What is Grind Mode on a Welding Helmet?

Grinding mode refers to welding helmets that have an external grind control option. This option allows the welder to put the helmet into grind mode with a flip of a switch or a push of a button. Grind mode has proven to be important in improving the safety and productivity of the welding helmet.

How Does It Work?

Today, some welding helmets can flip up the auto-darkening lens, and at the same time, keep the rest of the shield down. A transparent shield then opens from beneath the auto-darkening lens.

The shield provides the welder with a clear view of the grinding surface. It is important to note that even if the clear grind shield is on, safety glasses should also be underneath the welding helmet.

Auto-darkening welding helmets already have either variable shade options or fixed shades. Helmets with a fixed shade option usually darken to a specific pre-set shade. It is particularly a good option in applications where the welder is repeating a particular weld.

On the other hand, helmets with varying shades have a grind mode that allows the welder to select the preferred grinding mode; this is especially good for variable applications.

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Most recent auto-darkening helmets have the grind mode and are exceptional in performance and capability. When purchasing a welding helmet for grinding, ensure that you choose one with the ANSI Z87.1+ mark. The + mark indicates that the welding helmet is certified and can protect you against high impact.

Grind Mode on a Welding Helmet

What Is the Best Grind Mode Feature?

Because there are push-button and switch options for the grind mode, the best option is to have a welding helmet that allows you to flip the grind mode lens on or off. Because this alters the shape of the welding helmet, you are less likely to start welding after forgetting that you’ve turned off the ADF.

The best solution, however, is an auto-darkening helmet that will respond to the light of a weld, even if you’ve left it in grinding mode.

Most of the time, the flash is going to be bright enough to remind you that the grind mode is on, so you’ll restore the ADF. Most welding helmets today offer UV protection, even when switched off, but they may not provide protection against bright, visible light in that mode.

No matter what type of ADF helmet you own, it is a good idea to always check your settings, switches, or knobs to ensure that your personal protective equipment is able to give you the protection you require.

Look for a darkening speed of 1/20,000th of a second for consistent results in this category.

What If My Helmet Has a Cutting Mode?

Although cutting and grinding are sometimes used interchangeably from a marketing perspective, they are different modes for a welding helmet.

If you have a grind mode, then your welding helmet is at shade 3. If your helmet is equipped with a cutting mode, then you have shades 5 thru 8 in which to work.

At shade 5, you have an effective level of protection for cutting with oxyfuels. For plasma cutting, which is an option with some of today’s best 3-in-1 welders, you’ll want a helmet that provides you with shade 8 protection.

Then there is the X mode to consider on some helmets. This mode, when activated, will detect the electromagnetic field which is generated from your welding activities. This gives you an extra layer of protection against receiving a flash.

With a grind mode, you can transition quickly from welding to grinding without the hesitation of downtime in the past. As long as you remember to restore your shading when you go back to welding, this feature is one that is worth the investment.

When Should One Use Grind Mode?

If you are using a welding helmet with grind mode, it means your helmet is at shade 3. Some helmets have more shades, making them suitable for cutting mode when set at shades 5 through 8. Grinding mode allows you to switch to grind application within seconds with a flip or button. Any professional or experienced welder only uses grinding mode when grinding.

After grinding, you use the same flip or button to turn it off without taking the helmet off. Even though these helmets have an automated operation system, switching grind mode (on and off) ensures that the welder is wholly protected as they perform different tasks.

The type of ADF welding helmet that you own does not matter. We advise our clients to always confirm the settings on the helmet to be safe.

Alternatively, another solution would be to purchase an auto-darkening welding helmet that automatically responds to the arcs produced during welding even when it is on grind mode. The helmet’s design automatically adjusts itself when exposed to different conditions and activities such as welding and grinding.

Different Types of Grind Mode

1. Flip-Up Mode

Many popular welding helmets combine a welding lens with a flip-up grinding visor. For example, the Speed glass 9100 FX flip-up auto-darkening welding helmet flips up to expose a clear, curved grinding visor, ideal not only for grinding and setups but also for inspecting your just-completed welds.

A flip-front helmet has an essential safety component because it enables the welding operator to keep continuous impact protection. By not having to flip up the entire welding helmet, welders minimize their risk of injuries caused by high-velocity flying metal coming from others working nearby.

2. External Grind Control

These models are sometimes called “fixed front” helmets. They have a more conventional style and do not have the flip-up feature. However, they have an external grind mode that offers easy switching from weld mode to grind mode (and back again) with the push of a button or the flip of a switch.

One of the most significant benefits of external grind control is having grind mode without the extra weight of a grinding visor. The Lincoln Electric VIKING 3350 is a prime example of a high-quality auto-darkening helmet with an external grind control.

3. Internal Mode

On welding helmets with internal mode, the button is inside the welding helmet. The internal mode can be frustrating for professional welders trying to optimize productivity by eliminating extra steps in the welding process.

Activating grind mode could require the welder to reach under the helmet to press the button or lift the hood and turn on the grind mode. And if that doesn’t work, the operator may have to remove the helmet, turn on the grind mode, and replace the helmet.

Although some internal mode helmets are designed to be more efficient, most welders find it preferable to have a flip-up or external grind control model.

Advantages of Grind Mode on a Welding Helmet

Auto-darkening welding helmets are arguably the best helmets in the market due to their unique features, such as grind. Here are some of the benefits of having grind mode on a welding helmet:

  • Grinding mode ensures that welders are always fully protected.
  • Grinding mode is easy to use; you turn it on and off with a flip or button within seconds.
  • Grind mode has several features.
  • You cannot forget that you are in grind mode because the helmet alters’ shape when turned on.
  • You do not have to take your helmet off with grind mode before changing from one mode to another.
  • Grind mode uses advanced technological developments.
  • Grind mode allows you to switch modes within 3 seconds.

Disadvantages of Grind Mode on a Helmet

As much as grind mode is gaining popularity, it also has some downsides. Here are some disadvantages of flipping or pressing that button to activate grind mode:

  • Grind mode buttons are prone to jamming, leaving welders exposed to grinding dangers.
  • Grind mode cannot operate minus battery or solar energy because the helmet has an electronic system.