Archive for July, 2010

Which Paper Shredder Security Level Is Best?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Paper Shredder Security LevelsYou’ve probably seen the numbers labeled next to paper shredders at the store or online. One shredder has a security level 3 and another has a security level 5. So what does this mean to you? Which paper shredder level is best for you? I will break down the differences in security levels and which one you should use.

First of all, the higher the security level, the smaller the shred particles are. Security level 5 used to be the highest level of security up until a few years ago. A security level 6 is now the highest security level possible, with particles being so small they are secure enough for top secret documents and highly sensitive material.

Do you need a security level 6? Probably not. Most people who use a security level 6 are government or military in nature. I don’t personally know of any individuals who need to use a security level 6 or even a 5 for that matter.

Paper Shredder Security LevelsOne thing people don’t take into consideration when choosing a security level is the paper shredding capacity. The higher the security level, the fewer sheets you will be able to shred. This is because smaller cuts require more blades and more effort on the part of the shredder. Security level 6 shredders can’t cut large volumes of paper at a time for this reason. Strip cut shredders almost always shred more paper than cross cut shredders.

A security level 1 or level 2 is usually what you find in a strip cut paper shredder. While a security level 1 or 2 is certainly better than doing nothing, these security levels can be compromised with enough patience. Most criminals will still pass over strip cut documents for easier pickings.

High Security Paper Shredders / NSA CSS ApprovedMost cross cut paper shredders sold online fall within the range of a security level 3 or 4. This range of security is still very small and difficult to decipher.

So what do I recommend? If you are a home user or a business, a security level 3 or 4 is probably more than enough security for you. Unless you have problems with enemy governments or military sifting through your shredded documents, you’re probably fine. Most criminals do not have the capability to piece together a security level 4 or 5.

For more information on shredder security levels (DIN 32757) and DOD, NSA and CSS approved shredders, read our paper shredder guide found here.  You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here.

Best Way To Display Brochures

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Rotating Plastic Tabletop Brochure HolderDo you have brochures that need to be displayed or be made easy to view and access? Don’t stack the brochures on a desk or table. Use a brochure holder. There are several types of brochure holders available and chances are pretty good that there is one that will work for you.

Here are some of the best types of brochure holders you may want to consider using:

  • Desktop Wood and Wire Brochure Holders – These brochure holders, both wire and wood, are some of the most popular brochure holders sold today. This is because the require no assembly, are portable and can be placed just about anywhere. You will find these types of brochure holders in universities, doctor’s offices and more.
  • Rotating Tabletop Plastic Brochure Holders – These types of brochure holders make it easy to hold a wide variety of brochures in a small amount of space. Because they rotate, it is extremely easy to access and view a wide variety of material. These are typically placed on desks and tables.
  • Freestanding Wood and Wire Brochure Holders – These types of brochure holders are designed to hold a lot of material. They can be used to hold not only brochures, but maps and other similarly sized material. Freestanding brochure holders are made out of wood or wire and are very easy to pick up and move from one place to another. Wall-Mounted Wood Brochure Holders – These brochure holders are perfect for use in hallways and lobbies where a wide variety of material needs to be displayed on a daily basis. This may be in a hospital, doctor’s office, university lobby and more. These types of brochure holders aren’t hard to hang up and usually include all necessary mounting hardware.
  • Wall-Mounted Plastic Brochure Holders – Plastic brochure holders don’t weigh much, make it very easy to see the displayed material and are designed to hold up under constant use. Available in a variety of pocket formats, these wall-mounted plastic brochure holders are great for use in hallways, lobbies, waiting rooms and more.

Have questions about the different ways you can present your brochures? Speak with one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788 or post a comment here.

Packaging Playing Cards? Consider Using A Shrink Wrap Machine.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I-Bar Shrink Wrap Sealers / MachinesSo you’re packaging playing cards for retail sale, for use in a casino or for promotions. What is the best way to do this? You may want to consider using a shrink wrap machine. Shrink wrap is a fast and effective way to package playing cards. There are a few different ways to do this.

The two ways people package playing cards is by using an I-bar or an L-bar sealer with a heat tunnel or heat gun. The method you use will depend entirely on the amount of decks you would like to package. As a general rule, I-bar sealers are designed for lower volumes and L-bar sealers are for higher volumes of packaging.

  • I-bar sealers can be used to package several dozen to a few hundred decks a day. The speed really depends on the operator. A total of two passes of the sealing bar are required to completely seal in the deck of cards. A heat gun is then used to shrink the film. The entire process takes about 30 seconds to a minute. Be aware that I-bar sealers are sometimes called straight-bar sealers.
  • L-bar sealers can be used to package several hundred to potentially several thousand decks a day, depending on the model. Only one pass of the sealing bar is required. Heat tunnels are general used with L-bar sealers, with many L-bar machines including built-in heat tunnels. The entire process usually takes a few seconds.

