Posts Tagged ‘Comb Binding Machines’

What Makes a Good Comb Binding Machine?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Comb Binding Machines - Features to ConsiderCustomers ask me all the time, “What features do I need in a comb binding machine?” It’s a good question and I would like to point out some “must-have” features and some “optional” features. While most comb binding machines share a lot in common, some have some very cool and unique tools you may want to consider for your business. Before I go much further into this article, you can find our entire selection of comb binding machines and supplies by visiting us here.

So what is comb binding? Comb binding is a method used to organize and bind multiple sheets of paper into booklet format. These machines punch a total of 19 holes along the 11” side of a sheet of paper. Once the holes are punched, a plastic 19-ring comb spine is inserted through the holes and closed shut. This plastic spine is what holds the paper together. These style of binding has been around for literally decades and is one of the most affordable ways to bind a book, presentation or report.

Advantages of Comb – Comb binding is affordable, plain and simply. The machines don’t run too much money and a box of 100 combs can usually be purchased for under $10 (often much less). Comb binding allows the spines to be re-opened to remove or add additional pages. The combs themselves are very resilient and are available in a variety of different colors.

Disadvantages of Comb – Comb binding elements can wear out over time and with excessive use, causing the spine to open a little resulting in pages falling out. While this is rare, it can happen. Comb binding also doesn’t allow pages to be wrapped around 360 degrees like coil binding does.

I would now like to cover common and not-so-common features you can find in a comb-binding machine.

  • Side Margin Control – This is the guide that allows you to adjust the positioning the paper left and right. Almost all comb binders have this feature.
  • Margin Depth Control – This is a feature that allows you to set how far into the paper the holes are punched. This is nice if you are binding a variety of book thicknesses. You may want to punch further into the paper when binding thicker books to prevent pages from tearing out. Only about have of the machines out there offer this feature.
  • Manual / Electric Punch – Comb binding machines are available with manual or electric punches, not both. You’ll have to choose. Most people go with manual punches unless they are binding a lot of books per day. I generally recommend electric for people who are binding dozens or more books per day. Electric really does cut down on fatigue.
  • Vertical / Horizontal Punch – Most comb binding machines have a vertical punch, where you lay the paper flat on the surface while punching the paper. Some manufacturers have designed machines with a vertical punch, where the paper stands on its end while being punched. The vertical punch can be nice because it keeps the edges of the paper lined up during the entire process using gravity.
  • Singe / Double Handle – Some comb binding machines use dual handles for punching and binding, where others use a single handle. Single-handle machines punch paper when the handle is pulled and open plastic combs (using the metal comb fingers) when the handle is pushed back. Dual handle units have one hand that punches and another that opens the combs.
  • Disengageable Dies – Have you ever punched paper only to end up with a half-punched hole on the edge? It can ruin the entire book. While side-to-side margin adjustments can fix some of this, it isn’t going to fix everything…especially when binding odd sizes of paper. Machines with desengageable dies allow you to disable specific punching dies. If you have a half-punched hole, simply disengage that die. You could, although I don’t know why you would want to, punch every other hole using a machine equipped with fully disengageable dies.
  • Plastic / Metal Build – Machines vary in build quality. While they all use metal punching pins, the gears, handle and body of the machine can vary in build quality. As you might imagine, lesser expensive machines typically utilize more plastic in the design where higher-end machines use more metal. Some manufactures, like Akiles, use a lot of metal in their machines.

I hope this helps. There is a lot of information there to assimilate. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788. We would love to help you out. Thanks again for reading!

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 Binding Machines for Children’s Books

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Binding Children's BooksIf’ you’re binding children’s books, you probably want to use a format that is durable, tough and resilient. My 3-year-old son was recently given a book that was bound in twin-loop wire. As you might imagine, that book isn’t in such good shape anymore. When it comes to children’s books, a lot more needs to be taken into consideration than just looks. I will cover in this article the best binding machines you will want to use for binding kid’s books.

If you will be binding a child’s book using a binding element (i.e. Wire, Coil or Comb), you need something that is tough, can take an impact and will cut down on page tearing. The two most resilient binding formats are comb and coil. I’ll explain why I would personally use these binding styles for a kid’s book.

