Book Binding Machines
July 21, 2004 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any book binding machines that will sew pages together? Most simple binding devices used in offices use thermal adhesive or ring binding. I’m looking for something more serious that will sew books together in the manner of traditional bound textbooks and hardcovers. It doesn’t have to be small, but neither can I deal with any giant factory equipment. Something the size of a large office photocopier would be ideal. Does such a device exist?
posted by Meridian to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Somebody referred me to Don Taylor, Bookbinder, a while ago. If nobody on MeFi can answer your question, maybe you could shoot him an email and see if he has any insight.
posted by Hankins at 5:54 AM on July 21, 2004

This machine is a book printer and binder, but the link was too conveniently timed for me not to post it here. That said, if these guys can make a machine that does it (in what looks to be a 'reasonable' size, then I am confident there must be something out there for you.. although I imagine it will be quite expensive! (It may also be using perfect binding, rather than stitch?)
posted by wackybrit at 5:56 AM on July 21, 2004

Response by poster: Wackybrit, that machine is probably a little more sophisticated than I had in mind :-) I'd feel like Dr Evil of the publishing world with that thing.

posted by Meridian at 6:14 AM on July 21, 2004

This is a question I've gone to the web with a few times, and always, I've come up short.
For very small print runs (e.g. 1 book), then there's the DIY (1) and (2) options
posted by seanyboy at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

How about one of these? I happened upon this page yesterday while looking for info on the book-artist Timothy Ely.
posted by misteraitch at 7:00 AM on July 21, 2004

Great link, misteraitch! One of those "things I want to do when I retire" is handmaking blank spell books to sell at Rennaissance Faires, and that contraption is PERFECT!

Thank you very much.
- luv m . ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:33 AM on July 21, 2004

Meridian, if you're looking for a more professional binding than the standard office machinery, you might look at "perfectbound" options. ("Perfectbound" is where the pages are all cut straight down the spine, and the cover is glued around them, like a big magazine, catalog, or expensive brochure.)

Canon and a company called Bind-it both apparently make office machines that can produce perfectbound output--the Canon looks like it's an add-on to some of their "imageRunner" machines, and may be able to actually produce perfectbound docs directly from PDF files. The Bind-it machine is described as a "desktop" , and looks more like one of those older "comb-binding" machines.

(The technology is also called "CoverBind" apparently, and that's how I found mentions of it regarding the imageRunner 110 and 150Pro+ models, but the Canon site sucks, and I can't find those actual models on it. You might try searching more on "CoverBind" than "perfectbound", because the latter returns every single book on the net that's listed as being bound that way.)
posted by LairBob at 8:43 AM on July 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

I made my own bound books several years ago, using an antique Singer straight-stich sewing machine.

The way I did it was to lay out the 8.5 x 11 pages in folios of about 10 pages each, sew down the center (the short way) with a really long stitch length, then fold the folio over for a total of 20 sheet-pages (i.e., 40 pages, considered front/back). Create a cover by laminating a manila folder (which you can often print through an inkjet printer these days) with clear contact paper. Then stack the folios, bend the cover appropriately to make a suitable thickness spine, and use rubber cement to glue the spines of the folios to the inside of the cover spine. Place under heavy books overnight, and it's done! The thread seems to adhere well to the rubber cement, making a really durable spine.

Singer sewing machines of that type can be had for $50. Use a very sturdy needle and thick plain white thread.
posted by yesster at 8:56 AM on July 21, 2004 [1 favorite]

[Whoops--just re-read your post again..."perfectbound" may be what you meant by "thermal adhesive". If so, sorry.]
posted by LairBob at 9:53 AM on July 21, 2004

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