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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 the ‘Tips & Advice’ Category

How to Create a Church Fold Using 11″ x 17″ Paper

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

MBM 307A Paper Folding MachineWe recently had an opportunity to have MBM, one of the leading manufactures of paper folding machines, stop by our office and demonstrate some of their equipment. While I am already very familiar with MBM machines, one of the folds demonstrated on the MBM 307A (found here) was the church fold. This fold isn’t as common as many other folds, but is still very popular for folding literature. So what does a church fold look like and how do you create one?

To begin with, the church fold is technically a modified C fold (aka letter fold). In a letter fold, all three panels are equal widths. With a church fold, one of the three panels is smaller than the other two. The end result is a nice looking fold that is unique and really stands out.

Here is a picture of what the church fold will ultimately look like:

Church Fold

All paper folding machines (found here) are designed different, so my measurements may not work with your machine, but this is a great place to start. Most paper folding machines have two individual folding plates. Depending on the brand, sometimes these plates are on opposite sides of the machine and on other machines they are on the same side. With the MBM 307A (which I was just playing around with), the folding plates are on the same side of the machine. With this in mind, my measurements are based on a top and bottom plate located on the same side of the machine.

While the church fold can be easily done with an 8 ½” x 11″ sheet of paper, most church folds are created using 11″ x 17″ paper. I will cover the 11″ x 17″ size of paper in this article. Once you understand the concept, doing this fold on smaller paper should be pretty easy.

The church fold I created has a 3.5″ panel with two 6.75″ panels. What I did with the MBM 307A is set the top fold plate to 3.5″ and the second folding plate to 6.75″. The 307A is complexly automatic. After punching in the numbers, the machine adjusted itself and in seconds I was creating church folds.

This fold can be easily modified. Keep in mind that the length of the paper I am using is 17″. This is the most important measurement to remember when doing custom folds. If I want the first fold to be 3″ instead of 3.5″, all I have to do is subtract 3 from 17. This leaves me with 14. I now need that remaining 14″ to be folded in half. This means I need the second fold plate set to 7″.

Creating a Church Fold on a Folding Machine

I have tried this variation of the church as well and it looks great. This simple math will allow you to easily create just about any custom fold you want.

So there you have it! A church fold. It is easy to create and literally takes just seconds to minutes (depending on experience) to set up and create. If you are having trouble setting up your church fold, or need a machine that can create one, please call one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788. They are more than happy to help you out. You can find our entire selection of paper folding machines here.

ID Badge Slot Punches – Simple, Easy-to-Use and Affordable

Monday, February 20th, 2012

ID Badge Slot PunchesSlot punches (found here) and id badges have a very close relationship to each other. If you have ever produced ID badges in-house, you are probably intimately familiar with both. Many people, especially those who have their ID badges outsourced, have no idea how easy it actually is to purchase your own badge strap clips or lanyards and slot punch your own ID badges. Here are a few recommendations on, slot punches, badge clips and lanyards.

To begin with, slot punches can be used to punch through both CR-80 30 mil ID badge cards and laminated ID badges. The size of the slot is almost always 1/8″ tall by ½” wide. The edges of the slot are almost always rounded, providing unrestricted movement to the ID badge lanyard or badge strap clip. Slot punches are also commonly used to punch holes in luggage tags for use with luggage straps.

Slot punches come in three varieties:

Model 3943-1010 Handheld Slot PunchHandheld Manual Slot Punches – Handheld manual slot punches work much like a stapler or a handheld hole punch, depending on the design. Ultimately the badge is placed in device and centered. The slot punch is then either squeezed (hole punch style) or pressed (stapler style). Some slot punches include side guides for centering.

There are three models of handheld slot punches I recommend using:

Lever Activated Heavy Duty Slot Punches – If you are punching a lot of CR-80 cards or other PVC plastic badges, a lever-style slot punch may be needed. These slot punches can handle the thin stuff, such as 10 mil or 30 mil cards, and can also be used to punch heavier cards up to 70 mils thick. A long leveraged handle makes the punching effortless, which makes them great for use throughout the day.

