If you are a pipeliner who welds pipes in tight spaces, you may have heard of or seen a chop top welding hood. This is a type of welding helmet that has been modified to have a lower profile and a leather top. It is designed to fit easily and protect you from sparks and light while welding.
But what exactly is a chop top welding hood and how can you make your own? How do you choose the best lens for your chop top welding hood? And how do you use and maintain your chop top welding hood properly?
In this blog, we will answer these questions and more. We will show you how to make your own chop top welding hood, how to choose the best lens for your chop top welding hood, and how to use and maintain your chop top welding hood.
By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of why a chop top welding hood is a great choice for pipeliners.
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How to Make Your Own Chop Top Welding Hood?
Making your own chop top welding hood is not very difficult if you have some basic tools and skills. Here are the steps and tools needed to modify a pipeliner helmet into a chop top welding hood:
Choose a pipeliner helmet that you want to modify. A pipeliner helmet is usually made by Fibre-Metal, which has a round shape and a flip-up lens. You can buy one online or at any welding supply store.
Mark the areas that you want to cut off from the bottom part of the helmet. You can use masking tape or chalk to mark the lines. The amount of material that you cut off depends on your preference, but usually it is about an inch or two from each side and from the front.
Cut off the marked areas using a hacksaw or an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade. Be careful not to cut too much or too little, as this will affect the fit and appearance of your hood. You can also use sandpaper or files to smooth out any rough edges after cutting.
Attach a leather top to the hood using rivets or screws. You can buy pre-made leather tops online or at some welding supply stores, or you can make your own using leather scraps or old jackets. The leather should cover any gaps or holes that may let light in through the top of the hood.
Customize your hood with colors or logos if you want. You can use spray paint, stickers, decals, patches, studs, spikes, etc., to add some style and personality to your hood.
Some tips and warnings for making a safe and durable chop top welding hood are:
- Wear gloves, goggles and ear plugs when cutting metal
- Test fit your hood before cutting it
- Use high-quality leather that can withstand heat
- Use aluminum rivets or screws that won’t rust
- Don’t cut too close to the lens holder
- Don’t paint over any safety labels
Advantages of Using a Chop Top Welding Hood
There are several benefits to using a chop top welding hood for pipeline welding:
Lower profile and narrower shape for better maneuverability in tight spaces:
Pipeliners often work in confined areas where a full-size welding helmet may be too bulky or obstructive. A chop top welding hood allows them to move their head more freely without hitting their helmet on anything.
Lightweight and comfortable design for prolonged use:
Welding can be a tiring job, and wearing a heavy helmet for hours on end can be exhausting. A chop top welding hood is lighter and more comfortable to wear, reducing fatigue and improving productivity.
Leather top for added protection against sparks and light:
Welding produces intense heat, bright light, and flying sparks that can cause eye and skin injuries. A chop top welding hood with a leather top provides extra protection against these hazards, reducing the risk of burns and vision damage.
Better visibility and ventilation compared to full-size helmets:
A chop top welding hood offers better peripheral vision and breathability than a full-size welding helmet, allowing the welder to see and breathe more easily while working.
Protection against UV rays and burns:
A chop top welding hood with a proper lens shade can protect the welder’s eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause cataracts and other eye diseases. It can also shield the skin from burns and other thermal injuries.
How to Choose the Best Lens for Your Chop Top Welding Hood?
Choosing the best lens for your chop top welding hood is important because it affects your visibility and eye protection while welding.
There are different types of lenses available for welding helmets such as fixed shade lenses variable shade lenses ,and auto-darkening lenses . Each type has its pros and cons for chop top welding hoods.
Fixed shade lenses are lenses that have one fixed level of darkness regardless of how bright or dark it is when you weld. They are usually cheaper than other types of lenses but they require manual adjustment depending on what type of arc (MIG,TIG,SMAW)you’re using.
Variable shade lenses are lenses that have different levels of darkness depending on how bright or dark it is when you weld.
They automatically adjust themselves according to what type arc (MIG,TIG,SMAW) you’re using.They are more expensive than fixed shade lenses but they offer more convenience flexibility.
