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What features should I look for when buying a coil binding machine?

posted this on Jul 2, 2015

Spiral coil binding is one of the most popular binding styles available on the market. The flexibility along with the huge number of colors that are offered in coil binding supplies make it a favorite binding style for all types of organizations. Perhaps you have seen coil binding somewhere in the workplace and are considering it for your organization. More than likely, it will be an excellent choice for your needs. However, here are six things that you need to know before you rush out and buy a coil binding machine:

  1. Although coil binding supplies come in diameters up to 50mm for books that are as thick as 2”, spiral coil binding documents that are larger than 1” can be very difficult. Binding books with large size coil is somewhat like trying to put a slinky on the edge of a book. In addition to the coil being very large and difficult to handle, the spine of the book will also have to be curved so that the path for the coil is rounded to match the diameter of the coil. This can be pretty tricky and time consuming if you don’t have special tools for inserting the coil.
  2. Almost all spiral coil on the market are designed for a 4:1 pitch coil binding machine. This simply means that the hole pattern used has 4 holes per inch. Coil is also available for 3:1 pitch binding patterns and 5:1 patterns but is not nearly as common. Generally, it is best to stick to the standard 4:1 pitch hole pattern unless you have a compelling reason to use a different pattern. Most coil binding machines punch round holes for the documents. However, some coil binding machines punch oversized oval holes to make inserting larger coils easier.
  3. Spiral coil is available in almost any length imaginable up to 36” in length. This makes it the ideal choice for binding large size documents. If you are planning on using coil to bind large size documents you will need to make sure that you coil binding machine has an open throat and preferably fully disengageable dies. This will allow you to set your machine up to make sure that you don’t have a half hole hanging off the edge of your paper.
  4. Standard spiral coil binding supplies come in 12” lengths for 11” documents. The extra length is cut off during the coil crimping process. If you plan on binding documents that are shorter or longer than 11”, you want to give yourself at least a half inch and preferably an inch to make sure that you have enough coil to cut off during the crimping process.
  5. You will notice that many spiral coil binding machines have a set of rollers on the front or the top of them. These rollers are used to help spin the coil through the holes on the edge of the document. True manual binding machines that do not have these rollers require you to spin the coil onto the book by hand. For short runs, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, for higher volume applications spinning the coil onto the book could become very tedious. For this reason, it is usually best to buy a machine with an integrated coil inserter or buy a standalone inserter to go along with your punch.
  6. In order to make sure that the coil doesn’t spin back off your documents after they are bound you will need to crimp the ends of the coil. A special pair of coil crimper pliers is usually used to cut off the end of the coil and bend over the end of the coil so that it won’t spin off the book. Using the pliers can be a little bit tricky and take some practice. Keep in mind that the red dot on the crimpers is designed to face up towards the ceiling and you should be able to get the hang of it. If you do it right, the end will be bent over. If you do it wrong, you will simply cut the coil off.
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