I recommend using the Model 1500 LA slot punch (found here) for heavy-duty slot punching.

Electric Heavy-Duty Slot PunchesElectric Slot Punches – If you are punching hundreds to thousands of ID badges or CR-80 cards, you may want to consider using an electric slot punch. These punches are typically metal in design, sit on a desktop or table and typically feature a foot pedal for hands free use. These machines help speed up the process.

I recommend using these two electric slot punches for high-volume ID badge production:

Badge Strap ClipsOnce you have the slots punched in your cards, you are going to need a badge strap clip. These clips, made from vinyl, Mylar or other plastics, slip through the punched slot and snap in place. They typically include a clip that can be attached to a lapel or a shirt. The style of badge strap clips (found here) you use will depend entirely on your personal preference.

Neck LanyardsA lot of people prefer using a neck lanyard (found here) over a badge strap clip. Lanyards fit around the neck, much like a necklace, and keep badges in view at all times. Lanyards make ID badges more difficult to loose and most people find them to be extremely convenient. Lanyards come in all shapes and sizes as well. I have found vinyl, nylon fabric and beaded neck chain lanyards to be most popular. Many lanyards are available in a variety of colors.

We have been selling slot punches, badge strap clips and lanyards at ABC office for over 30 years. We also carry a wide selection of other photo ID equipment and supplies (found here). Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Folding Card Stock with Scoring Wheels and Folding Bones

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Paper Scorers and Folding Card StockFolding card stock and thicker paper can be a tricky issue. While many paper folding machines are capable of handling cover stock, the results aren’t always what you expect. Have you ever noticed the spine of your folded paper cracking, or the fold is jagged or crooked? This is a result of incorrectly folding thick paper, which results in what many in the print industry refer to as a cracked spine.

A cracked spine or a bad fold on card stock looks like garbage. It isn’t professional and is barely usable. If your folding machine isn’t capable of properly folding card stock, or the paper you are using is simply too sensitive to be folded using a machine, you may have to use different tools. One of the most popular methods for folding card stock and finicky paper is by using paper scorer (found here). Other popular tools include folding bones (found here).

Here is an example of paper manual folded without using a scoring wheel or folding bone. Looks pretty bad, right?

Non Scored Paper

Folding Bone – A folding bone is a long and slender tool, usually made out of plastic or real bone, that is used to slide along the surface of paper to help fold it or crease it. This is a very affordable solution for folding card stock on a low volume level. This is popular with home scrapbookers and small businesses. Folding bones are used for creasing, scoring and folding paper. Here is an example of someone using a folding bone:

Using A Folding Bone
(As found on

People sometimes using scissors for the same purpose, however, scissors don’t slide along paper the same way a folding bone does. Scissors will often tear or damage the card stock. Because folding bones cost hardly anything, I highly recommend using a folding bone over scissors. You can find our folding bones here.

Scoring Wheel – Scoring wheels look a lot like pizza cutters. Scoring machines and paper scorers do a great job of creasing paper. Regardless of whether you are using an electric or manual machine, the results will look great. Essentially a metal grooved surface or wheel sits on the back of the paper and a scoring wheel rolls across the top of the paper (with pressure). This results in nice clean crease along the surface of paper. This can even be used for folding laminated paper. The score is clean and precise. Scoring machines are significantly faster than folding bones. Electric scoring machines can be use for mas production of greeting cards, literature and other folded card stock.

Here is an example of paper that has been properly scored:

Properly Scored Paper

At ABC Office we offer a great selection of paper scoring machines found here. We also offer a great selection of rotary paper cutters (found here), many of which are available with a scoring wheel option.

