How to heat shrink tubing

Heat shrinking tubing is a simple and economical process that allows you to safeguard important electrical wiring, organize cables by color or type and prevent unnecessary abrasion or wear on wire conductors and joints. In a matter of minutes, your loose, hazardous cables can be transformed into an orderly bundle that lasts longer and saves you money.

A heat gun from Master Appliance does just the trick. Even better, you can use an assorted shrink tubing kit for various uses, colors and sizing requirements.

Step 1: Gather wires and wire components

Unplug any and all wires that are to be adjusted and organize them into appropriate bundles for simplicity. Each bundle will form a logical group of cables that are better served as a singular unit as opposed to having several untidy wires. Also note where the conductors, joints, terminals and splits are located, as these components will help determine where tubing will be placed.

Step 2: Determine expanded and recovered diameter size

With a rough estimate in mind, closely inspect what expanded tubing size you’ll need, which should be large enough to neatly fit all wires. Tubing is sold at an unaltered, expanded size that typically contains a small number on its interior – this figure connotes the recovered size, meaning the size the tubing shrinks to when heated.

Step 3: Measure and cut tubing

Based on the above measurements, it’s time to also identify the full length of the tubing you require. The tubing should run the length of the wire that needs to be insulated, or more specifically, the exact location where insulation is most needed. This could be a small 3-inch portion of the cable or a much longer application depending on the desired effect.

Step 4: Fit tubing into place

Slide all necessary wiring into place with the tubing properly fitting around it. Before proceeding, ensure the tubing is not adjusted further or falls out of place due to poor grip.

Step 5: Apply steady heat evenly along length of tubing

Using a heat gun, apply heat at a safe distance between the nozzle and the tubing while rotating the bundle. This creates an even application and helps avoid overheating, melting or electrical damage.

Step 6: Observe and correct minor deformities

Those unfamiliar with heat gun uses may notice tiny deficiencies within the tubing brought on by the heat. These can be seen in the form of small tears, cratering or uneven tubing surfaces, which means the heat wasn’t applied at the proper distance over the entire course of the tube. Another round of heat should help even out these deformities and create a smooth, proper finish that snugly fits all cables.

Step 7: Test for safety and function

If cables are still somewhat loose or perhaps the tubing is weaker on one end than another, the tubing itself can wear down more quickly and leave cables exposed. Check for any immediate signs of unintentional degradation and know where and how the wires are to be stored. Safely stow them away from foot traffic or other high-traffic areas and clearly mark their use, which can be done by selecting a specific tubing color noting as much.

Plug cables back into outlets and record whether any further problems occur. If not, consider it a job well done.

Contact the experts at Master Appliance today for access to the latest heat gun technology. With a multitude of options to choose from, there’s a heat gun that’s perfect for your application.

masterheat Written by: