Posts Tagged ‘Binding Machine Reviews’

Fellowes Helios 60 Thermal Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Fellowes Helios 60 Thermal Binding MachineThermal binding is one of the least known but one of the best looking binding formats around. It is easy to do and machines typically cost very little money. Fellowes recently unveiled a new line of thermal binding machines under the Helios name. I will be reviewing the new Fellowes Helios 60 thermal binder (found here).

To begin with, the Helios 60 is one of the highest-capacity thermal binding machine we offer. It is capable of thermally binding up to 600 sheets of paper at a time. Impressive. The only other binding machine that even compares is the VeloBind System III from GBC.

This doesn’t mean the Helios 60 can only bind large amounts of paper. It can also be used to bind small reports as well. The binding capacity is determined by the thermal binding cover being used. The Fellowes Helios 60 uses special thermal binding covers, available in different thicknesses.

The thermal binding covers typically consist of a clear cover and a card stock backing. The spine is filled with thermally activated glue. Much like a hot glue gun, when the glue gets hot it turns into a liquid that then sticks to the paper. You essentially put your documents in the cover, place that cover in the machine, remove the cover and wait for it to cool. The process is fast, simple and only takes 1-3 minutes (depending on the size).

The new Helios 60 has an attractive design. The glossy sheen and the rounded corners look almost like an art piece. This machine can be used on a desk and folds up into a compact design for easy storage.

The panel is easy to read and access and the machine will automatically shut off if left unattended. It is also designed to be cool to the touch.

The Helios 60 best used for creating reports and is not typically used for long-term binding. For long-term binding, it is best to use a machine that utilizes a binding element such as comb, wire, coil or VeloBind. If you don’t believe you will need the full 600 page binding capacity, the Helios is available as the Helios 30, which has a 300-sheet capacity.

You can find the Fellowes Helios 60 thermal binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of binding machines here.

Fellowes Jupiter JL-125 Pouch Laminator Review

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Fellowes Jupiter JL-125 Pouch LaminatorAre you in the market for a pouch laminator, but are having a tough time settling on any one model? Many of our customers have been taking a serious look at Fellowes’ line of pouch laminators. Fellowes is well known for their line of paper shredders, but is their line of pouch laminators any good? I will be reviewing the Fellowes Jupiter JL-125 pouch laminator (found here).

To start with, the Jupiter JL-125 is one nice looking laminator. It features a rounded, glossy outer shell that is reminiscent of something you would find on a sci-fi spaceship. The design is very contemporary and fits in very well with most offices. It is extremely compact, takes up a fairly small footprint and can easily be stored in a cupboard or drawer.

Looks aren’t everything. The real question is “how well does it work?” To start with, the Jupiter JL-125 uses a four-roller system for laminating products. This is actually pretty nice. The general rule for pouch laminators is the more rollers the better the end result. Many two-roller systems require pouches to be run through twice. The four roller system cuts down on cloudy finishes and bubbles in the lamination.

Once plugged in, the Jupiter JL-125 takes about four-minutes to warm up. This is pretty good and is in line with what most comparable pouch laminators do. The laminator has a green indicator light and makes an audible sound when it is ready to be used. Because the Jupiter JL-125 uses special heat shielding technology, this laminator is easy to handle when fully warmed up.

The Jupiter JL-125 is similar to the Fellowes Saturn SL-125, but is designed for higher volume use and can handle thicker pouches. The JL-125 can handle laminating pouches up to 7 mils thick.

One thing I really like about the Jupiter JL-125 is the reverse mode. This makes it really easy to back out miss-fed pouches and re-position material. Although it claims not to require a carrier, I would still recommend using one. It also includes a laminating film starter kit.

Here are some great alternatives to the JL-125.

The Fellowes Jupiter JL-125 is a great all-purpose laminator for light to medium-volume use. You can find the Fellowes Jupiter JL-125 here. You can find our entire selection of pouch laminating machines here.

Do you own the Jupiter JL-125? Let me know what you think about it by posting a comment. Have a great day!

Akiles FlexiPunch-M Binding Machine Punch Review

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Akiles FlexiPunch-M Binding Machine PunchSometimes it is pretty difficult to settle on one single binding format. All “spine” binding formats look great and they all have their benefits. If you are looking for a multi-format binding machine (one that punches all binding formats), and you like the quality of Akiles binding machines, you should consider the Akiles FexiPunch-M binding machine (found here). Here’s my review of the machine.

