Archive for the 'How To' Category


Which Type of Binding Machine is Best for You?

Posted by: James on March 27th, 2013

Book Binding MachinesBinding a book is a fulfilling task and the end results look great. If you are shopping for a book binding machine, you have probably found that there are a LOT of different designs, binding formats and machines (found here) available. So if you are trying to bind your own book, whether it is on a personal or professional level, which machine should you use? I would like to cover the most popular binding formats and will include videos so you can see exactly what is involved when binding with coil, comb and wire.

Comb, wire and coil binding are the three most popular binding formats used today. Sure there are other formats out there such as ProClick and VeloBind, but they pale in comparison to the big three when it comes to popularity and availability of supplies. You will find comb, wire and coil in use in schools, copy shops and businesses around the world. These binding formats are commonly used to bind sheets of paper together, ranging from a few to a few hundred in thickness.

I would like to explain the characteristics of each of these three binding formats:

Comb Binding SuplliesComb Binding (found here) – Comb binding has been around the longest of the three. The comb binding element is made of plastic and features 19 “fingers” that can be opened and closed for adding or removing paper. Comb binding machines punch 19 holes along the 11″ side of a sheet of letter-size paper. The comb’s fingers are inserted through those holes to help keep the paper bound and together. Combs range in thickness from 3/16″ diameter up to 2″. The comb supplies are available in several colors.

  • Pros – Comb is by far the least expensive of the three binding formats covered in this article. This is one of the reasons comb binding is one of the most popular formats used today. As of this article, a box of 100 3/16″ diameter combs is just shy of $4. Comb binding supplies also allow the operator to add or remove pages. Comb binding has a small learning curve and can be used to bind small presentations to full-blown manuals. Comb binding also provides a lot of stability to the bound book.
  • Cons – Combs, when opened and closed multiple times, will eventually begin to wear out. On thicker books this can result in the comb’s fingers becoming week and books loosing pages. Many people thing comb binding looks “cheap,” although that is debatable. Comb binding does not allow pages to be turned around a full 360 degrees.

Here is a comb binding video that will show you in detail exactly what is involved in the binding process:

Wire Binding SuppliesWire Binding (found here) – Wire binding uses actual metal wire to bind books. The wire binding element itself is made from a single long wire that is formed into a twin-loop wire appearance. The amount of loops in a twin-loop bound document depends on the hole pattern being used. Wire binding is available in three different hole pattern. These hole patterns are 19-ring (same pattern as comb binding), 3:1 pitch (three holes per inch) and 2:1 pitch (two holes per inch). The hole pattern does change the look of the bound document. The 3:1 pitch has the holes closer together where 2:1 has the holes farther apart. Be aware that the hole pattern cannot be modified on a machine. Once you have selected a machine with a specific hole pattern, you will need to make sure you buy correctly corresponding supplies.

  • Pros – Wire binding is very popular with businesses for binding reports and presentations. Wire binding is considered to be the most professional-looking supply. The wire elements themselves are available in several different colors.
  • Cons – The biggest con of wire binding is that the spines are made of wire and are susceptible to being bent out of shape if dropped or stacked upon. Another con is that pages cannot be added or removed.

Here is a wire binding video that will show you in detail exactly what is involved in the binding process:

Coil Binding SuppliesCoil Binding (found here) – Coil binding has been gaining a lot of popularity over the years. Coil binding, often called spiral binding, is patterned after the old wire coils used in spiral notebooks. Modern coil binding is made using durable PVC plastic. This allows the coils to maintain their shape and makes them available in a wide assortment of colors. This binding format is very popular for several reasons I will cover under the “Pros” section of this article. Coil binding is available in two different hole patterns. These are 4:1 pitch (four holes per inch) and 5:1 pitch (five holes per inch). The 4:1 pitch is by far the most popular.

  • Pros – Coil binding is the most durable binding format of the three mentioned in this article. The coils can withstand a lot of abuse. Coil binding makes page turns very easy and due to the nature of the coils, the pages can actually be turned a full 360 degrees. Coil bound books also lay extremely flat for easy reading. Coil binding happens to be my personal favorite binding format.
  • Cons – The only real disadvantage to coil is that pages cannot be added or removed. If you want to add pages, you have to remove the coil and insert a new coil. Coil binding also provides little stability to the bound book, where comb does.

Here is a coil binding video that will show you in detail exactly what is involved in the binding process:

In conclusion, I have to say that all three binding formats have their place. I recommend comb for schools and home projects, wire for businesses and coil for just about anyone. Having used dozens of machines myself, I have to say that my personal favorite brands include Akiles, Intelli-Bind, Tamerica and Renz. While I have used Fellowes and GBC machines, I don’t feel the quality is up to par with what I like.

You can find our entire selection of book binding machines here. If you still have questions about binding machines, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. We have decades of experience with machines and are more than happy to help answer questions.


