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$200 - PVC Capsule Shrinker vs $25.00 Heat Gun

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Scooter68

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Ok we all have our budgets, priorities and we do different batch sizes of wine, but; Really $200.00 for a heating element, heat shield and bottle platform??? I think we are being taken advantage of. Granted a heat gun has it's draw backs but physically the cost of materials between a purpose built capsule shrinker and heat gun is NOT 8 times the price. I even watched a You Tube video by someone clearly connected to manufacturer of a 'official' capsule shrinker and I wasn't impressed enough to spend $200.00 for one.

Anyway today I ordered a Heat Gun on Amazon with 2 fan speeds and 6 heat settings from 140f to 1112f I think I can make do with that and even build a holder for the price difference.
 

jgmillr1

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I bought a unit for $300 (here). It was the second commercial unit I've had to buy. The first one lasted over 5 years until the element burned out, rather sensationally actually.

Sure you can probably assemble a reasonably similar one for less from units built for other purposes. As you said, major factors are whether you have the need or inclination for one.

But these capsule shrinkers are (1) already designed for job in terms of temperature and shape and fan speed, (2) engineered to run continually for hours without catching on fire, and (3) quickly shrink the capsule into shape in under half a second.
 

Scooter68

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Yup - Understand. When you make heavy use of one, it makes sense.

I still believe that because they 'engineered" and marketed for wine makers, they are grossly overcharging. Keep in mind all the other products with far more Technology or 'industrial use designed into them. The components on these are quite basic - Heating element, preset-thermostat, on-off switch, cord etc (Fan for the handheld unit you linked to.) Basically like a hot plate but with a heavy duty element.

I won't argue about their usefulness but PRICE !!! Way over the top and the handheld one on the link you posted is nothing more than a heavy duty heat gun shaped to fit over a bottle. (By the way they recommend not running the handheld units for more than one hour at a time.)The table top one for $250.00 is identical to many others.

For heavy use it may last longer than a heat gun but really 8 times longer?? (This one:
https://www.amazon.com/Master-Appliance-1000-Degree-Fahrenheit-Watts/dp/B0002SRM2O/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=heavy+duty+heat+gun&qid=1563335168&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1

has a base and could put on a table top and it IS industrial grade with various heat range models. Price $107.87
 
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jgmillr1

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Yeah, I totally agree. I suspect that the high price of the commercial units is driven mostly by the fact it is a low-volume specialty item. While I'm sure it doesn't cost all that much to make it, you are paying extra for the initial design work, tooling set up for its manufacturing and the opportunity cost for the company not deciding to make a higher volume product.
 

Trevor7

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The ol' heat gun works fine for me - haven't heat-ruined any wine yet although I do think about that occasionally. As an added bonus, it removes those stubborn labels (almost) effortlessly.
 

Scooter68

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Well - Heat gun arrives in a day or two so Then I can build something like this. Wood base with curved support to strap heat gun on. Stainless steel tube bolted to the base with stand-off bushings to keep the heat away from the base and funnel the heat around the bottle and shrink cap. This is a rough quick drawing without the heat gun base. (Not much of an arTIST so...)

Capsule Heat Shrink Base.jpg


I've been doing the kettle routine but that generates a lot of heat in the kitchen and the electric burner stays hot so long.. Plus I've had a few capsules float up and then you have that funky looking shrink capsule. With a heat gun blowing through a tube the cap will be forcd down on the bottle top as it enters the sleeve then it hits the heat and shrinks down. (At least that's the plan if I can keep Murphy from interfering.)
 

bstnh1

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I was using a heat gun that I got for peanuts from Harbor Freight. But I eventually gave up on using any capsules on my bottles. They cost money; they take time to put on and they don't make the wine taste any better! And no one has complained that they don't like wine because it has no capsule on it. :h
 

Scooter68

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I keep my wine in a basement and since corks can collect dust and whatever, I think the cleaner corks as well as the improved appearance is worth the investment. Otherwise I could just use labels made with masking tape - if I really want to go cheap.
 
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WI_Wino

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I use a Harbor Freight heat gun as well. No issues. I wear a heavy leather work glove to hold the capsule tight until it shrinks. Also I use the capsule to write the variety and year on it. That way I don't have any labels to remove when the bottle is emptied.
 

KevinL

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I've been using the same heat gun I got from Ace Hardware back when I was in the Army and was using one to shine my boots (melting the Kiwi in made it easier to polish to a mirror shine). No complaints. Can't say I'd want to drop over $200 on a device that does the same thing.
 

Kantuckid

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After throwing away my 3rd HF heat gun i went for a Wagner on Amazon that was nearly the same price and better Chinese construction. I only use the top decoration for give away btls of wine. Use a wood paint stick, ruler, etc. to hold it and low heat setting with your off hand to know it's not too hot!
 

monty

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I was using a heat gun that I got for peanuts from Harbor Freight. But I eventually gave up on using any capsules on my bottles. They cost money; they take time to put on and they don't make the wine taste any better! And no one has complained that they don't like wine because it has no capsule on it. :h
I read in Daniel Pambianchi's book that the capsules retard mold formation on corks by protecting them from excess humidity.
 

Kantuckid

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My 10 yr old wine has no mold at least that I can see, on the corks in my cellar.
 

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