MyBinding Knowledge Base
How do I know if I need to replace the die for my modular punch?
For users of interchangeable die binding punches, it might seem like your die will last forever. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Over time, the die that you use to punch your documents will begin to dull, which causes a lot of problems and headaches. Here we help you to recognize the signs of an aging die, to remind you of the benefits of a well maintained die and to give you some tips for maintaining your dies.
First, let’s look at the signs of an aging die. There are three primary ways that you will know that your die is becoming dull and may need maintenance.
- As the die becomes dull, it will begin to leave paper tabs behind on your punched paper. These little pieces of paper or “chads” are often not fully severed from the paper and you will need to tear them off one at a time to remove them. Definitely not a very fun project.
- Over time you will notice that the edges of the holes that you are punching in the paper become ragged. When a die is new, the holes are clean and crisp even when you punch larger lifts of paper. However, as the pins become dull even single sheets of paper will look ragged.
- When punching plastic or poly covers with your die, you will notice that the covers are stretching instead of cutting cleanly. Again, you might see that the tabs are left behind on the punched covers and may even notice stress marks in the plastic as they stretched during the punching process.
Once you notice these problems, things are really too late in terms of die maintenance. You are going to need a new punching dieset. However, if you are reading this article and your die is not yet experiencing these symptoms or if you want to stretch a little bit more life out of your die, here are a few tips to consider.
- Forget about a maintenance program for your die. What GBC and the other maintenance programs don’t tell you up front is that they will charge you enough for “die maintenance” to simply replace the die. If you get a notice in the mail for a Die and Tune-up Special just throw it away. If you need a replacement die then buy one. Otherwise follow the next few guidelines.
- Punch no more than 2 sheets of plastic or poly covers per lift. Even if your machine says that it will punch 50 sheets of paper per lift you still don’t want to punch more than 2 sheets of plastic. As plastic stacks up, it takes on properties like cement. Punching large volumes of plastic is the single easiest way to ruin your punch and dull your punching dies.
- Remember to empty your paper waste tray on a regular basis. If chads are allowed to back up in the tray under the machine it can put additional stress on the dies and impede punching. If they back up enough, you can ruin your die or burn up the motor in your punch.
- Don’t punch wood, cardboard, heavy duty plastic (above 30 mil) with your machine. These materials will quickly ruin your dies. If you do think you might need to punch these materials you should be aware that you might need to replace your die sooner than is normal. Also note that under no circumstances should you ever try to punch metal with your machine. It will not work and you will ruin your punch.
< Over the years, a number of customers have asked me whether they can use twin loop wire with their plastic comb binding machine. These customers often don’t want to have to buy a brand new machine but like the look and feel of twin loop wire binding. However, the answer to their question isn’t as simple as it seems. You see, they actually do make twin loop wire that is designed to work with the plastic comb binding hole pattern. With that said, if you want to use these wires you are going to need a way to close the wires. What is Spiral-O Wire?Let me explain a little bit more…There is a product that we carry called Spiral-O Wire. This wire has 19 loops and is designed to work with the hole pattern from a plastic comb binding machine. Spiral-O Wire is sometimes called Wire Combs or Ibico Wire and was originally designed for use with some of the older Ibico binding machines. A number of the older Ibico plastic comb binding machines also included a twin loop wire closer on the front of them to allow users to use both plastic combs and wire. This 19 loop wire was designed for this purpose.What Equipment is Needed? As the Ibico brand has been phased out by GBC and all of the older Ibico plastic binding machines have been replaced with new models, they no longer have the twin loop wire closer on the front of them. This presents a problem in trying to use these spiral-o wires since you can’t use the wires without a way to close them.One of the only options left is to purchase a Twin Loop wire closer. However, since twin loop wire closers are not incredibly cheap this option usually only appeals to users who have larger electric plastic comb binding machines. Otherwise, it is often advisable to simply buy a low end 3:1 pitch twin loop wire binding machine (the supplies are cheaper). This being said, if you have one of the older Ibico binding machines that has a wire closer included you are in luck. The Spiral-O binding supplies that we carry will work perfectly with your machine and you will be able to use both plastic combs and wire depending on your needs. These Spiral-O binding supplies are available in Black, Silver, White, Blue and Red and in sizes up to 1″ in diameter.If you aren’t sure what type of wire binding supplies that you need to work with your machine simply give us a call. Our trained sales representatives will be glad to help you find the correct supplies for use with your machine.(Read More)