Heat shrink tubing is a thermoplastic material that is designed to encase wires and cables and act an insulator and protection. There are various heating tools that can be used to shrink the heat shrink tubing. Below, we explore some of the best tools to shrink heat shrink.
How to Shrink Heat Shrink Tubing
Heat shrink products, such as heat shrink tubing, can be easily used to protect wiring and cables in various environments. Based on the type of tubing material, heat is generally applied to shrink the tubing radially around the wires. If heat is applied with long glides, the heat will cause the tubing to form a tight fit.
What Products/Tools Are Best to Use for Shrinking Heat Shrink Tubing?
Hot Air Gun/Heat Gun
Hot air guns are a popular heating tool for those working with heat shrink tubing on a daily basis. This device is designed to provide controlled heat for tubing in small and large spaces. It is a safe and effective tool to use that will not damage the tubing material, wires, and cables.
Butane Micro TorchThe second application choice is with a butane micro torch. This device offers manageable control of the flame to apply the appropriate amount of heat as needed to the heat shrink tubing. It provides a large coverage during the heat application.
A soldering iron is a device that uses heat to melt a metal alloy known as solder to join metal together. With heat shrink tubing, the soldering iron itself is held near the tubing to apply heat for the shrinkage. Be careful: if the iron touches the tubing, however, it can cause serious damage if not destroy the tubing material.
The hot air emitted is not an appropriate temperature to permanently shrink the tubing materials; therefore, we don’t recommend using a hairdryer.
Those working with heat shrink tubing may be tempted to use a lighter to properly shrink the material in tight-fitting spaces. While the lighter can emit sufficient heating temperature, it can also mark the tubing with black soot and/or can damage the material and wires if the flame is held too close.
A blow torch produces a live flame, much like a lighter. The intense heat has to be carefully controlled to shrink tubing to avoid melting the material, wiring, and cables. During use, the blow torch needs to be kept at a distance from materials.
A process heater is a large device that requires substantial space and power to perform. It is designed to emit extreme high temperatures which can work for specific projects using heat shrink tubing.
How Much Heat Can Heat Shrink Tubing Withstand?
Top quality heat shrink tubing offers high temperature resistance in the range of 100°C to 135°C (212°F to 275°F). While polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a commonly used material for heat shrink tubing, the durable polyolefin material is a preferred chose by manufacturers as it has a higher thermal resistance.
Is the “Shrink” Process Reversible?
The shrinking process cannot be reversed. The heat shrink tubing can carefully be removed from wiring and cables if need be by applying small cuts to the tip of the tubing and peeling the material from the wires.
What Should You Use to Shrink the Tube Properly?
A general purpose hot air gun is the top choice to apply the preferred heating range to heat shrink tubing. Having the ability to hold the device with one hand or to have a free-standing option can enhance the use of the hot air gun. A top-quality hot air gun should provide heating temperatures up to 400°C/590°C (750°F/1100°F).
Look for a butane micro torch with an electronic instant ignition system, adjustable flame, and a refillable butane fuel tank. With an efficient free-standing design, the high-quality torch offers an optional flameless soldering head and an optional hot blower and reflector. This heating device offers a maximum temperature release up to 1300°C (2370°F).
Where Can I Buy Heating Tools?
ShrinkShop offers a range of heat shrink tubing accessories including top-quality heating devices. As an online distributor of custom heat shrink printing, Thermafix® Heat Shrinkable Tubing, and adhesive-lined Thermafix® Plus Heat Shrinkable Tubing, we are the one-stop source. Contact us today to buy heat shrinkable tubing and accessories.