Auto-darkening lenses are lenses that have sensors that detect when an arc starts then darken automatically within milliseconds.
They also adjust themselves according to what type arc (MIG,TIG,SMAW)you’re using.They are more expensive than variable shade lenses but they offer more comfort safety.
The Pros Cons Each Type Lens For Chop Top Hoods Are:
Fixed shade lenses:
- Manual adjustment required
- Limited visibility when not welding
- Possible eye strain fatigue
Variable shade lenses:
- Automatic adjustment
- Better visibility
- More expensive
- More complex
- Possible Malfunction Or Delay
- Most comfortable
- Most safe
- Most convenient
- Most expensive
- Most fragile
- Require batteries or solar power
The best lens for your chop top welding hood depends on your personal preference, budget and working conditions.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Lens for Your Chop Top Welding Hood
However, some general factors to consider when choosing a lens for your chop top welding hood are:
You want a lens that gives you a clear and accurate view of the arc and the puddle without any distortion or blurriness.
A good way to measure clarity is by looking at the optical class rating of the lens, which ranges from 1 (best) to 3 (worst). The higher the rating, the better the clarity.
You want a lens that fits well with your chop top welding hood and does not cause any eye strain or fatigue.
A good way to measure comfort is by looking at the weight and size of the lens, as well as how easy it is to adjust or replace. The lighter and smaller the lens, the more comfortable it is.
You want a lens that has a long battery life or does not require batteries at all. A good way to measure battery life is by looking at how long it takes for the lens to switch from light to dark and back again, as well as how long it can last on standby mode. The faster and longer the battery life, the better.
You want a lens that fits your budget and offers good value for money. A good way to measure cost is by looking at how much you are willing to spend on a lens and how often you need to replace it. The cheaper and more durable the lens, the better.
Some Examples Of Best Lenses For Chop Top Welding Hoods Are:
Miller Electric Auto-Darkening Lens:
This is a high-quality auto-darkening lens that has an optical class rating of 1/1/1/2 and variable shade ranges from 8 to 13.
It has a fast switching speed of 0.08 milliseconds and a long battery life of up to 3 years. It also has four arc sensors that ensure reliable performance in any position.
- Fast darkening and lightening: The auto darkening lens of this welding hood is very fast to darken and lighten when welding, providing clear visibility of the welding area.
- Suitable for various welding types: The lens can be used for TIG and stick welding, making it versatile and suitable for a variety of welding applications.
- Durable: According to several reviewers, this welding hood is durable and can withstand heavy usage, making it a reliable tool for professional welders.
- Good value for money: Many users have found this welding hood to be a good value for money, offering reliable auto darkening functionality at an affordable price.
Lincoln Electric C-Series Lens:
This is another high-quality auto-darkening lens that has an optical class rating of 1/1/1/2 and variable shade ranges from 8 to 13.
It has a fast-switching speed of 0.04 milliseconds and a long battery life of up to 5 years. It also has two arc sensors that provide consistent performance in low-light conditions.
- Crystal clear view: The lens technology used in this product provides a crystal clear view of the welding arc and puddle, allowing for greater precision and accuracy in welding.
- Broadened color range: The exclusive Liquid crystal lens broadens the color range and hues that can be seen in both light and dark states, enabling welders to see more details and better distinguish between different materials.
- True color view: The lens eliminates color saturation, providing a true color view of the welding area that enhances the welder’s ability to detect imperfections and inconsistencies.
- Reduced eye strain: The lens technology helps reduce eye strain, enabling welders to work comfortably for extended periods without experiencing discomfort or fatigue. Additionally, the consistent performance of the lens minimizes blurriness and distortion, ensuring that welders can maintain focus on their work.
Optrel BO20 Lens:
This is an innovative auto-darkening lens that has an optical class rating of 1/1/1/2 and variable shade ranges from 4 to 13.
It has a fast switching speed of less than 0.01 milliseconds and a solar-powered battery that never needs replacing. It also has three arc sensors that adapt automatically to different welding situations.
- Solar-powered: This welding helmet is powered by solar energy, eliminating the need for batteries or external power sources and making it more environmentally friendly.
