Archive for the ‘How-To Guides’ Category

How To Set Up And Operate A Roll Laminator

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During the past few weeks at ABC Office, we have held free roll laminator training sessions. The purpose is to help train local schoolteachers and other employees how to properly set up and operate a roll laminator machine. The goal was to help educators get the best performance out of their school’s laminator and ensure that everyone knows the safe and proper way to operate a roll laminator. We also wanted to demonstrate how to use the least amount of lamination film to save money.

Most schools will only permit a few employees to operate their laminator since the process can be somewhat complex. After meeting with our recent workshop attendees, we decided it would be helpful to create a brief summary of the roll laminator set up and operation process. This should help even more school staff learn how to use a roll laminator so that that responsibility does not belong to just one employee. The following will show you how to load and operate a school type laminator in just minutes.

Roll Laminator

Tahsin / Tamerica TCC2700 27-Inch Thermal Roll Laminator

This is the Tahsin / Tamerica TCC2700 27-Inch Thermal Roll Laminator, the machine we used during the laminator training session. We chose this model because it has most of the features that are found on a typical school laminator. We also wanted to show the attendees a model that can process a wide range of lamination film, from 1.5 to 10 mils in thickness. Most school laminators are limited to a range of 1.5 to 3 mil lamination film, but there are some school projects that require a stiffer and more durable lamination film.

Roll Laminator Side Handle

Put the side handle/lever in the “Up” position.

Before you turn on the laminator, be sure to disengage, or separate, the top and bottom silicone heat rollers (if this feature is included with your laminator). On the model TCC270 laminator, this is done by pulling the side handle/lever into the “Up” position. This will give you ample space to feed the film through from the top and bottom lamination rolls.

Top and Lower Laminator Rollers

There should be a gap between the top and lower laminator rollers.

Next, install the top and bottom lamination rolls onto the laminator. You can do this by inserting the top and bottom mandrels into the lamination film cardboard core. With the model TCC270 laminator, the top mandrel is inserted by twisting the metal bar clock-wise. This prevents the metal film prong/stopper from stopping the film installation process.

Roll Laminator Mandrels

Install the top and bottom lamination rolls onto the laminator.

The prong/stopper ensures there is no slippage during the lamination process. You should next install the bottom lamination roll the same way as the top, except you twist the mandrel in a counter-clockwise direction.

Laminator Film Threading Diagram

Laminator film threading diagram for the TCC270 laminator.

Now, thread the top and bottom lamination rolls. Carefully follow the threading diagram provided with your laminator. The product manual will have a diagram and most laminators, such as the model TCC270, have a diagram printed on the side of the machine. If you have threaded the film correctly, the glue side of the film will be facing towards you.

Taping top and Bottom Lamination Film Rolls.

Join the top and bottom lamination rolls together with a few strips of tape.

Next, tape the top and bottom lamination rolls together in front of the gap of the top and bottom laminator rollers. You will want to use a fairly stiff and wide piece of paper to feed the lamination film trough the rollers.

Put laminator handle in down position.

Laminator’s side handle/lever should now be in the “Down” position.

Now, put the laminator’s side handle/lever in the “Down” position to close the gap between the top and bottom rollers.

Laminator run button.

Push the “Run” button next.

Push the side operation switch to “Run.” Next, turn on the machine. Select “Heat” and adjust the speed to “3.”

Laminator heat and speed button.

Select “Heat” and adjust the laminator’s speed.

The rollers should begin rolling and your test sheet of paper should feed trough with the film, exiting from the back side of the laminator.

Laminator test sheet.

Your test sheet should exit from the back of the laminator

Set the laminator speed to zero and adjust the temperature for the type of film you are using (1.5, 3, 5, 7 or 10 mil films require different temperature settings).

Laminator feed tray.

Replace the laminator’s paper feed tray.

Replace the paper feed tray in the front of the laminator and pull down the plastic safety heat shield. You may now operate your laminator after is reaches the desired temperature.

Be sure to contact ABC Office at 1-800-658-8788 for all of your roll laminator questions, supplies and needs!

Office Machine Review: The Widmer E-3 Electronic Embossing Machine

Friday, June 10th, 2016

 

Widmer E-3 embossing machine

Widmer E-3 Embosser

 

Are you searching for an electronic document embosser that provides consistent reliability and toughness? The Widmer E-3 embossing machine is one of the most durable embossing machines available on the market today.

The E-3 embosser is intended for heavy-duty daily use. It may be operated consistently throughout the workday without any downtime. The end result of embossed text, logos or numbers looks highly professional.