Regardless of the method you decide to use to fold your card stock and cover stock, be sure to use a folding bone or a scoring wheel for optimum results. Please feel free to contact one of our paper handling specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Overview of Paper Shredder Security Levels

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Paper ShreddersToday there are literally dozens of different brands of paper shredders and hundreds of different models. While there are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a paper shredder, one option I recommend paying special attention to is the security level. The paper shredder’s security level will ultimately determine how safe and secure your shredded documents are.

Shredder security levels are based on a scale ranging from 1 to 6. This scale, excluding Level 6, is determined by DIN 32757. This is the European standard used for paper shredder security.  Security Level 6 requirements, established by the United States NSA, came out after DIN 32757 was created. Each of these security levels serve a purpose.

Security levels start off with 1, being the least secure, and end with 6, being the most secure. I will explain the pros and cons to each of these security Levels.

Paper Shredder Security Levels

Paper Shredder Security LevelsSecurity Level 1 – This level is the least secure and is rarely used for shredding sensitive information. It is typically used purely for shredding non-sensitive records or for creating padding or packaging material. This security level can be both strip cut or cross cut. These are the specific dimensions of DIN Security Level 1:

  • Strip Cut: 10.5-11.8mm
  • Cross Cut: 10.5mm x 40-80mm Cross Cut

Security Level 2 – This is the most common security level you will find in a strip cut paper shredder. This includes 1/8″ and ¼” strip cut shredders. It also includes some cross cut shredders that have larger cross cut particles. This can be used to shred a variety of material, and is hard to re-assemble, but is probably not enough security for most businesses. These are the dimensions of DIN Security Level 2:

  • Strip Cut: 3.9-5.8mm
  • Cross Cut: 7.5mm x 40-80mm

Security Level 3 – This security level is the most common used today by cross cut paper shredders in business. It is HIPAA and FACTA compliant and is good enough to shred client records, patient information, invoices, bills and other material. Material cut at a Level 3 is difficult to reassemble. This is the security level I recommend for most people. These are the dimensions of DIN Security Level 3:

  • Strip Cut: 1.9mm
  • Cross Cut: 3.9mm x 30-50mm

Security Level 4 – This is probably one of the least common security levels. It is more secure than Level 3, but not yet high enough to be considered high security. This is used by businesses and offices that want a little more security than the typical cross cut shredder, while still having a higher shred capacity than a high security shredder. These are the specifications of the DIN Security Level 4:

  • Cross Cut: 1.9mm x 15mm

Security Level 5 – Up until a few years ago this was the highest security level available and was used to shred all top-secret documents. While the Level 5 is still used to shred highly sensitive material, most government and military entities now use a Security Level 6. This security level is still commonly found and is still widely used. Particles cut at this level are near impossible to re-assemble. These are the dimensions of DIN Security Level 5:

  • Cross Cut: 0.78mm x 11mm

Security Level 6 – This is the highest security level available for a shredder. Paper cut by a Security Level 6 shredder almost looks like dust. A single sheet of letter-size paper is typically cut into 15,000+ particles. This security level is very popular for use with government and military. It is used by the U.S. Department of Defense, the NSA and many more agencies. These are the dimensions of the Security Level 6:

  • Cross Cut: 1mm x 4-5mm

Which Is Best?

The level you use will depend entirely upon what you are shredding. I can safely tell you that the Security Level 3 is considered by many experts to be the most well-rounded level for most individuals and businesses. A Security Level 3 has a good sheet capacity, can still cut paper into tiny particles and are affordable.

You can find our entire selection of paper shredders here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about paper shredders.

What is MG Counterfeit Money Detection and How Does It Work?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

MG Counterfeit Bill DetectorCounterfeit bill detection is a necessary evil in a world where high-tech printers and ever-smarter criminals are producing counterfeit bills that can fool most people. Counterfeit money detectors, and many bill counters, help quickly catch counterfeit bills before it becomes a serious problem. I personally recommend any business that deals with tangible cash on a regular basis to use a counterfeit detector. One popular method for catching counterfeit bills is MG (magnetic) detection.

