Archive for February, 2011

Top 5 Best Paper Shredder Brands

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

MBM Destroyit Paper Shredders by IDEALFinding the right paper shredder is a pretty big deal, especially when you need a reliable model that can be used to destroy your most sensitive information. The only problem with shopping around for a good paper shredder is finding the right brand. I’ll be honest; a lot of the shredders out there are garbage. They may look pretty, with their plastic molded shells, but ultimately it’s what inside that counts.

I have personal experience with dozens of different makes, models and brands of shredders. Some shredders are remarkable feats of engineering genius, where others are little more than glorified garbage cans. Others are unable to run for more than 30 minutes without overheating, while even more sound like lawn mowers.

To help assist those of you who are shopping around, I have come up with a list of what I consider to be the top 5 best paper shredder brands available today.

Top 5 Best Paper Shredder Brands

  1. Destroyit – MBM Destroyit paper shredders (by IDEAL) are some of the best shredders around. They are designed and made in Germany. The cutting blades are some of the best around and these shredders are some of the easiest to use. These are perfect for continuous use in the office. There isn’t enough space in this article for me to write all the good things I have to say about Destroyit.
  2. Formax – Formax shredders are relatively new when compared to some of the other brands out there, but the build quality on these machines is excellent. Having sold these shredders for the last 5 or so years, our customers are always happy with what they receive. Formax makes some of the best office shredders around.
  3. Dahle – Sure they make paper cutters and folding machines, but they also make some excellent paper shredders too. Dahle paper shredders come in strip cut, cross cut and even high security models. Most Dahle shredders are German engineered and German made.
  4. HSM – HSM shredders are made from high quality components and are designed from the ground up to be safe and durable. HSM shredders range in size from deskside shredders to high-end commercial shredders.
  5. Intimus – Intimus, now owned by Martin Yale, still manufactures some of the best paper shredders available. This includes cross cut, strip cut, CD and high security designs. Intimus has been around for years and continues to make high-quality machines.

These shredders and manufacturers have demonstrated over the years that their paper shredders have what it takes to keep your information secure. I feel confident that you will not be disappointed in any of these paper shredder brands.

You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here. Feel free to speak with one of our paper shredder specialists at 1-800-658-8788 for answers to any of your paper shredder questions.

Intelli-Bind I23W Electric Wire Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Intelli-Bind I23W Electric Wire Binding MachineDo you or your business wire bind dozens, perhaps even hundreds of books per day? If so, you probably require the use of a heavy-duty binding machine. If you need to upgrade, or are simply in the market for a new binding machine, you may want to consider the Intelli-Bind I23W electric wire binding machine (found here) from Intelli-Zone. This is my review.

Wire binding is available in several different hole patterns, each with their own unique look. The hole pattern you use will depend on how your machine is built. The two most common hole patterns are 2:1 pitch (2 holes per inch) and 3:1 pitch (3 holes per inch).

The Intelli-Bind I23W has two different punching dies, allowing the operator to punch and bind in 2:1 or 3:1 wire. This is a huge benefit and is like having two machines in one. The format you use will depend on the look you prefer and the thickness of the book. A 2:1 pitch can bind a thicker book.

Each of these punching dies is electric, capable of punching up to 20 sheets of paper at a time. If you have ever manually punched paper for wire binding, over a dozen or more books a day, you can probably appreciate the convenience an electric punch provides. Simply place your paper in the machine and press the button located on the top of the machine. The I23W punches though paper without a problem.

The front of the I23W features a wire holder. This holder keeps a wire binding element in place while you add paper to it. Once all your paper is on the spine, it can be removed from the wire holder for placement in the wire closer.

Closing the wire is one of the most important parts of wire binding. If you don’t close the wire enough, pages will fall out. If you over-close the wire, pages won’t turn well and the book looks unprofessional.

The Intelli-Bind I23W has a special scale that makes wire closer adjustment easy. Simply locate the diameter of the wire you are using on the scale and adjust the dial accordingly. Once set, closing the wire is a piece of cake. While the wire closing is done manually, it literally takes seconds and requires very little manual effort.

