In 2007 GBC (General Binding Corporation) added a number of new plastic comb binding machine to their product line. One of these machines was the CombBind C75. With a price tag of less than a hundred dollars it is a machine that is directed into the small office / home office segment of the marketplace. This review will evaluate the features, limitations and construction of GBC C75.
The C75 is an all in one plastic comb binding machine. This simply means that it includes both a punch for putting the holes in your document and a plastic comb opener for opening the combs so that you can finish binding your documents. This means that you won’t need another machine (besides your printer) for producing documents using the C75.
The punch on this machine is rated to punch up to 10 sheets of 20lb paper per lift. Realistically this means that you will be able to punch 7-8 sheets at a time comfortably. For smaller sized documents this won’t be too bad. However, punching a thick document could become really tedious.
The C75 has a couple of features that are not included on many other Comb Binding machines. If you flip the machine over you will note that it has suction cup feet. These are designed to help make sure that the machine doesn’t move during punching and binding. This feature is very handy especially since the C75 doesn’t weight very much and thus is rather easy to move.
The machine also has a convenient handle design that is ideal for both left and right handed people. This will make the C75 a lot easier for left handed people to use as compared to a machine with a traditional slot machine handle design. The metal handle includes a smooth coated grip bar that will easily rotate in your hand when you are punching. This makes pulling the handle very easy. The handle also includes a locking mechanism that allows you to lock it in the down position (it has a spring that would cause it to come back up if you didn’t lock it). This feature is very handy for storing the machine or transporting it.
The C75 also has a convenient wheel shaped paper margin guide that allows you to select between letter sized paper, oversize covers and A4 sized paper. This margin guide is exceptionally easy to use and doesn’t require a great deal of expertise to set up like some of the other more expensive plastic comb binding machines that are available on the market.
As with any lower cost machine there are also limitations of the capabilities of the CombBind C75. One limitation is the length of the documents that can be bound with this machine. Since the ends of the punch are not open and there are no disengageable punch pins the machine is not designed to punch documents that are shorter than 11″ or longer than A4 size. If you anticipate the need to bind half letter (8.5″ x 5.5″) documents you will probably need to select a machine with disengageable dies.
The C75 is rated for use with plastic combs that are up to 9/16″ in diameter. This means that it is rated for binding books that contain up to 125 sheets of 20lb paper. Although larger combs are available for purchase, they will be difficult to use with the C75 because of the design of the plastic comb opener. Additionally, the use of 3/16″ plastic combs is not recommended with this machine since it does not have an adjustable depth of punch margin control. The holes punched by the machine will be too far from the edge of the paper to operate correctly with 3/16″ comb binding spines.
The plastic comb opener on this machine operates differently than any other comb opener I have seen before. The hooks from the comb opener are actually part of the punching handle and the teeth are affixed to the machine. In order to open a comb using this machine you have to put the comb between the teeth and slide it over so that it comes into contact with the hooks. Then during the opening process you need to lock the handle into place (using the same feature that allows you to lock the handle for storage) so that you can insert the pages onto your document. Personally, this is not my favorite design for a comb opening system. However, it worked well for the different sizes of combs that I tried up to 9/16″.
The construction of the GBC C75 is a mixture of plastic and metal. The base and housing of the machine are plastic while the handle and comb opener are made of metal. Of course the punching teeth and mechanism are also made of metal. Overall the machine appears to be solidly constructed and should hold up under moderate use. However, the comb opening teeth seem a little bit thin and might become bent if something was dropped on them. The lock for the handle could also become worn over time. This being said, the C75 seems to be built well for the pricetag.
I would not hesitate to recommend the C75 for a small office or home office that does a few books a week. The construction is good and it comes with a decent one year warranty. However, for higher volume applications or for offices that need to bind larger documents it probably isn’t a good fit. For a little bit more money, it should be possible to find a machine with disengageable dies, an adjustable depth of punch margin, a larger punching capacity and the ability to handle documents up to 2″ thick. Still, the C75 has its place in the market and is a good choice for light volume users who need to bind the occasional document or report. Straightening machine