- Self-recharging accumulators: The internal accumulators recharge themselves during welding, ensuring that the helmet always has the required energy to operate.
- Retrofit table: The helmet is designed to fit most competitive 2″ x 4 1/4″ openings, making it easy to retrofit onto existing welding tables or helmets.
- Cost-effective: The solar-powered design of this welding helmet eliminates the need for costly battery replacements, resulting in long-term cost savings for welders.
How to Use and Maintain Your Chop Top Welding Hood?
Using your chop top welding hood properly will ensure your safety and efficiency while welding pipes in tight spaces. Maintaining your chop top welding hood properly will extend its lifespan and performance.
Here are some best practices for using your chop top welding hood safely effectively:
You want your chop top welding hood fit snugly but comfortably on your head without any gaps or loose parts.
You can adjust fit by using straps,ratchets,pads,screws etc.,depending on type helmet.You should also check fit before after each use make sure nothing changed damaged.
Wearing eye protection:
You want wear proper eye protection under over your chop top welding hood prevent any damage radiation light.
You can wear safety glasses,goggles prescription glasses depending type helmet.However,you should avoid wearing contact lenses they may dry out irritate eyes while welding.
You want check condition your chop top welding hood regularly especially before after each use look any cracks,chips,dents,burns etc.,that may affect its function appearance.
You should also check condition leather top,lens,battery etc.replace them necessary.
Here are some ways clean store your chop top welding hood properly:
Cleaning dust dirt:
You want clean dust dirt off your chop top welding hood using soft cloth dampened water mild soap.You should avoid using harsh chemicals abrasives they may scratch damage surface.
You should also dry off completely before storing avoid moisture buildup.
Cleaning spatter slag :
You want to clean spatter and slag off your chop top welding hood using a hammer and chisel, a wire brush, a grinder or a sandpaper.
You should be careful not to damage the lens or the leather top while cleaning. You should also use anti-spatter sprays, gels or tapes before welding to prevent spatter from sticking in the first place.
You want to store your chop top welding hood properly in a cool, dry and clean place. You should avoid exposing it to moisture, heat, dust or chemicals that may corrode or degrade it.
You should also keep it in a protective bag or case that can prevent any scratches or dents.
A chop top welding hood is a type of welding helmet that has been modified to have a lower profile and a leather top. It is popular among pipeliners who weld pipes in tight spaces and need a hood that can fit easily and protect them from sparks and light.
A chop top welding hood offers several benefits for pipeliners such as better visibility, ventilation and comfort. However, it also has some drawbacks such as less coverage, safety standards compliance and compatibility with other PPE.
To make your own chop top welding hood you need some basic tools and skills to cut off some material from a pipeliner helmet and attach a leather top to it. You can also customize your hood with colors or logos if you want.
To choose the best lens for your chop top welding hood you need to consider some factors such as clarity, comfort, battery life and cost. There are different types of lenses available such as fixed shade lenses variable shade lenses ,and auto-darkening lenses . Each type has its pros cons for chop top hoods.
To use maintain your chop top welding hood properly you need follow some best practices such as adjusting fit,wearing eye protection checking condition regularly.You also need clean store your hood properly using soft cloth,dampened water mild soap protective bag case.
We hope this blog has helped you understand what is a chop top welding hood how can you make use one. We invite you share your feedback questions about chop top hoods comment section below.Happy Welding!
THE TEAM THAT WORKED ON THIS REVIEW
Hi, I’m Andrew Miller — a certified welding expert and instructor based in Long Island, NY.
With over three decades in the industry, I’m passionate about combining theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience to train the next generation of skilled welders.
I specialize in all forms of arc welding, including GMAW, GTAW, GMAW, FCAW & SAW. But my experience isn’t limited to just those—I’m also knowledgeable in oxyfuel gas welding and plasma arc cutting.
My years as a welding inspector and supervisor have honed my ability to ensure the highest standards in welding quality and safety, making me adept at executing and overseeing complex welding operations.
You can find more information about me on my website, weldingzilla.com, or connect with me on LinkedIn.