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Binding machines

Does anyone have any experience of binding machines? I don't mean the big ones you get in biggish offices, I mean the small ones that cost up to £100 and are aimed at consumers.

I have quite a lot of RPG material in .pdf format that I would quite like to print out. Options seem to be:

1. Comb-binding machine (plastic combs)
2. Thermal binding (rather like paperback book binding I think)
3. Use the larger comb-binding machine in the office (essentially free, but undoubtedly more hassle if I'm not in the office, and there might have to be the odd strange conversation where I explain fantasy role-playing games to bewildered colleagues).
4. Commercial printing / binding service.

Any experience or advice?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
We've always used out own robust manual comb-binding machine (it will handle several hundred sheets) for fanzines (and for storing printouts.) Ours has been working for us for about twenty five years, and still does very nicely, thank you. However, I wouldn't want to use if for really long runs of anything, as it does take a little time bind each issue. Once bound, though, it lasts as long as the plastic takes to go brittle (and I have stuff comb bound from thirty years ago and it hasn't happened yet.) For anything thick I much prefer to use comb-binding as it can be opened flat. If you buy your combs in bulk they aren't that expensive (and, again, last for ages.)

Thermal binding is fine for something less than 20 pages thick - here I am speaking as a reader, but I do prefer to read from comb bound. I don't own one. Anything this thin goes under the long-arm stapler.

As for the pro stuff, it really depends. Is this a one-off job? How many copies? Is it cheaper in the long run to buy your own comb-binder? (We use ours for all sorts of things, but we're odd, and we bought it to bind thick fanzines when we had our own Gestetner.)
Feb. 14th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC)
It's probably something I might use 20-30 times in a year. I take your point about thermal binding being harder to read because it doesn't open flat. Commercial binding for small quantities seems quite expensive, so option 4 is out of the window. At the moment, 3 is looking the best option.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )