MyBinding Knowledge Base
What should I look for in a thermal binding machine?
One of the best bookbinding methods that’s available today with a thermal binding machine. This document finishing method allows you to create extremely professional-looking reports, anthologies, proposals, and photo albums that resemble the books you can buy in a real bookstore. With a thermal binding machine you can create books with both soft and hard covers easily and quickly. To do so, however, you’ll need the right machine. Here’s what you need to think about when selecting your new device.
- A good brand name. There are many manufacturers of binding machines, so knowing which ones are the best can be a bit tricky. However, a few of the best are Unibind, Fellowes, and Pro-Bind. All three of these companies make great devices that are worth your consideration and they have products that will fit almost every budget. Some machines to check out are the Unibind XU138, the Pro-Bind 1000, and the Fellowes Helios series.
- A timer. It’s true that thermal binding is one of the fastest ways to produce a high-quality document that will impress everyone who sees it. In fact, a binding cycle can take as little as 30 seconds and some machines allow you to bind more than one book at once so you can produce a lot of documents very quickly. The machine you choose should definitely have a timer so you’ll know when your documents are ready. Make sure it has both a visual and audio indicator otherwise it can be difficult to know when the machine has worked its magic.
- Binding length and document thickness. Just about all thermal devices are capable of finishing off letter-sized documents (8.5″ x 11″). However, if you plan on using larger paper and covers, such as legal-sized ones, you’ll need a machine with a longer binding length. You’ll also need to think about how thick your documents are going to be and choose a device that can handle them. For example, if you anticipate creating books that are 2 inches thick, a machine that can only bind 1-inch books just isn’t going to cut it, so shop accordingly.
- A cooling rack. After your books have been bound, they’re going to need to cool off a bit so the adhesive in the spine can set. Make sure the device you choose comes with a cooling rack that can hold several documents. Also, the best cooling racks are metal. They last longer than their plastic counterparts, obviously.
- Settings for both hard and soft covers. The device you choose should be able to bind both softcover and hardback documents. Many thermal devices lack an adjustable temperature setting, so make sure the one you select has setting for both types of covers.
- A good warranty. Finally, make sure your new binder comes with a decent warranty so you can get the machine repaired or replaced if necessary.
< 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)