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View Full Version : Optimimum way to staple paper?


Chairman Pow
02-05-2004, 07:59 PM
For reasons that best belong in MPSIMS, I have recently become fascinated with the different positions that paper is tyipcally stapled in. Fascinated and obsessed with finding the "best" way to staple.

I've had no luck in finding any sort of usability/design studies, aesthetic issues or functionality white papers regarding this. I do think I've found the perfect staple, but this is another matter entirely.

So, we've got at the top roughly at the 45*; top left, parallel to the short side; top left parallel to the long side. Some birth defect who used to work in our office used to staple things right in the center of the top.

Any ideas which functions the best/works for larger stapled packets to avoid magnifying the amount of the page that gets bent over while flipping over the sheets towards the end? Holds up best over time?

TJdude825
02-05-2004, 08:12 PM
The center of the top is just wrong. Not sure why, but I guess that's because you want to hold on to the staple while you are flipping pages, and it's awkward to do that if it's in the middle. Plus, it seems that accidentally rotating the pages is more likely to tear them than if it's on the left corner. I think that two or three staples along the left edge might be best, because it holds together better than a single staple. But if you only want one on each packet, then upper left is probably best. I assume most people fold the page at a 45 degree angle, so putting the staple at the same angle seems logical. Put it sufficiently far from the edges that it doesn't rip out easily, but sufficiently far from the text that it's not unreadable. Also, if you have a lot of papers to staple, but lack a fancy super-stapler made for numerous sheets, staple once from the bottom and once from the top.

Disclaimer: IANA stapler expert, and all these ideas are just WAGes.

BTW, what's the point of the staples that


go out this way

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instead of in this way

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kellner
02-05-2004, 08:32 PM
I have served my alternative civilian service (instead of military service) in a hospital archive. Being the cheapest worker imaginable in an archive means that you learn more about stapling than you ever wanted. :)

I vote for the top left corner, at a 45 dregree angle.

Left because that way it simulates the behaviour of a conventional western hemisphere book.

Top should be obvious.

45 dregree because that minimizes the kink created by flipping the pages.

Staples pointed outwarts are easier to remove, especially with your bare hands.
You just bend them in the middle and pull them out.
However they enhance the risk of minor injuries and damage to other paper.

I am glad to see that those 11 months I served my fatherland were not wasted.

ccwaterback
02-05-2004, 10:29 PM
My accountant always used to staple papers at the top, in two different places, so the papers open like a book bound at the top when you flip the pages up. I figure if a CPA staples papers that way, it MUST be the PC way of doing it. :)

If I have more than 3 or 4 pages, I staple them on the side, in 3 different places, so the papers open like a normal book.

js_africanus
02-06-2004, 09:45 AM
45 dregree because that minimizes the kink created by flipping the pages.
I figure that you want the staple to be perpendicular to the force of the paper to that the tearing action is spread out over the area on the paper. In that regard, for a top-left staple, it makes sense that the 45* is a good rule of thumb. I am looking at a handout right now, What's New in Zoning Law?, and it is stapled vertically at the top left. To minimize the stress-to-area ratio, I will have to fold the paper vertically down the left hand side of the page--as though I had run a series of staples down the left-hand side creating a crude book.

When I turn this handout in a more normal, for lack of a better word, fashion, all the tearing stress is focused at the bottom point of the staple, meaning the stress-to-area ratio is very high, IMO, and the paper should tear more readily. Supposing instead that it were at an angle, then that stress would be spread out over a greater area, and the handout's life will be extended.

Okay, now everybody pull out some stapled stacks that you have used before thinking about this question:

What are the ratios of the distance between the left edge and the top fold, and the top edge and the side fold. For example, my Township Law 101 packet folds 20mm from the left edge and 35mm from the top edge, thus creating a right triangle where the hypotenuse is the line along which the paper is folded and I go from one page to the next. I assert that the optimal angle of staple is parallel to the hypotenuse (however that is spelled).

