Archive for June, 2010

Fellowes Galaxy Comb Binding Machine Review (Electric and Manual)

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Fellowes Galaxy Comb Binding MachineSo you’re looking for a good quality comb-binding machine and have come across the Fellowes Galaxy comb-binding machine. So now you’re wondering if it is any good. I will review some of the pros and cons of the Fellowes Galaxy. Fellowes makes the Galaxy in a manual version and an electric version. You will find the manual Fellowes Galaxy here and the electric Fellowes Galaxy here.

Fellowes has been making paper shredders for years now, but it has only been in the last few years that they started making binding machines. I have to say that their engineers seem to know what they are doing. The Fellowes Galaxy seems to be a pretty solid machine.

Both the manual and the electric versions of the Fellowes Galaxy claim to punch 25 sheets of paper at a time, which is a LOT of paper for a binding machine. I would personally recommend scaling that number back about 15-20%. This is just a good practice to keep in mind as most manufacturers give you the absolute maximum amount of sheets you can punch prior to breaking the machine.

Both the manual and the electric versions of the Galaxy are of a similar build quality. The internal components are made from metal and it features a stylish plastic shell. It includes a drawer where combs can be placed and an easy-to-use comb selector tool that helps you determine the correct size comb you need to use for the document you are binding.

One of my favorite features of the Fellowes Galaxy comb binding machines is the vertical load function. Because the paper loads vertically, it keeps the edge of the paper flush and makes it easier to keep the holes aligned, which can sometimes be an issue with hole-punch binding machines.

The biggest con, in my opinion, is the lack of selectable punching dies. I personally like to be able to disable punching dies. This helps eliminate annoying half-punched holes and is ideal for punching non-standard sizes of paper.

Overall I really like the Fellowes Galaxy comb binding machine. It gets the job done quickly. The biggest benefit of the electric over the manual Galaxy is the easy of using an electric motor. Other than that, there is no significant difference between the two versions of the galaxy.

I would not, however, put the Fellowes Galaxy in the same league as Akiles. Akiles still has a better build quality.

Here are some good alternatives to the Fellowes Galaxy:

Manual Alternatives

Electric Alternatives

You will find our entire selection of comb binding machines here. Have you used the Fellowes Galaxy? Post your comments here!

Fellowes Cosmic CL-95 Personal Pouch Laminator Review

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Fellowes Cosmic CL-95 Personal Pouch LaminatorFellowes is well known for making a wide variety of paper shredders, but did you know they make laminators too? One of Fellowes most popular pouch laminators is the Cosmic CL-95 personal pouch laminator. This laminator is capable of laminating documents up to 9 ½-inches wide, which means it is capable of handling standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper. So is this the right laminator for you?

Let’s break down this laminator. First of all, it weighs about 6.6 pounds, which means it isn’t terribly heavy and can be carried around from one place to another without any problems. It also includes a handle. This means the Fellowes Cosmic CL-95 can easily be used in the office as well as at home.

This laminator isn’t going to break any records for speed, taking about one minute to laminate a sheet of paper. This shouldn’t be an issue, however, if you are only laminating a few documents throughout the day. I definitely wouldn’t rate this as a high-volume laminator. For the price you can’t really complain.

From the minute you plug in the CL-95, it takes about five minutes to completely warm up. This isn’t too bad. It uses HeatGuard technology as well, which means you shouldn’t have to worry about being burned while using this laminator.

The biggest pro that I have found with the Fellowes Cosmic CL-95 is that it has a release lever that disengages the rollers for easy re-positioning of material. If you have ever experienced a jam in a pouch laminator you’ll understand why this is so nice.

The biggest con I have with this laminator is that it can only used lamination pouches up to 3 mils thick. Most laminators can handle at least a 5 mil thick pouch. The thinner 3 mil pouches can be difficult to find as most smaller pouches are only available in 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. The higher the mil (thousandths of an inch), the thicker the pouch.

My overall conclusion with the Fellowes Cosmic CL-95 is that it is good for low-volume lamination, but if the budget is there, another laminator may provide you with more flexibility. You will find our Fellowes Cosmic CL-95 personal pouch laminator here.

Good Alternatives to the Fellowes Cosmic CL-95:

Our entire selection of pouch laminators can be found here.

Easy-Lam School Budget Roll Laminator Review – Cheapest 27-Inch Available

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Banner American Easy Lam School Budget Roll LaminatorSo you’re on a budget, the money and funds aren’t available, yet you desperately need a roll laminator. A few years ago I would have told you “sorry,” but not anymore. With the introduction of the Easy-Lam School Budget roll laminator, this is no longer an issue. In the 10 years I have been in this industry, I have never seen a roll laminator this affordable.

