What is a Pancake Welding Hood (helmet)?
A Pancake Welding Hood or Welding Helmet is a vital & distinct PPE for pipeliner welders. Pancake Welding Hood are comfortable, lightweight (less than a pound), and easy to use.
The pancake Welding hood offers excellent protection to the welder’s eyes & surrounding area via the balsa box.
What is a Welding Hood (helmet)?
A welding hood or also called a welding helmet is the primary safety PPE for welders that protect the body parts above the neck from welding fumes, heat, UV radiation, and spatters.
Welding hoods must be kept clean, and well maintained, and should be replaced if damaged immediately. A good welding helmet/ hood must have a smooth function and ergonomically for the user. The most used welding hoods by welders are:
- Passive welding hood
- Auto-darkening welding hood
- Pancake welding hood
Auto-darkening helmets have inbuilt sensors & range for black glass shades and suit best for indoor welding activities. The passive welding helmets have a smaller coverage area and do not completely cover the eyes from the surrounding.
Also, auto-darkening helmets will have a very short life if used in outdoor adverse welding conditions (e.g. rainy, snowy, dusty, and high humidity).
Welding hoods are meant to protect the eyes and face of the welder from the heat and injurious rays (Infrared, visible, and ultraviolet) generated by the welding arc. They should be constructed of heat-resisting, non-ignitable material, which is also impervious to the harmful rays. They should be light for convenient use and strong to withstand rough service.
What is a pancake Welding hood or Pancake Welding Helmet?
A Pancake Welding hood or Welding Helmet is a vital & distinct PPE for pipeliner welders. They are comfortable, lightweight (less than a pound), and easy to use. The pancake hood offers excellent protection to the welder’s eyes & surrounding area via the balsa box.
A strap attached to the head keeps it tight to the welder’s head making it very convenient to use. A simple pancake hood is shown in the below picture.
You can see the pancake Welding hood and balsa box with a welding lens in the above picture (this is a right-hand pancake hood). You can buy right hand or left hand as both are easily available in the market. Compared to a passive welding hood, a pancake hood (faceplate) completely covers the welder’s eyes making it a better option when welding under outdoor conditions.
For example, in windy weather or welding overhead, a passive helmet has the risk that dust or spatters can reach the eyes. While if a pancake hood is used, it surely keeps the eyes safe due to the balsa box.
Pancake Welding Hood is available in two types:
- Right-hand Design: For right-handed welders
- Left-Hand Design: For left-handed welders
Pancake Welding hood because of its flat front end like a pancake, give the name pancake hood. The flat surface is made from lightweight, opaque, and fire-resistant materials such as carbon fiber or phenolic or similar materials.
Why do pipeline welders wear Pancake Welding Hoods?
The Pancake Welding Hood is very lightweight, offers a larger protection area for welders, and covers the eyes completely with a balsa box. The pipeliner welder who performs manual stick welding on outdoor piping needs & prefers a welding hood that is lightweight, easy to use, and portable. Pancake Welding Hood offers all these features.
The sides of the Pancake Welding Hood are sufficiently large so as to give protection to the neck and side of the head. Also, high sophisticated auto darkening welding hoods are not a perfect fit for outdoor welding conditions such as dust, rain, and high humidity.
All these conditions will damage the auto-darkening helmet rapidly. The Pancake Welding Hood is best suited for outdoor conditions such as welding cross country pipelines. The Pancake Welding Hood is tightly held by an elastic strap on the welder’s head and ensures smoother operation and minimizes the ergonomic stresses from nodding the hood down with unnecessary force.
The broad front pancake shape face covers a large area that prevents the welder from welding heat, spatters, fumes, and UV radiations. The ergonomic design improves welder arcing time and reduces fatigue.
What is Balsa Box Welding in Pancake Hood?
Balsa is the name of a special wood that is considered hardwood but actually softwood & lightweight with good strength. The Balsa Box can be considered as the heart of the pancake hood. The name comes from the Balsa wood from which the balsa box is made.
Also, the wood is naturally occurring electric & heat insulators making it an ideal hood part that touches the welder skin. So, it is the best safe alternative material. Being opaque, balsa wood prevents any outside welding light or reflection, absorbs any UV light, and prevents glares.
The specially formed balsa wood lens shape fits properly and comfortably on the welder’s face. The softwoods compared to plastic can absorbs sweating during welding making it more comfortable during hot weather.
Custom pipeliner Pancake Welding Hood
You can easily get a customized contour balsa box for welding through online purchase. These customized boxes can be made in varied sizes and dimensions. A good design and good contour reduce the pressure points otherwise that can be painful.
Pancake Welding Hood auto-darkening lens
The Pancake Welding Hood can be fitted with auto-darkening filter glass. Using an auto-darkening lens in the pancake hood is a good option but it must be secured by a clear lens.
ArcOne T240-10 Tradesman Horizontal Auto-Darkening Filter is one of the best available auto-darkening lenses that fit well in almost all types of Pancake Welding hoods available in the market.
We used it in Wendy’s Z Model Pancake hood & it’s really worth trying. This lens does not require any battery as it is solar power recharged. ArcOne Lens can also be used with a pancake hood to perform grinding & cutting tasks. We found amazon reviews where this lens lasted 4 years or more.
Pancake Welding Hood Strap
The Pancake Welding Hood should be fitted with an adjustable band to fit the welder’s head and this band must be made from insulating material.
The strap (band) of a Pancake Welding Hood is a crucial part to ensure the ergonomic fitting. When buying a new Pancake Welding Hood look for the adjustable elastic strap (band) of high quality. As this is going to be the most used part of the hood with daily uses. Buy extra straps if possible.
Most of the Pancake Welding Hoods use a wide adjustable elastic strap that gives complete fit to the head & spread the load for the right balance. Thus, giving a comfortable fit during welding.
Carbon fiber Pancake Welding Hood
The Pancake Welding Hood with its unique lightweight feature uses lightweight materials. Carbon fiber is lightweight and high strength with toughness and is also an ideal material for pancake hood.
Carbon fiber is also good for painting applications. They are lighter compared to the phenolic material hood. The disadvantage of a carbon fiber Pancake Welding Hood is that carbon fiber is an electric conductor. It can get easily damaged due to arc strike with earth or work clamp.
Also, any contact with an electric point could be a potential source of electric shock during use or can cause skin burn. You should not use a carbon fiber Pancake Welding Hood if you are allergic to carbon fiber.
Wendy’s Pancake Welding Hood
Wendy pancake welding hoods are in the market for a long time and are being used by most pipeliners. These hoods are lightweight (less than a pound), available in different colors (Black, white & blue), and are good quality built.
They are available in flip-up style or fixed style and come with one adjustable strap (elastic material) and one sandpaper to allow custom-fitting of the lens glass.
Check out this below best Wendy’s Pancake Welding Hood today.