Now let’s get to the build quality. Having handled this machine myself, I can vouch for the fact that it is made out of all-metal construction. It weighs in at 85 pounds shipped, so you may need up to 2 people to safely move it. While it is a heavy piece of machinery, most desks and tables will be able to support it.

For a heavy-duty wire binding machine, I have to say that the I23W is probably one of the most affordable machines out there. It is easy to use, extremely durable and should be able to easily keep up with your daily book binding needs.

You can find the Intelli-Bind I23W electric wire binding machine here and our entire selection of electric wire binding machines here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our book binding machine experts. Have a great day!

Top 10 Best Photograph Cutters

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Photograph CuttersCutting photos is tricky and requires the most precise of paper cutters. One bad slice with a cheap paper cutter can quickly ruin a photograph. So which style of cutter should you use when cutting your valued photos? There are many options out there. Here are a few tips that should help you find the best cutter for your photographs.

There are a lot of factors that go into purchasing a high-quality photo cutter. There’s usually a budget to be considered, origin of the machine, reputation, ratings and more. While I may not be able to help you with all these concerns through this article, I can provide you with some great recommendations.

I have 10+ years of detailed experience with photograph cutters. There are two styles of paper cutters I recommend using for cutting photographs. These are guillotine paper cutters and rotary paper trimmers. Both cutters utilize modern technology to provide a great cut.

In general, guillotine cutters make great all around paper cutters. Not only do they cut photographs, but they can also cut card stock, laminated material, glossy paper, cardboard and more. Guillotine cutters generally cut more paper than Rotary trimmers, however, this isn’t always the case. Kutrimmer and Dahle have a great reputation.

Rotary trimmers are generally considered some of the most precise cutters available. Most photographers look for a rotary trimmer that either utilizes 2 cutting rails or a square cutting rail. Rotary cutters are perfect with paper and photographs. Rotatrim and Dahle have a great reputation.

I have come up with a list of the 5 best rotary trimmers and 5 best guillotine cutters for photography purposes. Hopefully this helps you in your decision.

Rotary Photograph Cutters & TrimmersTop 5 Best Photography Rotary Paper Trimmers

  1. Rotatrim Professional Series Rotary Cutters
  2. Dahle 400 Series Premium Rotary Cutter (Models 440, 442, 444, 446 & 448)
  3. Dahle 500 Series Professional Rotary Cutters (Models 500, 552 & 554
  4. Rotatrim Mastercut Monorail Rotary Trimmer
  5. Akiles Roll@Blade Cutter

Guillotine Photograph Cutters & TrimmersTop 5 Best Photography Guillotine Paper Cutters

  1. MBM Kutrimmer 1134 Guillotine Cutter
  2. Dahle 561 Premium Guillotine Cutter
  3. MBM Kutrimmer 1138 Guillotine Cutter
  4. Dahle 565 Premium Guillotine Cutter
  5. MBM Kutrimmer 1135 Guillotine Cutter

There you have it. My list of the top 10 best photograph cutters. Keep in mind that both Dahle and Kutrimmer make a lot of other high-quality cutters. I simply listed the most popular models within the typical photograph cutting length. Other models are available with larger cutting lengths and capacities that are also great for cutting photos and pictures.

You can find our entire selection of rotary paper trimmers here and guillotine paper cutters here. Feel free to speak with one of our paper cutting specialists by calling 1-800-658-8788.

Dahle 567 Premium Guillotine Paper Trimmer Review

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Dahle 567 Premium Guillotine Paper CutterDo you need to cut photographs, paper, card stock, laminated documents and more with extreme precision? If so, you may be looking for a guillotine paper trimmer. There are literally dozens of different models available. If you need an alternative to a Kutrimmer paper trimmer, you may want to consider the Dahle 567 premium guillotine paper trimmer (found here). This is my review.

Dahle guillotine trimmers, much like Kutrimmer, are designed and made in Germany. While this may not mean much to you, it means a lot as far as quality is concerned. Having used several guillotine trimmers myself over the years, I can say without a doubt that the German cutters far exceed the Chinese trimmers in quality.

