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      IMPORTANT Registration rules   02/12/2017

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Daniel W

Suprise - Welding FLASH!!!

11 posts in this topic

I'm gonna put this up there due to how easy it is to pick up a small oxygen acetylene kit these days.  Just go to the local harbor fright pick up a set and your ready to go.  Most of the time, the modern guy is going to use this just for a quick cut, acetylene welding is just getting to be a thing of the past.  But if your like me, and you enjoy to make a fine weld, you might turn to this option. Also, I've come to find out that my vision is a little better than average which might also contribute to being more susceptible to light damage than most, so this might not apply to everyone.

Being that acetylene is a thing of the past, I was never able to truly find a class to teach it or get my hands on it until last year at a local blacksmith school where I used their equipment to make my first welds.  Fast forward a year, I haven't touched my kit in a long time (yes it is a small kit but I don't know where it came from)  but I still feel confident in my skill at making a few "filler" welds on a tomahawk.  So I get my set up running, everything good using the goggles provided in the set.  I was filling in hammer marks where they just wouldn't file out without making the piece too thin, so this process took me maybe 2-3 welding passes over 20 mins long each.  

The next day I'm draw filing this thing all day long.  Then I come from my workshop into my house, go down into the dark basement and get punched in the right eye with 2 very distinct bright starts that are SOOOO bright its like staring in the sun, not to mention a huge blotch like a photo flash all in that right eye.  OW!

As the night goes on, it doesn't let up and I start to get a very mild head ache the eye is starting to feel sore/scratchy.  By the next morning everything is still screwed up in that eye and I'm getting scared that somethings wrong.  I go to work and it doesn't go away - vision's choppy still got the stars and flashbulb.  I think to myself my eye is ruined because I caught a glimmer off that stupid freaking eclipse somehow because I was wearing my goggles while welding. 

Finally get to see a Dr that evening by this time the intensity has dissipated in the eye but its still there also sore.  Things check out OK physically he tells me that being that eclipse was days ago I must have gotten this from something else but to follow up with an actual ophthalmologist.  

Two days pass before I can get to one, the stars at this point are gone, and the flash has dissipated to an annoyance and seems to be dying down very slowly.  Get checked out by the Ophthalmologist just to be sure there's no lasting damage and I get the relief that all is well, retinas are good.  So I asked his opinion on what the heck did he think I did to myself, welding flash seemed to be the most likely answer.  "But doc, I was using my goggles that I'm darn sure are shade 4 for welding with acetylene." But wait I think, I never bought them they were in a kit and I never truly checked them I assumed their #4 shade.  "Regardless"  the doc says "Your eyes are better than most for 35 years old, and are going to be a little more susceptible to light damage than others."

Therefore, I'm pitching whatever shades I got and getting at least #6 shades, so if you go after a kit - man find out what shades are in the thing for certain and just tell yourself the darker the better!  There's no better scare of a lifetime that you're going to have a glowing dot in your vision for the rest of your life! 

 

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35 minutes ago, Gerald Boggs said:

So we shouldn't trust our eyes to Harbor Freight? 

Ha!  I stopped using thin cutting disks from HF for a very similar reason :)

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As I said elsewhere, the Chinese don't care.  Get a set of decent brand name glasses and you'll be fine, even if they do say "made in China," because the brand wants to remain respected and thus makes sure it gets what it pays for.  I use Uvex shade 5, and have for years with zero issues.  

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Even better, be like Alan and buy USA made Uvex.  https://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S3208-Infra-Dura-Ultra-Dura-Hardcoat/dp/B000RMJ6TM

It's one of the things that irritates me, Uvex is one of the largest safety glass makers in the world, but if you live in the US and want to buy them, most of the time you have to do so on-line. 

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The kit that I got was actually given to me, but it does resemble what harbor freight currently sells and got it around the time the retailer was coming out in this area.  I also had a problem with it's acetylene regulator the last time I fired it up before this and had to replace it with a much better regulator.  So I can't totally identify that it came from them, but my suspicion tells me it's most likely from there.  My opinion on the retailer is pretty low. On many occasions I've been at the local one and found steel tools such as files and pilot hole bits totally cracked. 

Yesterday because it was irritating me, I took a look at the shades and there's nothing on them to identify what they are.  So in one way, it was my own 'assumption' that I was using the right gear.  I have none of the packaging from the original box or anything else from it, I just naturally thought everything was there and it was good to go.   Is there any piratical test you can do at home to test your shades without putting your eyes at risk? I'm just curious.

 

 

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Use Shade 5 for gas welding and cutting and get your goggles from a real welding supplier (not HF).

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I feel really pretty stupid and as if I've cried 'wolf.'

I was surprised that when I went to a weld supply store, the clerk told me it was nearly impossible to get a flash from a oxy flame.  I'm still calling that bs and I'm not going to test it out.  My motto will be eye protection always, why risk it, but it did make me think on it more as both drs. found nothing wrong with the eye.

So I talked to a friend of mine, and went over the situation.  She told me I experienced something called a 'halo' I think was the term.  And yes its associated with a migraine.  Now the last time I had a migraine I was dropping smoking cold turkey it felt as if someone was trying to push a hammer into my head and there was a sensitivity to light - it was more an annoyance.  She assured me that a migraine can be very mild and still have the very strong light show going off in your eye.  And that normally, the light show starts before the pain.  As she explained more and more, it became pretty clear that this was a migraine. 

The first Dr was unable to determine if it was a migraine because I had told him the pain was so slight that it wasn't anything I would take a pain killer for.  He was more concerned that I had done damage to the eye somehow and didn't have the proper tools to look into it further.

 

I'm sorry if I've spread a scare - and maybe the post should be pulled down not to spread misinformation.  The problem doesn't seem to be with my gear its just an over reaction to something common that I never experienced before. 

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While it's true you can't get arc flash with oxyacetylene, you can certainly screw up your eyes for a while with the same symptoms.  Afterglow, a feeling of sand in the eyes, and painful sensitivity to light.  I have done that to myself by getting in a hurry and brazing a part without flipping down the shield on my glasses until I realized I couldn't see.  Then again I also get migraines on occasion, so the two are not mutually exclusive. 

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The clerk is in fact full of it. Staring into any bright light for even a short period is going to strain the eyes. And remember, a lot of the eye doesn't have pain nerves, like the lens, vitrious humor and the rod/cone layer. 

Think of it like this, take one of those big clamps that you use instead of paperclips and put it on your finger. Kinda pinches a bit at first, but the longer you leave it on, the more painful it gets as you stop blood flow and cause tissue damage. Well it's the same with the eye, you keep forcing the eye to stare at bright light, the more over stimulates everything becomes until damage is done. 

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I am an old pro at welding most anything but I'm also a glassblower and spend many hours very close to a torch flame.
I would not wear anything less then a shade 5 for flame-work.

ON average I would say the OP has sensitive eyes and most definitely should use the best possible eye-ware.
While you are at it think ventilation, the less crud you breath the long you will be able to breath.

Eye and lung damage are things that don't get you today so much as 30 years later you wish you had taken better care of yourself.

Be safe people...

 

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