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You are being redirected to ABC Office. Why? has joined their sister company ABC Office to provide our customers with a greater product selection, while offering the same great prices and service you have come to love and expect!If you have questions or concerns during this transition please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788, or email us at

Archive for February, 2011

Features To Look For In A Comb Binding Machine

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Comb Binding MachinesComb binding continues to be one of the most popular book binding formats used today. Plastic comb binding supplies are cheap, machines are plentiful and the end results look great. That said, what features should you look for in a comb binding machine? With literally dozens of machines available, you may need a little help narrowing down the field. Here are a few tips that may help you out.

Features To Look For In A Comb Binding Machine

  1. Punching Capacity – The punching capacity is the amount of sheets that a machine can punch at any given time. This does not determine the maximum thickness of the bound book. If you are binding a 100-page book and have a machine that can punch 10 sheets at a time, you will need to make 10 total passes before accumulating enough punched paper for a 100-page book. The higher the punching capacity, the faster you can bind a book.
  2. Paper Size – Most comb binding machines are designed to handle standard letter size 8 ½” x 11″ or A4 size paper. If you need to bind 14″ legal size paper or larger, be sure to check and see if the comb binding machine can handle the added length. Sometimes you can bind a longer sheet of paper if the comb binding machine is open ended, allowing the operator to slide the paper over and punch it again.
  3. Book Thickness – The majority of comb binding machines have a 2″ book binding capacity. While this may be the case for 90% of the machines out there, some entry-level machines may not be equipped with comb openers capable of handling 2″ paper. Be sure and check this out under the machine’s specifications prior to purchasing a comb binder.
  4. Disegnageable Dies – If you plan on binding custom-size and non-standard paper sizes, you will definitely want a machine with disengageable (selectable) punching dies (aka punching pins). Have you ever punched paper only to end up with a half-punched hole? Disengageable punching dies will eliminate this problem.
  5. Margin depth – The margin dept determines how far into the paper the holes are punched. Only about half of the comb binding machines available have this feature. I personally like an adjustable margin depth. This makes it easier to punch deeper into paper when binding thicker books, where the potential of a page accidentally ripping out is higher.
  6. Material Construction – Comb binding machines are going to be either made out of plastic, metal or a combination thereof. As you might imagine, all-metal comb binding machines typically hold up better over time. If you only plan on doing low to medium-volume binding, a plastic or plastic / metal machine may be fine. Be aware that some plastic-looking machines are actually all metal with a plastic shell.
  7. Handles – Some comb binding machines feature a single handle for punching paper and opening the combs. Other machines feature two separate handles for both. The handle arrangement your machine has will depend on your preference. Electric machines typically have only one handle for opening the comb.
  8. Manual or Electric – Do you need a manual or an electric comb binding machine? The ultimate determining factor will be the amount of books you are binding. While electric punch comb binding machines are convenient, they’re typically only needed for high-volume binding. Some people still like electric punches for low to medium-volume binding purely out of convenience. Be aware that electric punch comb binding machines are typically more of an investment.

Understanding these various features should help you ultimately decide which machine is best for you. You can find our entire selection of comb binding machines here. If you are still unsure which machine to buy, feel free to contact one of our comb binding specialists by calling 1-800-658-8788.

How To Choose A Booklet Making Machine

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Formax Booklet Making MachinesBooklet makers are wonderful machines that make it possible for you to quickly create booklets, reports, presentations and much more. These handy machines quickly staple folded paper and fold it in half. The end result looks great. If you want to save money and start making your own booklets, here are a few tips that may help you find a machine.

