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Keep on Punching (and Binding)!

Having a binding machine in your office or school can save you both time & money, but the trade-off, of course, is that keeping your binding machine working is all on you. Here are some tips to make sure that your binding machine “holds things together” for years to come.

As always, refer to your user manual for care instructions specific to your machine.

Check Your Chip Tray

Different machines will have varying sized chip trays (“chips” are those little teeny round or rectangular cut-outs from punching the holes for your bindings)—eventually, though regardless of your tray size, you’re going to have to empty it. If your die get stuck or jammed while you’re punching, then you may want to check your chip tray; it may need to get emptied. 

Follow the Rules

Easily the most tedious part of binding is the punching teeny little holes into multiple sheets of paper. If you’ve got a lot of documents to bind, this tedium can be amplified exponentially. We know the temptation is to slide a few extra sheets of paper into your stack as you’re punching. I mean, if the machine will punch it, why not cheat a little, right? Unfortunately, while you may think there’s no harm in pushing the boundaries of what your machine is capable, punching more sheets than your machine’s maximum limit can seriously compromise the integrity of your dies, not to mention your machine’s longevity. So just don’t do it.

A Little Dab’ll Do You 

Your dies may benefit from a little bit of oil now and then to keep them lubricated, as well as to prevent rust and grime from gumming them up. Check your machine’s user manual for info on if, when, and how to oil your dies—not all machines require this. In general, if you need to add a little oil, you can add a few drops of machine oil (available at your local hardware store) to a soft, lint-free cloth, and rub the oil over the exposed dies. After you’ve lubricated your dies, punch a few sheets of paper until the excess oil has worked its way down into the dies and you don’t get oil residue on your paper. 

Watch Your Alignment

A lot of common binding machine issues can be easily solved by simply paying attention to your paper alignment as you punch. Most machines have alignment guides to help keep your paper situated on the binder properly as you punch—make sure your paper stack is firmly seated against your machine’s alignment guides. It’s always a good idea to test your alignment by punching a scrap sheet of paper, too—this will help avoid the unpleasant experience of having to redo a project because your paper wasn’t properly aligned.

Power Down

If you’re using an electric punch or binding machine, it’s always a good idea to shut off the power when you’re not using it; leaving it powered on around the clock can subject your binding machine to power surges and overheating. 

Leave It to the Pros

Most binding machines are not intended to be serviced by customers; while you’re less likely to experience technical troubles if you follow these simple maintenance procedures, occasionally, bad stuff does happen. If you find yourself with a machine that won’t turn on or isn’t working properly, don’t attempt to service it yourself—call an expert! If your binding machine is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer using the warranty information in your user manual; they can assist you with finding a licensed repair person in your area to help you get your machine back up and running.

Here at Popp Binding and Laminating, we make sure to sell only well-built, high-quality binding & laminating machines, which means that with proper care and maintenance, your machine should last for years and years. If you need additional information about maintaining your machine and keeping it in working order, contact any of our helpful salespeople via phone at 800-437-4787 or email at for help and tips!