How to bind documents with plastic comb binding

How To Bind Documents With Plastic Comb Binding

Nearly every week, I receive a phone call or an email from someone asking me to describe to them how to use a comb binding machine. Comb binding has been the most popular binding style for decades and there are literally millions of comb binding machines in use around the world. However, if you have never used a comb binding machine it can seem a little bit intimidating. These instructions are designed to help even the most untrained user figure out how to bind documents with plastic combs. Here are five simple steps to follow…

1. The first step to binding documents using plastic binding combs is to prepare your document. If you are going to use binding covers on the front and the back of your document you should assemble it with the covers. You will find that your punch will be more effective if you punch the covers as part of the book instead of by themselves (if you are using oversize covers you will need to punch them by themselves since they are not the same size as the pages from your document). After you have assembled your document you need to measure your book so that you can choose the correct size of binding comb for your presentation. In order to choose the correct size of binding comb just measure the thickness of the document (do not compress the pages) and add 1/8″ to allow your pages to move freely.

2. The second step to binding your documents with plastic combs is to set up your binding punch. Setting up your punch really isn’t that hard. However, you will need a few pieces of blank paper for testing your machine. You will notice that the binding table on your machine should have a paper guide to help you insert the paper so that the holes will be centered on the page. Most machines will have a marking on the binding table for the most common sizes of paper. This marking is a starting point to getting your machine set up. Simply move the paper guide to the correct marking, insert a sheet of paper into the punching slot and pull the punching handle on the side of the machine (or press the punching button if your machine is electric). Take the piece of punched paper and fold it in half to check and see if the holes line up. If they do line up you are ready to punch your documents, if they don’t you will need to move the paper guide and punch another piece of paper until you get the document set up.

3. After your machine is set up, you are ready to punch your document. For best results, it is important that you separate your books into small sections or lifts. To prolong the life of your punch you should not try to punch the maximum capacity of your punch with every lift. By punching smaller lifts you can prevent paper jams and actually increase your productivity. As you punch the sections of your document simply stack them up beside the punch so that they are ready to have the plastic combs added to them. It is often helpful to offset stack the documents to make them easier to pick up during when you insert the pages onto the comb. If your binding covers are oversized you will need to punch them seperately from the document. However, it is important to remember not to punch more than 2 plastic or poly covers per lift or you might damage your punch.

4. After all of the punching is done, you are finally ready to add the plastic combs and finish your books. Putting the binding spines onto the books is really not hard. First, take the comb out of the box and place it on the comb opener (the metal teeth that stick up along the top of the back of the machine). The wide back of the combs will lay flat against the teeth from the comb opener and the rings of the comb stick through the gaps in the teeth. After making sure that the fingers of the comb are facing up and not down you simply pull the handle to open the fingers of plastic binding comb. All that is left is to put the pages of your document onto the fingers of the comb. If your document is small you can probably do it in one step. However, with larger books you will want to split your document into sections as you place the pages on the fingers of the comb. After all of the pages are inserted onto the comb, you will need to push or pull the handle for the comb opener back into its original position allowing the plastic comb to close. Now all that is left is to lift the document off the binding machine and start on the next document.

Binding documents with a plastic comb binding machine really isn’t that tough but it can take some practice. However, after you have bound a few documents you are sure to get the hang of it and you will find that you will get faster and faster at it. Try binding some documents today and check it out for yourself.

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