This model from Widmer uses custom embossing plates. The plates may include logos, text or numbers. The E-3 is made from durable die-cast metal components and features some of the finest quality handcraftsmanship found in an embosser. The unit may be used to emboss carbon forms, diplomas, certificates, legal documents, checks, card stock, etc.

Is security a concern? The Widmer E-3 embosser has a convenient secure locking device that helps discourage unauthorized access to the stamping plate. You may manually adjust the stamping depth and pressure to accommodate positioning on a document with the Widmer E-3.

An automatic trigger comes standard. It provides helpful hands-free operation and ease of use. The Widmer model E-3 embosser is a popular model with justice of the peace divisions in several states, schools, various government branches and large offices. Most electric embossers available today simply do not get any better than this one.

 

  • Features rapid operation and consistent accuracy
  • Ideal for use with single sheet and two-part carbonized forms
  • You can emboss diplomas, legal papers, certificates, etc.
  • Imprints within three inches from the edge of the document

 

Have custom embossing artwork? Call us at 1-800-658-8788 for help. We also offer competitive discount pricing for orders with multiple embossing units. Be sure to call for more details!

How to use a Wire Binding Machine

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

“How do I use my new wire binding machine?”

The Akiles WireMac Wire Binding Machine Comes Highly Recommended

Akiles WireMac

That was the question I was asked earlier today from one of our customers. He recently purchased a popular wire binding machine model from ABC Office and he had a lot of questions about how to use his new wire binder. His binding machine was perfectly fine, he was simply new to the whole binding process.

Thankfully, ABC Office has produced over the years in-depth video demos that have  helped hundreds of customers with the set up and operation process of their binding machines and other office equipment. I pointed him in the direction of this Akiles WireMac wire binding machine video demo we produced in-house several years ago. The picture and sound may not be the optimum quality that you expect today, but this was considered cutting-edge back in 2003 (when we made the video)!

The demonstrator was David Stuart, our marketing supervisor. David had about 15 years experience with most of our office equipment, so he definitely knew what he was talking about. The video, although about 11 years old, still holds up just fine today. David offers several helpful hints on how to initially set up your machine for optimum punching and binding. He also demonstrates how you can produce a professionally looking bound document, thanks to placing the back cover on the top of your document before crimping the wire shut.

If you have any questions about using your wire binding machine, the video demo I mentioned covers just about everything you will need to know. However, if you still have questions we would love to talk to you. You may still have concerns about the best report covers to use, what’s the best wire pitch for your needs (2:1 or 3:1) or what brand/models we recommend. Call 1-800-658-8788 with your questions today. We look forward to helping you with your new wire binding machine!

How Does a Binding Machine Work?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Book Binding MachinesHave you ever toyed around with the idea of binding your own book? Have you ever wondered exactly how a book binding machine works? Having used binding machines (found here) for well over a decade, I can safely tell you that anyone can use one. I would like to cover exactly how a binding machine works and what all is involved in the binding process. Read on for more information.

Book binding machines come in all shapes and sizes, but when all is said and done, they all work on a very similar way. The three most commonly used binding formats are comb, wire and coil. Many people also like using VeloBind. Each of these binding formats are designed to hold multiple pieces of paper together using a binding element. The binding element is much like a staple, but one that goes along the entire edge of the paper to create a book.

Most binding machines operate in a matter of just 4 steps.

  • Step 1 – The first thing you’ll want to do is set up your machine. This usually adjusting the side margin control to ensure the holes are punching where they should. I personally like to take a single sheet of paper and punch it to ensure everything is set up and operating correctly. If the holes are off, I make further adjustments.
  • Step 2 – Once the machine is set up, you will begin to punch holes in the paper you wish to bind. The amount of paper a machine can bind can range anywhere from 5 to 40 or more sheets, depending on the machine. Binding your book may require multiple passes of the punch depending on how thick you want your book to be.
  • Step 3 – Once all of the holes are punched, you can begin inserting the binding element into the holes. With comb this involves using a comb opener to open the comb for insertion. With wire you will manually insert the twin loop through the holes. With coil you will spin the spring-like elements through the punched holes.
  • Step 4 – Once the element has been inserted through the hole, you will need to finalize the book. With comb this involves closing the comb. With wire this involves closing the wire. With coil this involves cutting off the excess coil and crimping the ends.

Here is a video of a comb binding machine being used:

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As you can see, the binding process is extremely easy. Most people can bind a ¼” thick book in a matter of a minute or two. Most machines can be used to bind a book anywhere from a few pages up to an inch or so.