Let's check for consistency: 30:55 for What's New in Zoning Law.
Appendix E gives me 23:30.

I'm not good at trig, I can't speculate what angles these give for the hypotenuses of these triangles. It is my hypothesis that whatever the average angle is will be the best angle for optimal stapling.

The depth of staple would depend on the thickness of the stapled material, wouldn't it?

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is this: Chairman Pow, I very nearly Pitted you for dropping this bomb and not telling us more about it:
I do think I've found the perfect staple, but this is another matter entirely.

BrotherCadfael
02-06-2004, 10:20 AM
BTW, what's the point of the staples that


go out this way

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)

instead of in this way

|)
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|)
My guess is that the outward-facing staple can be removed easily without tools. I have never seen anyone actually use this feature, though...

Lsura
02-06-2004, 10:32 AM
BTW, what's the point of the staples that...(deleted code box)


It's so the staple can act as a sort of paperclip - the papers can be temporarily stapled together, but removed more easily, with less risk of damage to the pages.

This thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=8003&highlight=stapler) discussed it.

Chairman Pow
02-06-2004, 09:16 PM
Anyway, what I really wanted to say is this: Chairman Pow, I very nearly Pitted you for dropping this bomb and not telling us more about it:

You wanted to pit me? Shit, I was surprised anyone answered this thing.

Stanley Powercrown staples. Expensive as hell, but fucking hell do they staple. If I go into how cool they are, people will think I'm a shill. Expnensive as hell though. I found some while rooting through a laid-off coworker's desk and man, my life hasn't been the same since.

Somebody stole the box though.

Here's another thing: I was discussing stapling with my dad and he mentioned that grandpa had a stapler that was pre-"already cut" staples. This device had a coil of wire that was attached to the back and when one pushed down on the stapler, the wire was driven through the stack of paper, routed back up via the strike plate and somehow fastened so the paper wouldn't come loose. (Of course, it might have operated the opposite way, it had been years since he last saw it) This device used less wire if there were fewer sheets and eliminated the "added width" problem that a stack of stapled papers is prone to. He said nothing of whether or not it held as well. He did say that the thing was sturdy as hell and never jammed.

Does anyone know if these still exist?

Lynn Bodoni
02-06-2004, 11:43 PM
Chairman Pow, you need to go directly to the Stapler Database (http://www.calcampus.com/stapler/index.htm) and have yourself some quality browsing time. It's got all sorts of stapler trivia. I think that you will enjoy yourself. The striker plate question comes up often enough that I have bookmarked the site. The site also discusses something called the Spool O Wire stapler which may be what your dad was talking about.

About 30 years ago, my typing teacher taught his students to staple in the upper left hand corner, at a 45 degree angle. However, this was so long ago that we use mostly MANUAL typewriters, and only got to use electric typewriters every now and again. Note also that I said TYPING, not keyboarding.

Yes, I'm not young. Not really OLD, but definitely not young.

parogen
06-27-2017, 07:53 PM
Old thread, but had to make an account since this question doesn't seem to have an adequate answer and I haven't been able to find one on the internet (usually saying horizontal, 45 degrees). I also found on simoncox dot com to suggest 22.5 or 67.5 presumably relating to golden ratio or something..

I posit that the 'best' angle should be approximate to the same angle as the diagonal from bottom left to top right. The angle of the staple should be in relation to the flipping of pages, and any angle 'works' as long as the flipper flips in that angle. However, I'm suggesting that this diagonal is the 'natural' flipping angle.
(Edit: note this is wrong and not the 'best' or 'natural', read further til the conclusion)

However, if you hang the paper with your fingers by the top left, you'll notice the center of mass is not along the diagonal from top left to bottom right, it's slightly to the right (if you hang the paper, the bottom right corner is offset to the left). Meaning, if you grip the paper at where this point is as you flip, it would be the easiest effort, so you should staple along the perpendicular of that line.