The Dahle 567 is a high-quality cutter. It is made from solid metal components, from the base to the cutting blade. It is easy to use, functional and can be used to cut a wide variety of paper, literature and documents.

The cutting blade on the Dahle 567 is what’s known as a self-sharpening blade. This means that every time the blade is brought down for a cut, it rubs against a metal base strip that sharpens it. This helps dramatically increase the lifespan of the cutting blade.

Safety is in no short supply with this cutter. It features a protective shield that blocks access to the blade during the cutting process. This is a huge improvement over the older wood base style cutters of 20 years ago.

Now for the specs. This cutter has an impressive 35 sheet cutting capacity. Keep in mind that the cutting capacity is based on standard 20# copy paper. Cutting capacity will be decreased when cutting card stock  The cutting length on the 567 is 21 ½”. This is long enough to handle most material, although a longer version of the 567 is available as the Dahle 569 (27 ½”) guillotine cutter.

One of the biggest concerns I hear from customers about guillotine trimmers is the accuracy. You may remember that the older wood base trimmers of 20+ years ago had a nasty habit of cutting paper crooked. This is no longer a worry with the Dahle 567. This cutter not only has a razor-sharp blade, but it also has a clamping mechanism that keeps paper firmly in place during the cutting process.

Alternative Models:

In conclusion I have to say that I really like the Dahle 567. It is affordable, features great quality and is up to par with the revered line of MBM Kutrimmer paper cutters.

You can find the Dahle 567 premium guillotine paper trimmer here and our entire selection of guillotine trimmers here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our paper cutter experts.

MBM AutoBook Electric Booklet Maker Review

Monday, February 7th, 2011

MBM AutoBook Booklet MakerBooklet makers are useful machines to have on hand. They can be used to create booklets, reports, pamphlets and much more. There are dozens of different to choose from. Once machine that you may want to consider using is the MBM AutoBook booklet maker (found here). I have been lucky enough to use this machine on several occasions and this is my review.

MBM currently makes about 6 different models of booklet makers. This includes models that staple and models that stitch with wire. MBM has been making office equipment for some time now. This includes Destroyit shredders, Kutrimmer paper trimmers and Triumph paper cutters.

The AutoBook booklet maker is one of MBMs entry-level booklet makers and can be used for light to medium-volume booklet making. Setup of the AutoBook literally takes just a minute or two. Once out of the box, you should be able to have the MBM AutoBook up and running in no time.

Simply take your stack of paper, place it in the booklet maker, press a button and the machine does the rest. It essentially places 2 staples down the center of the paper and then folds it. The end results are professional, clean and they look great.

The AutoBook has a 15-sheet capacity (using 20# paper). This means you can bind a book, counting front and back, which features a total of 60 pages. The paper range goes from 8 ¼” x 10″ up to 12″ x 17″. This is pretty impressive, especially for a machine at this price.

The control panel on the AutoBook is pretty simple. An LCD screen makes navigation extremely easy. It allows you to select up to 6 different pre-set booklet sizes. A series of buttons make it easy to enter the menu, make adjustments and begin using the machine.

One thing I like about the AutoBook is that it’s compact and easy to use on just about any desk or table. It weighs in at 58 pounds shipped.

Another alternative you may want to consider is the Formax FD 180 booklet maker, which is extremely similar in setup and design. You can read my review of the FD 180 here.

Overall I consider the MBM AutoBook to be a great machine. The quality is there and it is backed by an excellent manufacturer. Just remember that this is not designed for high-volume use.

You can find the MBM AutoBook booklet maker here and our entire selection of booklet makers here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Best Binding Machines For College Reports

Friday, February 4th, 2011

College Report Binding MachinesCollege is all about studying, essays, reports, tests and presentations.  Perhaps it was just my degree, but I recall handing in at least one or more reports a week. While ultimately the content of your presentation should be what’s most important, looks often mean everything. First impressions mean a lot and this applies to college as well.