Again, take into consideration how many decks of cards you wan to package now and in the future. If you expect your packaging volume to increase, you may want to invest your money in an L-bar machine. This will save you money in the long run.

You can find our entire selection of I-bar shrink wrap machines here and our entire selection of L-bar shrink wrap machines here. Still have questions about packaging your decks of cards? Call us at 1-800-658-8788 or leave you question in a comment.

Akiles MegaBind-1 Comb Binding Machine Review

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Akiles MegaBind-1 Comb Binding MachineDo you need a solid, well-rounded comb binding machine? Finding one can be difficult in an ocean of dozens of different makes and models. One machine you may want to consider looking at is the Akiles MegaBind-1 comb binder (found here). I have used this machine and this is my review.

To start with, Akiles makes some of the highest quality binding machines out there. While there isn’t a consumer reports list of binding machine reviews available, if there was Akiles would probably be at the top of the list. The build quality is just phenomenal.

The Akiles MegaBind-1 is no exception when it comes to build quality. The machine is made out of solid metal. The gears are metal, the housing is metal, etc. Because this machine is so solid, it is very easy to use. Longevity is no issue with the MegaBind-1.

So who should use the MegaBind-1? This machine is a good all-round machine best used for low to medium-volume binding. It can be used to bind reports, cookbooks, booklets and more. It is compact enough to be set on almost any table, counter or desk.

It is a manual machine, so don’t expect binding speeds seen in electric machines. It is capable of punching up to 25 sheets of paper at a time (thanks to an upgraded punch), so it is fast, but electric machines will always be faster.

If you are left handed, be aware that the lever for punching and opening the combs is located on the right side of the machine. This isn’t an issue for most people, but you should be aware.

A few features that I really like in this machine are the selectable punching dies and the adjustable margin depth. For the price, these features are pretty uncommon. Both of these features will increase your ability to bind books of various sizes and thicknesses.

Overall I am very impressed with this little comb binding machine. It is solid, durable and priced right. You can find the Akiles MegaBind 1 comb binding machine here. The MegaBind is also available in a MegaBind-2 found here.

The MegaBind-2 is pretty much the same as the MegaBind-1 but with a wire closer for 19-ring wire. You can find our entire selection of manual-punch comb binding machines here.

ABC 100 Counterfeit Bill Detector Review

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

ABC 100 UV Counterfeit Bill DetectorCounterfeit bills are rampant and the technology used to commit this crime is cheaper, more available and better than ever. So what can you do as a retailer or store owner to combat this? Use a counterfeit bill detector. So which model should you use? You may want to consider using the ABC 100 counterfeit detector (found here). I have used it and this is my review.

The ABC 100 uses ultraviolet (UV) detection to determine if a bill is counterfeit. Simply place a bill under the light and it will light up the UV properties found in a bill. These properties vary depending on the denomination of the bill.

You can find more about where these UV properties are located on the bills by going here. You can read even more about counterfeit detection by reading our counterfeit detection guide found here.

The ABC 100 is a very light machine. It only about three pound shipped, so it is extremely portable and easy to move around. It does require a wall outlet to operate.

UV Bill Verification

The only downside to using a UV detector like this is if you are in direct sunlight, it can be hard to see the UV light shining on the bill and the highlighted line may not show up very well. If you are having trouble seeing the UV properties on the bill, you may want to move the ABC 100 to a darker location.

Overall I am impressed with the ABC 100. It is very simple, but UV detection is one of the best ways to cut down on counterfeit bill problems. You can the ABC 100 counterfeit detector here. You can find our entire selection of counterfeit bill detectors here.

Dahle Trimmers Versus Rotatrim Cutters – The Gloves Are Off

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Rotatrim Professional Series Paper CutterI get this question all the time. Which is better, Dahle or Rotatrim? I get this question from scrapbookers, photographers and many others. It’s understandable. If you look online for professional photograph and paper cutters, both Rotatrim and Dahle are at the top of the list. Here are the pros and cons.

To begin with, Dahle and Rotatrim are both at the top of the hill when it comes to rotary trimmers. Leave Fiskars and the others behind. They are just toys. We are talking about cutters designed to give you precision and last you for years.

Rotatrim, in my opinion, is still king of the hill. Nothing touches Rotatrim, and I mean nothing. The professional series of Rotatrim trimmers have two solid bars that keep the cutting head solidly in place. You probably can’t even measure with a microscope any variance in the straightness of the cut. Am I biased? Perhaps. I have used Rotatrim and absolutely love them!

