What should I look for in a thermal binding machine?

posted this on Jul 7, 2015

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
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