The FlexiPunch-M is very similar in design and concept to the Rhin-O-Tuff OD 4800. The FlexiPunch-M is basically a punch that can be used with separate Akiles supplemental binding modules such as a comb opener, a wire closer or a coil inserter. It is that simple.

You want to punch and bind for comb? Use the comb binding punch and a separate comb opener module. The dies are completely interchangeable. Just slide out the comb punch and insert the wire punch for wire punching.

You don’t have to use the FlexiPunch-M with a separate binding module. Many people like to use the FlexiPunch-M as a separate punch for high-volume binding. This allows one person to operate the FlexiPunch-M and another person to operate an all-in-one binding machine. Punching paper is typically the longest part of binding comb, wire and coil books.

Unlike the Rhin-O-Tuff OD 4800, the FlexiPunch-M has selectable punching dies, which is awesome for a modular binding machine. This allows you to disable punching pins. This is ideal when punching custom paper sizes. It also helps eliminate half-punched holes that show up on the edge of paper.

Overall the build quality on the FlexiPunch-M is top notch. It is made from quality metal components, which is commonplace with Akiles. It is compact enough to be used on almost any desk or surface.

Akiles WBM-532 Modular Wire CloserThese are the separate binding modules you can use with the FlexiPunch-M:

Ultimately the Akiles FlexiPunch-M is best suited for additional punching capacity and versatility in the binding format you use. You can find the FlexiPunch-M binding machine here. You will find our entire selection of modular binding machines here.

Akiles EcoBind-C Comb Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Akiles EcoBind-C Comb Binding MachineSo you need a comb binding machine, but don’t have a lot of money on hand. If your budget falls within the $100-$200 range, you may want to consider the Akiles EcoBind-C budget comb binding machine. This plastic comb binder brings a lot to the table and won’t break the bank. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider the Akiles EcoBind-C (found here) for your comb binding needs.

To start with, Akiles is well known as being one of the most reputable and highest-quality binding machine manufacturers out there. There is a good reason for this. The build quality simply clobbers the competition.

Most binding machine manufactures make their budget binding machines out of aluminum, plastic and inexpensive metals to try and bring down the cost. Akiles binding machines are made out of heavy-duty metal construction.

The Akiles EcoBind-C is a fairly new comb binding machine that has only been out a few months. It’s designed to target low to medium-volume binding projects. It includes a 21 hole punching die that is compatible with 19-ring comb and is capable of punching up to 20 sheets of paper at a time.

As is the case with any binding machine, I recommend scaling back the maximum amount of sheets you punch at a time by 10 to 15%. This will help cut back on strain on the binding machine and should help prolong the life.

Here are two features you simply will not find in another comb binding machine in this price range:

Selectable Punching Dies – The EcoBind-C has selectable punching dies. This allows you to completely disengage punching pins, giving you control on exactly what punches. This is especially nice when cutting custom paper sizes and helps cut down on half-punched holes often found on the edges of paper.

Adjustable Margin Depth – An adjustable margin depth allows you to choose how far into the paper the holes will be punched. This is ideal when binding books of different thicknesses.

The Akiles EcoBind-C is designed to bind books up to two-inches thick, which is a lot of paper for a machine in this price range. The handle is in a “U” shape, which makes it ideal for all the southpaws out there. The Akiles EcoBind-C is also very compact, making it easy to move and allowing it to easily sit on a desk or table.

I usually try to point out a few cons when I review machines, but I am having a hard time with this one. How about this. It would be nice if the punch was electric, but that will never happen in this price range.

I highly recommend this comb binding machine and consider it to be a steal considering the features and price. You will find the Akiles EcoBind-C budget comb binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of comb binding machines here.

Fellowes Starlet Comb Binding Machine Review

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Fellowes Starlet Comb Binding MachineDo you occasionally need to bind a small report, but don’t know which machine you should use? Have you considered the Fellowes Starlet comb binding machine? This small little machine is the cheapest, smallest and most compact comb binder Fellowes has to offer. So is it any good? Here is my review.

