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Lincoln Viking 3350 "4C" autodark helmet

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Lincoln Viking 3350 "4C" autodark helmet

Postby clavius » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:07 pm

So after hemming and hawing over spending the money for one of these, I made up my mind (while stuck in an airport after my flights home were cancelled...) and pulled the trigger and ordered one. Got it a week or so ago and have just gotten time to make some use of it over the past few days. All I can say is "wow" over what an improvement this thing is over both the cheap autodark and the old passive that I have been using up until now.

Here are the qualifiers:
-I am not a pro, I don't weld for a living, don't spend all day under a hood.
-My experience is limited to the low end (~$70 from my LWS a few years ago) autodark that looks suspiciously similar to the one HF sells and a couple of mid-range passives I've had for maybe 25 years or more.
- I have only used this to run some TIG welds on aluminum and some steel, maybe an hour or so total. So this is mostly a first impressions review.

With that said here are my first impressions:

It is fairly lightweight. I got the basic black one as it was the lowest price and the fancy designs didn't matter to me. It comes with a drawstring storage bag, a couple each of replacement inner and outer clear cover lenses. It also includes a sheet of decals with stuff like Lincoln logos, flames, flags, pinstripes, and some letters so you can spell out your name if you like.

The difference between this thing and the others is almost startling. It activates every time. When it darkens the shade is completely uniform. The large window is awesome, particularly given that I wear bifocals. The "clarity" (sounds like a marketing term, but describes it well) is noticeably better than my others as is the ability to see what's going on with the puddle. There is no noticeable distortion and the veiw is far less green-tinted than is typical.

Beyond the view through the window, the headgear is way nicer that the other two I have and the few others I have used elsewhere. Far more comfortable and much more effective at putting the hood where I want it and keeping it there.

I know this is sort of an unfair comparison given the cost of this compared to my others. I'd expect it to be overall much better. But that is not always the case of course. In this case I was not disappointed with my purchase. I have no idea how this particular one compares to others in the same price class, but I guess my point is that if you are giving any thought to upgrading to one of the newer generation autodarks, DO IT! It really is worth the money even if it seems expensive. Once you have it and use it a few times, the cost will be a distant memory.


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Re: Lincoln Viking 3350 "4C" autodark helmet

Postby Ryan_82 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:21 pm

Not to rain on anyone's parade but I thought I'd share my experience with the viking as well. I recently got one and at first I was blown away by the clarity but that was something that I came to regret not soon afterward. I do weld all day, and the clarity, even with increasing the shade up to 11 and then 12, became too much for me to handle. Eventually, headaches were very common and I began to regret spending so much on a welding helmet. Also very important for me, I always wear a respirator when stick welding, and the 3m one that most welders use didn't fit very well at all under this hood. I mean I could close it, but not all the way, and thus UV light always seeped in, obscuring my view and sometimes burning my neck.

I sold my helmet for about 80 percent of what I got it for and just went back to using the far more comfortable Jackson passive entry model. For only 75.00 dollars on Amazon I was able to get an ADF shade which has four independent sensors, grind mode, sensitivity, delay, shades 8-12 etc... All the bells and whistles but hopefully not such severe clarity that I get headaches. I can also where my respirator again with no problems- something that I also do whenever I'm welding stainless pipe.

I would encourage anyone to try expensive helmets extensively before buying them if at all able. Comfort cannot be overemphasized and I hated the way the Viking felt and the way I couldn't wear my respirator. I'm not paid by Jackson, but they always seem so much more comfortable than other brands.
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Re: Lincoln Viking 3350 "4C" autodark helmet

Postby clavius » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:48 am

You are not raining on anyone's parade. You just used the same tool and and had a different experience. As someone who uses something like this daily to do your job, your requirements are entirely different than mine are. So it's not surprising that you might come to a different conclusion or have a different opinion.

I rarely stick weld these days and when I do it is always outdoors, as is any MIG that I do. I only weld indoors with TIG and when I do that, it is small welds on clean metal, etc. So I never ran into an issue with a respirator. As to the clarity, the ability to see really well is likely a lot more important to me than someone of your experience. I'd guess that a weld you do with your eyes closed probably looks better than most of my better ones.

No question that if you have the chance to use one of these (or any expensive product for that matter) for some extended amount of time before buying one, do it. I didn't and should I find this is not working for me after I've had it for a while, I'll do what you did, sell it and get something else.

We all have preferences, and if the Jacksons are where you seem to always end up, then that is what works for you. I guess that is why there are a bunch of companies all making products that serve the same market. They all have their pluses and minuses and we each decide what we like best.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

*And like you, nobody is paying me for my opinion. I just ordered mine on line and paid what it cost, just like everyone else.
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Re: Lincoln Viking 3350 "4C" autodark helmet

Postby Ryan_82 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:11 pm

I just realized that I'm wearing the viking in my avatar picture :lol:

You make some good points about needing the clarity for lower amp stuff but be careful. Even the thin stuff has hexavalent cromium if its stainless.

Used my new Jackson lens all day to day for the first time and I really loved it. I think one of the biggest differences between the viking and other hoods is that its sort of 'natural' in terms of seeing the arc where others are usually tinted red, green, blue etc... I guess I just prefer that tint over long term exposure.

Glad it's working out for you. These vikings seem to be really catching on these days.
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