Archive for the ‘Binding Machines’ Category

Advice: Speeding Up Book Binding Operations

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Book Binding MachinesWhile manually binding your own books doesn’t take a long time, I have had many people ask me how they can speed things up. I would say the average amount of time it takes to bind a book is about 1-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the book and the machine being used. Here are a few tools you can use to potentially cut that time in half.

The following tips should help you speed up binding operations for comb, wire and coil binding. While each of these binding formats look different, they all implement very similar techniques.

Speeding Up Book Binding Operations

Binding Attachments / Modular Accessories – If you have a fairly basic book binding machine, you can easily upgrade the speed by purchasing separate attachments.

All of these attachments will allow one person to handle paper punching while a separate person can use the modular attachment to finish the job. This can almost double your book binding speed.

Stand-Alone Punch – Stand-along paper punches are designed to punch large volumes of paper. The can be used in conjunction with a modular binding accessory or along side a book binding machine. Many of our stand-alone punches can punch 20+ sheets of paper at a time. Higher punching capacities really speeds up the book binding process. You can find our stand-alone paper punches here.

Electric Upgrade – While manual punch book binding machines are nice, they aren’t recommended for medium to high-volume binding. An electric punch binding machine can be a huge upgrade and is well worth the investment. Electric punch binding machines typically have a higher punching capacity and are much faster.

Akiles Oval Coil Binding HolesCoil Hole Upgrade – If you are coil binding, an oval hole upgrade may be well worth the investment for speed. I’ll explain.

Coil binding, at least for me, can be a little difficult when binding thicker books. This is because the holes are small and navigating the coils through the holes can be a little difficult. I don’t have this problem with thinner books.

About a year ago Akiles unveiled a new line of coil binding machines that utilize an oval hole rather than a round hole. The oval hole design really speeds up coil insertion. Akiles machines that feature the oval holes typically have a “PLUS” after the model name. You can find our Akiles coil binding machines here. You can find our Akiles coil binding machines here.

Separate Machine – This suggestion may seem like obvious advice, but it is often cheaper to buy a second machine than to purchase a separate punch or attachment. This way you can have 2 people simultaneously punching and binding books.

I have found that most of the tips mentioned above will help significantly increase your book binding speed.

We have a great team of highly trained binding specialists here at ABC Office that can help offer binding advice and suggestions. Feel free to speak with one of them by calling 1-800-658-8788.

You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here. Have a great day!

What Is A Paper Stabber?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Paper Pad Counter / Paper Stabber (Quick as a Wink)We had a customer call in a few weeks ago asking if we sold paper stabbers. It ends up the customer didn’t want to kill stacks of paper, but rather he needed a specific tool commonly used in the paper printing & padding industry. After a little research, and a few questions, we discovered what he was looking for.

It ends up that we do sell paper stabbers, but we just called them by a different name. A paper stabber is the same thing as a pad counter. It is a tool that can be adjusted to different widths for quickly separating stacks of paper into equally divided smaller stacks. Our pad counter is commonly called the quick as a wink pad counter.

We offer two different paper stabbers (pad counters). The first model we offer is a 2″ pad counter and the second is a 5″ pad counter. Both of these counters are fully adjustable and very affordable. We have been selling these pad counters since I started working here and they have an excellent track record.

You can find both of our pad counters (paper stabbers) here.

Akiles OffiBind Comb Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Akiles OffiBind Comb Binding MachineAre you looking for a small, compact and affordable comb binding machine from a reputable manufacturer? Few manufacturers have as much credibility and positive reputation as Akiles. One model you may want to consider buying is the Akiles OffiBind comb binding machine (found here). I have had the opportunity to use this comb binder and this is my review.

To begin with, Akiles makes over a dozen different binding machines. This ranges from comb and wire to coil and combo machines. Akiles is considered by many of our customers to be some of the best machines around. The build quality is exceptional.

The Akiels OffiBind is an entry level comb binding machine. This means it is designed for light-volume binding. This could be at home or in a small business environment. I personally wouldn’t use it for more than a dozen books a day. It simply isn’t designed for anything more than that.

The paper punch on the OffiBind is capable of punching 8-10 sheets of 20# paper at a time. The punching capacity really depends entirely on the type of paper being used. I recommend starting off small and working up the punching capacity until you have a good feel for what the machine is capable of.

The OffiBind has 3 different disengageable punching pins. This means that 3 of the punching pins can be turned off in the event half-punched holes are occurring. This is a pretty nice feature to have in a machine as inexpensive as this one.

While this is a light-volume comb binder, the Akiles OffiBind is still capable of binding books as thick as 2″. You simply need to punch sheets of paper until you reach a 2″ stack. At an average punching capacity of 8-10 sheets, a 2″ stack may take a few minutes, but it is completely possible. Two-inches of paper is about 500 sheets of 20# paper.