To begin with, the Fellowes Starlet is a compact little machine designed for home use that can easily sit on the end of a desk. It is small. It is designed to bind booklets of up to 90 pages thick with a ½-inch diameter comb. Fellowes had light-volume in mind when they designed this machine. I wouldn’t recommend using it for binding any more than 5-6 books a day.

Why would you use a machine like this? It can be used to create the occasional report, a customized photo album or a cookbook. It is very easy to use and very economical.

When the back support is folded down and the lever is folded into a compact position, the entire machine is no more than a few inches tall. It is compact enough that it can easily be placed in a cupboard or drawer for convenient storage.

The punch on this machine is rated at punching 7 sheets of paper at a time. While this is the case, I wouldn’t recommend punching that many sheets. I would probably scale that back to 5-6 sheets.

Most manufacturers, including Fellowes, post the absolute maximum number of sheets that can be punched at a time. That number, however, is not recommended for continual use.

One thing I really like about the Fellowes Starlet is the vertical load paper punch. Most comb binding machines have a horizontal punch. The vertical punch makes it easier to keep paper lined up and holes properly aligned.

You will find the Fellowes Starlet comb binding machine here. Here are a few good alternatives to the Fellowes Starlet:

Fellowes Starlet Alternatives:

You will find our entire selection of manual comb binding machines here. Do you own the Fellowes Starlet? Let me know what you think about it.

Fellowes Pulsar 300 Comb Binding Machine Review

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Fellowes Pulsar 300 Comb Binding MachineSo you need a comb binding machine, but don’t have a lot of money? Have you considered looking at the Fellowes Pulsar 300 (found here)? This comb binding machine is the latest in a line of comb binding machines made by the popular paper shredder manufacturer Fellowes. So is this machine any good and is it worth your hard-earned money?

To start with, the Fellowes Pulsar 300 is an entry-level comb binding machine tailored around the home office. It is designed for low-volume comb binding. I would put that at about 10-20 books a day maximum.

Fellowes does a great job of creating a nice-looking piece of office machinery. The Fellowes Pulsar 300 is no exception. It looks great and is almost like a trophy sitting on your desk. Does that mean it works as well as it looks? Let’s find out.

Fellowes calls this the Pulsar 300 because it is capable of punching and binding up to 300 sheets of standard paper, which is about 1 ½ inches of paper. This isn’t to bad for a machine this small and compact. Although Fellowes says it can punch 15 sheets of paper at a time, I would recommend scaling that back a few sheets.

One thing I really like about the Fellowes Pulsar 300 comb binding machine is the vertical punch. Most comb binding machines have a horizontal punch. With a vertical punch, gravity helps keep paper in place, which helps keep the holes properly lined up.

The Pulsar does not have the bells and whistles of an Akiles machine, but it isn’t bad. Just keep in mind that it is not meat for medium or high-volume binding. For a few more dollars you could go with an Akiles EcoBind-C (found here) that I would consider to be a slightly better machine.

You will find the Fellowes Pulsar 300 comb binding machine here. Here are a few alternatives to the Fellowes Pulsar 300 comb binding machine.

Alternatives to the Fellowes Pulsar:

You can find our entire selection of manual comb binding machines here. Do you own the Fellowes Pulsar 300? Let me know what you think about it.

Fellowes Helios 30 Thermal Binding Machine Review

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Fellowes Helios 30 Thermal Binding MachineThermal binding is one of the least known binding formats used today. This isn’t because it is bad, but because more common methods such as comb, wire and coil have taken precedence. Fellowes recently unveiled one of their newest thermal binding machines called the Helios 30 (found here). This new machine is both attractive and very affordable. Is it a machine you consider using?

The new Fellowes Helios 30 replaces their older TB 250 thermal binding machine. I personally find the new Helios 30 much more pleasing on the eyes. Fellowes has some very talented design engineers on staff as they continue to make some of the most attractive office machines used today.

To start with, the Fellowes Helios 30 uses a binding format called thermal binding. As the title would suggest, heat is involved. The Helios 30 uses special thermal binding covers that have glue in the spine. The glue is very similar to what is found in a hot glue gun.

Once plugged in, the Helios 30 warms up a heating element. This entire process takes about one to three minutes. While the machine is warming up, you can take your report or paperwork and place it in a thermal binding cover.

