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An auto-darkening welding helmet is usually going to have a grind mode feature. You may have noticed this feature and wonder what it does or why it’s there.
Clearly, manufacturers wouldn’t include it on the helmet if it wasn’t something important. What is grind mode on a welding helmet? Below is a short guide on how learning about grind mode can increase your weld quality.
What Is Grind Mode on a Welding Helmet?
In the welding industry, grinding is just one of the necessary evils you have to utilize. It’s a time-consuming process, and most people dislike doing it, but you must grind if you hope to create the best quality welds possible.
Newer, more modern helmets allow you to turn off the auto-darkening feature when you’re finished welding. Therefore, you aren’t likely to have to remove the helmet when you’ve finished the welding process.
The grind option is usually located on the outside or inside the helmet and activated by a switch or button. You have to manually push the button or flip the switch to activate grind mode.
Once you have grind mode engaged, the helmet automatically adjusts the lens so that you can see to do the grinding work.
It allows you to be more productive because you do not have to remove the helmet while performing the grind. Therefore, you can reduce downtime, which tends to happen as you go through the transition from welding to grinding.
Which Is Better: Buttons or Switches?
While some people claim that it is a matter of personal preference, the push-button or flip-switch feature for grind mode can change the way you do your work.
Therefore, it is best to have a welding helmet that allows you to turn the grind mode lens on or off.
When you flip to the grind mode lens, the welding helmet changes its shape because it doesn’t require as much protection for the face. Therefore, you’re not likely to start welding again without forgetting that you have turned off the auto-darkening feature.
In most cases, it is best if you have an auto-darkening helmet that automatically responds to the light of the welding arc, even if you accidentally leave the helmet in grinding mode.
Let’s say that you are grinding your project, and you complete it, set it aside, and pick up another welding project. You get right to work because you’re in the “zone,” and you forget to switch back to ADF.
Modern helmets have the latest technology to recognize that you’ve started welding again and can darken themselves quickly to the recommended level based on how bright the welding arc is.
Many times, the flash you see when you turn on the welding machine is bright enough if you’re in grind mode. You’re going to see it and be reminded instantly, so you can manually restore the auto-darkening feature.
In most cases, modern welding helmets always offer UV protection, even if you have the mask turned off. However, it isn’t going to protect against visible, bright light while in grinding mode or the off position.
What Is Cutting Mode? Are They the Same?
Marketers often use the terms grinding and cutting interchangeably, but they are not the same thing and are entirely two different modes on your welding helmet.
If you have grind mode and it is activated, your welding helmet is sitting at a shade three. If your helmet has a cutting mode, you can work with shade levels of five through eight.
With shade level five, you get suitable protection levels for oxyfuel cutting. However, if you need to do some plasma cutting, which many three-in-one welders do, you need a helmet that allows you to get a shade eight protection level.
Some helmets, especially newer ones, also include an X model. With this mode, the helmet automatically detects the type of electromagnetic field generated when you’re welding. This mode aims to give you another layer of protection so that you don’t receive a flash.
It is easy to transition from welding to grinding without grind mode without acquiring any downtime.
What is grind mode on a welding helmet? It’s a question many beginners have. The grind mode feature ensures that you can quickly switch from the welding shade to the ground shade (level three) without removing the helmet.
Regardless of the type of auto-darkening helmet you purchase, you should always check the settings, knobs, and switches to ensure that you get the level of protection you need based on the task at hand.
It is recommended to choose a welding helmet that offers darkening speeds of at least 1/20,000th of a second to ensure consistent results and the best quality welds. That way, when the mask detects bright light, it can darken itself almost immediately so that your eyes do not have a chance to get damaged.