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How do I bind a document using spiral coil binding?

posted this on Jul 2, 2015

Spiral coil binding (also known as Color coil or plastic coil binding) is one of the most popular and fastest growing of all coil binding styles. Documents bound with spiral coils lay flat and the pages can turn 360 degrees around the flexible PVC coil spine. Coil binding is fast and easy and offers a wide variety of colors to choose from.

  1. Select the proper size of color coil binding element
    • As with other coil binding styles, your provider of coil bindings should be able to give you suggestions for the appropriate size of coil binding to match your document.
    • It is important to not use a coil binding that is too small for your document as production time, appearance, and the functionality of the document will be greatly affected.
    • Appearance is always a good indicator of the fit of the coil binding.
    • Coil binding is also available in a variety of pitches; make sure to match your coil binding to your punch.
      • Most common pitch for coil binding is 4:1 (or 4 holes per inch)
      • Also available is 5:1 and 6mm, 3:1 is a much less common size
  2. Starting the Color Coil Binding
    • Many coil binding machines have a spine forming channel, this is a useful feature to help create the contours of the coil binding and aid in the initial insertion of the coil binding
    • Begin to spin the coil binding onto the punched document by hand. It is a good idea to spin the coil binding on at least an inch.
    • After the coil binding is started, hold the coil binding by the rubber rollers. Apply gentle pressure to the coil binding against the roller.
  3. Crimping the coil binding element
    • When the coil binding is spun onto the document, the excess coil binding needs to be cut and crimped using coil binding cut and crimp pliers.
    • When using the cut/crimp pliers, always use them in your right hand with your thumb next to the red dot.
    • Make sure that the prongs on the cut/crimp pliers are in contact with the coil binding and squeeze.
    • This will cut of the excess coil binding and fold the coil binding over to keep it from uncoiling.
Trouble shooting:

  • Coil binding not inserting into document
    • Make sure that the pitch of the coil binding matches the pitch of the holes.
    • Coil binding too small for document.
    • Large diameter coil bindings (such as 1 ¼” and above) are difficult to insert in the best of conditions. Try an oval hole punch.
  • Coil binding not folding over when cut
    • Make sure that the coil bindings are in your right hand with the dot facing up. If not, the pliers will cut and crimp the section of coil binding that you want to cut off!
    • Make sure that both of the prongs of the cut/crimp pliers make contact with the coil binding. This can be somewhat difficult on 6mm and 7mm coil bindings due to the small diameter.
Notes and suggestions:

  • Auto cutter/crimpers are available in single or double configurations. They can be tedious to set up, but save a lot of time for longer production runs.
  • If possible, do not use coil bindings for documents over 1 ¼” thick. The document does not function the way that coil binding is intended to. The increased thickness of the coil binding and the weight of the book cause the pages not turn as freely.
  • Another common configuration of a coil binding inserter is a wheel. The wheel can be faster for experienced users, but it is more difficult to learn. Smaller volume users typically have more success with the roller style of inserter.
  • Coil binding is sold by the inch, so it is possible to get coil binding in 9” lengths for top spines and eliminate waste, or 18” lengths for 11 x 17 documents. Coil binding is the best method of binding when you have non-standard spine size needs.
  • Coil binding is available in over 60 colors, by far the most of any binding style.


Here is a transcript of this video:

Welcome to MyBinding How To videos. Today we're answering the question how to spiral bind. Spiral binding, as it's commonly known, is actually referred to as coil binding in the binding industry. And that is simply taking papers and a cover, a spiral shaped bind, or a coil bind, and putting them all together for a great looking presentation. As you would imagine, there are many coil binding machines and systems on the market today. We'll use the iCoil 41 by Akiles to do a demonstration step-by-step of how to bind a book with a spiral, or a coil, bind. We picked this small scale machine to use because it contains all the steps of the process of coil binding, including an electronic coil inserter. The first step is to take the covers of your project, put the side that's to be punched into the punching throat of the machine on the back side. Here's where you adjust the side margin control to set the machine so that all punches are consistent throughout your entire project. And you make your punch by pulling the lever down. Some punching machines are electronic in this feature. Next, you punch through all the sheets of your project. You'll do this in smaller batches and according to the punch capacity of the machine you're working with. Once you've punched through all your sheets, assemble your book in order. Now it's time to bind. This is where you need to choose the right size coil or spiral bind for your project. Many of the coil binding machines on the market have very useful measuring tools built into the machine so that you can decide what is the right size coil for your size project. The binding process is generally begun by hand by threading or twisting the spiral bind through the first few holes of your book. And you'll continue to thread the bind of your book with the coil either by hand, or by an electronic coil inserter. As you could imagine, this feature is pretty handy and makes things much faster. The finishing touch with coil binding is used with coil crimping pliers. With a simple squeeze, the end of the coil is snipped off and the end is twisted in for a great looking finish. And there it is, the basics of how to spiral bind. For more articles, how to's, demos, and reviews on all things binding, check out MyBinding.com.

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