The one format I would never use is twin loop wire, unless you’re binding a teenager’s book. Wire, to put it simple, bends and looses its form when stepped on, thrown on the ground, stacked on with other books or is thrown in a backpack.  I have seen some books bound in thick-gauge twin loop wire. The thicker gauge stuff seems to hold up much better than your standard gauge twin loop wire.

As mentioned earlier, I would use comb or coil for a children’s book. Let me explain the benefits and the disadvantages of both.

Comb Binding Children's BooksCOMB BINDING – This is my second choice for binding kid’s books. This format is made from tough plastic and will rarely break or bend. Comb binding supplies are cheap, costing very little for a box of 100 elements. Comb is also available in dozens of colors, making it a colorful choice for binding children’s books. The individual comb fingers are wide, providing added support to pages, making them tougher to accidentally rip out.

The biggest con to comb binding is the fact that combs can be re-opened, even without a machine. It is tough to do, and extremely unlikely to happen, but it is possible. I still don’t think this should count out comb binding.

Because you may be binding books smaller than 8 ½” x 11″, I would recommend that you use comb binder with selectable punching pins.

These are some comb binding machines I recommend for binding kid’s books:

Coil Binding Children's BooksCOIL BINDING – Coil binding is my first choice for binding kid’s books. Binding coils are made out of extremely durable PVC plastic. These coils won’t bend or break and can withstand the unforgiving wrath of a child. Binding coils are colorful, which kids like, and can be used to bind thick or thin books.

I personally recommend using 4:1 pitch coil for children’s books (4 holes per inch) as the wide hole pattern makes the pages harder to tear out. A 5:1 pitch hole pattern (5 holes per inch) have the holes too close together for kids, making the pages much easier to tear out.
As you will probably bind books in a wide range of sizes, I recommend using a coil-binding machine with disengagable punching pins and an electric coil inserter.

These are some coil binding machines I recommend for binding children’s books:

Hopefully these recommendations help you in your book binding endeavors. We have decades of experience with book binding machines, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. You can find our entire selection of binding machines here.

Troubleshooting: Pages Keep Ripping out of Bound Book

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Wire Binding Machine TroubleshootingWhen you bind a booklet, presentation or report, you typically expect that book to hold up for some time…right? You certainly don’t want paper ripping out as you turn pages. If your comb, coil or wire bound document is experiencing pages tearing out, premature wear, pages binding or overall difficulty in using a book bound in these formats, you’ll want to read this guide.

Comb, wire and coil binding are all three very distinct binding formats, but they all suffer from similar issues when a book is bound incorrectly. While binding a book is extremely easy to do, there are a few minor settings, if left ignored, can result in a complete failure of a binding job. Here are the two most common issues:

Pages Keep Tearing Out:
If you have pages that seem to be tearing out of your book, you are probably experiencing issues with your margin depth, which is how far holes are punched into the paper. As a general rule, you want to punch holes deeper into the paper when binding thicker books. Thinner books can have the holes punched closer to the edge. If you punch holes close to the edge, while binding a thicker book, pages will eventually begin to tear out.

Many modern binding machines have a margin depth selector that will allow you to adjust how far into the paper the holes are punched based on the thickness of the book. Akiles machines are especially easy to use when it comes to adjusting the margin depth.

Unfortunately not all binding machines have a margin depth adjustment. If this is the case, you will either need to deal with the occasional page ripping out, bind thinner books or upgrade to a different machine.

Here are three great binding machines that feature an adjustable margin depth:

Paper Binds When Turning Pages: If you’re experiencing issues turning the pages in your bound document, the guilty culprit is the binding element itself. What you are probably doing is using a binding comb, wire or coil that is too small for the paper you are binding. What you need to do is use a slightly larger diameter binding element.

Many binding machines now include a diameter selection guide. If you’re binding machine doesn’t have this feature, you can get a good idea on the diameter you need by looking at our supplies pages. Our binding supply pages feature the diameter and how many sheets it can bind.

