How To Use A Wire Binding Machine / Wire Binder
Learn how to set up, use and operate a wire binding machine!
Why Use A Wire Binding Machine?
Wire binding is one of the most popular book binding formats being used today. The books are easy to create, the spines are available in a variety of colors and the end results look great.
Wire binding elements are made out of metal, hence the name wire. These are not to be confused with the old metal "spiral" elements found in elementary school notepads. Wire binding elements are available in three different hole formats, commonly referred to as "pitch" in the industry. These three hole patterns are 2:1, 3:1 and Spiral-O.
The 2:1 pitch is designed for machines that punch two holes per inch. The 3:1 pitch is designed for machines that punch three holes per inch. The 3:1 pitch wire is sometimes referred to as Wire-O wire. Spiral-O wire, often referred to as metal comb, uses the same hole format as comb binding. Comb binding / Spiral-O wire uses a 19 hole format, which means a standard 11-inch long sheet of paper will have 19 total holes.
All three formats look great, but 2:1 and 3:1 pitch are the most popular. Spiral-O wire is typically only used for multi-platform (combination) binding machines, which are machines capable of punching and binding wire and comb.
Both 2:1 and 3:1 binding formats have their own unique advantages. The 2:1 pitch format can bind a much thicker book than 3:1 due to the hole spacing. The 3:1 pitch has a tighter look, which many people like. All wire is available in multiple colors and diameters.
Different Types Of Wire Binders
Wire binding machines are available in all shapes and sizes, depending on the job being done and your preference. The first few things to keep in mind when looking for a binding machine is the hole format (pitch) and punching capacity. Remember, once you pick a hole pattern, you are stuck with it. Make sure you choose correctly. If you are in doubt on the hole format to choose, there are wire binding machines from Akiles that include both 2:1 and 3:1 punching dies.
The punching capacity is also very important. Some machines feature a manual punch and others an electric punch. As to be expected, manual punch machines require more physical effort to bind. Most binding machines, however, have been calibrated to require little effort to punch the paper, but manual punches can still wear one out if the job is large. If binding is to be done on a daily basis, with dozens to hundreds of books being created at a time, it is recommended to go with an electric punch.
The second set of features to keep an eye open for are an adjustable margin depth, vertical / horizontal load and disengaging punching dies.
The margin depth is how far into the paper the paper is punched. For thicker books, it is recommended to punch a little farther into the paper to prevent pages from accidentally being ripped out. Not all binding machines have an adjustable margin depth. For some people, this will not matter.
Vertical versus horizontal load is the way the paper is punched. A vertical load machine has the paper standing up and down when being punched. Many people like this ability because gravity ensures the paper is squared up evenly every time the paper is punched. A horizontal load is the most common way machines punch paper, which is with the paper laying flat.
Disengaging / selective punching dies are very nice if you will not be punching 8 ½ x 11-inch paper every time. When punching slightly smaller or slightly larger paper, sometimes a hole will end up on the edge of the paper, creating a half hole. This problem can be very annoying and looks bad. Selective punching dies allow the operator to disable the problematic die.
1. Make proper adjustments to the machine. This includes adjusting the margins, wire closer and plugging in the machine (if electric).
2. First you will want to gather together the paper you will be binding. This includes any covers or end sheets. It is recommended to keep the end cover on top of the stack. Once the binding process is completed, the end cover will be turned to the back, hiding the wire element’s seam.
3. Grab a set of sheets to be punched. The maximum amount of sheets that can be punched depends on the machine being used. Try to only punch 80% of the maximum amount.
4. Once all the paper has been punched, line up the holes. This can easily be done with the use of a paper jogger.
5. Now insert the binding element through the punched holes.
6. Insert the book, with the wire inserted, into the wire closer and close the wire.
7. Take the back cover, previously on top of the stack, and wrap it around to the back.
8. Now you are done and ready to move on to the next book!
Wire Binding Supplies
A binding machine is useless without some supplies. Here is a list of supplies you will need to begin wire binding.
You can find binding covers here.
You can find 2:1 pitch supplies here.
You can find 3:1 pitch supplies here.
You can find Spiral-O supplies here.
Wire Binding Video Demos
Still dazed and confused as to the wire binding process? Perhaps viewing a video demo will help.