Legitimate US currency implements magnetic ink in strategic locations to help thwart counterfeiters. Many modern counterfeit money detectors, and most bill counters with counterfeit detection, will check for magnetic ink.

Most manual counterfeit money detectors require that you slide a bill over a magnetic sensor. If the bill is legitimate, it will usually audibly and visually indicate that it is real. The process takes just seconds and is faster than manual UV detection or counterfeit ink pen detection.

Magnetic Ink Found on Real US CurrencyMost modern bill counters, equipped with counterfeit money detection, will scan for UV (ultraviolet) and MG (magnetic) properties. These bill counters count bills at a speed of hundreds of bills per minute. As the bills are run through the machine, sensors scan the bill for magnetic properties. This is probably the fastest way to check a bill for counterfeit properties.

Is magnetic ink scanning 100% foolproof? While nothing is 100%, magnetic detection is very reliable. Bill bleaching, which can be a problem for some counterfeit detection methods, will typically ruin the magnetic ink properties, rendering the bill useless to counterfeiters.

Considering the reasonable cost of counterfeit bill detectors, with some MG scanners costing less than $30, I recommend investing in a solid machine. The savings in catching a counterfeit bill alone will make up for the cost of the machine.

Our ABC-75, at the time of this article, costs $41 and includes UV (ultraviolet) detection, WM (watermark) detection, MG (magnetic) detction and also includes a magnifying glass. This is a video demo of me using teh ABC-75, including the magnetic ink scanner:

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At ABC Office, we offer about 10 different counterfeit detectors (found here), which range from manual operation to automated operation. We also offer almost 2 dozen different bill counters (found here), with about half having counterfeit bill scanning capabilities.

We have over a decade of experience with counterfeit bill detectors, so please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

What is UV Counterfeit Money Detection and How Does It Work?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

If you have been shopping around for a bill counter or a counterfeit money detector, you have probably come across the phrase UV or ultraviolet. UV detection is an important part of verifying the authenticity of a bill. UV scanners are commonly used to detect counterfeit banknotes. The way UV detectors work is simple, yet very clever.

All US denominations, except the $1, have a UV stripe embedded in the banknotes paper / fabric. While it is visible with a back light, this stripe becomes illuminated when a UV light is held over it.

This shows you where the UV stripe is located on a $10:
Location of UV Stripe on $10 US Bill

We have a guide, found here, that shows you where the stripe is located on $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. You will notice that the strip is located in different places, depending on the denomination. There is a good reason for this. One popular method for counterfeiting a bill is to use a real bill, say a $5, bleach it and reprint a higher denomination on that bill. If you are unaware of where the stripe is located, the bleached bill may pass a counterfeit detector.

UV Counterfeit Money Detector / ScannerUltraviolet (UV) counterfeit detectors come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are portable and require the operator to visually confirm the stripe, where others simply pull in the bills and use a sensor to scan them. While UV counterfeit detection isn’t 100% effective, it catches most counterfeit bills. Visual UV detectors catch just about everything, but SOME automated machines may be tricked by bleached bills. If you are using an automated counterfeit detector, I recommend you use one that implements several counterfeit detection measures.

Having used several types of manual UV counterfeit detectors, I do highly recommend using them indoors and if possible, in a darker setting. Direct sunlight or outdoor use is almost impossible with a manual UV scanner that requires visual verification.

This is a video of me using a very effective manual UV counterfeit detector (the ABC-75 found here):

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We offer a great selection of bill counters with UV counterfeit detection here and a great selection of stand-alone counterfeit detectors with UV capabilities here. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can learn more about counterfeit detection by reading our guide found here.

How Does a Digital Duplicator Work?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Standard Brand Digital DuplicatorIf you need to create mass copies, in the hundreds or even thousands, you may want to consider using a machine called a digital duplicator (found here). While you may never have seen a digital duplicator in person, they look very similar to a toner-based Xerox copy machine. So what is a digital duplicator and how do they work?