Banner American has been around for years and are known for making some of the best laminators we sell. They make the popular PL12A pouch laminator and the Easy-Lam series of roll laminators. This new roll laminator is a chip off the old block.

So are there any sacrifices made with this new low-cost roll laminator? There are a couple, but none that will affect most schools, print shops and other businesses. The laminator is fairly simple in its design. It is a little slower than most roll laminators and it can only handle film up to 3 mils thick. It can still be used to laminate posters, signs and maps, but is not designed for high-volume use.

Overall I will have to say that I am pleased with the quality of the Easy-Lam School Budget. The film is turning out well and the pictures I have laminated look great. I haven’t heard of any quality issues or returns with regards to this laminator.

If you need a roll laminator and are strapped for cash, I would seriously consider getting this laminator. You can find our Banner American Easy-Lam School Budget roll laminator here.

Best Way To Display Your Business Cards

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Wooden Business Card HoldersSo you have a stack business cards but don’t have a good way to display them? Problem solved. Gone are the days of messy stacks of business cards. Try using a business card holder to display your business cards. Business card holders organize, display and make your business cards easy to access.

There are two options for displaying business cards. These are plastic acrylic and wooden business card holders. Both get the job done well, but each have a very distinct look. Most plastic business card holders are wall-mounted and most wood business card holders are desktop designs.

Business card holders make your business look more professional for the same reason business cards themselves make your business look more professional. It’s all about presentation. Many of our customers will simply set the business card holder in a location where the cards are easy to see and access.

You will find both our plastic and wooden business card holders here.

Compack 5800 Shrink Wrap Machine Review

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Compack 5800 Shrink Wrap MachineThe Compack 5800 shrink-wrap machine has been around for a while and I have had several opportunities to use it. To start with, the Compack 5800 (found here) is an L-bar shrink-wrap system that includes a built-in heat tunnel. It uses an impulse sealer to cut the film and a heat tunnel to shrink the film. It is primarily designed to be used with centerfold shrink film, although it can be used with pre-sized shrink bags as well.

At first glance the Compack 5800 may look a little intimidating. It sits at about waist height for operator comfort and includes a few knobs and adjustment settings on the control panel. Not to worry though, the Compack 5800 is actually very easy to set up and use. Best of all, it only requires one person to operate.

Assembly of this shrink-wrap machine will require a few people. The bulk of the machine ships assembled, but you will need to attach the legs. This is where you will need a few people. Thanks to the included casters, the machine is very easy to move around.

I have used the Compack 5800 to package DVDs, software boxes, soap bars, paper and much more. While the Compack 5800 is not fully automated, I would consider it a commercial / industrial shrink-wrap machine for the fact that it can be used all day without any problems.

From start to finish, the packaging process only takes a few seconds. Simply place your product in the film, pull down the arm and let the machine do the rest. The Compack 5800 includes a magnetic lockdown that will hold the sealing arm in place during the cutting and shrinking process.

The only issue I have experienced with the Compack 5800 is a dirty wire from continued use that caused incomplete cuts, which is perfectly normal for a shrink wrap machine.

I would compare the Compack 5800 to a Minipack-style system. As far as the packaging process is concerned, it is right up there with the Galaxy and the Galileo. You can find the Compack 5800 shrink wrap machine here.

Do you have experience with this system? Post your comments here!

Coil and Spiral Binding Hole Patterns Explained (4:1 and 5:1 Pitch)

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Spiral and Coil Binding MachinesSpiral binding machines, also known as coil binding machines, are one of the most widely used binding machines used today. Spiral binding has many benefits. The coils look great, they hold up well and pages can turn a full 360 degrees. The binding coils themselves are very affordable and are available in a wide variety of colors. So why are there two different pitches (hole patterns) available?

Spiral binding machines can be found in two different hole patterns. These are 4:1 pitch and 5:1 pitch. What it all boils down to is 4:1 pitch uses a hole pattern of four punched holes per inch of paper and a 5:1 pitch uses a hole pattern of five holes punched per inch of paper. While very similar, these two different hole patterns do visually look a little different when compared side-by-side.

4:1 Pitch Hole PatternA 4:1 pitch hole pattern is the most widely used and most popular spiral binding hole pattern used. The 4:1 hole pattern is able to bind more sheets of paper, at about 230 total pages. This is because the holes are spaced farther apart. Many people feel the pages turn more easily as well. You will find our 4:1 pitch spirals here.

The 5:1 pitch hole pattern has what many people call a “tighter” look. This is because the holds are closer together. The 5:1 pitch pattern is able to bind up to about 150 sheets of paper. Some people feel the tighter look is better for thinner books and for presentations. You will find our 5:1 pitch spirals here.