I remember heading over to the local copy shop and binding my college presentations and reports. They looked good, however, I had no idea what I was doing. Little did I know back then that I would end working in the binding industry.

There are about six different styles of book binding that I can think of that were commonly used for binding reports back in the day. These same six binding styles are still commonly used today. They are not only used for binding college reports, but also for binding business presentations.

The six binding styles I am referring to are comb, wire, coil, VeloBind, tape and thermal. Each of these binding formats has their benefits. I’ll cover the benefits (and the weaknesses) of each. I’ll rate these starting with my favorites.

  1. Wire Binding – This is probably my favorite binding format for college reports. Double loop wire binding looks classy, professional and keeps things together. I personally like to use a clear cover for the front, cardstock for the back and wire as the binding element. The only downside to wire is that it can bend.
  2. Coil Binding – Coil binding is durable, long lasting and colorful. This binding style allows pages to turn a full 3six0 degrees and pages can lay flat. Coil binding is great for cookbooks, albums and presentations. The only downside is that the coil ends can be a little difficult (initially) to crimp off. Once you know what you’re doing, however, it’s pretty easy.
  3. VeloBind – VeloBind looks great. The thin ¼” wide binding strip makes presentations look like they were bound in a professional bindery. This binding format is tamper proof and long lasting. The only downside is that pages in thicker reports may be difficult to keep open. These books won’t lie flat.
  4. Comb Binding – Comb binding is probably the most affordable binding format around. The spines are cheap. While I consider comb binding to be the best format for grade school level education, many people think it doesn’t look professional enough for a college-level report.
  5. Thermal Binding – Thermal binding usually involves some sort of glue in a pre-made binding cover. I really like the look of this style of binding. Thermal covers usually involve a clear cover with a cardstock backing. The only downside to this style of binding, for college report purposes, is the machines are harder to come by and the covers usually cost a bit more.
  6. Tape Binding – Tape binding ultimately looks good (as long as it’s done right), but most tape binding formats are temporary. The ultimate weakness is that pages will eventually start falling out. Simply put, tape binding is a temporary binding format.

I hope this helps you with your college reports. Binding documents is easy to do, looks great and provides for a great first impression.

You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here. I personally like using binding covers for my report found here. Good luck with your college reports!

Make Your Passport Photos Professional!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Passport Photo ID Tips & AdviceIf you own a store or shop that takes passport pictures for customers, you probably want to make a good impression. Few things will turn off a customer more than a pinned up bedsheet as a backdrop. In order to produce professional passport photos, you need to use a passport backdrop. We offer a few options that should keep your customers happy.

The Federal Government states that passport pictures should be taken in front of a backdrop. They specifically state, “…the background should be plain white or off-white.”

You can read more about passport picture requirements and specifications straight from the U.S. Government here.

At ABC Office we offer a few backdrops that are perfect for taking passport pictures. We offer a few professional cloth options and a few retractable backdrops.

Retractable Passport Photo ID BackdropMulti-Color Cloth Backdrop – This kit comes with a variety of different backdrops. Some can be used for passports where others are ideal for photo identification badges.

WC-33 Ceiling / Wall Mounted Backdrop – This backdrop can be attached to a ceiling or a wall and is retractable. This is convenient and especially nice for saving space.

TB-33 Freestanding Retractable Backdrop – This retractable backdrop is ideal for mobility and saving space. It compacts down into a portable format and can easily be moved from one area to another.

Once you’re passport pictures have been taken, you will need to cut them down to a 2″ x 2″ size. Rather than using scissors that can leave crooked edges, consider using a passport photo ID die cutter.

Once the picture has been cut out, you will probably want to place the pictures is a passport holder / folder. Passport folders look professional, protect the pictures and are far more professional than placing the photos in an envelope or bag.

So there you have it! Some great tips on creating a professional passport photo. If you still have questions, feel free to speak with one of our passport specialists at 1-800-658-8788.

