Plastic Comb Binding Essentials
We have all seen documents held together using plastic comb binding. This type of binding is also called Combbind, Cerlox, Ibico or GBC Binding and has been used for many years in business and education. If you're thinking about using plastic combs for your project, this article can help answer some of the questions that you might have. Here is some information on how comb binding works and how you can customize it to meet your needs.
Typically, plastic comb binding relies on 19 rectangular holes along the side of an 11" piece of paper. However, combs may be purchased in a variety of lengths for binding different types of documents. There are 15 ring lengths which may be used to bind books using a landscape orientation or for half letter size books. For A4 documents, you will need 21 ring lengths and for legal documents you will need 24 ring spines. You can also special order other lengths of plastic combs in select colors. Remember that if you need to bind a document with plastic combs that are not a standard size (or that aren't the normal size for your binding machine), you'll want to ensure your machine has disengageable dies to make sure the holes line up appropriately on your paper.
Comb binding supplies come in diameters for binding documents from 3/16" to 2" thick. Smaller combs from 3/16" - 1-1/8" are generally round. Combs from 1-1/4" to 2" are usually oval and are crafted to prevent documents from separating. Although 3/16" plastic combs are manufactured, they are very hard to use and are not generally recommended. Most people find it's better to use spines that are at least ¼".
You can further customize your document by choosing colored combs or imprinted combs to give your document a little visual boost. Black is the most popular plastic comb color, but you can also find them in brown, white, yellow, clear, maroon, gray, kelly green, forest green, royal blue, navy blue, and red. Specialty styles are also available from time to time, such as GBC Gel Combs (in steel blue) and Matte Combs (in black and frost). In addition to choosing colored combs to enhance your documents, you can also use combs imprinted with a logo or name. Combs are imprinted using foil stamp or silkscreening methods.
To bind documents using plastic combs, you will need a comb opener. Comb-openers are often included with Combbind machines, but some larger punches may need a separate comb opener. Using a comb opener is pretty simple. Begin by placing the comb on the comb opener, then open the comb by pulling the handle. Insert your hole-punched document and close the comb by releasing the handle.
Another way plastic comb binding machines allow for customization is through their adjustable margins. You can choose the distance between the edge of the paper and the holes. This is critical when using smaller combs to allow the pages to turn properly and retain their polished and neat look.
Plastic comb binding is a simple and effective means of giving your documents an added edge. With all of the variety available, your projects can be customized and professional without regard to size or distribution.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff McRitchie is the designer and Director of Marketing for MyBinding.com. He has written over 100 articles on binding machines,binding covers,binders,laminators,binding supplies,laminating supplies,paper handling equipments,index tabs, and shredders.