The pitch you use ultimately depends on your preferred look. Although 4:1 pitch is more popular, you may prefer the look of 5:1 more. You will find our entire selection of spiral binding machines here.

Akiles WireMac Wire Binding Machine Review

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Akiles WireMac Duo Wire Binding MachinesThe Akiles WireMac series of wire binding machines have been around for some time now. The overall customer response to this line of wire binding machines has been remarkably positive, and there is a good reason for this. The Akiles WireMac (found here) may very well be one of the best-built lines of wire binding machines every manufactured.

I have personally used all of the WireMac wire binding machines and have to say the overall build quality is remarkable. These machines feel as if they were cast out of a single piece of iron. They are heavy, but solid as a rock.

There is nothing more annoying than ending up with a stuck pin while trying to punch paper. While I personally recommend scaling back the punching capacity of a binding machine by about 20% from what the manufacturer recommends, I can safely say that the maximum punching capacity given by Akiles is in fact the real punching capacity. I have yet to experience a stuck pin.

These are the four WireMac wire-binding machines that we offer and what I think about them:

  • Original WireMac (2:1 & 3:1 pitch) – The original WireMac is a manually operated machine. This means that the punching and wire closing are done manually. This machine has selectable punching dies, an adjustable margin depth and an adjustable wire closer. Overall, this may be one of my favorite manual wire binding machines of all time.
  • Akiles WireMac Duo – This wire-binding machine brings you the best of both worlds. It includes both a 2:1 pitch and 3:1 pitch punch. This means you don’t have to settle on any one-hole format. It’s basically two machines in one, which is pretty cool.
  • Akiles WireMac Combo – So you have comb and wire binding needs but don’t want to fork out the money for two different machines? The WireMac combo has a comb punch and opener and a wire punch and closer. This machine is available in a 2:1 pitch and a 3:1 pitch version. The build quality is equal to the basic WireMac and it is just as easy to use.
  • Akiles WireMac-E – This machine is basically the original WireMac but with an electric punch. The electric punch makes punching paper faster and is ideal for consistent daily punching and binding. Some binding machines sacrifice quality when an electric motor is included. The WireMac-E uses a motor that is equivalent to the overall build quality of Akiles. It is nice.

I know I am gushing over these wire-binding machines, but in all honesty, I really like using them. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about any potential customer service or repair issues with these machines. They do what they’re supposed to and work as promised. You will find our entire selection of Akiles binding machines here.

Seventy-Fifth (75th) Anniversary of the Paper Shredder – History of Shredding

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Intimus 0077SL Paper ShredderPaper shredders haven’t been around forever. In fact, paper shredders really haven’t been around nearly as long as you may have thought. How long do you think they have been around? Perhaps 100-200 years? The correct answer is 75 years. This is the interesting history of shredding.

In relation to history, paper itself hasn’t been around long. The ancient Egyptians wrote on papyrus. If the papyrus was no longer needed, it was torn up. While this can be done with paper, tearing up a document may not be as secure as you think.

The paper shredder began in 1935 with Adolf Ehinger. He was living in Germany at the time and printed anti-Nazi material. As history tells, the Nazis were relentless and brutal when dealing with opposition. After being confronted by Nazis about some material in his garbage can, he decided he needed to come up with a better solution for disposing of this material.

His inspiration for creating a paper-destructing device was a hand-cranked pasta maker. Using this as a template, he created a hand-cranked paper-shredding device that was housed in a wood frame. The opening of this shredder was big enough to handle paper. He later created a version powered by an electric motor. At the time, people thought his invention was useless. Adolf went on to make shredders for governments and embassies.

With the onset of the cold war, Adolf Ehinger’s invention grew in popularity. In 1959 Adolf Ehinger’s company (EBA Maschinenfabrik) created the first cross cut paper shredder. A cross cut shredder cuts paper in multiple directions for added security, versus a strip cut shredder that only cuts the paper in one direction. In 1998 Krug & Priester purchased the company, whose paper shredder divisions are now known as EBA and IDEAL. Krug and Priester continues to make shredders under the names EBA, IDEAL and Destroyit.

The idea of the paper shredder, however, predates Adolf Ehinger. In 1908 A.A. Low patented the idea of the paper shredder. From New York City, his patent was titled “Waste Paper Receptacle.” This patent included the idea of a feeder and blades that could be run on a motor or hand crank. It was to be used in banks, offices and other businesses. After passing away in 1912, his ideas and inventions were auctioned off to the highest bidder and his idea for the paper shredder was forgotten.

Paper shredders are now more popular than ever and have made a name in history with such scandals as Watergate and corruption as found in Enron. Colonel Oliver North made the Schleicher Intimus 007 S one of the most popular paper shredders in history after he used it to shred documents during the Iran-Contra scandal. After Colonel Oliver North divulged the model of the shredder he used, sales for Schleicher Intimus rose 20%.