Paper Folding Machine Glossary

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Friction-Feed Paper Folding MachineAre you shopping around for a paper-folding machine and are finding that a lot of the terms used to describe the machines are sounding like a foreign language? No worries. I have come up with a list of common paper folder terms and their definitions. Hopefully this helps you out on your quest to find a machine.

Paper Folding Machine Glossary

  • Air Feed – Air feed paper folding machines use an air compressor to pull paper into the machine for folding. This is ideal for use with glossy paper and coated paper as friction (non-air) machines tend to slip on this type of paper.
  • Automatic – Some higher-end machines feature automated functionality. This usually involves powered folding plates and the ability of a machine to adjust itself to accommodate the fold you need to create.
  • Batch Folding – Some machines allow the operator to determine a set number of folds. If you set the batch folding to 10, the machine will fold 10 sheets and stop (until you tell it to start back up).
  • Bottom Feed – A bottom feed paper folder pulls paper from the bottom of the feed tray.
  • Catch Tray – A catch tray is where folded paper is dispersed as it exits the machine.
  • Conveyor – Higher-end folding machines have a powered conveyor that helps to keep paper organized as it comes out of the machine.
  • Fanning – Some folding machines require that paper be fanned prior to placement in the machine. While most machines don’t require this, it was common in machines 10+ years ago.
  • Folding Plates – Folding plates are used to determine where a fold will occur in the paper during the folding process. Most folding machines use 2 folding plates.
  • Friction-Feed – A friction-feed paper-folding machine uses rubber or silicon wheels to pull paper into the machine for folding. This system is great with card stock and standard paper, but can slip on glossy paper (resulting in jams).
  • Guides – Most folding machines have guides in the feed tray that need to be adjusted to accommodate the paper size being folded. It is ideal to try and center the guides with the friction rollers that pull paper into the machine.
  • Manual – A manual folding machine requires the operator to manually adjust the folding plates.
  • Pneumatic – Pneumatic folding machines use air, rather than friction wheels, to pull paper into the machine for folding. These machines are ideal for use with glossy and coated paper.
  • Rollers – Paper-folding machines use a series of rollers to move and fold paper. These rollers require occasional cleaning.
  • Skew – Skew is used to define the alignment of paper. Many higher-end folding machines have a skew wheel that allows the operator to adjust the alignment of a fold.
  • Suction Feed – Suction feed is another term used to describe air feed or pneumatic feed. Suction feed folding machines use air to pull paper into a machine rather than friction wheels. This is ideal for glossy and coated paper.
  • Test Button – Many folding machines have a test button that allows 1-2 sheets to be folded. This is nice for making fine-tuned adjustments and ensuring that the folding plates are properly set.
  • Top Feed – A top feed paper-folding machine pulls paper from the top of the feed tray.
  • Weight – Most folding machines have minimum and maximum capabilities when it comes to the paper being folded. The thickness of the paper is typically refereed to as the paperweight.

Hopefully this glossary has helped you familiarize yourself with paper folding machine terminology. If you still have questions about folding machine lingo, feel free to speak with one of our folding machine specialists at 1-800-658-8788.

You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

Tamerica 213PB Multi Combo Wire & Comb Binding Machine Review

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Tamerica 213PB Multi Combo Wire & Comb Binding MachineComb and wire binding looks great. The end results are professional and they each have their own unique characteristics. If you are in the market for a book binding machine and can’t seem to settle on any one format, you may want to consider buying a machine like the Tamerica 213PB comb & wire binding machine (found here). I have had an opportunity to use this multi-format binding machine and this is my review.

Tamerica manufactures a lot of office equipment. Product lines include laminators, binding machines, paper cutters and much more. They are known for making great machines that are typically priced below comparable machines.

Officially called the Tamerica 213PB Multi Combo, this machine is what’s known as a multi-format or combination-binding machine. This is because it can be used to bind both plastic 19-ring comb binding and 19-ring Spiral-O double loop wire. This is a huge benefit for people who like both styles of binding, but don’t necessarily want to buy two separate machines.

Not only does the 213PB have the ability to bind books in both comb and wire, it also features an included 3-hole paper punch. If you’re like me, and have limited room on your desk, this is a huge plus. Few book binding machines include a 3-hole paper punch.

