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An Overview of Comb Binding: Professional, Inexpensive & Easy to Edit

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An Overview of Comb Binding: Professional, Inexpensive & Easy to Edit
Update Time:2018-03-05

An Overview of Comb Binding: Professional, Inexpensive & Easy to Edit

With all of the binding styles available in today’s marketplace, it can sometimes be a challenge to determine which one is right for your needs. From purchasing the appropriate machine to determining what supplies you will need for any given project, it is important to be able to identify the benefits and limitations of each binding style. In this post, we will cover the basics of comb binding, which is a versatile, inexpensive binding style with many uses.

The Basics

Comb binding utilizes plastic combs in order to create custom booklets. The punch pattern for comb binding has 19 holes per letter-sized sheet, and can be created using either a manual or electric punch. A comb opener holds the comb open while punched pages are inserted onto the prongs.

Plastic Binding Combs

Plastic binding combs are available in a broad range of sizes, accommodating as few as 12 pages and as many as 425 pages. They come in standard 11" lengths, which are made up of 19 rings and are sized to bind 8 1/2" x 11" (letter size) paper. Comb sizing is based upon the diameter of the comb in inches (or fractions thereof). Binding combs come in a wide variety of colors, allowing organizations to create custom-looking bound documents without having to pay for custom combs. The comb design allows for easy editing of documents, since it can be opened after binding to add, remove or reorder pages without damage. It is the only binding style that offers that capability, making it ideal for organizations that require frequent updates to their materials, such as churches or schools.

For information on which size of comb to use for your project, refer to this comb binding chart. To see the selection of comb sizes and colors offered by Lamination Depot, visit our comb binding supplies section.

Comb Binding Machines

Comb binding is based on two individual processes – punching the documents that are to be bound and opening the binding comb so that the punched documents can be inserted. Depending on the machine, punching can either be manual or electric, however the comb opener is always operated manually. Nearly all machines perform both processes, but it is important to read the description thoroughly because there are a few machines on the market that only offer comb opening (generally used in high-volume production environments to allow punching and inserting to be done simultaneously by two different people).

When researching comb binding machines, there are a number of factors to consider in terms of punching. The primary difference between available models is whether they are manual or electric, which has a major impact on the speed at which the operator is able to complete a job (with electric punches being much faster). Some punches only punch letter-sized paper, while others can accommodate larger sizes. The punch capacity (the number of sheets that can be punched at one time) ranges from 6-55 sheets, and some machines offer the ability to selectively disengage some or all of the punching pins (which allows the user to punch non-standard paper sizes or specialty paper, such as three-hole paper). Many machines include an adjustable depth margin, enabling the operator to move the placement of the holes relative to the edge of the paper. Select machines include other punching patterns in addition to the 19 hole comb pattern, making them a cost-effective option for organizations interested in performing multiple binding styles (such as coil and wire).

All comb openers generally function the same way – when the operator tugs on the handle, small hooks grab onto each of the rings and gently pull them open to allow the pages to be inserted. Depending on the machine, the opener itself is made from either metal or ABS plastic. Each model has its own maximum binding size, so it is important to evaluate your binding needs before making a purchase to help ensure that the machine you buy accommodates the sizes you will be utilizing.

To learn more about any of the comb binding machines available at Lamination Depot, visit our comb binding equipment section.

In Review

Comb binding is a versatile, professional-looking binding style that offers users the ability to make frequent edits with ease. The plastic combs used to bind the pages together are cost-effective, durable and attractive. With both manual and electric punching options available, it is possible to create your own bound reports and presentations at a price point that fits within nearly all budgets. Because it is the only binding style to give users the power to add, remove or reorder pages without having to use a fresh spine, comb binding is highly recommended for use in any organization that creates bound documents that require regular updates, such as training manuals, price lists, or educational materials. With all of the benefits that it offers, it’s easy to see why comb binding is one of the most popular binding methods.

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