Cross cut paper shredders grew in use after the 1979 takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran. Documents in the embassy were only strip cut, allowing Persian carpet weavers to piece the strips back together. After this incident, the U.S. government increased security requirements for paper shredders.

Federal laws are now in place that requires certain documents to be shredded or properly disposed of. Some of these laws include HIPAA and FACTA. You will find ABC Office’s entire selection of paper shredders here. Protect your business and protect your customer’s information with a paper shredder today.

AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine Review

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine With GunSo you want to package your own soap, DVDs, fruit baskets, chocolates or boxes. No matter what it is you want to package, an AIE i-bar shrink-wrap sealer may be just what you need. I have hands-on experience with several AIE shrink-wrap systems and will be reviewing the AIE-20XXX series machines. This includes the AIE-2013I, AIE-2018I, AIE-2024I and AIE-2032I shrink-wrap systems found here.

To start with, all four of these models are essentially the same machine. The only difference is the length of the cutting bar. If you think you may be on the edge of being too big for one model, simply move to the next larger size. The larger systems can still use smaller rolls of film and can still be used to package smaller objects. The price difference between sizes isn’t much and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

One of my favorite things about the AIE-20XXX series I-bar shrink-wrap machines is the fact that they come with the sealer / cutter, a heat gun and a starter roll of shrink wrap film. For the price, you get everything you need to get up and running. I wish more manufacturers would do this.

The machine itself comes assembled right out of the box. Just pull it out and set it on a table. The film is extremely easy to feed on this machine. Simply put the roll on the bearing rollers and insert the film separator into the open end of the centerfold film. You’re now ready to start.

The build quality on the AIE I-bar shrink wrap systems is extremely high, which is usually the case with AIE products. I decided to shrink wrap a couple of Star Wars DVDs to test out the machine. I put the DVDs in the film, made a few cuts with the cutting arm and then ran the heat gun over the film. The film contracted and after a few seconds the DVDs looked like they would on a store shelf.

One nice thing about I-bar sealers, sometimes called straight-bar sealers, is that there aren’t as many height restrictions as you would have with a higher-end commercial L-bar system. It is easy to make cuts around odd-sized and odd-shaped objects thanks to the versatility of the heated cutting blade.

The AIE system, although it was new, created very little smoke. Dirty blades can tend to create more smoke, but the AIE was notably cleaner than I am used to. I would guess that it would take the average operator about one minute to completely package a DVD. This isn’t bad, but it still doesn’t compare to the higher-end L-bar systems. The AIE I-bar system is rated for low to medium-volume use.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the AIE I-bar system as one of the best I-bar shrink wrappers I have used. If you are in the market, you should seriously considering getting this machine. You will find our AIE I-bar shrink wrap machine here.

Have you used this particular model or do you have questions? Post your comments here!

Lassco Wizer – Best Cornerounders In Town (aka Corner Cutters)

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Lassco Wizer Cornerounders and Corner CuttersCorners are just too dull, not to mention sharp. I don’t know what it is, but the simple process of rounding a corner can add a lot to a document. Take a business card for example. Sharp corners? Dull. Round corners? Cool.

Many people also like to round the corners on menus, playing cards, photographs, birthday cards and much more. So how can you round a lot of corners at once without sacrificing quality? It’s easy. Use a Lassco Wizer cornerounder. Cornerounders are often referred to as corner rounders and corner cutters.

Lassco has been making cornerounders for well over a decade and they have several time-tested models that get the job done well. I have personally used their entry-level CR-20 and can vouch for the fact that it is really easy to use. I never would have thought that cutting through a ½-inch stack of paper would be so easy. Lassco’s CR-60 cornerounder is even capable of cutting up to .080 aluminum.

Cornerounder and Corner Cutter Diamaters

So what are some of the most popular Lassco Wizer corner rounders our customers like to use? They are:

  • CR-20 Corner Cutter – Great corner cutter for cutting documents that fall within a 5″ x 10-1/2″ size up to ½-inch thick.
  • CR-50B Cornerounder – Very comparable to the CR-20 but with a larger 9″ x 18″ cutting base. Also capable of cutting a ½-inch stack of paper.
  • CR-50P Corner Rounder – This machine has all the quality of the desktop models but in a floor design. This corner rounder has an electric motor, making it ideal for continuous use.
  • CR-50XP Corner Cutter – This corenrounder is pneumatic, which means it is powered by an air compressor. This corner cutter is perfect for print shops, continuous and high-volume use.

These are just some of Lassco Wizer’s corner rounders. You can find our entire selection of cornerounders here. Have questions about our Lassco Wizer cornerounders? Post them here!

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