Frequently Asked Questions About Comb Binding Machines

posted this on Feb 3, 2016

Plastic comb binding is one of the most popular styles of binding. If you’re reading this, you probably have some questions about this binding style, and are wondering what are its benefits and what it can be used for. So here are the most frequently asked questions – with corresponding answers – about plastic comb binding.

  1. What is plastic comb binding? It is an easy way to add a professional look to your reports, catalogs, cookbooks, and any other documents you want to bind. The document is bound using a plastic spine that has teeth and resembles a comb, hence the term “comb binding.”
  2. Is plastic comb binding better for the home or office? It’s good for both! Crafters can find a multitude of uses for a comb-binding machine, such as assembling photo albums and scrapbooks. Businesses can bind reports and marketing materials. Comb binding machines can even be used by schools and churches. Anyone can use one!
  3. What’s so great about comb binding? First, it’s inexpensive, especially when compared to other binding methods, such as thermal binding. Basic comb-binding machines often cost less than $100, so it doesn’t take a lot of money to get started. The materials are also cheap: all you need to bind is some paper (even photocopier paper will work), something for the cover, and the plastic combs. (A box of 100 combs will cost between $5 and $20, depending on size.) Another great thing about this binding method is that documents bound with plastic combs can be reopened, so you can edit your work even after it’s bound. Finally, combs are available in many different colors and can be imprinted with your company’s name, logo, and/or the title of your document.
  4. Who are the major manufacturers of comb-binding machines?General Binding Corporation is the leading manufacturer of comb binding machines and their products are very popular. If fact, GBC machines are so popular, comb binding is sometimes referred to as “GBC binding.” Other manufacturers of com binding machines include Fellowes, Tamerica, Akiles, DFG and Renz.
  5. What are important factors to consider when buying a comb binding machine? What to look for in a comb-binding machine greatly depends on your budget, how many people are going to be using the machine, and how often the machine will be used. Some key things to consider include:
    • Warranty and construction. How well-built is the machine? What’s the warranty like? Tamerica’s machines come with a two-year warranty, while GBC only offers one year of protection.
    • How much control do you want? If you want a machine that can bind documents of different sizes, look for a machine with disengageable dies. (Dies are the teeth that punch the holes in your work.) If controlling the placement of the holes is important because you’ll be using combs of different thicknesses, a depth of punch margin control is a must-have. You might also want to look for a machine that allows you to punch and bind at the same time.
    • What’s the machine designed for? If you’re an individual or a small business owner who will only be binding once in a while, a personal-sized machine is ideal. However, for higher-volume outfits such as copy centers, a professional-grade machine should be purchased. You may even want to consider buying an automated machine (such as one with an electric punch). Machines such as these can greatly speed up the binding process.
  6. Can I use my comb binding machine with other types of binding supplies, such as spiral coils? Unfortunately not. Only plastic combs can be used with comb binding machines. However, there are some machines available that can bind documents using both combs and wire. These are known as combination binding machines.
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Can I use wire with my comb binding machine?
Christopher Pitts posted this on Feb 3, 2016

< 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)

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