Punching vs. Drilling — Holes And How We Make Them
There are in-line punching machines for punching in-line with saddle binders, folders or bookletmakers. These are not to be confused with the attachments that fit into three-knife trimmers, which can take a long time to set up and can only punch very thin booklets. In-line punches can roll up to any compatible machine, set up quickly and be fed with an on-demand basis. Some of these machines can punch booklets up to 1⁄4˝ thick.
Variety of Options
Automatic punching machines vary greatly in cost and versatility. Feeding is of primary importance. Many newer punches merely use gravity as a feeder. A small picker separates a number of sheets from a lift. They then fall straight into the punch head, some on edge, some flat. They are then jogged and punched. Static, curl and wave can, and will, cause a multitude of problems with this method of feeding. Solving static problems is not easy and a strand of tinsel will not fit the bill. The best method of feeding is a stabber/gripper system.
The stabber stabs into a lift of paper, then grips the smaller lift and pulls it into the transport belts. This system is not affected anywhere near as much by static or curl. Some machines offer an air feeder that allows users to feed one piece at a time. This is especially important when feeding chip board or signatures.
Registration is important for accuracy, but even more so for speed. A machine that jogs on all four sides is ideal. Centering your sheet is an absolute necessity. This means setting your side guide accurately, then setting your other side guide. Sometimes you will have to run back and forth, from one side of the machine to the other, a few times. There are machines that have a micrometer, which actually moves the die back and forth to save this step.