Binding machines come in a variety of different configurations depending on the volume you intend to bind on a daily basis. Features that may speed up the process including things like an electric motor (versus manual) for punching the paper.

Here are a few additional features you may want to consider when buying a binding machine:

  • Disengageable Dies – If you have ever used a binding machine, you may have run into the issue of a half-punched hole at the edge of the paper. While this can often be fixed by adjusting the side margin guide, sometimes the size of the paper makes this very difficult. Machines that use disengageable dies (aka selectable punching pins) allow you to choose which holes punch or don’t punch. If you are running into half-punched holes, you can simply disable that die to prevent that from happening.
  • Adjustable Margin Depth – If you are punching books of varying thicknesses, you may want to consider using a machine with an adjustable margin depth. This allows you to select how far into the paper the holes are punched. People binding thicker books often need to punch a little farther into the paper to prevent the pages from accidentally tearing out.
  • Diameter Selector Tool – Matching the binding element with the size of the book you want to bind can be a tricky thing to do. Many binding machines now come with a diameter selector tool that makes it easy to determine the size of the supply you need based on the amount of pages you are binding.

At ABC Office we have decades of experience with binding machines. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any binding related questions. We can help you find the correct supplies for your machine, find the right machine for the job and we can help track down parts.

How To Use An I-Bar Sealer for Shrink Wrapping w/ Video

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I-Bar Sealer for Shrink Wrap PackagingIf you are trying to package your own products, whether it is a DVD or a box of chocolates, you will probably want to use some sort of shrink wrap packaging. One of the most affordable and effective ways to package products on a low to medium-volume scale is by using an I-bar sealer. These sealers are remarkably easy to operate, take very little time to use and are very affordable. I have used dozens of different models of I-bar sealers (found here) and would like to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use one. I am going to include a very informative video demo in this article.

This how-to guide can be used with just about any I-bar sealer, although most of my experience is with Traco, Intelli-Pack and AIE brand machines. There are very few differences between I-bar sealers other than perhaps the build quality. I have found Traco, Intelli-Pack and AIE machines to be top of the line. Most I-bar sealers feature a film roll holder, a film opener, a spring-loaded sealing bar and many include a heat gun. Most I-bar sealers can be used with PVC and Polyolefin centerfold film rolls or bags.

Before I go into how to use an I-bar sealer in this article, I would like to post our video demo on how to use an I-bar sealer.

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How to Use an I-Bar Sealer

  • Step 1 – If you are using centerfold shrink film, place your roll of film on the two supporting film rollers. These rollers spin on smooth-rolling bearings, making it easy to dispense film.
  • Step 2 – Once the film is in place, feed the open end of the film over the film separator. The film separator is a metal bar (usually round) that helps keep the film opened for easy product insertion.
  • Step 3 – Take your product and put it inside the open pocked of film. You don’t want too much excess film, so try and make sure the product you are packaging isn’t pulled too far left of the sealing bar.
  • Step 4 – Pull down the sealing bar and cut the film to the right of the product you are packaging. If the bar isn’t cutting the film properly, you may need to increase the sealing time. Once you have your first side sealed, take the package and rotate it 90 degrees to the left and seal the other open side shut.
  • Step 5 – Now that your product is completely enclosed in film, take your heat gun and begin applying heat. Apply heat to all sides of the product you are packaging. This will cause the film to shrink and hug tightly to the item you are packaging. The heat gun’s temperature can typically be increased or decreased. If you notice the film is breaking or holes are melting through, you may need to decrease the temperature, hold the gun further back or move the heat gun around instead of leaving it in a single spot.

Using an I-bar sealer is extremely easy as you can see from the video demo and my step-by-step instructions. If you are packaging dozens to hundreds of products a day, an I-bar sealer is an affordable option. If you are packaging thousands a day, you may need to upgrade to an L-bar sealer with an integrated tunnel. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink film here.

How to Use a Laminating Machine

Monday, October 24th, 2011

How to Use a Laminating MachineLaminating machines, in particular pouch laminators, are far easier to use that you might think. Many people get frustrated by all the dials and buttons. Don’t worry. You can have your laminator set up in less than 60 seconds with these easy-to-use instructions.

To start with, just keep in mind that a laminator is simply a glorified heater with a motor. All a laminator does is melt glue and apply pressure for sticking it to paper, photos, cards and other documents. I have spoken with people that went extremely retro and simply used an iron and a towel to laminate documents. While I don’t recommend the iron approach (although some people swear by it), it really is that easy.