Once warmed up, the cover is placed in the machine. The machine then heats up the cover, melting the glue. As might be expected, the glue soaks into the spine of the paper. This process takes about a minute. After a minute, the cover can be removed where the glue later cools down. Once solidified, the booklet is bound.

Thermally bound reports and books look very nice. The Helios 30 can be used with a thermal binding cover up to an amazing 300 sheets of paper.

One thing I really like about the Helios 30 is the HeatShield technology built into the machine. This allows the Helios 30 to get blazing hot on the inside, for melting the glue, but remain cool on the outside. This is ideal for safety, not to mention you don’t want to be using a heat-radiating machine throughout the day.

While thermal binding is attractive, it generally isn’t used for long-term binding. On top of that, you need to be aware that the Fellowes Helios 30 must use special thermal binding covers. You cannot use any cover you want.

The Helios 30 is attractive and compact. It is very user friendly and features an easy-to-use control panel. Once done, the machine can be folded flat for easy storage.

You will find the Fellowes Helios 30 thermal binding machine here. The Helios thermal binding is available in a larger size called the Helios 60 found here. You will find our entire selection of thermal binding machines here.

Akiles CoilMac-EPI Plus Coil Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Akiles CoilMac-EPI Plus Coil Binding MachineFinding a good reliable electric-powered coil binding machine can be a bit of  a chore. When electricity is involved, you want to make sure you are getting a good machine. A great example of an electric coil binding machine done right is the CoilMac-EPI Plus (found here). Why do I feel this way? I will go into more details in this review.

To start with, the CoilMac-EPI from Akiles is an all-in-one machine. It punches the coil and inserts the coil in a single machine. This is preferable, in my opinion, to having separate paper punches and coil inserters. The CoilMac-EPI does a very good job of combining these various tools into a single ergonomic machine.

One of the best things about Akiles is the build quality. Unlike MANY machines out there that have a plastic shell or aluminum gears, the Akiles machine is made from solid metal parts (including the housing). This becomes abundantly clear when you try to pick one up. The CoilMac-EPI Plus weighs in at just over 75 pounds, so it is pretty hefty, but it can be used on most desks and counters.

There are two different versions of the CoilMac-EPI available. There is the basic CoilMac-EPI and the CoilMac-EPI plus. There are a couple of differences between these two. The standard CoilMac-EPI punches round holes and has five disengageable pins where the CoilMac-EPI Plus punches oval-shaped holes and every pin is selectable Other than that, the two machines are pretty much the same.

The oval holes found on the EPI Plus make the pages easier to turn. This is a new hole design that is completely unique to Akiles. I also really like to have all the punching pins be disengageable. This is great for punching custom sizes of paper and allows you to eliminate the dreaded half-punched hole that ends up at the edge of paper.

From start to finish, the entire coil binding process only takes a few minutes. First you punch the paper, using the electric punch. The electric punch is activated by using an foot pedal, which is really nice. Once all the paper is punched, you feed a coil through the first few holes and let the CoilMac-EPI’s electric coil inserter do the rest.

The CoilMac-EPI Plus is a commercial-quality machine. I have no problem saying that you can use this for the smallest light-duty job or a larger heavy-duty job. It can be used throughout the day without any worries about the motor overheating or becoming damaged.

If you are looking for a solid coil binding machine solution, you should definitely consider using the Akiles CoilMac-EPI Plus or Standard coil binding machine. You can find the CoilMac-EPI standard here and the CoilMac-EPI Plus here.

If you like the features in the CoilMac-EPI, but don’t need an electric punch, it is available in a manual version as the CoilMac-ECI. There are two versions of that coil binding machine as well. You will find the CoilMac-ECI standard here and the CoilMac-ECI Plus here.

Good luck and happy coil binding!

The Fellowes Quasar 500 Comb Binding Machine Reviewed

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Fellowes Quasar 500 Comb Binding MachineSo you need a comb binding machine and are considering the Fellowes Quasar 500 as a possible option. The only problem is you don’t know if this is the comb binding machine for you. You’re in luck. This is a detailed review of the Fellowes Quasar 500 (found here). I will discuss the pros and cons of this comb binding machine.

