Heat shrink tubing is one of the most commonly used products in the electrical and mechanical industry, as well as in many other related fields. By using custom cut heat shrink tubing, wires, cables, and products can be better protected from damage as well as be more easily identifiable. Continue reading our heat shrink tubing FAQs to learn everything you need to know.
How Does Heat Shrink Tubing Work?
Heat shrink tubing produces a protective layer around wires, cables, or connections. It is designed to form a seal by shrinking in diameter for a tight fit when heated.
What Is Heat Shrink Tubing Used For?
Heat shrink tubing is used as an electrical insulator, protective covering, strain reliever, wire organizer, and wire identifier. It is commonly used to bundle wires or repair wire insulation coverings. By using color-coded heat shrink tubing or custom-printed heat shrink tubing, you can also label wiring for easy identification.
How Do I Choose a Heat Shrink Tubing Size & Design?
Choose heat shrink tubing in accordance with the size and design of the object to be wrapped. Tubing is categorized by its shrink ratio. The shrink ratio refers to the width of the present tube size and it’s potential size once it has been shrunk. For example, a 2-1 ratio means the heat shrink will shrink to half its diameter.
The length of the heat shrink tubing changes minimally.
What Are the Most Popular Heat Shrink Tubing Materials?
Polyolefin is one of the most commonly used materials for heat shrink tubing. This durable flame-resistant material can withstand temperatures up to 135°C or 275°F. With a high temperature threshold, polyolefin retains its flexibility and watertight fitting to protect against abrasion, moisture, chemicals, and debris.
Polyvinyl chloride, referred to as PVC, is sometimes used but is not recommended by ShrinkShop due to its lower quality and potentially toxic off gassing when heated. It should be noted PVC cannot withstand high temperatures as it holds a maximum threshold of 105°C.
What Are Some Common Heat Shrink Ratios?
Our most common shrink ratios are 2:1, 3:1, and 4:1. A shrink ratio of 2:1 has the tubing sized at one-half of the original size when heated. A 3:1 ratio means the original tubing will shrink one-third of the size once heated. A 4:1 ratio means the tubing will be one-quarter of its original size when heated.
How Do I Use Custom Cut & Printed Heat Shrink Tubing?
Once you have the proper size of a custom cut & printed heat shrink tubing, slide the tubing over the wiring, or product. Select the largest diameter that will give a snug fit when heated. Using a heating device, move the heat along the length of the tubing in a back-and-forth motion. The wiring should be continuously rotated to disperse the heat evenly. Allow for the tubing to cool before handling.
Can I Cut Heat Shrink Tubing?
Yes, our heat shrink tubing can be cut at the ends or be shortened to your desired length.
Is Heat Shrink Tubing Flexible?
Regular 2:1 and 3:1 heat shrink is very flexible to allow for placement in awkward spaces. Adhesive lined and thicker wall heat shrink for heavy duty applications is more rigid.
Is the Installation of Custom Cut & Printed Heat Shrink Tubing Difficult?
No. The material and design of ShrinkShop’s heat shrink tubing provides easy installation.
Do I Need to Use Heat Shrink Machinery to Install Heat Shrink Tubing?
No. Our specially designed heat shrink tubing can be used without the need for exclusive machinery, although we recommend using a heat gun.
At What Temperature Does Heat Shrink Tubing Shrink?
Depending on the type of material, heat shrink tubing can withstand low to high temperature thresholds. At ShrinkShop, we use polyolefin material to ensure usage in most electrical and mechanical environments. Our heat shrink tubing shrinks at approximately 90°C.
How Do I Use Heat Shrink Tubing?
A number of heating devices can be used to shrink heat shrink tubing to its final size. We recommend using a heat gun where there is access to electricity. Outdoors a small butane torch, or a lighter is usually used
Will a Hair Dryer Work on Heat Shrink Tubing?
Not really. While it may eventually cause the tubing to shrink, it will take much longer because it’s really not hot enough, especially when used on dual wall (adhesive lined) heat shrink
Can I Use a Lighter on Heat Shrink Tubing?
A lighter may be used for small diameter tubes and for small projects. Using an open flame should be done with care and caution. Although the tubing itself is designed to be flame retardant, the wires themselves are not.
Is Heat Shrink Tubing an Insulator?
Yes. One of the benefits of using ShrinkShop heat shrink tubing is having a durable insulator as well as a protector of your wiring or cabling products. In addition to insulating wires, the heat shrink can also be used to repair wire insulation. The tubing is certified by electrical safety authorities such as UL for use with up to 600 volts AC.
Is Heat Shrink Tubing Waterproof?
Yes, our single wall, standard heat shrink tubing is weather-resistant. For additional moisture and corrosive elements, consider dual wall, adhesive lined heat shrink tubing. By providing a secure barrier, the tubing can prevent moisture, environmental weather conditions, and fluids from damaging the inner wiring.
How Do I Remove Heat Shrink Tubing?
If the heat shrink tubing needs removal, we recommend using fine thin pliers. Locate the end of the tubing and pull away from the wire connector. Use a blade to gently rip the tubing off, avoiding cutting the underlying wiring.
Where Can I Buy Custom Cut & Printed Heat Shrink Tubing?
As the leading online supplier of Thermafix® and Thermafix® Plus heat shrinkable tubing, ShrinkShop is the best source for heat shrink tubing and accessories. Our friendly and knowledgeable team can quickly produce and ship your order across North America.