Frequently Asked Questions About Spiral Coil Binding

posted this on Feb 3, 2016

Coil binding – also known as spiral coil binding and color coil binding – is a very popular method of binding, but it can be difficult to understand how it’s done. Here’s an FAQ about the wonders of coil binding, including some insight on what to look for when buying a spiral binding machine.

  1. What is coil binding? Is it different than spiral binding? Coil and spiral binding are the same type of binding and the terms are used interchangeably. With this type of binding, plastic coils (spirals) are threaded through the holes at the edge of your document. You’ve probably seen this style of binding before because it’s sometimes used on commercial goods, such as calendars.
  2. What’s so great about spiral binding? First of all, spiral binding gives your bound documents a unique, kind of funky look, so it tends to be popular with artists and other creative types. Coils are inexpensive and are available in lots of different colors and thicknesses. (In fact, spiral binding is sometimes referred to as “color coil binding” because of all the colors available.) Spiral coils also durable, so this is a good binding method to choose if your documents will be handled regularly. Finally, you can bind documents manually using spiral coils, if you want, which can help save you money.
  3. What’s this I hear about “pitch”? When you hear the word “pitch” in conjunction with talk about spiral binding, it has nothing to do with baseball or music. Instead, “pitch” simply refers to how many holes there are per inch of paper. For example, a 4:1 pitch means there’s four holes per inch, whereas a 5:1 pitch indicates five holes, and so on. It’s essential to know what pitch your machine uses so you can choose the right binding supplies. The most commonly used pitch for coil binding is 4:1 (four holes per inch).
  4. What’s a coil crimper? A crimper is something you’ll absolutely need to have if you’re going to be binding with coils. It trims the excess coil off your document after it’s been bound. You also use the crimper to bend over the ends of the coil, which helps ensure your booklet won’t fall apart. Most coil binding machines come with a set of crimpers or crimping pliers, but if yours doesn’t, they’re available for about $25.00 or less.
  5. What are some major manufacturers of coil binding machines? Some of the same manufacturers that make plastic comb binding machines are also in on the spiral binding market. These companies include Akiles and Tamerica, DFG as well as Rhin-O-Tuff and Marlon.
  6. What are some important factors to consider when buying a spiral binding machine? There are a lot of things to think about when buying a coil binding machine. Obviously, price will be a factor and you may or may not want a machine that’s aesthetically pleasing. If you’re going to bind a lot of odd-sized documents, getting a machine with disengageable pins (punching teeth) is necessary. You’ll also need to decide if you want a machine with an electric coil inserter, which inserts the binding coil into your document. Machines with this feature are often more expensive than machines without it, so if price is an issue, get a machine without an electric coil inserter. This means you’ll have to insert the coils manually, but you’ll save yourself some money.
  7. Can I use my coil binding machine with other types of binding supplies, such as plastic combs or wire-o binding supplies? Unfortunately not. That’s why it’s important to be sure that coil binding is going to be the right choice for your binding needs. Hopefully this article has helped you determine whether spiral binding is the right choice for your and your documents.
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