I've been stick welding for probably 30 years, and MIG welding for about 20. Learned to stick working with my Dad, and then got a job fabricating truck bodies where I learned to MIG. Thing with the bodies was you either made a pretty, flat weld, or ground it until it was. That said, I used to have a hard time seeing the puddle too when I first started MIG welding. Never had a problem with the stick, but couldn't see a thing with the MIG. I went through different shade lenses, a helmet with the bigger lens, etc but nothing seemed to make it any better. I finally got one of the gold coated lenses and since then have never had a problem. The only reason I can think of that this works is that I am partially color blind and the gold lenses don't make everything look green like a standard lens does. Something about the different colors that get through with the gold plated lens makes the puddle stand out to me so I can see it with no problem. I know they don't make the autodark helmets with a gold lens but if you've got a standard helmet you might want to give it a try.
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