Binding Methods: What is Right for You?

Review the most popular binding methods and machines to find out what method is perfect for you.

Choosing a binding method for your application can be time consuming, and therefore, costly.  With so many options to choose from, it can be an extremely frustrating task, but not anymore. Binding101 has compiled a list of the three most popular binding methods available, Spiral Coil Binding, Wire-O Binding, and Plastic Comb Binding and the benefits and restrictions of each.  Let us help you determine the best binding style for you.

#1 - Plastic Comb Binding

Plastic Binding Combs

Plastic Comb Binding is one of the most inexpensive binding methods available.  For many years it was the most common method found on the market for all kinds of books from published cook books to internal reports and presentations that never left the office.  One of the great things about Plastic Comb Binding is that they can be easily modified without breaking the binding spine.  All you need is a comb opener (also called a comb spreader) to re-open the combs so you can remove/add sheets, and then close them again.  There is a wide variety of color options and sizes.  In addition, they can be easily cut to custom lengths.  To top it off, plastic combs can be easily foil stamped or pad printed with your company name, title of book, and so much more.

 

Plastic Comb Binding Machines are available from low volume personal models, to high production heavy duty comb binding machines.  They punch rectangular holes for standard comb binder supplies.  Low volume units feature a manual punch that is activated using a handle.  They can go through an average of about 10 to 20 sheets of standard 20# paper in one punch.  This means that if your book is 100 sheets thick, you will need to punch thinner stacks of your book about 5 - 10 times.  Medium volume machines will typically have an electric punch that is activated with either a foot pedal or push button.  The foot pedal is ideal for larger jobs because it leaves both of your hands free to work with the books throughout the entire punching/binding process.  The high volume comb machines are electrically activated with a foot pedal and can punch through as many as 40 sheets of paper at one time.  These machines can be purchased with a separate comb spreader that can be mounted to the top of the machines, or used off to the side for an assembly line production facility.

Benefits of Plastic Comb Binding
  • Simplest binding method
  • Economical supplies
  • Can be foil stamped or printed for branding
  • Universal punching pattern.  Supplies purchased from multiple distributors will work on same comb binding machine.
  • Books can be easily edited
  • Wide assortment of sizes ranging from 1/4" up to 2" in diameter
  • Can be cut to custom lengths
  • Books lay flat when open

 

Limitations of Plastic Comb Binding
  • Pages cannot turn 360 degrees
  • Old fashioned look
  • The plastic can get brittle over time

 

#2 - Spiral Binding

Spiral Binding Plastic Coils

Spiral Binding (also called Plastic Coil Binding and Spiralastic) is one of the most durable binding methods available.  As it grown in popularity, customers are finding that its use in applications where books are handled often is perfect as it will not bend or morph; it retains its shape through rigorous use, keeping your book flat and clean.  One of the great things about Plastic Coil Spiral Binding is that all you need is a punch & crimper to accomplish the finished books.  The Coils can be manually inserted through the punched holes.  While no equipment is necessary for this function, there are electric coil inserters and electric cutter/crimpers for medium to higher volume users for speeding up the process.  There is a wide variety of color options and sizes to choose from.  In addition, they can be easily cut to a specific length.

Spiral Binding Machines are available from low volume personal models, to high production heavy duty coil  binding machines.  They punch round or oval  holes for standard 4:1 pitch Spiral Binding supplies.  Low volume units feature a manual punch that is activated using a handle.  They can go through an average of about 10 to 20 sheets of standard 20# paper in one punch.  The coil spine is inserted by hand by manually spinning the coil through each punched hole in your book.  Medium volume spiral machines will typically have an electric punch that is activated with either a foot pedal or push button.  Just as with the Plastic Comb, the addition of a foot pedal is ideal for larger jobs as it leaves both of your hands open to work with the books throughout the entire process.  They may also have a sturdy-built manual punch with an electric coil inserter attached so that all you need to do is manually insert the coil through the first few holes, and then hold the book to the electric inserter to finish the job.  The high volume coil machines are electrically activated with a foot pedal and can punch through as many as 40 sheets of paper at one time.  These machines can be purchased with a separate coil inserter that can be mounted to the top of the machines, or used off to the side for an assembly line production facility. Once the Spiral Coil is inserted through the entire book, the ends of the coil need to be cut/crimped to prevent de-binding.  This can be done manually using hand cutter/crimper pliers, or electrically with an add-on machine.

Benefits of Spiral Coil Binding
  • Simple binding, can be done manually or using an electric inserter
  • Economical supplies
  • Custom colors available
  • Books can be easily edited (a new binding element does need to be used though)
  • Wide assortment of sizes ranging from 6mm up to 50mm in diameter
  • Can be cut to custom lengths
  • Books lay flat when open
  • Pages can be turned 360 degrees

 

#3 Wire-O Binding

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Wire-O Binding is the most common binding methods industry-wide.  It is also called Twin Loop Binding and Double-O Wire Binding. The professional and attractive finish provides appeal for all applications including presentations, manuals, calendars, notebooks, marketing materials, photo albums and more.  To accomplish Wire-O binding you will need two things: A Wire-O Punch machine (available in 3:1 or 2:1 pitch models) and a Wire-Closer.  Because there are two punch patterns available, you will need a combo-machine or two different machines to accomplish the full range of book sizes (from ¼” to 1-¼”).  The 3:1 Pitch is standard for Wire-O ranging sizes from 1/4” - 9/16”.  2:1 Pitch Wire-O is for larger sizes from 5/8” – 1-1/4”, however, these can also be purchased in the smaller sizes 1/4" – 9/16”.  For many companies these are a special order item, but we actually stock a full range of all sizes in our nation-wide warehouses.

Wire-O Binding Machines are available from low volume personal models, to high production heavy duty wire binding machines.  They punch round or square holes for standard 3:1 and 2:1 pitch Wire-O Binder Supplies.  Low volume units feature a manual punch that is activated using a handle.  They can go through an average of about 15 to 20 sheets of standard 20# paper in one punch.  The wire spine is inserted by hand by manually and then placed into a Wire-Closer to finish the bind.  Medium volume wire machines will typically have an electric punch that is activated with either a foot pedal or push button.  The high volume wire binding machines are electrically activated with a foot pedal and can punch through as many as 40 sheets of paper at one time.  These machines can be purchased with a separate wire closing machine that can be mounted to the top of the machines, or used off to the side for an assembly line production facility.

Benefits of Wire-O Binding
  • Very durable
  • Books lay flat when open
  • Pages can be removed without damage to book
  • Round holes or square holes can be used
  • Wide assortment of sizes ranging from 1/4" up to 1-1/4" in diameter
  • Can be cut to custom lengths
Limitations of Wire-O Binding
  • If wire is crushed, it will not return to its original shape
  • New pages cannot be added to book once bound
  • Higher cost for supplies

 

If you have questions, would like to learn more, or are interested in purchasing Binding Machines, visit Binding101.com or call us at 866-537-2244.

 

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