Here are 5 easy steps to get you laminator up and running.

  • Step 1 – Plug in the machine and set the temperature. If there is no temperature dial, set the switch to the pouch thickness you are using. Common pouch thicknesses include 3, 5, 7 and 10 mils. The higher the number, the thicker the pouch.
  • Step 2 – Turn on the motor.
  • Step 3 – Insert your document into the pouch folder and then place it in a carrier folder.
  • Step 4 – Place your pouch into the machine and wait for it to run through.
  • Step 5 – Remove your document and repeat the process (if needed).

Sometimes seeing something in action is easier than following a step-by-step list of instructions. Here is a video demo of a pouch laminator:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

While there are minor differences between pouch laminators, they all pretty much operate in a similar manner. I have personally found that once you know how to use one, the rest are all pretty easy to figure out. At ABC Office we offer some of the best prices and selection on pouch laminators. You can find our entire selection of laminating machines here.

How To Choose The Right Coil Binding Machine

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Coil Binding SuppliesCoil binding is considered by many people, professionals and businesses to be one of the most versatile book binding formats available. There are many reasons for this. Here are just a few of the most common reasons I hear from our customers:

  1. Plastic PVC coils are durable.
  2. Pages turn 360 degrees.
  3. Coil bound documents look professional.
  4. Coils are available in several different colors and sizes.
  5. Coil binding machines are very affordable.
  6. Coil binding is great for binding cookbooks, reports, presentations and other documents.

Now that we have established that coil binding is pretty nice, there are a few things you should ask yourself prior to buying a machine. Answers to these questions should help you find the right machine that will work for you.

Coil Binding Questions

  • How many books will you be binding per day? The amount of books you bind per day will determine whether you need a manual punch or an electric punch. Electric punch machines are ideal for runs of several dozen to several hundred books. Manual punches are fine for a few to a few dozen books a day.
  • What size are the books you will be binding? How big is the book you will be binding. Most coil binding machines have at least a 12″ binding width, however, some can bind legal size 14″ documents. Also, if you are binding smaller books you may want to consider getting a machine with disengageable punching pins. This will allow you to bind a wide variety of custom-size books.
  • How thick will be books be that you are binding? If you will be binding a book about ¼” thick, most machines will work for you. If you will be binding thicker books, you may want to consider using a machine with an adjustable margin depth. This allows you to punch deeper into a sheet of paper, depending on the thickness of the book. This will help cut down on pages inadvertently tearing out.
  • Which hole binding pitch / pattern do you prefer? Coil binding supplies comes in 4:1 pitch and 5:1 pitch patters. This is 4 holes per inch (4:1) and 5 holes per inch (5:1). Different pitches / hole patterns create different appearances. The 4:1 pitch pattern can bind more paper than a 5:1 pitch.
  • Where will you be using your binding machine? Keep in mind how big the machine is. Be sure the desk or table you are using can accommodate both the size and the weight of the machine.
  • Do you need an electric coil inserter? Coil binding machines come with and without electric coil inserters, depending on the design. If your machine does not have an electric coil inserter, you will need to insert the coils by hand. If you are only binding a few to a dozen books a day, this isn’t a big deal. If you are binding several dozen to hundreds of books a day, I highly  recommend getting a machine with an electric coil inserter.

Answers to these questions should help you track down the right machine. I understand that you may still have some important questions. Please feel free to post your questions here and I will try to answer them. You may also call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our coil binding experts.

You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here.

How To Clear A Jammed Paper Shredder

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Clearing A Jammed Paper ShredderOne of the most common issues with paper shredders is the feared paper jam. This almost always occurs when someone feeds too much paper into a shredder. Typically the motor becomes overwhelmed and simply stops. While these jams can often be cleared out by simply pulling back on the paper, this will not help the most severe shredder jams. Here are a few tips that should help you out.

ALWAYS unplug the shredder when trying to clear out a paper jam! You don’t want to injure yourself. Remember, shredders use sharp jagged metal to cut paper. You don’t want to hurt yourself.

If your shredder has jammed, do not keep trying to run it. This may cause damage to the motor, gears and other components.