  1. Paper Size – One critical part of choosing a booklet making machine is finding a machine that can handle your paper size. Most booklet making machines can handle standard 8 ½” x 11″ paper. Not all machines, however, can handle larger 11″ x 17″ and 12″ x 18″ paper sizes. Be sure the machine you buy can handle your paper size.
  2. Stapling Locations – How many staples do you need in your booklet? If you are stapling a standard letter-size document, 2-3 staple heads are usually more than sufficient. Most booklet makers come with at least 2 staple heads. If you are creating a larger booklet from 11″ x 17″ or 12″ x 18″ paper, you may need at least 3 stapling positions to keep everything stable.
  3. Booklet Thickness – How thick do you need your book to be? You should be aware that booklet makers typically take into account the front and back of a folded sheet of paper. This means if your booklet maker can handle 12 sheets of paper, it can create a booklet with 48 pages (front and back). Few booklet makers can create stapled booklets over 100 pages in thickness.
  4. Type Of Paper – What type of paper will you be folding and stapling? The thicker the paper, the fewer the amount of sheets you will be able to fold and staple. You should also be aware that most booklet making machines use friction to fold the paper. If the paper is too glossy, it is possible that the friction rollers will slip on the paper. If you aren’t sure if you’re paper will work, send us samples and we’ll test them prior to you making a purchase. You can reach us at 1-800-658-8788.
  5. Speed & Automation – How many booklets do you need to create per day? Booklet making machines vary in speed depending on how automated the machine is. Booklet makers can be divided up into manual, semi-auto and automatic.Manual machines usually require the stapling to be done manually while the folding is electric. Semi-auto machines usually staple the paper, but require you to manually feed the paper into the machine. Fully automatic booklet making machines are typically interfaced with a collator for streamlined operations.
  6. Location – Where will you be using your booklet making machine? Be sure you have enough space. Most booklet making machines will fit on most tables and desks, but some of the higher-end machines may require a more stable surface.

These are the most common points you will want to take into consideration prior to purchasing a booklet making machine. You can find our entire selection of booklet making machines here.

Akiles iCoil 41 Coil Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Akiles iCoil 41 Coil Binding MachineDo you need a compact, all-in-one coil binding machine that includes everything you need to start book binding? One model you may want to look at is the Akiles iCoil 41 coil binding machine (found here). While new, this compact coil binder has become a hit. This is my review.

Akiles has been manufacturing coil binding machines for years. One thing I have come to expect form Akiles machine is quality. Akiles coil binders are built from the ground up with longevity in mind. I can safely say that when an Akiles machine leaves our warehouse, we rarely ever hear regarding issues or problems.

The Akiles iCoil 41 is one of the latest coil binding machines offered by Akiles. This machine is built for small office and home use. It is extremely compact with compartments and flaps that make this extremely easy to store in a cupboard or drawer.

Aesthetically the iCoil 41 looks great. It has a built in pocket that stores a pair of included coil binding pliers. A paper support folds down over the machine, protecting the punching die and electric coil inserter from dust while not in use.

The iCoil 41 punches paper in a 4:1 pitch hole pattern. This means that holes are punched every 4 holes per inch. This is by far the most popular coil binding hole pattern used today.

The Akiles iCoil 41 can manually punch up to 15 sheets of 20# paper at a time. For as small and compact as this binding machine is, 15 sheets isn’t bad. I still recommend scaling that number back a few sheets to prolong the life of the machine.

Once all the sheets have been punched, coils are easily inserted thanks to an electric coil inserter. You’ll notice on the picture of this machine that the electric coil inserter is only a few inches wide. This is OK though as you don’t need much to spin the coil.

The iCoil 41 includes a foot pedal that turns the inserter on and off. When it comes to inserting coils, having both hands free is a huge plus. Few machines in this affordable price range include a foot pedal. Once the coil has been inserted, the open ends can be quickly crimped off with the included

Not only does the Akiles iCoil include all the bells and whistles, it also includes charts and guides on the machine that make machine operation and supply selection easy.

I personally give the Akiles iCoil 41 high marks. While it shouldn’t be used for more than medium-volume binding, it is perfect for home and small office use.

You can find the Akiles iCoil 41 coil binding machine here and our entire selection of coil book binding machines here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Best Way To Package Cake Clamshells

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Minipack Galileo Shrink Wrap Machine & PackagingI had a customer ask me today if we offered a machine that could be used to package cake clamshells. I informed her that we had several machines that would work, but I needed to ask a few questions first. We ended up settling on a shrink wrap machine. This is how we came to that decision.

To begin with, I asked the customer how many cakes she was packaging per day. She informed me that she would be packaging about 300 cakes a day, which were enclosed in clamshell packaging. I informed the customer that 300 pieces a day was a fairly large amount.

I then asked the customer how big the clamshells were. She informed me that they were about 9″ x 7″ wide and 2″ high. I provided the customer with a few options.

First of all, 300 cakes a day is a lot. While you could use an I-bar sealer (found here), I informed the customer that they would be looking at about 2-3 minutes per package, perhaps 1 minute per package with a well-experienced operator. Even in a best-case scenario that would be about 5 hours to package everything.