Are you familiar with ditto machines or mimeograph machines? I can still remember (perhaps this is showing my age) in school people asking for a ditto of something on the ditto machine. Both Ditto Machines (aka Spirit Duplicators) and Mimeograph machines utilize direct contact with paper to print text. Digital duplicators, in a way, borrow ideas from these technologies to create a modern-day ink-printing machine.

Using a digital duplicator is very similar to using a toner-based copy machine, like a Xerox copier, but the actual printing process is very different. Here is a step-by-step breakdown on how the process works.

  1. First you place your document, text facing down, on the glass scanning surface of the machine.
  2. The digital duplicator scans the image off the paper.
  3. The image is then burned onto a wax-based master via tiny dots. Different duplicators have different resolutions referred to as DPI (dots per inch).
  4. The master is then wrapped around an ink drum.
  5. The drum, filled with ink, squeezes ink out through the tiny holes on the master.
    As the drum rotates, it rolls over paper, leaving the image on the paper.
  6. The paper exits the machine and the process either continues with more paper or ends.

The ink dries very fast. If you are concerned about the ink not being dry enough, I recommend using an air paper jogger. They are designed to quickly dry ink for use with digital duplicators or even with offset printers.

One of the first digital duplicators created, around 1986, was made by the Riso Kaguka Corporation. Their machines were often referred to as Riso or Risograph machines. While Riso machines are still used today, digital duplicators made by Ricoh and Standard Duplicating are more commonly used.

So why would you want to use a digital duplicator? Ink is far less expensive than toner. If you plan on printing a lot of text, perhaps for a manual, menu, flier or other documentation, a duplicator makes a lot of sense.

So why are copy machines more popular? Copy machines are often used to create one, two or perhaps a few dozen copies at a time. In small quantities, toner-based copy machines cost less to operate. The most expensive part of using a digital duplicator is the master. The price, however, drops dramatically once you start making 25 or more copies.

Digital Duplicator SuppliesCopies made on a traditional copy machine typically run around $0.02 a copy. Duplicators, once you hit around 200 copies, costs about $0.004 a copy. Simply put, a duplicator (at 25 or more copies) costs less to operate. The text printing quality of a digital duplicator is just as good as a toner-based copy machine.

You can read more about duplicator operation costs by reading our Digital Duplicator School Guide found here.

You can find our entire selection of Standard digital duplicators here and our entire selection of Ricoh, Riso and Standard masters and inks here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about digital duplicators.

All About CD, DVD and Blu-ray Shredders

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

CD, DVD and Blu-ray ShreddersOptical media discs are used to store and hold volumes of data. This data, as is the case with printed material, is susceptible to identity theft. For this reason, it is recommended to properly destroy optical media rather than throw it away in the garbage. CDs where the first widely used optical discs to store data. Later can DVDs and now Blu-ray discs are commonly used for data storage.

There are a lot of optical discs in use today in businesses around the world. Common formats include:

  • CD (CD-R, CD-RW)
  • Blu-ray (BD-R, BD-RE)

To put into perspective just how much data can be stored on these media discs, take this into consideration. A megabyte of data storage can hold a book of approximately 500 pages with 2,000 characters on a page. This means:

  • A standard CD (CD-R) can hold about 350,000 pages of data.
  • A standard DVD (DVD-R) can hold about 2,350,000 pages of data.
  • A standard Blu-ray (BD-R) can hold about 12,500,000 pages of data.

Blu-ray Disc ShreddersThis immense storage capability is why many sensitive documents and data are stored on optical discs. Imagine trying to store millions of pages of data physically in a room when you can put that all on a disc that is about 4.75″ (120mm) in diameter. While convenient, this also means data breaches of optical discs can be far more catastrophic than the loss of physical paper documents. For this reason, optical disc shredders are critical.

While many shredders are capable of shredding optical discs, not all can do this. Be sure to check and see if the shredder is rated for shredding discs or you may end up with a jammed shredder.

