The Basics of Binding a Book with Plastic Coil Binding
Not every coil binding machine is the same, but this should help you with the basic steps and go over some common features found in coil binding machines. Plastic Coil Binding Machines are available with and without an electric inserter. Having an inserter speeds up the binding process by quite a bit, though coil is great because it can be bound by hand as well if you are not binding many books.
Determine what size coil binding you will need.
All of the sizing guides are based off of 20lb bond paper. For heavier weight stock you will want to go by the physical thickness of the completed document. General rule of thumb is to add 4mm (1/8") to the thickness of your completed book (including covers) to determine the size of spine that you will need. Some machines come with a size guide so you can measure the book thickness. If not, then you can always refer to this guide which can also be printed out for easy reference.
Start with a scratch paper (the same size as your project).
Adjust the edge guide for the size paper you have, then insert the page and make a punch. Now fold the page in half to see if your holes line up. If the holes are evenly aligned while folded, then you can move on. If not, then make more adjustments until they are. This will give you the most presentable project.
If your machine has disengageable die pins and the machine is punching through the edge of your project, then find the correct pins and pull them out. By doing this, that hole will not be punched. Having disengageable die pins allows you to do any custom sized project. If you don't have them, your machine is probably set up for one standard size.
Your machine may also have a depth of margin control. The depth of margin controls the distance from the edge of the page to the punched holes. You will want a smaller depth for thinner books, this way the pages turn well. Use a thicker depth for thicker books where there is more room within the coil binding. This will help provide a stronger hold for those larger books.
To begin your project,
First properly align your front and back cover and punch them one at a time. Set them aside. Continue to punch your entire project in order. Punch an amount that is comfortable for you and does not exceed the machine's limit. Do this until all pages are punched.
Order your project with the front and back cover in place.
If you only have a machine with a punch and no inserter, then twist the coil into the holes of the pages all the way. Make sure the coil extends past both ends of the project.
If you have an inserter on your machine, first twist the coil into 4-5 holes. Then, with the inserter on, place the coil against the roller. This will spin the coil through all the holes much quicker than doing it by hand. Again, make sure the coil extends past both ends of the project.
Now take coil cutting crimpers and trim the edges.
The red dot should be facing up when you make the cut, and you should trim above the last hole on the right. Flip the project around and trim the other side (which will now be on the right since you flipped it). Some machines come with an automatic crimper to make production go faster (or you can buy separate machine that crimps both edges at the same time for really big runs).
Congratulations, you now have a finish project!