Paper Folding Machines

I’m hoping that someone in the doper community knows something about this. We are looking for a paper folder that can fold 8 1/2x11" paper lengthwise; i.e., into a 4 1/4x11" brochure. Ideally, we’d also like it to fold 11x17" paper into “two parallel fold” brochures that are also 4 1/4 x 11". In addition, we need it to handle up to 80 or 90# paper.

I’ve done the Google searches and found some potential machines, but it is not clear if they can handle the vertical fold. I’d like to hear from some dopers who use these sorts of machines. You knitting dopers may be interested to know that this will be for knitting patterns.

How much are you looking to fold? If it’s not a ton of it, Kinkos can do it for a small charge.

We have a paper folding machine we use a lot at work. It can fold the paper in half or in threes. I haven’t tried legal size, but I will. We call him Martin because of the brand name, and are very nice to him because he can be quite persnickety and jams up unless you sweet talk him each time. You have to sort of fan about 40 or so pages and tap on top of each one as it goes through the folding process to try to avoid jams. We checked out replacement machines recently and found another manufacturer had a similar machine for $500.00, and more expensive models at three time that amount. We are hesitant to spend so much without knowing it would be an improvement compared to our current hands-on process. But it sure beats folding the invoices and statements by hand!

I’ll ask my sweetie when I get home and post back. I’m not sure about the weekend schedule, so it may be Monday though.

I used to work in printing, never on a small scale like you need. I would go to kinkos and ask them.

Years ago, back when I worked in a business center, we used a Martin Yale that could handle your needs. I don’t recall the exact model number, but it was similar in design to the Martin Yale 959. You can adjust it to do the vertical half-fold, it’ll fold 11x17, and it will reliably handle up to 110# cardstock (although, truthfully, the fold on the 110# stock isn’t as crisp as you’d like, and you need to ramp up the speed to get an even fold).

I’m not sure what the prices are, but if I recall correctly, it was pretty pricey at $1500 on up. For a friction folder like that, you’ll also want to buy some cleaning fluid for the rubber wheel (ink and toner will rub off on your wheel, leaving marks on the folded copies as they come through).

Thanks for the replies. Kinkos is a hassle because we need to do it all the time and it was surprisingly expensive. I’ll check out the 959.

Sorry so slow to get back to this.

Check into the Baum 714 friction feed paper folder. I’m not sure how much it costs, or what you’re wanting to pay - this is a commercial-grade folder, so it may be more than you’re looking for.

“It will fold anything and is bomb proof. Mine has been here 20+ years and still just keeps on going.”

That’s in a fairly high-volume shop that does inserting/mailing as a sideline. I know that the folder gets used at least daily, for several hundred to several thousand items.

If you’re doing this all the time, but not in huge numbers I’d check with your proper local printing companies. They’re like as not the ones Kinko’s would have been shopping the job to, anyway. A recurring or standing job order can be set up with any of them, and all yo’d need to do is call up your rep to schedule the jobs, then deliver the job to the company on the appointed days. This will save you the hassle of having to purchase a piece of capital equipment and the hassle of learning to how operate/operating the machine.

Either way, buying the equipment for doing it yourself, or shopping it out, you’re going to wind up paying for the work anyway. Why not let someone else amortize the cost of the gear, and get a bit more sleep, yourself?
I’ll ask Intaglio for advice, if you’re insistant on doing it yourself - this is exactly her area: Bindery/Finishing.