Binding Supplies

Hopefully this guide helps you out and helps cut down on frustrations. If for any reason you need a new machine, you can find our entire selection of binding machines here.

How to Use a Comb Binding Machine Video Demo

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Intelli-Bind IB400 Comb Binding Machine from Intelli-ZoneIf you use, own or are planning to purchase a comb binding machine, you probably want to know how to use it. Because many of the binding machines out there are made out of the country, the “English” manuals are often very difficult to follow. Many people simply lose their manuals. We recently filmed a “How to Use a Comb Binding Machine” video demo.

To begin with, this demo covers the Intell-Bind IB400 comb binder from Intelli-Zone. This is because the IB400 is a fairly simply and common style of binding machine. You punch the paper, open the combs, insert the combs through the paper and you’re done (in very simplified terms). Once you know how to use this binding machine, you’ll easily be able to use a GBC, Fellowes, Akiles, Renz or other brand of binding machine.

While there are a few design differences between machines, the are almost all the same in operation. Hopefully this video helps you set up your own machine.

How to Use a Comb Binding Machine Video Demo

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As you can see, the process is very simple. I have found that it takes about a minute to bind a basic book. The speed varies, depending on the machine’s capabilities, and electric machines are faster. There is definitely no reason to be intimidated by a comb binding machine. They can be used to bind presentations, reports, books and much more. The spines are available in a wide range of sizes and colors.

We also offer a great selection of binding machines. You can find our entire selection of new comb binding machines here and all our binding machines here. Good luck and happy binding!

Is Cerlox Binding and Comb Binding the Same?

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Cerlox Binding SuppliesI had a customer ask me a few days ago if we sold Cerlox binding supplies. The question floored me. I thought I had heard about every style and type of binding ever made. After digging around, and doing a little research, I discovered that I was not only familiar with Cerlox binding machines and supplies, I had used them for over 10 years.

To my surprise, I discovered that Cerlox (sometimes spelled Surelox or Surlox) binding is actually 19-ring comb binding. Same thing. No difference. If you ever have someone ask you to purchase or track down Cerlox binding supplies, you now know that comb binding supplies will do the trick. It’s much like calling a car an automobile and vice versa.

I can now safely say that we offer Cerlox binding supplies (found here). At ABC Office we offer a huge selection of comb binding machines, both manual and electric. Popular Cerlox brands (can’t help myself) include Fellowes, GBC, Ibico, Akiles, Tamerica, Intelli-Bind and Renz.

This style of binding is extremely popular because the supplies are cheap, readily available and can re-used over and over. It allows for pages to be added and removed and the supplies come in several different colors and diameters.

I have seen people use comb for binding cookbooks, presentations, photo albums, short stories, reports and books. Binding combs come in 11” lengths (19 rings) for letter-size paper and 297mm lengths (21 rings) for A4 paper. You can find our entire selection of Cerlox binding machines here and Cerlox biding supplies here.

Intelli-Bind IB150 Personal Comb Binding Machine Review

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Intelli-Bind IB150 Comb Binding MachineIf you’re not a bindery, or an office that binds dozens to hundreds of books a day, you may be fine with a binding machine that’s a little lower key. This may be 1-10 books a day. If this sounds like you, consider looking at the Intelli-Bind IB150 comb binding machine (found here) from Intelli-Zone. This is my review.

Intelli-Bind (by Intelli-Zone) is one of the most affordable and feature-per-dollar lines of binding machines available. Intelli-Bind binding machines cover the comb, wire and comb binding machine lines of bookbinding.

The Intelli-Bind IB150 is one of the cheapest (as in price) binding machines available online. As of this review, it costs just $52. While inexpensive, it can still be used to bind a 2″ book. It really finds its place with those who only need to bind a few books a day.

Using the Intelli-Bind IB150 is pretty straightforward. Take your paper, place it in the horizontal punch and pull the handle. The IB150 can punch 12 sheets of paper, although I would probably keep that around 6-8 sheets. Once the holes are punched, you can place your comb element in the comb opener fingers. Once the comb is opened, your punched paper can be inserted and the comb can then be closed. Voila! You have a bound booklet.