The punch can slice through up to about 20 sheets of paper at a time. This is pretty impressive for a manual punch and is due in part to the hollow ground punching dies. I have mentioned this before in previous binding machine reviews, but I would probably scale back the maximum amount of sheets punched to about 15 simply because I don’t like to max out a binding machine on every punch.

The build quality on the 213PB is above average. It features metal construction and upon handling them machine, it has some nice heft to it. It weighs in at 30 pounds shipped. This means it is durable, yet light enough to be moved around should the need arise.

The 213 features a built in comb opener and a wire closer. It basically has everything you need, from start to finish, to bind a report, presentation or booklet. All 21 punching dies on this machine are disengageable. This means you can select on a “per die” basis which punching dies you want to punch the paper. This cuts down on half-punched holes and makes binding small books much easier.

The Tamerica (sometimes called Tahsin) 213PB is a solid little machine. For the price, you are getting a great value. I would personally like to own one myself for my occasional binding projects. I would rate this machine as best for light to medium-volume binding projects.

You can find the Tamerica 213PB Multi Combo comb and wire binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here.

Feel free to call us up at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our book binding machine specialists. They are highly trained and very friendly. Have a great day!

Formax FD 6100 Folder Inserter / Envelope Stuffing Machine Review

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Formax FD 6100 Envelope Stuffing Machine / Folder InserterAre you tired of folding letters by hand and stuffing them into envelopes manually? What you probably need is an envelope-stuffing machine, sometimes called a folder inserter. These machines automatically fold paper, insert it into an envelope and seal it shut. One great model you may want to consider using is the Formax FD 6100 paper folder inserter & envelope stuffer. This is my review.

Formax is one of the best-known manufacturers of paper folding and inserting machines. These machines are commonly used by businesses to mail out invoices, bills, bank statements and more. Formax manufacturers machines designed to fold and insert anywhere from 1 to 4+ sheets at a time.

The Formax FD 6100 is a multi-sheet envelope-stuffing machine. This means that it is designed to pull paper from one or two feeding trays at a time. This means you can easily set two separate stacks in each of the feed trays for multi-sheet folding and inserting. It even has an insert / BRE (business reply envelope) feed tray. Each feeder has a 100 sheet capacity.

If paper is properly collated prior to placement in the machine, it can be used to fold and insert up to 5 sheets of stapled or non-stapled paper at a time (20# paper). This, however, is done by manually feeding the paper. This is pretty impressive. The FD 6100 gets the job done fast and accurate. It operates at a speed of 23 pieces per minute.

The Formax FD 6100 has one slot on the back of the machine where envelopes are placed. Another couple of feed trays hold the paper that will be inserted. Setting up the machine is extremely easy. Be sure the water reservoir is filled (located in the machine) and that the fold you want has been established. It can create a letter and a double parallel fold. Once the fold is set up, the machine can begin folding and inserting mail.

It is pretty remarkable to see this machine it action. It is pretty much 100% automated once it has been set up. It will keep folding and inserting mail until it is done (or you set it up to only fold and insert a specific amount of letters.

Maintenance on the FD 6100 is extremely easy. It has a clamshell design. This means if you need to access the inside of the machine, simply press a button and the top half of the machine folds open.

The FD 6100 is designed to be used on a desk, table or countertop. The feed tray extends off of the edge of a table. This folding and inserting machine has a 3,000 piece monthly duty cycle.

For low to medium-volume envelope stuffing, the Formax FD 6100 does a great job. I have used this machine myself and have to say that it is a pretty impressive piece of engineering technology. Because it is made by Formax, it should easily last for years. Just image all the time you’ll save using this machine!

We have this machine on our showroom floor right now. We are more than happy to provide you with a live video demonstration of it over the Internet. Simply call us at 1-800-658-8788 or fill out this form to set up an appointment.

You can find the Formax FD 6100 paper folder inserter & envelope stuffer here and our entire selection of automatic envelope stuffing machines here.

by Category