The Handyman's Guide to Improvisation: New Ways to Use Heat Shrink Tubing
If you're into any type of DIY, you've no doubt heard about heat shrink tubing. You probably know that it's the all-purpose wonder to turn to for anything wire or cable related. Thanks to its customized fit and resistance to moisture and chemicals, heat shrink can seal wire splices, harness cables together for easy organization, color-code cords so you can tell them apart, provide much-needed strain relief to cable connectors and even serve as an adhesive-free label on wires.
As you can imagine, heat shrink tubing is most popular with — and widely used by — the technical crowd. But let's not limit ourselves; after all, heat shrink has found many uses in the automotive world as well. Custom car and motorcycle enthusiasts regularly use it to protect the wiring of aftermarket additions. Heatshrink can be employed as a cable and hose overlay, plus add a professional look and colorful "pop" to your engine bay. But that begs the question: what do you do with heat shrink if you're not a mechanic, electrician or network installer?
CableOrganizer® customers provided us with these innovative, heat shrink applications to prove once and for all that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. So read up, get inspired and find out why heat shrink is a must-have for hobbyists, homeowners, handymen — and everyone in between.
One of our customers, who just so happens to work with occupationally impaired children, has told us that heat shrink tubing works extremely well as a pencil grip. Because the children she works with have difficulty with motor skills, many of them write with larger-than-average pencils that can't be fit with standard grips. To make the pencils easier for her students to hold, our customer cuts heat shrink down into shorter lengths, slips the pieces around pencils and shrinks it into place.
LIGHT SWITCH EXTENSIONS
We received a heartwarming product review and innovative suggestion from a customer who is the proud mom of a beautiful, 3-1/2-year-old little girl with dwarfism. As a result of her smaller-than-average stature, our customer's daughter was unable to reach standard light switches on her own. Mom came up with the brilliant idea of using heat shrink to attach extenders (made of wire and rigid plastic tubing) to light switches around the house, making it possible for her daughter to turn the lights on and off all by herself.
CURLING IRON REPAIR
Believe it or not, heat shrink tubing can be just as easily used on your bathroom vanity as it is on your garage workbench. If you're wondering how that could ever be the case, then you've probably never had to repair a broken curling iron handle. When one of our customers found the plastic grip had slipped off the clamp of her curling iron, she knew that she had to find a quick fix or otherwise risk burning her hand on hot metal. Luckily, high temperature heat shrink was standing by and ready to help. The heatshrink helped to replace the grip on her curling iron.
TOOL HANDLE GRIPS
What do you do when your hand tools lose their dipped-plastic handle coating, leaving you with uncomfortable bare metal? We'll say this much: whatever you do, don't throw them away. If the only things that stand between you and shelling out for a new set of tools are comfortable handgrips, then put that wallet away. Save yourself a small fortune by getting your hands on some heat shrink instead.
Heat shrink tubing can easily be shrunk around tool handles to provide comfortable grips that you'll hardly be able to tell apart from the originals. To ensure that they won't budge, we recommend using adhesive-lined heat shrink. It has an interior coating of extremely strong glue that melts when heat is applied. The heatshrink cools to a long-lasting bond after shrinking is complete.
REPAIR YOUR GLASSES
What do you do when the arm of your eyeglasses snaps but you're unable to run to the optometrist for a new pair? If you're in the habit of keeping a heat shrink kit around, you don't have to worry: an extremely effective repair is only seconds away. Just push the broken ends back together, slip a piece of heat shrink tubing around them and shrink it to size. The resulting splice may not be a permanent fix, but it will leave your glasses solid enough to wear comfortably.
IMPROVE THE GRIP ON YOUR PULL-UP AND DIP BARS
If you’re a fitness enthusiast reading this, you’ll appreciate this one. Heat shrink tubing can give you a stronger (and not to mention more comfortable) grip on workout equipment, like pull-up and dip bars. Since the average pull-up or chin-up bar diameter is 1" to 1-1/2", you'll want to go with heat shrink tubing that has a nominal diameter of anywhere from 1-1/2" to 2". Just measure first to make sure that the heat shrink is big enough to fit around the bar, but not so big that it won't fit snugly when shrunk.
One of our livestock-owning customers uses an electrically charged fence to prevent smaller predatory animals (like foxes and dogs) from mixing with and disturbing his cattle. While the fence worked well to keep creatures away, it had the unfortunate habit of shocking any cow unlucky enough to chew on the fence's topmost wire. To prevent his cattle from further injuring themselves, our customer simply slipped heat shrink tubing around the offending wires. He found his livestock is feeling far less electrified these days.
HEAT SHRINK END CAPS ON FURNITURE
The most obvious use for heat shrink end caps is to protect wire splices from moisture and corrosion. What would you say if you could use them to seal the feet of your furniture and protect your floors? We know of a couple whose outdoor furniture set was leaving little rust rings all over their patio. The creative pair purchased some heat shrink end caps and shrunk them right onto the feet of their chairs. Adios, rust rings.
The purpose of this article is to share the creative heat shrink uses invented by our customers, however, CableOrganizer® does not guarantee the safety of any of the above applications; and will not be held liable for any accident, injury or property damage sustained as a result of improper or unorthodox heat shrink use.