The Intelli-Bind IB150 can be used to bind presentations, reports, booklets and more. I have seen people use the IB150 to create cookbooks, phone directories, promotional literature and more. While the punching capacity isn’t extremely high, it can be used to punch report covers, clear covers and card stock (1 sheet at a time).

The Intelli-Bind IB150, unlike many similarly priced machines, can be used by lefties or righties. This is because it utilizes a “U” shaped handle that can be used from just about any angle. It can also be used by both hands, for faster paper punching. Just be careful that you don’t get over confident and start punching more paper than the machine can handle. That’s a quick rout to a broken machine.

This machine is fairly light, weighing in at 13 pounds shipped. What’s nice about the weight is that this machine can easily be picked up and moved around. This is especially nice if you need to store the binding machine and break it out every so often for the occasional job.

I have to say that I wish it had disengageable punching pins, however, if you are only binding letter-size presentations (8 ½” x 11″) you should be fine. It is designed to work with 19-ring plastic binding combs.

The build quality on the IB150 is actually pretty good. While it does have a plastic shell, a lot of the internal components are made out of metal. If treated well, and used to bind low-volumes of books, this machine should easily hold up for some time. I also have to mention that it looks pretty nice.

You can find the Intelli-Bind IB150 comb binding machine here and our entire selection of Intelli-Bind book binding machines here. We also carry a great selection of other binding machines found here.

Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any book binding questions.

SircleBind CB-60 Comb Binding Machine Review

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

SircleBind CB-60 Comb Binding MachineIf you like to bind books as a hobby, run a home business or have small-volume book binding needs, you probably don’t need a binding machine that costs thousands of dollars. You probably need something pretty basic, yet professional. As part of my under $100 binding machine reviews, I would like to introduce you to the Sircle CB-60 comb binding machine (found here). This is my review.

SircleBind (aka Sircle) has been around for a few years now, which is long enough to have developed a reputation for offering “budget” binding machines. Their machines provide a nice blend between affordability and functionality.

The SircleBind CB-60 comb binding machine is one of the most affordable comb binding machines we offer. As of this article, you can pick one up for about $57. For that price, you can’t expect high-volume binding capacities, but it certainly has its place.

To begin with, this machine is extremely compact. It only weighs 5 pounds shipped. It is also very easy to pick up and move around. The handle itself can be folded down and locked into place. If you need a portable book binding machine, this may be just what you need.

The CB-60 can punch through about 6 sheets of paper at a time, however, I would recommend scaling that back to 4-5 sheets. This machine utilizes a lot of plastic parts and I think scaling back the punching amount will extend the life of this machine. It can be used to punch card stock, clear covers and other binding covers, but I would recommend punching one at a time. Don’t force this machine to punch paper. If it feels like you are straining too much, back off. You don’t want to break it.

The binding capacity on this machine is somewhat limited, maxing out at a ½” thick (12mm diameter). That equals out to be about 95 sheets of paper. This means you won’t be able to use the CB-60 to bind thicker books, but it is good for binding booklets, presentations and other reports.

While you can use the CB-60 to bind custom-size books, I would recommend staying with 8 ½” x 11″ paper. It doesn’t have disengageable punching pins, so you could potentially end up with a half-punched hole if you are binding material smaller than letter-size paper.

Having used this little machine myself, I have to say that I highly recommend that it not be used for anything more than light-volume book binding. I have used many binding machines (dozens upon dozens) and I have to say that I have never before seen a comb binding machine that used plastic fingers for opening combs.

The construction is plastic. The shell is plastic, the comb opener is plastic and the catch tray is plastic. If you use this machine for more than light volume use, you will probably be disappointed.

If you are using this for just the occasional book or report, I think you’ll like its compact nature, sleek design and great price point.

Here are a few affordable comb binding alternatives:

You can find the SircleBind CB-60 comb binding machine here and our entire selection of comb binding machines here.

Top 10 Best Portable Book Binding Machines

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Portable Book Binding MachinesIf you like to bind books, or need to quickly bind presentations and reports on the go, you probably need a portable book binding machine. While there are a lot of binding machines available, few of them can be easily picked up and moved from one location to another. This article will cover some of the most portable book binding machines available.