Fellowes has been making shredders for a long time and they have since dived into the laminator and binding machine market as well. One of their newest additions is the Quasar 500 manual and the Quasar 500 electric. Both of these machines are essentially the same in design with the only difference being the manner in which paper is punched.  I will be covering the manual version

The Fellowes Quasar 500 manual is a compact comb binding machine designed for low-volume binding jobs. It is called the Quasar 500 because it is able to comb bind up to 500 sheets of paper at a time. This equals about a two-inch thick book. This is pretty nice for a machine this compact.

Fellowes has hired some very talented office equipment designers. As is the case with their shredders, the Fellowes line of binding machines are very attractive in their design. This makes it easy to put a Fellowes binding machine on your desk without it detracting from the ambiance.

One of the biggest pros of the Fellowes Quasar 500 is the vertical load punching die. Most comb binding machines have the paper punched horizontally. Because the Quasar punches the paper vertically, the holes more easily line up and paper is punched evenly (thanks to gravity).

One thing I wish the Quasar had was selectable punching dies. In this price range, selectable punching dies are not very common, however, Akiles does make a machine in that price range with selectable dies.

I do consider the Fellowes Quasar 500 to be a good comb binding machine. As is the case with most Fellowes products, the build quality isn’t as good as it should be.  Fellowes does offer some of the best warranties available though, so if you do experience any issues, getting your Fellowes comb binder fixed shouldn’t be a problem.

Here are a couple of Quasar 500 alternatives:

You will find our entire selection of manual comb binding machines here. Do you own a Fellowes Quasar 500? Post your experience here in a comment.

Tamerica VersaBind Manual Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Tamerica VersaBind Binding MachineSo you really want to bind a book, but just can’t seem to settle on a binding format. You like comb, wire and coil, but don’t want to limit yourself. Well, you’re in luck! The Tamerica VersaBind manual binding machine gives you the option to bind books in a wide variety of formats. I have used this machine and will post some of the pros and cons here.

I have used comb, wire and spiral binding machines and can completely understand why someone would be reluctant to settle on one single binding format. I really like all three of these popular binding methods and they all have their own unique benefits. The Tamerica VersaBind does a great job answering this problem.

The Tamerica VersaBind binding machine is designed to punch holes and bind books in comb, 2:1 pitch wire, 3:1 pitch wire and 4:1 pitch coil. Although not advertised, because the Tamerica VersaBind can punch a 19-ring hole pattern for comb, it can also be used to bind books using 19-ring Spiral-O wire. This means the Tamerica can bind books in five different and unique styles.

VersaBind Binds:

  • 19-Ring Comb
  • 19-Ring Wire
  • 2:1 Pitch Wire
  • 3:1 Pitch Wire
  • 4:1 Pitch Coil

Tamerica VersaBind Interchangeable Dies

It includes a comb opener and closer for binding combs and a wire closer for wires. Coils must be manually fed through the punched holes. While the VersaBind isn’t designed for high-volume binding, it is perfect for low to medium-volume binding.

Unlike other multi-format binding machines, the Tamerica VersaBind includes all the punching dies needed to bind comb, wire and coil. Most other multi-format machines require you to buy the additional punching dies separately. This is a huge DEAL.

These aren’t cheap punching dies either. The coil, comb and wire punching dies all include selectable dies, allowing you to decide exactly which hole punches and which doesn’t. The punching pins seem to be very sturdy and shouldn’t dull easily.

The handles have been placed in an ergonomic way, making it easy to punch paper, open combs and close wire.

One thing I would really like to see on the Tamerica VersaBind is a coil inserter. Akiles has managed to include compact coil inserters and I would love to see one on this machine.

You will also want to scale back the punching capacity on this machine. Although it claims to be able to punch 20 sheets at a time, I would probably scale that back to about 15 sheets. The machine seemed to strain a little at 20 sheets. This is pretty common with binding machine manufacturers. They always give you the absolute maximum amount of sheets it can bind, even though that amount shouldn’t be done on a regular basis.

In conclusion, I really like using this binding machine. I think the versatility of multiple binding formats is huge and for everything you get, the VersaBind may be one of the best deals you’ll ever see in a multi-format binding machine. You will find the Tamerica VersaBind manual binding machine here. You can find our entire selection of binding machines here.

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