My welding is not great. On things like the footpeg (thick steel, over 100A and 1.5mm rods) I can get something strong and reasonably good looking with my ancient ac transformer. One thing that has improved matters is to change out the original 1980s plastic shade for a properly marked glass one.
The original lump of plastic is incredibly dark and a 100A arc looks like a green glow worm through it. You can't see any of the parts you are trying to weld, particularly with the rod being between you and the arc light. I got three types, 9,10 &11. 11 seems quite safe on a sunny day with the very intermittent use I give it (1 hour per year!). 10 gives much more visibility, but I'd rather protect my eyes.
You can't see much without the arc with an 11, but once it strikes, it's a lot easier. With a 9 you can just see the parts in strong summer daylight, so I'm not using that one for now. I have seen some really dangerous welding in some far-flung parts of the world and they don't know the danger.
Any thoughts on welding shades for what I'm typically doing?