmet. This was a great protective device, if a bit heavy, and I will always remember those warm summer afternoons of watching my father imagine, design, and build with his welding torch. The things that came from his efforts were amazing, from a civil war style canon, all the way to a custom lawn mower frame that we used for at least fifteen years. The projects changed and the welder even changed a few times, but the helmets were the constant, and even when he purchased a pair of welding goggles, he still seemed to prefer the helmets.

The history of the welding helmet is long and detailed, but we will stick with the present, which is to say the 1970's. Sometime in the 70's, polycarbonate lenses were in use, primarily in the space program. They could be used for visors, or they might be used as the shuttle’s wind shields. It is really no surprise that so many people demanded goggles made of polycarbonate as they encompassed a number of features not present in glass goggles.

–Polycarbonate shielding is lightweight, which means you can spend more time working and less time straining your neck.

–Unlike most glass, polycarbonate is scratch resistant and features high impact resistance.

–Polycarbonate is much cheaper than glass, and therefore easier to replace if it needs to be replaced at all.

 When polycarbonate is used in welding applications it needs to be hard coated before it can be considered useable in the field. Not only will this increase it's level of impact resistance, it will also serve to make it immune to the lights generated by the arc weld.

 If you are looking for a standard welding helmet, it will cost somewhere in the range of $40, but if you're looking for something a bit more comprehensive, it might be a good idea for you to try a welding helmet with an auto-darkening mask. These are more expensive of course, but they will be able to detect when the arc is active, and they will allow you to see without removing the helmet, which will certainly help with your productivity.

 Is finding the right welding helmet important? Will it make a difference in the long run? It absolutely will, especially considering the fact that many conditions you run into related to the weld arc might not set in until later. The most obvious conditions of course would be those related to your vision which entails cataracts. In the end it is much cheaper to buy a welding helmet that is comfortable and protective than to deal with the consequences of negligence later on.  

 

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