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
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
Heat Gun - Why would you do this if don't have one?
Drill with various sized drill bits
Needle Nose Pliers
Measuring Tape or Ruler
Metal Cutter - Tin Snips, Dremel Tool, Strong Scissors, etc.
Step 2: Metal Measurements
The Reflector Collar
- Measure the Heat Gun Nozzle Diameter - Mine is 1.5" wide.
- Calculate the circumference - Pi * D = 3.14 * 1.5" = 4.71"
- Add Space for collar bolt - I only need ¼" on each side, so 4.71 + 2 * ¼ = 5.21"
- Round down for a clamping gap - Metal piece needs to be 5 1/8" long.
- Measure and cut the piece of metal.
- Draw a tab coming out of the middle of the metal piece (see the image).
- Mark holes for the bolts - one on either end and one in the tab
- Take the remaining metal strip and carefully curve one side down - The amount of curve depends on the gun size.
- Measure the distance from the nozzle tip to the gun casing
- Cut the metal piece back from the curve by the measured distance.
- Mark a long tab on the non-bent portion to match the collar tab.
- Mark a bolt hole every ¼" of the non-bent portion of the metal.
- 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.
- Cut the metal shapes out, rounding any sharp corners.
- 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
- Slightly bend the edges of the collar up for the clamping bolt to go through
- Tightly wrap the collar around the gun nozzle with the tab sticking away from the gun.
- While holding the collar in place, bolt the two bent edges together at the bottom.
Step 4: 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!
Finalist in the
Fix & Improve It Contest