Introduction: DIY Heat Gun Reflector

Picture of DIY Heat Gun Reflector

A heat gun reflector is a small metal piece that fits over the end of a heat gun. It can be very useful when using heat shrink tubing because it catches a lot of the hot air that would blow past or around the heat shrink and reflects to the opposite side of the tube. It can also serve as a shield to keep the heat from blowing at whatever is on your workbench.

My heat gun is supposed to put out 630º F on low and 1000º F on high, but most of this is wasted as it blows past the object I am trying to heat. With the reflector in place, I can shrink the heat tubing faster on the low setting then I could without it on the high setting, and I am saving energy!

I have seen these things sell anywhere from $5.00 to $50.00 depending on the quality and the store, but it is really just a piece of metal bent to fit the nozzle of a heat gun and can be easily made.

My design can be fit for any gun nozzle, and has an adjustable depth to accommodate various sized objects under the reflector.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Materials
Piece of Sheet Metal - I used some scrap aluminum (12" x 1.5")
2 x Small Bolt, nut, & washer - I used 1 x 3/8" #6-40 Machine Screw and 1 x 1/2" #4-40 Machine Screw

Tools
Heat Gun - Why would you do this if don't have one?
Safety Glasses
Drill with various sized drill bits
Needle Nose Pliers
Measuring Tape or Ruler
Metal Cutter - Tin Snips, Dremel Tool, Strong Scissors, etc.
Marker


Step 2: Metal Measurements

Picture of Metal Measurements
There are two pieces to this puzzle. The first is the reflector collar; this is what fastens the reflector to the heat gun nozzle. The second is the curved reflector piece itself. Since my piece of scrap metal is 1.5" inches wide, it is a perfect match for my 1.5" wide heat gun. You may need to trim your metal down to a reasonably sized strip.

The Reflector Collar
  1. Measure the Heat Gun Nozzle Diameter - Mine is 1.5" wide.
  2. Calculate the circumference - Pi * D = 3.14 * 1.5" = 4.71"
  3. Add Space for collar bolt - I only need ¼" on each side, so 4.71 + 2 * ¼ = 5.21"
  4. Round down for a clamping gap - Metal piece needs to be 5 1/8" long.
  5. Measure and cut the piece of metal.
  6. Draw a tab coming out of the middle of the metal piece (see the image).
  7. Mark holes for the bolts - one on either end and one in the tab
The Reflector Curve
  1. Take the remaining metal strip and carefully curve one side down - The amount of curve depends on the gun size.
  2. Measure the distance from the nozzle tip to the gun casing
  3. Cut the metal piece back from the curve by the measured distance.
  4. Mark a long tab on the non-bent portion to match the collar tab.
  5. Mark a bolt hole every ¼" of the non-bent portion of the metal.
Wear Safety Goggles!
  1. Finally, drill a hole at each of the bolt hole markings, first with a small starter bit and then with the size needed for the bolt in use.
  2. Cut the metal shapes out, rounding any sharp corners.
  3. If you don't have any good way to sand the metal shavings around the bolt holes, try rubbing the metal along the ribbed teeth of the pliers over a wastebasket. Most of the shavings should come loose.

Step 3: Connecting the Collar

Picture of Connecting the Collar
This is definitely the hardest part of the whole ordeal. The collar needs to be wrapped around the nozzle of the heat gun with one hand and bolted together at the bottom of the nozzle with the other hand.
  1. Slightly bend the edges of the collar up for the clamping bolt to go through
  2. Tightly wrap the collar around the gun nozzle with the tab sticking away from the gun.
  3. While holding the collar in place, bolt the two bent edges together at the bottom.

Step 4: Add the Reflector

Picture of Add the Reflector

With the collar secured, the reflector can be added. Because we gave the long reflector tab numerous holes, You will have to decide how far from the nozzle you want the reflector to be. I put mine in the closest hole for now.

When you don't want the reflector there, it can be pushed to the side and out of the way.

If you need more room for a large tube or other object, simply unbolt the reflector and attach it with a different mounting hole.

CAUTION - The nozzle and reflector will get very hot during and after heat gun use. Give it plenty of time to cool before touching the end or putting the gun away!

Comments

noahw (author)2012-08-13

This is an awesome idea! It virtually eliminates the need for rotating wires when heat sealing! Very nice work - I think I'll actually make this for my heat gun next time I'm in the shop.

Kurt E. Clothier (author)noahw2012-08-13

I'm glad you like it! Of course, I can't take credit for the concept since it's a commercial product, but it's nice to be know how to make one yourself.

Thanx for this wonderful project, Im a hobbyist cellphone repairsman, reflow etc, I have been using a heat gun for reflowing purposes lately coz my hot air station got wrecked, my current problem is the nozzle being too large, could you perhaps create something that can narrow/ concentrate the heated air more, awesome thanx

Hello, yes, I don't think that would be a problem. You could easily prototype something with an empty, cleaned aluminum soda can. (You could also use that as the building material, but I think it would be kind of flimsy.)

You just need a partial cone/funnel shape on the end rather than the curved piece. If you never need the reflector at all, I'd think you could just make a cone with it's own collar as one piece, but I don't want to have to remove my collar.

Do note, the air coming out of that cone will have super focused heat. Absolutely DO NOT point it at anything that cannot handle high heat (like your skin), but given your work I'm sure you understand that already.

padbravo (author)2013-09-19

Great!
I´ll give it a try with my heat gun...

Tks

HavocRC (author)2013-02-21

Hey! I did the best with what I had! I used 1 Peace Tea can! The reflector part is easily removable.

Kurt E. Clothier (author)HavocRC2013-02-22

Awesome job! I notice a huge decrease in shrink time using mine - how does yours perform? Also, PLEASE remember to let the thing cool off before you even think about touching that piece to remove it.

HavocRC (author)Kurt E. Clothier2013-02-22

Haha yes I let it cool! It works GREAT! thanks to you!

Kurt E. Clothier (author)HavocRC2013-02-22

Glad to hear it. Now go melt some stuff!

bricabracwizard (author)2012-08-14

Excellent and so simple! I think in this context it would be a 'deflector'. Reflectors tend to focus energy to one point.......I could be wrong....

Thanks. And you may be right, but commercially, these devices are called reflectors - I think because the point is that they are "reflecting" a portion of the heat back towards whatever you are using it on instead of letting it blow past. I would think a deflector would be more of a shield to prevent any of the heat from actually hitting the object.

So maybe it serves as a reflector for the object being heated, and a deflector for the desk space!

Now this has intrigued me I had to look it up and this is what I found:
deflector
noun
a device that deflects something, in particular:
• a plate or other attachment for deflecting a flow of air, water, heat, etc.
• an electrode in a cathode ray tube whose magnetic field is used to deflect a beam of electrons onto a phosphor screen to form an image.
and not to leave it out:
reflector
noun
a piece of glass, metal, or other material for reflecting light in a required direction, e.g., a red one on the back of a motor vehicle or bicycle.
• an object or device that reflects radio waves, seismic vibrations, sound, or other waves.
• a reflecting telescope.

Your instructable is still excellent!

CrLz (author)2012-09-24

Nice collar fabrication! Thanks for sharing such a simple//elegant method. :)

Kurt E. Clothier (author)CrLz2012-09-24

Thank you.

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