The Akiles OffiBind has what’s known as an open throat. This means that although the OffiBind is designed to punch paper up to letter (A4) paper size, larger paper can be punched. Simply punch what you can, slide the paper over and punch the rest of the paper. I personally don’t like using an open ended binding machine for punching larger sheets of paper. It is just to hard to keep the holes aligned.

While fairly simple in design, the Akiles OffiBind is a solid little machine. The punching dies cut through paper without any issues, and for the price, the build construction is exceptional. I would personally be fine with using the OffiBind for my own light-volume book binding projects.

You can find the Akiles OffiBind comb binding machine here and our entire selection of comb binding machines here.

Most Common Book Binding Issues – Troubleshooting

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Book Binding MachinesAre you having trouble binding your books? Are you growing increasingly frustrated at the fact that your binding elements aren’t fitting through the holes? You’d be surprised at how simple most book binding machine issues are to solve. Here are some steps and tips that should help you out.

  • Binding Element Won’t Fit Through Holes – There are two common reasons why your binding elements won’t fit through the holes.
  1. I have found that many people, for whatever reason, try to use one diameter of binding element to bind a variety of different book thicknesses. The truth is, you need to use the correct diameter of binding element to match the thickness of the book you are binding. If the binding element is too small, it’s like trying to fit a size 5 shoe on size 10 feet.
  2. The second most common reason why elements won’t fit through holes is because the hole pattern (or pitch) isn’t the same. Binding machines like wire and coil come in different hole patterns. A 2:1 pitch (2 holes per inch) wire binding machine can’t use 3:1 pitch supplies (3 holes per inch).
  • Half-Punched Holes – Do you end up with half-punched holes on the edge of your paper? This can look pretty ugly and can get very frustrating. The first reason this may be happening is because the side guide isn’t properly adjusted. Try playing around with the guide and see if you can get the holes aligned. If that doesn’t seem to be fixing the problem, you may need to upgrade to a machine with disengageable punching pins. Disengageable binding machines have selectable punching pins, making it possible to completely disable the guilty half-punching pin.
  • Not All The Holes Punch – If you are noticing that not all the holes are punching all the way through the paper, you are probably punching too many sheets of paper at a time. Try scaling back the total sheets and see how that works.
  • Pages Tear Out Too Easily – Have you noticed that the lifespan of your bound book is really small? Are pages tearing out when they shouldn’t? You may be in need of a binding machine with an adjustable punching depth. If your machine already has an adjustable punching depth, you may want to break out the manual and try adjusting it. Pages punched too close to the edge of paper are far more likely to tear out.

We also offer a great selection of book binding machines, supplies and elements. You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here.

Features To Look For In A Coil Binding Machine

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Coil Binding MachinesCoil binding is increasingly becoming one of the most preferred book binding formats a available. Sometimes referred to as spiral binding, coil bound books are durable, pages turn a full 360 degrees and coil binding can be used to bind reports, presentations, booklets and more. So what features should you look for in a coil binding machine? Here are some tips that should point you in the right direction.

Features To Look For In A Coil Binding Machine

  1. Machine Pitch – The pitch of a binding machine is the hole pattern that particular machine uses. Coil binding is available in two different hole patters. These are 4:1 pitch and 5:1 pitch. The “pitch” you choose will depend on the hole spacing you like and the thickness of your book. Once you select a hole pattern, you will need to be sure you use supplies with the same hole configuration.
  2. Round or Oval – While round holes are by far the most common available for coil binding, some newer Akiles machines now feature oval holes. Oval holes are supposed to make coil insertion and page turns a little easier.
  3. Book Thickness – How thick a book will you need to bind? A 4:1 pitch can bind a book up to about 1 ¼” of paper where a 5:1 pitch binds a book up to about 13/16″ thick.
  4. Page Size – Most coil binding machines are used to bind letter-size paper. Some machines, however, can bind legal size and larger documents. Be sure to check the maximum page length of a machine before making a purchase. Some coil binding machines are open ended, which means you can punch paper, slide it over and punch it again.
  5. Margin Depth – If you are binding books of varying thicknesses, you may need a machine with an adjustable margin depth. I have found with coil binding (versus wire or coil), margin depth isn’t quiet as big a deal. This is because there are more holes, providing more stability to the bind. An adjustable margin depth is nice, however, if you are binding thick books. Punching deeper into the paper should help prevent pages from accidentally tearing out.
  6. Disengageable Punching Pins – While most people bind  8 ½” x 11″ books with coil, some of you may want to bind a custom cookbook or booklet. If you are binding odd-size paper, a disengageable punching pin will help you to disable dies that may otherwise punch a half hole on the edge of the document.
  7. Machine Construction – As with most binding machines, you will usually find coil binders made from plastic, aluminum, steel or a combination thereof. Build quality will affect the longevity of your machine. Steel will last longer and is best for high-volume binding. Aluminum and plastic components are better for light to medium-volume binding. Some machines feature steel gears and components with a plastic shell. Looks can be deceiving.
  8. Electric Inserter – Electric coil inserters are rubber wheels or rollers that are used to spin coils through punched paper. About 65-70% of the machines out there feature an electric coil inserter. While you can manually insert coils through punched holes, an inserter can quadruple (or more) coil insertion speed. I personally love having an electric inserter.
  9. Coil Pliers – Be aware that you will need coil-crimping pliers to finish the coil binding process. Many machines come with pliers, but an equal number don’t. Be sure to check whether or not your machine comes with pliers. If your machine doesn’t have crimping pliers, they can be purchased separately. I have even heard of people using wire snips to cut and crimp coil.
  10. Electric & Manual Punch – Coil binding machines come with manual and electric punches. The style of punch you use will depend on preference, budget and output capacity. If you are binding high-volume amounts of books, you may want to consider using an electric punch. If you are only binding a few dozen a day, a manual punch should be more than enough.
  11. Foot Pedals – Foot pedals, whether for an electric inserter or paper punch, allow for hands-free operation. Hands-free operation is awesome when you are binding a lot of books per day.

