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Introduction

Use this guide to learn how to use heat shrink tubing to repair frayed sheathing on a wire or cable.

  1. Measure the diameter of the wire, and then choose a piece of heat shrink that will be large enough to slide onto the wire before heating but will still provide a snug fit once heated. The shrunken diameter should be slightly smaller than the wire's diameter to ensure a tight fit.
    • Measure the diameter of the wire, and then choose a piece of heat shrink that will be large enough to slide onto the wire before heating but will still provide a snug fit once heated. The shrunken diameter should be slightly smaller than the wire's diameter to ensure a tight fit.

    • Heat shrink tubing has a shrink ratio that dictates how much the tubing will shrink once heated, so it's important to choose the right ratio for the job. For example, a length of 2:1 ratio tubing with a diameter of 2 mm will shrink to a diameter of 1 mm.

  2. Measure a length of heat shrink tubing that is slightly longer than the damaged section of wire. Most heat shrink tubing will also shrink longitudinally (around 5-15%), so be sure to give yourself enough tubing to cover the exposed area after heating.
    • Measure a length of heat shrink tubing that is slightly longer than the damaged section of wire.

    • Most heat shrink tubing will also shrink longitudinally (around 5-15%), so be sure to give yourself enough tubing to cover the exposed area after heating.

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  4. Use a pair of scissors to cut the tubing to the appropriate length.
    • Use a pair of scissors to cut the tubing to the appropriate length.

  5. Slide the tubing onto the wire so that it covers the damaged/exposed section. Slide the tubing onto the wire so that it covers the damaged/exposed section.
    • Slide the tubing onto the wire so that it covers the damaged/exposed section.

  6. Use a heat gun to shrink the tubing. Keep the heat gun moving back and forth along the length of tubing, as staying in one place can damage the wire even further. Continue heating the tubing until it is tightly secured to the wire.
    • Use a heat gun to shrink the tubing.

    • Keep the heat gun moving back and forth along the length of tubing, as staying in one place can damage the wire even further.

    • Continue heating the tubing until it is tightly secured to the wire.

Finish Line

26 other people completed this guide.

Geoff Wacker

Member since: 09/30/2013

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89 Guides authored

5 Comments

I find that using a rectangular, one-sided razor blade instead of scissors makes for straighter/cleaner ends, especially vs. larger diameter tubing.

Michal Kotelba - Reply

If I don’t have a heat gun, what can I use?

Commandblock6417 - Reply

Some alternate heat sources for heat-shrink tubing:

* Soldering iron. Hold the iron close to, but not touching the wrap. You may have to apply heat to multiple sides of the wrap, as the convection may not evenly reach all sides of the wrap.

* Cigarette lighter or candle flame. Not a great solution, but works if no better sources are available. If you let the flame touch the wrap, you can end up with soot depsoited on it. Soot will wipe off easily, but it is easy to burn the wrap and wire, even setting the insulation on fire, if you are careless and let the flame sit too long in one spot or for too long.

Ed Eaglehouse - Reply

I want to repair a wire but it is attached to a hefty plug one end, and adapter at the other, and the heat shrink I’ve got won’t fit over these. Any suggestions?

Freya Wilson - Reply

@Freya Wilson

You may have to cut off one of those connections and replace it with a new one after adding heat shrink to the wires.

Vladislav - Reply

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