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How to heat shrink

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Protect and insulate wire

Of all the things I have in my electronics toolbox, nothing gets my kid more excited than seeing me use heatshrink. The stuff is honestly magic, plus there’s usually fire involved – so bonus.

If you’re unfamiliar, these are plastic tubes you slip over connections that shrink tight when heat is applied. It’s a pro way to keep wires and components from shorting into each other. It’s a real life saver when you’re splicing two wires together and you want that splice to be sealed up like the rest of the wire. You just cut the length you need, slip it on before you solder, and then heat it in place when you’re done, either with a heat gun, a mini butane torch, or even a lighter or soldering iron if you’re in a pinch.

Heat shrink is one of those tools that I totally take for granted until I show it to someone who’s never seen it before and it blows their mind. This 200-piece multipack is a great introduction, through it doesn’t include the really fat 1.5” tubes needed for that Pi enclosure. It works on an Adafruit Trinket though, and for basic wiring you can’t beat the price. I’d pay that much just for the case it comes in.

-- Donald Bell 10/31/17

(Cool Tools has a YouTube channel with many more tool reviews — editors)