Fixing A Jammed Paper Shredder

  1. My first bit of advice is to unplug the shredder, remove the shredder head and try removing the paper from underneath the shredder. The underside of a shredder head provides the easiest access to the blades. Many shredder jams are the result of paper winding around shredder blades, causing the shredder to stop. You can often clear out jammed shredder manually from the blades. A screwdriver can often be used to fish out paper particles. Be careful not to cause further damage to the shredder blades with the screwdriver.
  2. If you are unable to manually remove paper from the jammed shredder, I recommend pouring shredder oil along the width of the shredder throat and waiting 15-30 minutes for the oil to soften the paper. This will often allow the jammed paper to pass through.
  3. If your shredder jam is the result of shredding a CD or a credit card, I recommend using needle-nose pliers to try and remove the jammed plastic particles from below the shredder. Pliers are often able to remove plastic particles far easier than by hand.
  4. Check to see if your shredder has a reverse switch. While this isn’t a common feature, many shredders have a reverse switch. This will often back out the jammed paper, making it easy to remove, thus remedying the situation.

Worst Case Scenario

If you are still unable to clear the jam, you may need to have the shredder serviced.  We have a Service Department that should be able to at least offer advice, ship replacement parts and if needed, repair it.  If the gears are broken, chain is stripped or shredder blades are irreversibly damaged, our Service Department is still often able to repair the shredder.

If your shredder is ruined, or will cost more to repair than the shredder’s value, you can find our entire selection of new paper shredders here.

How To Attach A Lanyard To An ID Badge Or Card

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Handheld Slot Punches with GuideDo you manage an office, run a business or have employees that need to attach a lanyard to an ID card or badge? Try as you might, a hole punch simply is not going to cut it (pardon the pun). What you are going to need is what’s known as a slot punch.

Slot punches are designed to punch a rectangular-shaped hole, typical 1/8″ tall by ½” wide. These slots are designed to accept most normal-sized lanyards, badge straps and badge reels. Slot punches are extremely easy to use.

If you are only cutting a few ID badges a day, you’ll be fine with a handheld slot punch. If you plan on punching hundreds to thousands a day, you may want to consider an electric-powered slot punch.

Slot punches, depending on the model, are also available with and without guides. The advantage of a guide is that it makes alignment easy and center slot punching a piece of cake.

Most slot punches can handle CR-80 PVC cards and some of the more robust models can even slot punch proximity cards.

You can find our entire selection of manual and electric slot punches here. You can find our entire selection of lanyards, badge clips and badge reels here.

Questions? Give us a call at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our ID card specialists.

How To Set Up Folding Plates On A Folding Machine

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Paper folding machines are wonderful to have whether you are letter folding documents, accordion folding brochures or single folding booklets. Many people out there have fears about setting up folding machines that use manual folding plates. No worries. These types of folding machines are actually pretty easy to set up. Here are a few tips that may help you out.

Friction Feed Paper Folding Machines

I would say that about 60-70% of the paper folding machines out there use manually adjusted folding plates. Manual folding plates cut down on manufacturing costs, which is why these types of machines typically cost less than automatic machines.

Most paper folding machines have two folding plates. The first folding plate, usually the longest one, typically sits about where the folded paper comes out of the machine. The second folding plate, usually the shortest one, typically sits below the feed tray. The position of the fold plate may vary, but this is the most common setup.

Friction Feed Paper FoldersEven automatic paper folding machines utilize two folding plates. The only difference is that automatic paper folding machines use a motor and a computer to adjust the folding plates.

Many of our Intelli-Fold paper folding machines utilize a “<” folding plate design. In this setup, folding plate 1 and 2 are on the same side of the machine, creating a < design.

Folding plates typically have the most common folds printed directly on the folding plate. Simply look at the guide (typically on the folding plate) and make the proper adjustments. Once you grasp the idea, setup will take less than a couple of minutes.

Friction Feed Paper Folding Machine Plates

Most folding plates have two thumb screws per plate. It is very important that the folding plate be aligned correctly, with both thumb screws tightened at equal positions. If the folding plate is a little crooked, the folds will be crooked as well. Keeping the folding plate even, however, is pretty easy as the guides help keep things in line.

Folding Plate Guide

One thing I really like about manual folding plates is that they can be set up for custom folding. Simply play around with the plates until you get the custom fold you want. You can even mark the folding plates with a marker to make custom folds easier to set up later on.
Most manual friction-feed folding machines require that one of the plates, either the short or the long plate, be turned around for a V fold (aka single fold). This blocks off the plate entirely. Some folding machines simply require the folding plate to be pushed all the way towards the machine, activating a metal plate that blocks of the tray. This is because only one folding plate is required for a V fold.

My best advice for people looking for a folding machine is to not be scared away by the term “manual setup.” These machines are easy to set up and often cost less. We offer manual setup machines that can even be used for high-volume paper folding.

You can find our entire selection of manual setup friction feed paper folding machines here. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any paper folding questions. Good luck!

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