I informed the customer that she would probably want an L-bar shrink wrap machine with an integrated tunnel. These types of systems take anywhere from 10-20 seconds per package. Packaging time will go up or down depending on how automated the machine is. In a best-case scenario this would take about 50-60 minutes.

I explained to the customer that the amount of time saved per day would easily make up the difference in cost. The customer also informed me that she would probably experience an increase in volume if everything went as planned. She definitely needed an L-bar system.

We ended up settling on the Minipack Galileo. The Galileo is affordable, could easily packaging the cake clamshell and seemed to be the best fit.

Having used the Galileo myself, I am confident that the customer will be very happy in the long run.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Top 10 Uses Of Laminator Machines

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Laminator Machines from ABC OfficeWhether you own a laminator machine or are shopping around for one, you may be curious to see what people are using them for. Both pouch and roll laminator machines can be used to laminate literally dozens of different products. Here is what our customers are laminating.

Top 10 Uses Of Laminator Machines

  1. Pictures & Photos
  2. Report & Book Covers
  3. Signs
  4. Posters
  5. ID Badges
  6. Business Cards
  7. Scrapbook Pages
  8. Stickers (Xyron)
  9. Certificates
  10. Menus & Programs

Laminator machines can be used to protect, preserve and coat a wide variety of material. So what are you laminating? I would love to hear from you. Post your comments below this article.

At ABC Office we offer both pouch laminators and roll laminators. You can find our entire selection of laminator machines here.

Wire Binding Machines – Square or Round Holes?

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Wire Binding MachinesSo you’re looking for a wire binding machine and have noticed that some come with round holes and others come with square holes. Is there much of a difference between the two styles and should you choose one over another? I will try to answer a few of these questions here.

To begin with, wire binding machines are available with square, rectangle and round punching dies. Square and rectangular-shaped hole patterns make up well over 90% of the hole patterns found in modern-day wire binding machines. Round wire hole patterns are very rare to find in machines.

3:1 Pitch Wire Binding Hole PatternWire comes in 2:1, 3:1 and Spiral-O hole patterns. The binding supplies used depend on the pitch of the wire binding machine. The pitch is the distance between the holes.

2:1 Pitch Wire Binding Hole PatternA 3:1 pitch square hole typically measures in at 4mm x 4mm. A 2:1 pitch hole pattern looks square, but it is actually slightly rectangular in shape, measuring in at 4mm x 5.5mm.

19-Ring Spiral-O Wire Binding PatternSpiral-O wire binding machines only punch paper using a rectangular hole pattern like what’s used with comb binding. The Spiral-O hole measures in at 3.12 x 7.94mm.

Many multi-format binding machines with interchangeable punching dies give you the option of purchasing a square or a round hole pattern.

Are there any advantages of using square vs. a round hole for wire binding? There are no advantages or disadvantages. Both hole patterns work with twin loop wire. The only difference is the appearance, which is a matter of personal preference.

One thing you should be aware of is that round holes are typically associated with coil binding. Coil binding, however, uses a completely different hole pattern than wire binding. Supplies from wire binding cannot be used with coil punched hole patterns.

Most wire binding machines will specify on their product pages whether they punch square or round holes. Most wire binding machines also show, on the machine itself, which hole pattern they punch.

You can find our entire selection of twin-loop wire binding machines here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our wire binding specialists.

Akiles VersaMac Multi-Format Electric Binding Punch Review

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Akiles VersaMac Electric Book Binding PunchDo you bind dozens to perhaps even hundreds of books a day? Trying to bind hundreds of books a day can be pretty tough, especially if you don’t have the right equipment. Many modern-day binding machines only punch 10-20 sheets at a time. If you need more punching capacity, you may want to look at the Akiles VersaMac heavy-duty electric binding punch (found here). This is my review.

Akiles makes a lot of book binding machines. This includes comb, wire and coil binding machines. The Akiles VersaMac is capable of punching paper for all these book binding styles and more. This is all due to the interchangeable punching die system the VersaMac uses.

Interchangeable means the VersaMac can use a punching die for one hole patter, let’s say wire, which can later be removed and replaced with another punching die (such as comb). Because the dies can physically be swapped out, punching possibilities on the VersaMac are only limited by the punching dies available.