One important thing to be aware of, when shopping for a probable binding machine, is to realize that most portable machines are designed for light use or occasional use. I would put that at about 10-20 books a day. This is more than adequate if you are binding reports and presentations on the go. Portable binding machines are also almost always manually operated, with electric machines being too heavy to easily carry in a bag or move around.

I am going to list the top 10 best portable book binding machines. This list will include the three most common bookbinding formats; these being comb, wire and coil.

Top 10 Best Portable Book Binding Machines (Listed Alphabetically)

  1. Akiles iCoil 41 Coil Binding Machine
  2. Akiles iCoil 41 Plus Coil Binding Machine
  3. Akiles iWire 21 Wire Binding Machine
  4. Akiles iWire 31 Wire Binding Machine
  5. Fellowes Star Comb Binding Machine
  6. Fellowes Starlet Comb Binding Machine
  7. Intelli-Bind IC110 Coil Binding Machine
  8. Intelli-Bind IB150 Comb Binding Machine
  9. SircleBind CB-60 Comb Binding Machine
  10. SircleBind WR-60 Wire Binding Machine

These book binding machines are all lightweight and very portable. Many of them even include handles that fold up for added portability and convenience. The Akiles line of iWire and iCoil machines are especially nice as they fold completely up and include everything you need (minus supplies) to get up and going.

You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here.

Debinding Capabilities of Book Binding Machines

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Binding Machines with Debind CapabilitiesI have spoken with many people who were looking for a binding machine, but had one small (yet very important) requirement. They wanted to be able to add or remove pages from their bound document later down the road. While this can be done, the binding style you use will be the ultimate determining factor on your post-binding modification capabilities.

So which book binding styles and formats are easiest and hardest for debinding? I am going to cover comb, wire, coil, Velobind and thermal binding and their debinding properties. Hopefully this will help you in your decision to buy a book binding machine.

Binding Machine Debind Capabilities

Comb Binding MachinesComb Binding – Comb binding may be one of the best debind binding formats. This is because the plastic combs used in comb binding can easily be re-opened and closed over and over again. The spines themselves can easily be removed from old documents and be re-applied to new documents.

Wire Binding MachinesWire Binding – Wire binding is probably one of the least friendly debind binding formats. Wire that has been closed can be removed, but it will be completely ruined in the process. Wire can then be re-applied to the document, but it will require a new binding element.

Coil Binding MachinesCoil Binding – Coil binding elements (aka spirals) are very easy to remove from documents, but cannot be re-used. Simply snip off the end of the coil and spin it back out of the holes. A new coil can then be re-inserted through the holes. I have personally had to do this myself after discovering that my bound document needed a few additional pages.

Velobind Binding MachinesVelobinding – The Velobind process produces a very permanent bind. While there are some Velobind debind tools available, the process can potentially destroy the document. I’ll explain.

I’ll use the GBC VeloBind System Three as an example. This machine has a built-in debind feature. You essentially place your bound document in the machine and it will re-warm the 11 sealed posts and make them soft, allowing the back strip to be pulled off. The only problem is that the ends of the posts, after the back strip is removed, end up in a “mushroom” positing that can tear up the Velobind punched holes as the posts are removed. I have seen it work and fail. I don’t recommend Velobind if you intend to remove or re-add pages later down the road.

Thermal Binding MachinesThermal Binding – Thermal binding uses hot glue that literally soaks into paper to keep it attached to the spine. As a result, the pages cannot be removed without tearing them out. You’re best result for re-binding thermally bound documents is to cut off the spine by using a stack cutter. Those pages can later be re-bound, although they’ll be about 1/8″ to ¼” shorter in width. My verdict on thermal binding and debinding: Possible? Yes. Practical? No.

In conclusion, comb binding is probably going to be your best bet for adding and removing pages. Hopefully these tips will help you find the right binding machine. As you can see, some binding machines have better debind capabilities than other machines. You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here.

If you still have some questions that are not addressed in this article, please feel free to call 1-800-658-8788 for more advice and information. Our Customer Service Associates are extremely knowledgeable and courteous.

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