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Gear / Technical Help => Cables => Topic started by: ThePiedPiper on August 27, 2019, 12:11:21 PM

Title: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: ThePiedPiper on August 27, 2019, 12:11:21 PM
I have a quick question for the cable builders on here. I purchased my son a heat gun to build/repair guitar cables, and hopefully to help me with some mic repairs as well.

The heat gun I purchased is this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X4SMRQ

Is that overkill for cables?  Should I get something like a heat pen (smaller) instead, something like this ...

https://www.amazon.com/ZeopoCase-Portable-Embossing-Wrapping-Electrical/dp/B073RK2M2Y

If not either of these, what is recommended?

Follow-up (bonus) questions:

1- Is there a shield or heat deflector that is commonly used when heat shrink tubing near capsules to keep the capsules from getting too much heat?
2- On a separate topic I discussed TechFlex sleeves, which I like a lot, but they do hinder with the flexibility of the cable. Is there something that is a little thinner and a lot more flexible available for cable protection? I was wondering about the actual clothe braided cables that you sometimes see on headphones ... is that an option?

THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Moke on August 27, 2019, 04:17:58 PM
that looks like fine tool.

mine: (https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/productImages/1000/91/91432ddd-b27c-4303-a874-0d1e05f3f13a_1000.jpg)
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: voltronic on August 27, 2019, 06:43:04 PM
I use a big, heavy-duty Wagner gun for my cable projects, but very carefully on the LOW setting.  I recommend that whatever you get, it have a dual-temp control just in case the one fixed temp is too high.  You can very quickly go from shrunk tubing to burnt tubing and wire insulation.

I don't have a recommendation for a thinner Techflex, but can tell you that it also will melt easily if you leave a heat gun on it too long.  I find the thinner diameters of it to be quite flexible.
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: ThePiedPiper on August 27, 2019, 08:25:27 PM
I use a big, heavy-duty Wagner gun for my cable projects, but very carefully on the LOW setting.  I recommend that whatever you get, it have a dual-temp control just in case the one fixed temp is too high.  You can very quickly go from shrunk tubing to burnt tubing and wire insulation.

I don't have a recommendation for a thinner Techflex, but can tell you that it also will melt easily if you leave a heat gun on it too long.  I find the thinner diameters of it to be quite flexible.

Thank you for the knowledge!
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: old and in the way on August 28, 2019, 06:06:10 PM
https://www.amazon.com/ZeopoCase-Portable-Embossing-Wrapping-Electrical/dp/B073RK2M2Y/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_469_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V9XY7WGY9KE61RV6MPW4 this is kinda what i use
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Perry on October 16, 2019, 02:57:08 PM
Many SMT soldering stations have an infinitely variable heat gun with attachments to focus the airflow. This is handy for heat-shrink tubing on delicate cables like Mogami multi-core stuff. I have this one, couldn't be happier with it. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QIGJSF8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QIGJSF8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Gutbucket on October 16, 2019, 04:40:26 PM
As long as you and your son are only making guitar/microphone cables occasionally, a repurposed hair drier typically works fine, can usually be rounded up for free, and is unlikely to damage anything.  I'd suggest a heat-knife first to get a clean non-fraying cut on the Techflex rather than using scissors to cut it.  But as long as you aren't doing lots of this work and plan to secure the cut ends under heat-shrink, scissors work fine too.

Helps to be able to place the heat gun so that you don't have to hold it, instead holding the wires and heat-shrink in place and moving that assembly into/out-of the stream of hot air to modulate how much heat is applied and where.  IME, you shouldn't need a heat-shield for microphone capsules as long as you are careful to direct the hot air on to the heat-shrink only rather than the capsule, as the air temperature drops rapidly outside the collimated air stream.  I find I more often need to use some kind of heat-sink when soldering to limit heat-conductance from the work-area through the wire to plastic bits and electrical components.

IME, standard expanding Techflex is plenty flexible, often far more so than the wire(s) it covers. The side-entry slitted-down-one-side style of Techflex is not quite as flexible, nor as uniformly so, but is easier to reconfigure when necessary.  That kind should be cut with a hot-knife as you can't heat shrink the ends and retain side-entry re-thread ability.  I've not had much hands-on experience with the side-entry type.

FYI, I'll be posting about the small diameter 1/8" and 1/4" F6 quiet I just received yesterday to repair some integrated mic cables that have crumbling jackets and make some wiring harnesses.  It's made from standard Techflex weave material, but the threads have a softer feel to it and produce less abrasion noise.
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: spyder9 on November 12, 2019, 11:57:29 PM
I use a hair dryer. lol
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: DavidPuddy on November 13, 2019, 09:34:42 AM
Harbor freight sells them for less than ten bucks
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Gutbucket on November 19, 2019, 11:52:46 AM
Just re-did some cables before last weekend.

Although in the post above I recommended a hot-knife to cut techflex to avoid fraying (which is the standard recommendation), I don't actually use one myself.    A hot-knife cut does prevent fraying, yet also prevents the weave from expanding fully.  Instead, I generally either cover the cut end with heat-shrink if its a permanent arrangement, or invert the cut end so that it is turned inside of it itself around the cable.   That does flute the end out a bit sort of like the bell of a clarinet, but makes for a smooth termination and allows for reconfiguring as required.  Very useful for reconfigurable snakes with multiple cables running through a section of techflex.

Below are a couple photos of 1/8" nominal diameter Techflex F6 "Quiet" used as protective over-sleeve repair for a failing/flaking cable jacket of a DPA 4060 microphone, with the ends inverted.   This method does not anchor the techflex in place to the cable like heatshrink will.  The sheathing stays in place, but the mic cable can still be be slid in and out of it.
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Gutbucket on November 19, 2019, 11:54:58 AM
Heat-gun applied heat shrink as strain relief and channel indication bands on a newly soldered microdot Y adapter-
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Perry on November 19, 2019, 02:10:09 PM
Heat-gun applied heat shrink as strain relief and channel indication bands on a newly soldered microdot Y adapter-
Nice looking work. I use red and white shrink tubing to identify channels.
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: Gutbucket on November 19, 2019, 03:15:49 PM
Had only black here, yet works well enough for ID by eye or feel, with one band on the connector and another on the cable.
Title: Re: Heat Guns for cable building
Post by: voltronic on November 19, 2019, 05:52:11 PM
I have a dual-temp Wagner heat gun that I also use for starting the pellet smoker.  This is one of those that you could use to strip paint if you were so inclined.

I have learned the hard way to only use the LOW setting for shrinking cables, unless you are VERY careful to move the cable assembly in and out quickly.  The high setting easily melts Techflex as well.