Traco SuperSealer I-Bar Replacement Parts Kit Instructions (Wire, Pad & Tape)

Posted by: James on December 11th, 2012

Traco Shrink Wrap MachinesIf you own either a Standard or a Deluxe Traco SuperSealer I-bar shrink wrap machine, eventually you are going to have to replace the nichrome wire, the silicon rubber pad and the Teflon tape (found here). These are all of the critical components that allow an I-bar sealer to cut and seal shrink wrap film. This article will cover symptoms of a worn out wire and includes instructions on how to replace the various components.

A worn out I-bar sealer can be very frustrating. Luckily changing out the components is a very easy process and doesn’t have to be done by a specially trained Service Technician. Symptoms of a worn out I-bar SuperSeler include:

  • Inability to completely seal the entire length of the film.
  • Excessive smoke during the sealing process.
  • Burrs and poor sealing along the sealed edge.
  • Burnt and charred film during the sealing process.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may need a replacement kit. These kits are affordably priced and are designed to get your Traco SuperSealer back up into “like new” operation. We offer a basic kit and a complete kit. Here is what the two kits include:

Basic Kit Includes:

  • Two pieces of 3-mil Teflon tape
  • One piece of 10-mil Teflon tape
  • One Nichrome wire with connectors

Complete Kit Includes:

  • One silicone rubber pad
  • Five 3-mil pieces of Teflon tape
  • Three 10-mil pieces of Teflon tape
  • One Nichrome wire with connectors
  • One micro switch
  • One arm spring and anchor
  • One fuse

Here are some diagrams that show the bottom part of the sealer and the sealing arm (Figures 1 & 2). Please reference these diagrams as I go over how to change the tape and wire.

Traco Replacmeent Parts Kit Diagram

Replacing Worn Teflon Tape

Step 1. First remove the old tape from the surface of the silicone pad (base of the machine) as seen in Figure 1.

Step 2. Clean the silicone pad with a cloth and rubbing alcohol. Ensure the silicone is smooth and clean. This allows the new Teflon tape to stick.

Step 3. Take the 10 mil Teflon tape and apply it to the newly cleaned silicone pad  as seen in Figure 1.

Step 4. Now remove the tape from the flexboard found on the sealing arm as shown in Figure 2.

Step 5. Clean, scrape off and remove burnt residue and film. With the flexboard still attached, scrape down the debris using a damp washcloth. If the washcloth isn’t cleaning everything, you can use a fine grain sandpaper to finish the job. The flexboard needs to be smooth and clean so the new tape can properly stick.

Step 6. If you need to change the wire, continue to the below {Replacing Worn Wire) instructions. Whether you are using a new wire or the old wire, be sure to clean it with rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth. Once the wire is cleaned, you can apply a strip of 3-mil Teflon tape to the flexboard and over the wire as seen in Figure 2.

Replacing Worn Wire

Step 1. First loosen the screw found on the right side of the sealing bar. Once done, remove the black plastic end cape. This is found under the sealing bar. Now remove the insulator sleeve. Locate the bolt, sprint and nut and remove the assembly from the sealing bar by pulling down. You may need to use a flat head screwdriver to assist in removing this. Please reference Figure 2.

Step 2. Now you will loosen and remove the nut found on the bolt that runs through the insulator. This will allow you to release the upper end of the sealing wire.

Step 3. Find the access hole on the bottom of the base. Keep the arm held down and loosen the screw (don’t remove it). The screw only takes a couple of turns to loosen it. This should allow you to remove the old wire. You should now be able to attach a new sealing wire under the loosened screw and tighten it back down. Be sure the wire is properly aligned before tightening the screw.

Step 4. You can now attach the wire to the bolt on the front of the sealing bar. Place the ring terminal on the bolt and tighten the nut to the bolt. You can now slide the insulator back into the slot on the I-bar. Ensure the flat side is facing the arm. Tighten the first nut without over tightening (you don’t want to strip the threads). Ensure the wire is tight between the two nuts and adjust as needed.

If you are still having trouble replacing the tape, pad or wire, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-543-5454 x129. Our Service Department is knowledgable and highly skilled when it comes to all types of shrink wrap machines and heat sealers. They should be able to help you out. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap replacement parts here and shrink wrap machines here.


How to Use a Comb Binding Machine

Posted by: James on June 29th, 2011

Comb Binding MachinesComb binding continues to be one of the most popular book binding formats used today. There are many reasons for this. Let me list off just a few of those reasons:

Price –  Comb binding supplies are THE cheapest available today. You can buy a box 100 1/4″ diameter supplies for just a few dollars. Even wire and coil can’t compete with that rate. Not only are the supplies inexpensive, but the machines are affordable as well. You can find our comb binding machines here and comb binding supplies here.

Look – Many people like the look of comb binding. It is very unique and has been used for decades, developing a certain appeal to many people.

Availability – Comb binding elements are one of the most available supplies available. You can find the online, in brick & mortar stores and much more.

– Comb binding supplies come in a wide range of color, including red, green, blue, brown, black, clear, white and much more.

Adding / Removing – Comb binding elements are extremely easy to re-open, allowing you to easily add and remove pages.

Recycling – Comb binding supplies can be re-used over and  over again, making it possible to bind multiple books for years using the same element.