While many CD and DVD shredders cut discs into little strips, or crimp them using a waffle pattern, a cross cut pattern is going to be the most secure destruction method. Some devices are used to literally grind the data off of CDs into powder.

A question I frequently get is can a CD or DVD shredder be used to shred Blu-ray discs? While the material that makes up a Blu-ray is a little stronger than your typical CD or DVD, I have found that most CD and DVD shredders can easily handle Blu-ray discs.

Hopefully this information has been useful. You can find our entire selection of optical disc, CD, DVD and Blu-ray shredders here. If you have a question about shredding optical discs, or simply need a few questions answered about a specific machine, please feel free to contact one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788.

Do Comb Binding Machines Exist with Electric Comb Openers?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Electric Comb Binding MachinesAbout 11 years ago I used to work for the Federal Government. In the mailroom they had a comb binding machine. I believe it may have been an Ibico, however, I was unfamiliar with makes and models (nor did I care) at the time. It looked like something from the 80s. I do remember that binding machine had an electric comb opener. I used the machine to bind a few reports and presentations as needed. One thing I do remember is that the motor that powered the electric opener was pathetically underpowered and had a bad habit of stopping in the middle of the process.

As fate would have it, I have had customers ask me if we offered a similar machine. Just today I had a customer looking for a comb binding machine that had an electric comb opener. The problem they ran into is that they couldn’t find any machines with that capability. Comb binding machines were aplenty, but models with an electric opener weren’t around. She asked me if I knew of any.

Having researched this myself, I can tell you that some models do still exist with an electric comb opener, but none from well-known manufacturers that I’m aware of. There is a good reason for this. It is faster to use a manual comb opener than an electric comb opener.

While the punching portion of comb binding requires a lot of effort (hence the advantage of an electric punch), the comb opener requires little effort. Even with the electric comb openers the operator is still required to place the comb on the opener’s fingers by hand. The only difference is that with the electric opener you push a button and wait, where the manual version requires you to tilt a tiny lever.

Even the most robust and complex Akiles, Renz, Tamerica and Intelli-Bind electric comb binding machines still have manual comb openers. This is because, as I have mentioned earlier, manual comb openers are faster and have fewer issues.

You can find our entire selection of manual comb binding machines here and electric comb binding machines here.

Best Paper Shredders to Consider in 2012

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Best Paper Shredders 2012The new year is upon us, which means it’s time for another “best of” paper shredders list for 2012. The year 2011 brought us many new makes and models including the launch of the Dahle CleanTEC line of paper shredders. Last year I created a top 10 best paper shredders list. While I still want to recommend high-quality paper shredders, this list will be broken down by where the shredder will be used.

There are 4 main categories people typically consider looking at when buying a paper shredder. This includes, small business, departmental and high security paper shredders. I will include the top 5 best paper shredders for each category.

I am not going to include cheap “temporary” paper shredders that are designed to last 6-12 months. These paper shredders are hardy, designed to be used on a daily basis and should last for years. While there are other shredders out there that are equally as reliable, these are the shredders that not only offer quality, but also have a great reputation with our customers.

Best Home Office Shredders 2012Top 5 Best Home Office Paper Shredders 2012

You can find our entire selection of home office paper shredders here.

Best Small Office Shredders 2012Top 5 Best Office Paper Shredders 2012

You can find our entire selection of office paper shredders here.

Best Departmental Paper Shredders 2012Top 5 Best Departmental Paper Shredders 2012

You can find our entire selection of departmental paper shredders here.

Best High Security Shredders 2012Top 5 Best High Security Shredders 2012 (Level 6)

You can find our entire selection of high security shredders here.

Sometimes I wish I could make this list longer since there are so many great models out there. While I can only list 5 per category, you can find our entire selection of paper shredders by visiting our site here. We also offer a great selection of paper shredder oil and paper shredder bags.

Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Our experts are more than happy to help.

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