# A Step By Step Guide To Thermal Binding

The purpose of this article is to guide you on how to properly bind a document using a thermal binding machine. If you have access to 5 or 6 thermal binding covers, follow through these binding instructions. If not, read through the material and try binding some documents later.

After ensuring that your machine is plugged in and turned on select a smaller thermal binding cover i.e. 1/16″, 1/8″ or 1/4″ and the approximate amount of paper needed to fit into the cover. In normal use, the operator will have a document of “x” number of sheets, which will then determine the proper size of thermal cover to use. The easiest way to do this is to place the paper, indexes, etc. to be bound flat on a table and measure the thickness of the stack with a ruler. Choose a cover that meets that measurement. i.e. if you have a 1/4″ stack of paper, you would use a 1/4″ thermal binding cover. If you are in between sizes, go to the next largest size.

1. To reduce static electricity that builds up between sheets run off a copier, the paper to be bound needs to be fanned. Take a stack of paper, and practice fanning using the following technique:

– Grasp the sheets on both sides, holding them fairly loose.

– Bend the sheets as in the following diagram. While bent, exert pressure on the paper with your thumbs and fingers to gain a firm grip where the sheets cannot move.

– While maintaining pressure on the sheets, straighten out the stack of paper. This will bow the sheets so that there is air space between sheets. After air has been allowed into the sheets, release your grasp on the sheets as you jog them onto a flat, level surface. This is called fanning the paper. It is usually not necessary unless the paper has just come off a copier, where the pages contain a large amount of static electricity.

– Remember, it is the binding edge of the sheets which must be evenly jogged for a secure bind.

2. Place the thermal binding cover in your left hand (if you are right handed), and allow it to slightly fall open to create what looks like a wide V. Insert the fanned sheets into your scored thermal binding cover (make sure that you grasp the sheets tightly to maintain the uniform jogged edge). The sheets should be centered within the cover and placed on the adhesive backbone. Close the cover around the sheets. The first and last sheets should not stick up higher than the other pages. If you have uneven pages, take all the sheets out of the cover, rejog them and insert them back into the cover.

3. Next, place the document (spine side down) so the edge of the thermal cover is at the right hand side of the binding slot. The binding machine should automatically start and depending on the size of your document should determine the length of the bind time.

4. When you remove the bound document, tap the backbone on the table to help set the adhesive, and set the document(s) on the cooling stand to maintain the square backbone during curing. Make sure the document(s) are placed squarely on the cooling stand so that the backbone remains square during the curing process. This will provide the most professional looking finished product.

5. The document must cool before it can be used. It should remain on the stand for 3 to 5 minues. This time period varies depending on the thickness of the thermal binding cover. Obviously, a 1/16″ thick document will cool faster than a 2″ document. Ultimately, any thermal cover, regardless of size, will have reached full binding strength once the backbone is cool to the touch (approximately 15 minutes).