Comb binding is commonly used to bind booklets, reports, presentations and other documents. The two most common types of comb binding machines are electric and manual comb binders. Manual comb binders are generally used for low to medium-volume binding and electric machines are used for medium to high-volume binding.

So how do you actually use a comb binding machine? This guide will show you how to comb bind a booklet in 8 easy steps.

How to Use a Comb Binding Machine

Step 1. Set up the comb binding machine prior to use. This may involve adjusting the margin depth (how far the holes are punched in the paper), side margin guides (where the holes punch in the paper left to right) and the selectable punching pins (If equipment, will allow you to disable specific holes). There isn’t usually too much involved in setting up the comb binding machine.

Adjust Comb Binding Machine

Step 2.
Take the paper you plan on punching and gather it into a stack. This is a personal preference, but I like to keep the cover and the back cover separate.

Clear Cover / Binding Covers

Step 3. Take about 10-20 sheets (depending on your machine’s punching capacity) and begin punching each stack of paper. If using a manual punch, pull the punching arm. If using an electric punch, press the punching button or foot pedal. This process usually only takes a few seconds. Repeat this process until all the paper has been punched.

Comb Punch Paper

Step 4. Take all your paper and jog it together, aligning the edges. This can be done manually by tapping the paper on a table or by using an electric paper jogger (found here). This will make it easier to insert the combs.

Comb Align Paper

Step 5. Place the comb element you will be using on the machine’s comb opener. Open the comb by pulling or pushing the comb opening lever. Most electric comb binding machines still have a manual comb opener.

Open Combs / Comb Opener

Step 6. Once the comb is open, insert the open fingers of the comb through the punched paper. Be sure you get all 19 fingers through each of the 19 punched holes. Also be sure the fingers make it all the way through the holes. It is easy to accidentally mist a few pages.

Insert Combs Through Comb Punched Holes

Step 7. Release the comb opener, allowing the comb’s fingers to naturally recoil back into their natural position.

Close Comb / Comb Binding

Step 8. You have just finished comb binding your first book. You are now ready to repeat the process (if needed).

Finished Comb Binding

This is where you can find everything you need to start comb binding:



So there you have it! While it may seem a little intimidating at first, comb binding books is actually pretty easy. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact one of our comb binding specialists by calling 1-800-543-5454.


How To Use Velobind Machines

Posted by: James on May 27th, 2011

VeloBind Binding MachinesThere are many types of binding available today, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  While most are fairly simple to operate, the one that seems to hold that “mystery” or “confusing” effect is the Velobind machine.  You’ve seen them here and there, and you’ve always wondered what they do, but you haven’t actually seen what they can do.  This article will explain the benefits that come with this style of binding, as well as a tutorial on how they work.

How They Work

Like most other binding machines, the first thing you need to do is punch the holes.  Simply insert the paper into the allotted punch location and the hard part is over.  Most Velobinders operate the punch with either a foot pedal operation or a simple touch of a button, and the Velobind System III can do both.

Most machines will be able to punch up to 15-25 sheets of paper.  Once your punch is made, you will need to manually insert your binding strip into each hole.  After that, snag the back portion of the binding strip and place it into the posts.  Many Velobind machines come with a pin that shows you exactly where to place your binding element for the next phase.  Simply line it up with that pin and lay your paper flat on the machine.  When you’ve completed that part, lift the heating bar and lower it onto your paper.  At this point the machine will do the rest.  It will heat up and melt the posts off and cut off any excess.

Here is a short, yet effective, video that will show these steps in action: VeloBind Machine Video Demo

Velobind Strengths

  • – Durable and solid bind.  Velobinding is very popular for law offices and construction companies for this reason.  It would be most unfortunate to have any vital information for your client or an important building schematic lost because of the binding not holding properly.  That problem is eliminated with the Velobind machines.
  • – Large capacity.  Velobind soars when it comes to being able to bind large documents.  With the ability to bind up to 3″ thick of material, these machines are on a level all their own.  Comb and Coil binding only bind up to a little over 2″ thick.

Velobind weaknesses

  • – Laying the document flat.  Unlike your Coil binding, the Velobind machines cannot lay 100% flat on the desk.  This isn’t a huge issue, however, unless you like to have your hands free when going through your documents or reports.  Turning the pages is still easy, however.
  • – Debinding.  Most of the lower end Velobind machines cannot be undone, making your project permanent.  So, if you ever need to add or take away pages from your report, you may be out of luck.  The Velobind System III, however, does have a built-in debind function that is completely automatic.

Overall, these machines are great for the price, especially due to their durability and longevity.  We have a model that’s been in our showroom for over 10 years now and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down whatsoever.  The models we carry are from GBC and can be found here:

While GBC is typically not my favorite manufacturer, they have done a great job with these machines.

Officezone also carries all the supplies needed for Velobinding, such as the strips (in multiple colors and sizes), as well as a wide assortment of covers.  If you have questions, need to make an order, or would like an official quote, make sure to contact us by phone (800-543-5454) or by e-mail regarding all your binding needs.