The GBC C800pro plastic comb binding machinehas been around for years. It used to be called the Ibico EPK21 and atone point was actually orange. The color has changed but the machinereally hasn't. Still, everyone knows that just because a machine hasbeen around for a long time it doesn't mean that it is high quality.This review will take a quick look at the features, strengths andweaknesses of the GBC CombBind C800 pro binding machine. Take a lookfor yourself and evaluate whether this machine is right for you. Strengths and Features: One of the most important features to note when looking at the C800prois its heavy duty electric punch. The punching mechanism uses a footpedal activator that is included with the machine. The foot pedalallows you to hold your document with both hands during the punchingprocess. This means that you are able to ensure that the pages areflush and square with every cycle helping to eliminate costlymispunches. The foot pedal and electric motor also greatly increasepunching efficiency and reduce the risk for repetitive motion injuries.
The specs on the C800 Pro say custom Slotted Cheese Head Screws that it can punch up to 25 sheets of 25pound paper. However, in my experience most users are going to want topunch 20 or less. If you try to consistently punch the maximum numberof sheets you will more than likely find that you will end upoverloading your machine at times and have a difficult time fittingpages into the punching slot. However, this is true of any electriccomb binding machine. Unlike some of the other smaller GBC electric comb binding machines,the C800 pro also includes a depth of punch margin control and 21 fullydisengageable die pins. These features allow the C800pro to be used forbinding very thin books with combs as small as 3/16" or very thickbooks with oval shaped combs up to 2" in diameter. They also enablethis machine to bind documents that are longer than 11" in length.However, binding longer documents with the C800pro will require a twostep punching process and may require inserting some of the comb ringsby hand. This does not make this machine an ideal solution fororganizations that do a lot of legal sized binding. Possible Weaknesses: Although the C800pro is one of the best electric machines in its classthere are a few things that are worth noting about the machine. Firstand foremost is the cost of the replacement motor. Unfortunately, thereplacement motor costs as much to replace in the C800pro as an entirenew machine. This is not usually a problem until the machine has beenin service for a number of years. However, if the motor does burn outyou can expect to buy a new binding machine. With this in mind, youwill want to be careful when punching clear covers on the C800. No morethan two plastic covers should ever be punched at a time on a machinelike this. Punching more than two clear covers can ruin your motor ordull your punching dies.
The C800pro is designed for letter size, A4 size and half letter(landscape) documents. For users who primarily use these sizes of paperthis is a great machine. However, it is not ideal for punching orbinding legal or 11" x 17" documents. Several machines in the sameclass as the C800 are designed for legal punching and binding and mightbe better choices. However, these machines will still be difficult touse with 11" x 17" paper. Construction: The GBC C800pro is extremely well built and most users can use it formore than a decade without ever having a problem. All of the importantcomponents on the machine are made of high quality steel including thepunching mechanism, comb opener, punching pins, handle and case. Thefoot pedal is strong and sturdy and the chad tray is oversized toaccommodate a large number of punching chips. It is also worth notingthat the machine is fairly compact and takes up less space than othersimilar pieces of equipment. Conclusion: The C800pro electric comb binding machine has been around for years andthere is a reason. It is one of the best electric comb binding machinesavailable on the market. It has almost all of the features that youwill ever need. Plus, it has a proven track record in the field. GBC'sone year warranty on this machine is adequate for most users. However,if you are concerned about the potential of high repair costs you mightconsider putting the machine under a maintenance contract. Still, Iwould highly recommend this machine for offices that do large amountsof comb binding or for organizations that are looking for a highefficiency electric comb binding solution.