Dahle is the formidable contender. They are great cutters and in most cases are far more affordable. Ten years ago I would have told you they were junk, but they have risen in quality by leaps and bounds over the past few years. If the budget is there, I’d still go with a Rotatrim, but I think you’ll still be very happy and satisfied with your Dahle cutter.

If this sways your buying decision, Rotatrim is made in England and Dahle is made in Germany.

So which Dahle and Rotatrim cutters are people buying? Here’s the list. I’ll also include a new customer favorite (Hint: It’s not Dahle or Rotatrim). Click on the link to see the product:

Quality Rotatrim Rotary Cutters

  • Rotatrim Monorail Paper CutterRotatrim Professional “M” Series – This is the king of the rotary cutters. This cutter is probably the best rotary cutter you can get for photograph cutting. Models include the M-12, M-15, M-18, M-24, M-30, M-36, M-42 and M-54. The number indicates the length of the cutter in inches. This cutter used to be known as the Mastercut.
  • Rotatrim Mastercut Cutter (These imported from England) – This includes models MR12, MR18, MR26, MR36 and MR48. The square bar provides decent stability to the cutting head. This cutter used to be known as the monorail, but is now referred to as the Mastercut. While not as high-end as the Professional series, it is still a great cutter for an individual or small business.

Quality Dahle Rotary Cutters

  • Dahle 440 Series Paper CutterDahle 550 Series Rotary Cutter – This cutter is great for cutting down paper and photographs. Models include the 550, 552 and 554.
  • Dahle 440 Series Rotary Trimmers – These trimmers are very affordable and the cutting head sits on a rectangular-shaped bar providing added stability. Models include the 440, 442, 444, 446 and 448.

Honorable Mention / Up-And-Comer

  • Foster Keencut Trimmer – This is a contender that I consider to be just as good if not better than the Dahle trimmers. This trimmer uses a double-bar system like the Rotatrim Professional cutter and is almost equally as stable and reliable.

I hope this helps you with your paper trimmer decision. Do you still have some questions about some of the models that we offer? Give us a call and speak to one of our paper cutter specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can also post your question in a comment. You can find our entire selection of rotary paper cutters here.

What Film Core Size Should Your Roll Laminator Use?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Banner American Green Roll LaminatorSo you have a roll laminator and now need some replacement film for it. So what size core should you get? There are three common sizes available. This includes one-inch, 2 ¼-inch and three inch. Here are a few ways to get the right film for your laminator.

The easiest way is to simply measure the inner diameter of the hole on your old roll lamination film. Unfortunately this isn’t always an option. Often times the old rolls are no longer around or the person that used to buy the film is no longer with the company.

Another way to determine the size of film you need is to measure the mandrel. The mandrel is the rod that the roll film is slid onto. A one-inch mandrel is pretty easy to spot out. The 2 ¼ or three-inch mandrel may require you to break out the tape measure.

As a general rule, roll laminators that fall within the 25 to 27-inch wide range use a one-inch core. The one-inch core diameter is the most common size used today.

Larger roll laminators (30-inches plus) typically use a wider core. This is because the wider film usually requires more stability.

Roll Lamination FilmWhat if you have a one-inch mandrel on your laminator but the film you want to use is only available with a larger 2 ¼ or three-inch core? Some laminator manufacturers make core adapters that will allow you to use a larger core film with a smaller mandrel.

Still not sure what film you need to use with your laminator? Call one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of roll lamination film here.  You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here.

Akiles CoilMac-M Coil Binding Machine Review

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Akiles CoilMac-M Coil Binding MachineCoil binding (aka spiral binding) is one of the most attractive and durable binding formats available today. If you are in the market for a coil binding machine, you’ve probably discovered there are a lot of options. One machine you may want to consider is the Akiles CoilMac-M coil binding machine (found here). I have used this machine and this is my review.

To begin with, the CoilMac-M is available in two different versions. One is the basic CoilMac-M and the other is the CoilMac-M Plus. There are only two significant differences between these two machines.

The CoilMac-M has five selectable (disengageable) punching pins where the CoilMac-M Plus has 54. The CoilMac-M punches round holes where the CoilMac-M Plus punches oval-shaped holes. More selectable dies is always nice and the oval holes are suppose to make for easier page turns.

Akiles CoilMac Hole PatternsBoth machines are made from solid metal and feature durable construction. This is the case with most Akiles machines. I can’t even think of I time I heard a complaint back from a customer regarding the CoilMac-M.

Both the CoilMac-M and the Plus weigh in at 35 pounds, which gives you an idea on how tough they are. They punch a total of 20 holes of paper at a time, which is pretty good for a manual-punch machine.

