In the previous Tool Trouble, I wrote about the poorly designed rotational multi-tool from Lidl, and their terrible customer service. Today, I’d like to retell the story of my Heat Gun of Doom.
Let’s start with the heat gun. When you’re using EVA foam, before applying primer and starting to paint, it’s customary to heat-seal the foam. You can read about why that is in our previous article on the subject. As I’ve mentioned a few times, money was tight, so most of the tools I bought were kinda eh-ehh… not the greatest quality. I figured I would start with cheap tools to get a hang of things, and then upgrade as necessary.
Of course, that’s not what ended up happening, as I instead upgraded my heat gun almost immediately. I’d initially purchased an Xceed EX20HGN heat gun that I’d ordered online from Praxis, way back in January of 2018, which was then discounted to €20. When I first turned it on, it worked fine, so I put it back in its case, and didn’t touch it again for many, many months. I didn’t have any foam to test with, at the time, and that was all I really needed it for.
I ordered my first foam in early May. It wasn’t much – just a sample box from the Poly-Props folks from the UK, who I’d determined had some of the cheapest EVA foam on the market. I was actually incredibly impressed with the quality of their products, and later ordered a large supply of foam (and more) from them.
As I was playing with my foam samples, I decided to do some basic, small-scale tests for my own benefit. I tried various combinations of foam and paints, with and without primers, and with and without heat-sealing, just to get a feel for the difference. If you’ve read the first part of my Tool Troubles, you can probably guess what happened…. much like my multi-tool broke down on its second use, so did my heat gun. It died in an equally spectacular fashion, with electric arcing noises, a terrible stench, and enough blue smoke to make you think a genie was be about to pop out.
Since I’d actually bought the heat gun itself almost half a year before, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get any service from the store. I contacted Praxis via twitter and e-mail, and then visited my local Praxis to see what could be done.
They were helpful! So helpful that they even tested the heat gun at their service desk as I brought it in, and naturally, the damned thing worked fine. No stench, no smoke, no electric arcing noises. Isn’t that always the way it is when you bring in something that you’d stake your life on is completely broken?
Of course, I didn’t trust the damned thing anymore. Luckily, they didn’t make a huge deal out of it. Despite the fact I’d bought it about half a year ago, they were willing to let me replace it for another one at no charge. I didn’t want to do that, though. Luckily, they had an alternative option that I was much more pleased with: they were willing to let me trade in my heat gun for a better one from a top brand, and they’d give me a discount based on what I’d originally paid for the poorly-built cheaper model. That’s damned respectable.
I’d already hoped this would be an option. I’d looked at my options for alternative heat guns ahead of time and I’d already decided on a Bosch PHG 600-3. It was a lot pricier, but it was discounted at the time, and I received my trade-in discount on top of that so I only paid another €30-ish for the upgrade.
I’m happy to say that the Bosch is, as one would hope, much better. It’s more energy-efficient, heats up quicker, can reach higher temperatures, has three temperature settings instead of one or two, has a longer (more convenient) cable, and came with a sturdy protective case for it as well. I’ve been using it for all my heat-sealing since (and a few things beside) and it has worked beautifully.
I’d like to say this was the end of my tool troubles, but I think we all know I’m rarely so lucky. So keep an eye on the site for the next installment of Tool Troubles. Thanks for reading!