You can find our entire selection of coil binding machine here and coil binding supplies here. Feel free to speak with one of our coil binding experts by calling us at 1-800-658-8788.

Martin Yale J1824 Giant Padding Press Review

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Martin Yale J1824 Giant Padding PressPadding presses are cool little devices. They make it easy to recycle paper, create notepads and scratchpads. So what do you do if you need to pad thousands of sheets of paper at a time? What you need is a giant padding press like the Martin Yale J1824 Giant Padding Press (found here). This is my review.

Martin Yale is probably better known for their shredders, paper cutters, forms cutters and paper folders than for their padding presses. While Martin Yale doesn’t make dozens of padding presses, like they do paper cutters, they certainly hold up well.

The Martin Yale J1824 Giant Padding Press is called giant for a reason. It can pad a stack of paper up to 19 ¾” high by 17 ¾” wide. Now break out a ruler and take a look at those dimensions. Big, isn’t it? Not only can the J1824 pad larger paper, it can also be used to pad two separate stacks of letter-size 8 ½” x 11″ paper (or A4 paper) at a time.

This padding press can be used to pad paper, carbonless forms, note pads, scratch pads and more. Paper thickness doesn’t really matter. This makes it possible to pad notepads with chipboard on the bottom, with card stock and much more.

The J1824 is a pretty simple machine, and that’s by design. The first thing you will want to do is put your paper in the padding press. The padding press tips back, which in turn helps to jog the paper being padded. This keeps everything squared up and aligned.

Once the paper is in the Martin Yale J1824, two sets of wing screws are tightened down. This helps apply pressure along the back of the paper stack. This helps to produce a neat and professional pad of paper. Once the screws are tightened, glue can be applied. Once the glue has dried, the wing screws can be loosened.

Depending on how thick the pad of paper is, you may want to consider using a padding knife to cut the separate stacks of paper apart. Once everything has been removed, you are able to use the padding press again. You are really only limited by the glue drying time as far as padding speed is concerned.

The build quality on the J1824 is exceptional. Unlike many pressed wood padding presses out there, the J1824 is made from sturdy steel construction. This makes the J1824 durable, reliable and easier to clean up.

I would personally recommend the J1824 to anyone interested in light to medium volume paper padding projects. Weighing in at only 26 pounds, this padding press can be used on most tables and desks.

You can find the Martin Yale J1824 Giant Padding Press here and our entire selection of paper padding presses here. Good luck and happy padding!

Features To Look For In A Wire Binding Machine

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Wire Binding MachinesWire binding is one of the classiest and best-looking book binding formats available today. When done correctly, twin loop wire almost appears to defy the laws of nature. Wire binding is commonly used for binding reports, presentations, books and more. So what should you look for when buying a wire binding machine? Here are a few tips that should help you out.