To date, punching dies for the VersaMac include:

  • Comb (19-Ring)
  • Wire (2:1 & 3:1 pitch in square or round holes)
  • Coil (4:1 round or oval holes)
  • VeloBind
  • 3-Hole Punch

This ends up being about 9 different interchangeable punching dies. This is very impressive.

So why would you want a stand-alone book binding punch? The biggest reason is for high-volume or commercial binding purposes. Most binding machines punch a dozen or so sheets at a time. The VersaMac can punch 35-55 sheets of 20# paper at a time, depending on the punching die being used.

Because the VersaMac has such a high punching capacity, it can be used in conjunction with other binding machines for significantly increased output. The VersaMac can also be used with independent wire closers, comb openers and coil inserters.

The build quality of the VersaMac is very impressive. It is made out of all-metal construction. It weighs in at 121 pounds shipped. That gives you an idea as to just how much metal is used in it’s construction.

Not only is the Akiles VersaMac tough and capable of punching a lot of paper, but it also includes disengageable punching pins, an adjustable margin depth, a diameter scale, a foot pedal and many other high-end features.

I am impressed with Akiles in general and have to say that the VersaMac is an impressive piece of machinery. I have no doubt that if treated properly it will easily last for years. For a binding punch, I give the VersaMac a solid 5 out of 5 stars.

You can find the Akiles VersaMac heavy-duty electric binding punch here and our entire selection of book binding machines here.

Cassida 85 Currency Counter Review

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Cassida Model 85 Currency & Bill CounterA currency counter should be precise, easy-to-use and durable. It should save you money and time by simplifying counting operations. One great machine that can help you with your bill, money and currency counting needs is the Cassida Model 85 currency counter (found here). This is my review.

Cassida is one of the best-known manufacturers of currency counters. They currently manufacture about a dozen different products. This includes currency counters, counterfeit detectors and coin counters.

The Cassida 85 is one of the newest additions to the Cassida lineup. It is available in a base model, a UV (ultraviolet) model and a UV / MG (ultraviolet / magnetic) model. The UV and UV / MG models have counterfeit detection. These models are the Model 85, Model 85 U and Model 85 UM.

The Cassida 85 is a variable speed currency counter. The motor can be adjusted to 3 different settings. This includes 800, 1200 and 1500 bills per minute. This is ideal when counting bills, tickets, paper, checks and other material.

Unlike many currency counters out there, the Cassida 85 has very impressive capacity specs. It has a 1,000 bill hopper capacity and a 300 bill stacker capacity (new bills). Most bill counters are limited to 100.

Not only does the Cassida 85 count bills, it can count bills in a variety of different ways. It can provide you with a running total of bills counted and can batch count bills. Batch counting is great if you are a bank or a retail environment that needs to group or store bills in specific quantities.

The control panel on the Cassida 85 is very easy to use. The buttons are large (for those of us that have fat fingers) and easy to read. The display on the Cassida is large and easy to view.

The Cassida 85 is available with a few different options. You can get it with an optional dust collector or an optional remote customer display.

I feel safe in categorizing the Cassida 85 as a commercial quality machine. It is tough, definitely designed for daily use and is accurate. This is great for banks, retail stores and many other organizations.

You can find the Cassida Model 85 currency counter here and our entire selection of Cassida bill counters here. You can find our entire selection of bill counters here. This includes models from Cassida, Semacon, Ribao, Magner, ABC, Klopp any many more.

Feel free to call us up at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions regarding bill counters. We are more than happy to help.

Top 5 Best Banner Stands

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Banner Stands from ABC OfficeBanner stands are useful to have around when you are trying to promote something, point someone in the right direction or prepare for an event. So which type of banner stand should you use? With dozens of different models and styles of banner stands available, this can be a difficult decision.

Having spoken with many customers myself regarding banner stands, I have come up with a list of several models that have proven themselves over the years. These banner stands have been used in lobbies, for trade shows, in universities to promote events and much more. I have narrowed this list into the top 5 banner stands our customers find most useful.

