How to Apply Heat Shrink Tape

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Heat shrink tape has many uses, ranging from sealing electrical connections to securing delicate parts for shipping. As the name indicates, heat shrink tape shrinks after it is heated, which creates a strong seal between the tape and the surface to which is applied. The heat shrink tape increases in strength after its size has been reduced, due to the compacting of material. Although the heat shrink tape is held in place by shrinking, debris and contaminants have a direct effect on the stability and reliability of the final taped connection.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rags
  • Paint scraper
  • Variable temperature heat gun
  • Roll of heat shrink tape
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Wipe down the surface that is going to receive the heat shrink tape with a clean rag. If you find sharp objects like splinters on wood or spatter on metal, scrape the surface of the material with the paint scraper to smooth out the surface.

  • Plug in the heat tape gun, and set the temperature as recommended by the heat shrink tape manufacturer.

  • Pull the loose end of the heat shrink tape from the roll, and unravel around eight inches of tape from the roll.

  • Place the loose end of heat shrink tape onto the surface to be bonded.

  • Keep pressure on the loose end of the heat shrink tape, and wrap the heat shrink tape around the object. Make sure that the first wrap covers the loose end of the heat shrink tape.

  • Shrink the first layer of heat shrink tape with the heat gun.

  • Allow the tape to cool, and then continue to wrap the heat shrink tape around the object. You can shrink multiple layers if you need a structurally strong tape bond.

  • Cut the end of the heat shrink tape with a pair of sharp scissors. Do not pull and snap the heat shrink tape, as this will reduce the holding strength at the end of the tape.

  • Tear off a piece of masking tape and place it on the end of the heat shrink tape to hold the tape in place.

  • Shrink the final applied layer of heat shrink tape with the heat gun to tighten the tape around the object.

  • Allow the taped area to cool before handling the object, as the retained heat can cause burns.

References

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