The CoilMac-M uses a 4:1 pitch hole pattern. This means it punches a total of four holes per inch of paper. This is the most common coil binding hole pattern and the supplies are very common.

I suppose my biggest complaint with the CoilMac-M series of binding machines is that they don’t have an electric inserter. Coils have to be manually inserted through the holes. If you are only binding a dozen books a day, that isn’t an issue.

If you need to bind dozens or more books a day, you may want to go with something that has an inserter like the Akiles CoilMac-ER, CoilMac-ECI or CoilMac-ECI Plus.

Overall I really like the CoilMac-M coil binders. I would rate these as being perfect for low to medium-volume use. You can easily use the CoilMac-M to create booklets, reports, cookbooks and more. You can find the CoilMac-M here and the CoilMac-M Plus here. You can find our entire selection of coil binding machines here.

What Is Centerfold Shrink Film?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Centerfold Shrink FilmShrink wrap is a great way to package boxes, DVDs, CDs, food and other products. So what is the best type of film to use with your shrink wrap machine? Most people use centerfold shrink film. This article will explain why.

So what exactly is centerfold shrink wrap film? It comes in a variety of widths and lengths. Most centerfold shrink film consists of a roll of film that can range anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand feet in length.

The film itself is folded in half, hence the name centerfold. Let’s say you are using 24-inch wide shrink film. That 24-inch wide roll of film is actually a 48-inches wide sheet of film that has been folded in half, creating two 24-inch wide layers with a seem. This helps create a convenient pocket, making it extremely easy to place products inside.

Most L-bar and I-bar sealers are designed to be used with centerfold shrink film. One thing you will want to keep an eye on is the diameter of the roll you are using. Most I-bar sealers can use just about any roll out there, but L-bar sealers often have a diameter limitation.

We sell two different types of centerfold film. One is PVC centerfold film (found here) and the other is Polyolefin centerfold film (found here). PVC is typically used to package CDs, DVDs and boxes, where Polyolefin is more pliable and food safe.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here. Still have questions about centerfold shrink wrap film? You can either call one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788 or post a comment. Have a great day!

Akiles OffiWire Wire Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Akiles OffiWire Wire Binding MachineWire binding looks great. It can be used for binding reports, booklets and much more. So which machine should you get? One model you may want to consider buying is the Akiles OffiWire (found here). I have used this machine and this is my review.

To begin with, the OffiWire is made by Akiles. I make this point because Akiles is known as being one of the best binding machine manufacturers around. They have passed up GBC and many other manufacturers in quality and durability. Akiles machines are made from durable metal components.

The OffiWire is a wire binding machine. Wire binding is sometimes referred to as twin loop or double loop wire. I have even heard some people refer to wire binding as wire comb.

The OffiWire is available in two different pitches (hole patterns). This includes both 2:1 and 3:1 pitch. A 2:1 pitch hole pattern has two holes per inch of paper and a 3:1 pitch hole pattern is three holes per inch.

Both hole punch patterns look similar but are still very distinct. A 2:1 pitch pattern has the holes spaced farther apart, allowing the 2:1 pitch to bind a thicker book. The 3:1 pitch pattern has the holes closer together, creating a “tighter” look. I find more people go with the 2:1 pitch due to the added binding capacity.

The Akiles OffiWire is a very simple, yet well-built machine. It isn’t designed for high-volume binding. It’s best used at home or in the office for binding the occasional booklet or report. I wouldn’t use the OffiWire for binding any more than a few dozen books a day maximum.

The OffiWire weighs in at 23 pounds, which is fairly hefty for the size, but it can still be easily moved around from one room to another. It is best used on a desk, table or counter.

Punching paper with the OffiWire is very easy to do. The “U” shaped handle is easy to pull and is equally easy to use between right-handed and left-handed people. There is a side margin control adjustment to help get the holes properly aligned. The OffiWire can punch up to 10 sheets of standard paper at a time. It even includes a wire selector tool.

One thing I wish the OffiWire had was selectable (disengageable) punching dies. While not an absolute necessity, I do like to have the ability to choose which holes will punch. In this price range, however, selectable dies are not very common.

One of my favorite features of the OffiWire is the closer. It has one of the toughest, heaviest-duty wire closers I have seen in some time. It is very reminiscent of the old EB-32 wire binder from the late 90s. The wire closer is designed to close evenly and effortlessly.

I have to say that if you have low to medium-volume wire binding needs, the OffiWire may be a good fit for you. It is very affordable and should last you for years without a problem. You can find the Akiles OffiWire wire binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of wire binding machines here.

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