Top 5 Best Banner Stands

  1. Foster Classic Banner Stand – This banner stand is compact, height adjustable and can be ordered without dowels, with hemmed dowels or with Velcro. It is also available with a square base, a travel base or round base. This particular banner stand is popular for use in entryways and lobbies.
  2. Foster Jumbo Classic Banner Stand – This banner stand can be used to display a wide variety of signs and banners and is available with or without dowels. It can adjust from 42″ to 118″ in height.
  3. Foster Ultra Single Banner Stand – Our Ultra line of banner stands from Foster is designed to be portable, sleek and modern. The banner is displayed in such a way that the feet are completely hidden. These can be used with fabric, foam core or vinyl banners and feature 3 different tilting positions. Premium Velcro for the top and bottom of the stand is included.
  4. Foster Grand Format Adjustable Banner Stand – This banner stand is made from a lightweight aluminum alloy, making it extremely portable. A durable crossbar is used to hold large format hemmed banners and graphics.  This particular banner stand comes in a wide range of widths and heights.
  5. Foster Presto Pop-Up Banner Stand – This banner stand is popular for displaying large banners ranging in size up to 12.5’ x 7.5’ and 10’ x 10’. This stand is not only rigid and durable, but folds down into a compact format that can easily be moved around. The Presto Pop-Up displays come in straight or curved back walls. No special tools are required to assemble this display and it includes a carrying case.

So there you have our list of the top 5 most popular banner stands. All these banner stands have a great record and have proven themselves over the past years to be reliable and durable.

You can find our entire selection of banner stands here.

Triumph vs Dahle – Battle Of The German Stack Cutters

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Triumph Stack Paper CuttersI get asked frequently whether I prefer Dahle or Triumph brand stack paper cutters. This is a pretty tough question. There are a lot of similarities and differences between these two unique and popular brands. I’ll try and explain what features I like and dislike about each.

To begin with, Dahle and Triumph (by IDEAL) really only compete on a manual stack cutter level. While Triumph manufactures electric and hydraulic stack cutters, Dahle does not. I will only be covering the manual stack cutters by Triumph.

Both Dahle and Triumph stack paper cutters are German engineered and German made. They are also both considered to be the two best brands of stack paper cutters available today.

Dahle and Triumph make the following stack cutters that compete directly with each other.

17″ Cutting Width

All three of these cutters are excellent when it comes to cutting paper up to 17″ wide.  All three also feature a safety protection system.

Dahle 842 Profesional Stack CutterDahle 842 has a manually adjusted sliding backstop that I don’t really like and the safety guard on the 842 is metal, making it difficult to see what you are cutting. I also had trouble getting a nice accurate cut with the 842 due to the sliding backstop.

The Dahle 846 and the Triumph 4205 feature a spindle-driven backstop and a clear plexiglass safety guard. The spindle-driven backstop is a huge upgrade and well worth the extra money in my opinion.

I would personally choose the Dahle 846 and Triumph 4205 over the Dahle 842 if the budget allows. The 842 is still a nice cutter, but the benefits of the 846 and 4205 are worth it in my opinion.

I personally think the Triumph 4205 takes the crown, however, as the registry and cuts seemed more precise. The overall build quality of the 4205 also seemed slightly better.

18″-19″ Cutting Width

Dahle 846 Professional Stack CutterBoth of these cutters are exceptional and both can cut paper over 18″ wide. The both feature a clear safety guard and both are very easy to use and operate. They also both feature a spindle-driven backstop with is very accurate.

One thing I like with the Triumph 4205 over the Dahle 848 is the clamping mechanism. The 4205 has a latch-style clamp versus the lever-style clamp of the Dahle 848. The latch-style clamp is better when it comes to cutting glossy or coated paper.

If money permits, I would probably get the Triumph 4205, however, the Dahle 848 is still an excellent cutter. From personal experience, the 4205 just barely edges out the Dahle 848.

Honorable Mention:

Dahle also makes a couple of premium stack paper cutters. These are the:

The only reason I don’t feature these in a comparison with Triumph is because they are in a league of their own. Triumph really doesn’t make a stack cutter that works on the same level.

Overall I have to say that Triumph is probably my favorite over the Dahle brand stack cutter. That’s not to say the Dahle cutter is bad by any means. I would compare the Dahle to a nice Honda and the Triumph to a nice Acura. The Dahle will still get you from point A to point B without any trouble, but the Triumph is just a little nicer with a few more bells and whistles.

It is also important to point out that Dahle paper cutters are typically more affordable than Triumph paper cutters. If your budget doesn’t allow for a nice Triumph cutter, you will probably still be happy with the Dahle line.

You can find our entire line of Triumph stack paper cutters here, our Dahle stack paper cutters here and our entire selection of stack paper cutters here.

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