I got a welder like your Hobart. Itís the Hobart Auto Arc 130 uses 115 volt and below the Amazon link shows the helmet that auto darkens I use with it.
I started out at darkest and then retry after very small incremental adjustment so I could see better, not the other way around.
Prior I rented time using both TIG an MIG and did mostly TIG with a helmet I could only see about 2 inches around the arc which had me welding wrong spots a lot. Holding the tungsten arc and filler rod using both hands and a foot pedal for on the fly adjust of current.
I'm glad I have seen what you have started out doing, I can't wait to try using the both with the AR/CO2 and the Flux to see what can be done. I read that the flux allows for thicker weld than the gas but is neater without as much as chip and wire wheel cleaning.
Airgas had the best price for a small tank I think of 20cf but check around as 30% savings is worth it. HF had a tank but having some place fill it they get particular and so I got the tank where I'll be filling it and they do all the maintenance on the tank. You buy it, but when you get a fill you get a different tank swap.
The gas conversion kit is now 30% more now, but last summer I got it for $94 and then went to Airgas and got a spool adapter to use big rolls.
I take the tension off the wire when not in use by swinging the thing that presses down the drive wheel out sideways. I would think an impression cold deform the wheel so this is an easy way to prevent that.
Great you are practicing I hope to do as well starting out.