A pancake hood is a crucial tool specially for pipeline welders. It protects welders eyes from external welding waste as well as from harmful fumes. In this guide we will talk on how to choose a best quality pancake welding helmet for welding projects.

In this guide I will discuss pancake hood, its features and the processes you can follow to make one yourself. 

So lets start-

choosing pancake hoods
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Elements of a pancake hood

1. Balsa box

Balsa box is a face shaped wooden box that fits the eye area. It is stationed at the back of the pancake hood. The whole body of a hood is attached to the balsa box and. A lens is attached to the front of the balsa box through which welders see the welding work. 

2. Round shaped body

The shape of the body of the pancake hood is round. It can be of plastic, carbon fiber or metal based on the requirements for instance durability and strength. The body is the front part of the pancake hood and it is exposed to the external environment.

A tin shield is attached to it. The shield is used either at the right or left side of the hood. The purpose of the shield is to protect the welder’s ear and face from welding puddles and sparks. 

3. Straps Of Pancake Hoods

Elastic straps are typically used for homemade pancake hoods. There are two hooks at the both end of a strap. Both ends hold the balsa box, providing a secure fit around the head. And the balsa box is glued or pinned to the front shield for better hold.

VELCRO pancake hood strap
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VELCRO Strap
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UONIKA strap
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UONIKA Strap
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WENDY'S strap
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WENDY’S Black Strap
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Sarge's strap
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Sarge’s Strap
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4. Lens Of Pancake Hood

The auto-darkening lens is the best choice if you are thinking about building a pancake hood or replacing the existing one. Auto-darkening lens has a layer of the liquid crystal inside connected to the photovoltaic panel on top of the lens.

When you start welding, the light from the spark generates enough charge to reorient the liquid crystals inside the lens and make it look darker. And when you stop welding, it goes back to a semi transparent state.

The lens getting dark back and forth protects against harmful UV and IR protection all the time. This auto-darkening feature lets the welder see the weld pool directly which is not possible without the lens.

Why Do Welders Use Pancake Hoods

In terms of raw protection, a pancake hood delivers protection just like any other type of hood. This hood prevents the sparks from hitting the welder’s face.

Additionally, a special lens is used on the hole for welders to look through. This lens protects the eye from harmful UV rays generated through welding.

A pancake hood brings some extra advantages to the table, and that’s why it’s so popular among welders. For beginners, despite the wider protection area, pancake hoods are pretty lightweight compared to other counterparts.

Then the wooden balsa box also plays a great role to make up for a comfortable and glare-free visual experience while welding. Lastly, the pancake hood also features a shield for the hand you hold the hood with.

With all these benefits combined, pancake hoods have always been top of the welder’s favorite list.

How do I choose a pancake welding hood?

Choosing the right pancake welding hood is essential for both safety and comfort during welding tasks. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a pancake welding hood:

  1. Safety Standards: Ensure that the welding hood meets safety standards and regulations. Look for hoods that comply with industry standards to guarantee protection against sparks, heat, and UV radiation.
  2. Lens Shade: Consider the lens shade or filter of the hood. Different welding processes require specific shades to protect your eyes from the brightness of the welding arc. Verify that the hood allows for easy adjustment of the lens shade to accommodate various welding applications.
  3. Material and Durability: Evaluate the construction material of the hood. opt for a durable shell made from heat-resistant materials that can withstand the rigors of welding environments. Lightweight materials can enhance comfort during prolonged use.
  4. Fit and Comfort: A well-fitting hood is crucial for comfort and safety. Look for adjustable headgear and straps to customize the fit according to your head size and shape. A comfortable hood allows you to work for extended periods without strain.
  5. Visibility and Clarity: Check the clarity of the lens. High-quality lenses offer better visibility, reducing eye strain and fatigue. Some hoods come with features like anti-fog coatings to maintain clear vision during extended welding sessions.
  6. Auto-Darkening Feature: Consider an auto-darkening lens feature. This technology automatically adjusts the lens shade in response to the welding arc, providing optimal protection while allowing you to see clearly when not welding.
  7. Brand and Reviews: Research reputable brands and read reviews from other welders. This can provide insights into the durability, performance, and overall satisfaction of a specific pancake welding hood.
  8. Budget: Determine your budget range, keeping in mind that a high-quality welding hood is an investment in your safety. While cost is a factor, prioritize features and performance over the price alone.
  9. Ease of Use: Look for hoods with user-friendly features, such as easy-to-adjust settings and a convenient flip-up design for tasks that don’t require constant welding.

What Are Pancake Hoods Used For

If I have to pick one particular project where pancake hoods are mostly used, it must be pipeline welding projects. Pipes are used to transport gas, electricity lines, water, and other daily utilities. There can be leakages or necessity of welding on pipelines. 

As you can assume, these long pipelines take hours of welding to complete the project. So pipeline welders need comfort and flexibility to continue the prolonged welding job.

Pipeliner hood or pancake welding hoods help in this case. It comes with an auto lens and eye protection balsa box that provides both comfort and protection at the same time.

Besides, a pancake hood allows you to put it off anytime you want. Which is not that easy  in other traditional hoods and helmets.  

Additionally there is a seal around eyes side of the hood, which prevents lights reflection and protects your eyes.

Benefits of Pancake Hoods

  • The pancake welding hood has a low-profile and compact design, providing a lightweight and less cumbersome option compared to bulkier welding helmets.
  • Pancake hoods often feature a large, clear lens that offers excellent visibility of the welding area.
  • Pancake welding hoods come with adjustable headgear and straps, enabling a customizable and comfortable fit for various head sizes and shapes.
  • The streamlined design of pancake hoods allows welders to move head easily.
  • Pancake hoods are suitable for various welding processes, making them versatile for different applications.
  • Some pancake welding hoods come with a flip-up design, allowing welders to easily lift the front portion of the hood without removing the entire helmet.
  • Many pancake hoods are equipped with auto-darkening lenses that automatically adjust the shade level in response to the welding arc.
  • Pancake hoods are often constructed from durable and heat-resistant materials, ensuring longevity in demanding welding environments.
  • The lightweight nature of pancake hoods, coupled with their compact design, helps minimize neck strain.
  • Pancake welding hoods are often more cost-effective compared to larger, more complex welding helmets.

Drawbacks

  • Some welders may find that the smaller size of pancake hoods exposes more of their head and neck to ambient heat in the welding environment.
  • Pancake hoods focus primarily on eye and face protection, providing minimal coverage for the respiratory system. Welders working in environments with hazardous fumes or particulates may need additional respiratory protection.
  • In some conditions, pancake hoods might be more prone to lens fogging, especially while welding in humid environment.
  • For specialized welding tasks that require additional features or accessories, such as a grinding shield or a wider field of view, pancake hoods may be less versatile in this case.

Conclusion

Pancake hoods are an alternative to welding helmets. Where welders need to work for a long period, pancake hood can make it easy and comfortable. It is important to choose a better quality welding hood because safety is first. So choose a good pancake hood and start the work. Hopefully you will enjoy the welding as you have less load on your head.

 

 

Maidul Islam

I am Maidul Shakil and am a welder for more that 6 years. Welding metals and joining them is my hobby and passion. I have learnt all welding techniques, safety issues, fabrication process and rigging from SUNY Westchester Community College . I am now trying to teach beginners about welding to encourage them to come to the field.

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