Features To Look For In A Wire Binding Machine

  1. Binding Pitch – Wire binding machines come in 3 different hole patterns. These hole patterns are 3:1 pitch (3 holes per inch), 2:1 pitch (2 holes per inch) and Spiral-O (19-ring wire). The 3:1 and 2:1 pitch are the most popular hole patterns. Some wire binding machines come with multiple punching dies, making it possible to bind in 2:1 or 3:1 pitches.
  2. Paper Size – The majority of wire binding machines can easily handle letter size 8 ½” x 11″ paper. If you are wire binding legal size documents (14″) or larger, you will want to get a machine that either has a wider punching width a machine is open ended.
  3. Punching Capacity – Each wire binding machine has a maximum punching capacity. This amount is the absolute maximum amount of sheets you can punch before breaking or jamming the machine. Most wire binding machines punch anywhere from 8-20 sheets of paper, depending on the make and model.
  4. Book Thickness – Be sure and determine the maximum thickness you need for your books prior to purchasing a machine. Be aware that 3:1 wire can only bind up to 9/16″ of paper and 2:1 pitch up to 1 ¼” of paper. Spiral-O 19-ring wire handles about 1″ of paper.
  5. Margin Depth – Different diameters of wire require holes to be punched at different depths in the paper. This capability is known as an adjustable margin depth. Not all wire binding machines have this capability. I, for one, really like this feature.
  6. Disengageable Dies – If you plan on binding non-standard paper sizes, or smaller lengths of paper, you may want a wire binding machine with disengageable punching dies. This will allow you to disable specific punching pins, which will allow you to eliminate half-punched holes that often show up on the edges of non-standard paper sizes.
  7. Machine Durability – How durable do you need your machine to be? Wire binding machines come in plastic, aluminum and heavy-duty steel designs. Many machines implement a combination of the three. Most heavy-duty steel machines hold up better when used continuously throughout the day. If you are only binding a few books a day, machine composition may not be as big a deal as plastic and aluminum machines typically cost less.
  8. Wire Closer – If you find a wire binding machine that doesn’t come with a wire closer, don’t buy it. A wire closer is 100% needed to complete the wire binding process. Wire closers, however, can be purchased separately if needed. Machines that have wire closers (which is most models) come in different configurations. Some require you to eyeball how far the wire has closed where other machines allow you to dial in the wire radius you are using for an even “close” every time. I personally like it when the wire binding machine allows you to set the wire diameter. Wire that has been closed too much or too little can cause some serious problems.
  9. Electric or Manual – Wire binding machines are often available with manual or electric punches. While the end results look the same either way, electric wire punches are better for higher-volume binding. If you are only binding a few books a day, a manual wire punch is probably more than enough.
  10. Foot Pedal – If you are buying a wire binding machine with an electric punch, you may want to consider a machine with a foot pedal. Foot pedals allow for hands-free punching, which is really nice when binding a lot of books.

You can find our entire selection of wire binding machines here and our entire selection of wire binding supplies here. Good luck with your wire binding! If you still have questions, give us a call at 1-800-658-8788.

Rebinding Old Paperback Books With Comb or Coil

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Rebinding Paperback BooksYou’re probably seen them at the library or on your own bookshelf at home, old tattered paperback books that are beginning to lose pages. These beat up books often end up in the garbage, deemed by the owner to be too far beyond repair. It is possible, however, to breath life back into those old paperback books. I will explain how.

The reason I am writing about rebinding paperback books is due to a conversation I had with a customer. They were looking to rebind old paperback books. They wanted to do this as part of a business. Here are the steps I explained to the customer, which you can use, to rebind a paperback book.

Paperback books are bound using a method referred to as perfect binding. Essentially the pages of the book are run through a machine that applies glue to the backside (spine) of the paper. These pages then rest on a cover that is then wrapped around the book.

Rebinding paperback books using perfect binding is cost prohibitive. This is why comb and coil have become the binding formats of choice when it comes to rebinding paperback books. The method (comb or coil) will depend on personal preference. Comb biding and coil binding are usually chosen for rebinding due to their durability. Both plastic comb and PVC coil are next to indestructible.

Paperback Rebinding Steps

  1. Coil BindingFirst you’re going to want to cut off the old tattered spine of the paperback book. This is usually done by using a stack paper cutter. Stack cutters, depending on the model, can slice through ½” to 3″ of paper at a time.
  2. Now that the old spine has been cut off, you will want to begin comb punching or coil punching the paper. If the cover is still good, go ahead and use it. If the front and back covers are beyond repair, you may need to replace them with cover stock.
  3. Once all the holes have been punched, the new binding element may be inserted.
  4. Comb Binding

  5. If you are using comb, use the comb opener to open the comb and insert spine through the now comb-punched pages. Now close the comb. You’re paperback book is now solid again and has a brand new comb spine.
  6. If you are using coil, spin the coil through the punched holes on the paperback book and crimp off the excess coil. You now have a rebound paperback book using coil.

The end results look great. The information in those books is now accessible and easy to read again.

Be aware that I recommend using a book binding machine with disengageable (selectable) punching dies. This helps cut down on half-punched holes and will ultimately result in a better bound paperback book.

You can find our entire selection of comb binding machines here and coil binding machines here. You can find our entire selection of stack paper cutters here. Good luck! I hope you are all able to use this tips to breath new life back into your old books!

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.

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.

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