I use heatshrink a lot when making cables or joining wires together, a great example of this was building the LCD harness for the LapPi Netbook. Normally I'll borrow the good lady's hair drier to heat up the heatshrink enough so the heatshrink shrinks, or use a soldering iron if it's just a single wire. So I thought I could maybe use the heater element to make a heat-shrinker. The problem was the elements length; how do I concentrate the heat over a small enough area rather than the full length of the element? I'll also need to enclose the element so I can't burn myself, or blind myself from the waste light it generates.
The solution came from space heaters. I'm sure you have been to a garage or a workshop where they have what looks like a jet engine roaring away blowing hot air into the room. They tend to be long tubes fed with propane gas which is burnt inside the heater, then blown into the room by a fan on the end. If I could use a similar design for the heater element I had, it just might work.