So, what I conclude with is that staple angle really is missing the important information of where you grip the page. If you always grip at a particular point, you should staple along the flipping angle (this I can't explain, but should be simple to a physics inclined individual). If you want a 'best' angle, I suggest perpendicular to the center of mass when you hang a paper on the top left corner.

parogen
06-27-2017, 08:02 PM
If you choose the bottom right corner as the desired flipping grip, you should result in a slightly more than 45 degree angle (with left edge of paper being 0) staple.

parogen
06-27-2017, 08:28 PM
However... the tension during flipping seems to be highest when both hands are furthest away (peak of flipping). Taking this into account, I find the best angle for me at this point is parallel to the center line if you hang your paper from the top RIGHT...

But I'm sure this angle has to vary from person to person (whether they prefer to flip up and over, or side to side.

enipla
06-27-2017, 08:41 PM
Can't believe I'm answering this...

Top left at 45 degrees for quick meetings and such. I can see that two staples at the top parallel with the top would be preferred for documents that will be filed away and used again and again.

OldGuy
06-27-2017, 11:54 PM
However, if you hang the paper with your fingers by the top left, you'll notice the center of mass is not along the diagonal from top left to bottom right, it's slightly to the right (if you hang the paper, the bottom right corner is offset to the left). Meaning, if you grip the paper at where this point is as you flip, it would be the easiest effort, so you should staple along the perpendicular of that line.

If you hang a rectangular piece of paper exactly at a corner, the diagonally opposite corner will be directly below it. (This ignores any non-uniformity in the paper, the gravitational effects of a nearby mountain, and the slight decrease in the in gravitational field as you move the few inches farther from the center of the earth. None of these will you be able to detect without very sophisticated equipment. It should be obvious the center of mass of a rectangular piece of paper lies along the diagonal. In fact it lies at the point where the two diagonals cross.

TriPolar
06-28-2017, 04:25 AM
Staples? Paper? OMG my time machine finally worked! I've broken the time barrier, I must have gone back at least 20 years! I'm going to be ri....oh, wait, it's just an old thread about an even older topic.

bob++
06-28-2017, 04:57 AM
45 degrees at top left will do, but it would be better at a right angle to the diagonal from top left to bottom right.

I guess if you are in a country where people read from right to left you would staple the top right.

ftg
06-28-2017, 07:38 AM
The 45 degree thing is best for flip over type reading if the paper is square. Since most paper is rectangular, a shallower angle is better. 37.7 for letter, about 31.3 for legal.

(Doing arctan calculations and it's not even 8 o'clock. Math day!)

parogen
06-28-2017, 10:50 PM
Yes, you guys are right about the center of mass and staple should be perpendicular to the diagonal from top left to bottom right. BUT that's only if your flipping technique is to flip along the diagonal, which doesn't seem very energy efficient (or maybe just not natural for me). So what I was starting to realize is that it's not only the dimension of the paper, but the optimal staple angle must be related to the optimal flipping technique.

Here is my theory, which performed perfectly for me.. When we flip pages (granted we have a decent stack of paper stapled) we pull away from the staple with our page, yes? I assume we keep our right hand stack of papers (this is a right handed example of course) as stationary as possible in the straight reading orientation. Then that means our left hand, gripping at the corner of the page, must be pulling that corner farthest to the left yielding the diagonal to be along the top edge of papers we are holding on our right.

So then I proceeded to draw these two corners meeting at a point and posit that the optimal staple for this kind of flipping must be parallel to the symmetrical line between these two corners. What I calculated is that the angle is approximately 26 degrees from the left of the page. I wish I can draw my work, but if you want to try that staple angle yourself. In the image I show the complement (63 degrees from the top). When I flipped my pages, it seemed to give the most ease, as in not too much tug from either end of the staple.

http://imgur.com/a/xlqkE

Sorry it was not exactly 52, should have used approximate equals. But overall only a few degrees off (I mentally dropped the decimals).

Chronos
06-28-2017, 11:00 PM
As an aside, this thread is part of the reason I love this place. Where else can you get people seriously arguing, using math, the relative merits of various staple angles?