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Standard heat shrink tubing is pretty handy stuff, and the addition of an adhesive lining can make it even more so. Typically made from cross-linked polyolefin, which is stronger than PVC and does not burn like PVC, this tubing, with its heat-activated adhesive, provides a tight seal against water, oils, acids, and sunlight. The tubing’s major markets are marine, RVs, and campers, but I like it as a general-purpose heat shrink because of the better seal.

The main suppliers are Ancor, 3M™, and Raychem (Tyco).

Depending on diameter, length, and number of pieces, packages of adhesive-lined heat shrink tubing cost $2 to $39. Kits with a variety of sizes and colors are , also.

I suppose you could approximate the results using standard heat shrink with a subsequent coating from a hot-glue gun, but using the adhesive-lined tubing is much quicker and likely results in a better seal. What do you Toolmongers think?

Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink Tubing [Manufacturer’s Site – Ancor]
3M™ Dual Wall Tubing [Manufacturer’s Site – 3M™]
Raychem Heat Shrink Tubing [Manufacturer’s Site – Tyco]
Ancor Marine Grade Electrical Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink Tubing Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Ancor Street Pricing [Google products]

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10 Responses to Adhesive-Lined Heat Shrink Tubing

  1. Gil says:

    Must… have… NOW!

  2. Eli says:

    The adhesive lined heatshrink that is sold where I work also shrinks 3:1, whereas the standard heatshrink we have is just 2:1.

    I use this on my jeep, and also on RF connectors.

  3. Dan says:

    Yah, this is good stuff. I used it on a boat. The down side is, of course, it is kinda hard to remove.

  4. Ross says:

    When you need it there isn’t really a good alternative but some of the self fusing tapes can come close. Typically one applies a “normal” electrical tape like 3M 88 or 33+ followed by the fusing tape. Finally friction tape can be applied over the top to protect the connection.

    At times the 3:1 shrink is also a very important feature.

  5. rg says:

    I’ve used the stuff that Eli described to seal Amphenol military type connectors on data cables for well service rigs. Before that, the connectors would constantly get broken because the workers would turn the wrong knurled part (very easy to do). Since then, no problems, and they’re very tough.

    Of course, you’d have to chop off the end of the cable and discard it, if something ever does break. The seal seems quite permanent. But so far, so good.

  6. Chris W says:

    You can also get surface irradiated tubing with 4:1 shrink ratio. The outside shrinks while the inside melts. It gets very stiff when it cools. The smaller sizes shrink down so much they fill the center completely.

  7. Toolaremia says:

    We used miles of this stuff at the test equipment manufacturer where I used to work. We used it to split out the two conductors of a shielded and jacketed cable for alligator clips. Once it’s shrinked but still hot (melted), pinch it with needle- or chain-nose pliers. That seals between the two test leads and gives it a finished look and a bit of strain relief.

  8. Phil says:

    Hot! 🙂

    These are excellent for splices/connections that are exposed to moisture (even underwater) and/or subject to lots of mechanical stress. Since the adhesive bonds well to the jacketing, the splices are equivalent to molded PVC strain reliefs.

  9. weldo says:

    Red smok’n hot!
    I’ve used this stuff on two EV’s I’ve built and can’t say enough about it.

  10. Robert Gronan says:

    What is the difference between the Ancor and the other types besides the word “marine”, hype?

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