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Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 7:47 AM

Greetings CR4 brains,

I was studying my desk stapler and looking at how the design could be improved. Please share your stapler complaints with me and any suggested improvements. Have you come across any outstanding staplers? Conversely, what design issues have caused the most problems ? What mechanisms tend to fail, and what enhancements would you like to see in future products ?

Thanks for the input.

Des-Eng

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#1

Re: Redesign of the humble stapler

06/02/2008 8:17 AM

I would like a stapler that never runs out of staples - you know those elusive boxes containing 5000 staples that clutters up the desk when you don't need them, but when the stapler runs out they are nowhere to be found!!

John.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Redesign of the humble stapler

06/02/2008 9:00 AM

<...when the stapler runs out they are nowhere to be found...>

They can usually be found lurking in the desk drawers of people who have left the firm...

Seriously, what is it about these machines and their feedstock that causes them to jam-up so often, and what can be done about it?

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Redesign of the humble stapler

06/02/2008 12:39 PM

Some staplers have a compartment for refill purposes

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#14
In reply to #1

Re: Redesign of the humble stapler

06/03/2008 5:02 AM

Hi Electroman.

These days you can buy a new type of stapler that does not use staples, try the "Staples store" for this piece of equipment!

Spencer.

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#31
In reply to #1

Re: Redesign of the humble stapler

06/07/2008 3:49 PM

but when the stapler runs out they are nowhere to be found!!

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#3

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 9:18 AM

I think in general the mechanism itself is acceptable. My Swingline 545 rarely has a misfire I've never lost an eye to a red-hot staple.

However it only has the one function. This is the 21st century, baby. Popular ojects nowadays must do at least two things reasonably well. Sure, you could go retro and have "stapler + hole punch" or "stapler + tape measure" or even "stapler + shoe horn". But given today's relative inexpense of adding gizmos to almost anything, you might want to think way outside the box.

  • Stapler + UV sterilizer. Keep your keyboard clean!
  • Stapler + corded phone handset. Co-workers couldn't walk off with it!
  • Stapler + OCR scanner. Scan some papers, then print them so you have more to staple!
  • Stapler + metal detector. Let's you find lost staples and paperclips on your messy desk.
  • Stapler + inkjet. No more fumbling for those messy "PAID" rubber stamps.
  • Stapler + digital camera. It already makes the "click" sound!
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#4
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Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 9:20 AM
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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 12:43 PM

Integral date stamp ain't a bad idea. This document was printed on DD/MM/YY.

Hmm

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 2:03 PM

'This document was printed on DD/MM/YY'

More like 'This document was stapled on DD/MM/YY'

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#26
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Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 10:47 PM

How about a biometric stapler to prevent your funny co-workers from stapling all the papers on your desk together?

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#8

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 11:24 PM

Reinventing The Wheel ? ? ?

"Have you come across any outstanding staplers? "

BATES brand staplers used a roll of brass wire from which it cuts, forms, and staples as many as five sheets of paper together. May be found on ebay. I have one stapler some 50 years old and two or three rolls of wire.

The "BUMP" hand held punch used the paper itself by cutting a slit and a tongue which was folded over and pulled back through the slit to hold 3 sheets together. Mine is black metal used in school 65 years ago. A plastic desktop version is currently available in todays market.

Or Build a Better Mousetrap ! ! !

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#9

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/02/2008 11:24 PM

Electric one's are nice, if need to volume.

Doing 10+ sheets can be a problem, jam ups....

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#10

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 1:30 AM

Go to J-List.com. The Japanese have invented a stapler that doesn't use staples. It kind of cuts and then folds the corners together. One word of warning... If you are offended by adult material, save us your trauma and just don't go there.

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#25
In reply to #10

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 5:15 PM

One word of warning... If you are offended by adult material, save us your trauma and just don't go there.

Immediately 5000+ engineers rush to J-list.com's web site. The site crashes.

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/04/2008 8:50 AM

Hmmmmm why have I a page open with a title of

"Japanese vibrators, Adult toys..."

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/05/2008 12:51 AM

I told you it's a real mixed bag!!! Bento boxes, pens, staplers, snacks, ...and porn.

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#11

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 1:57 AM

The simple stapler is a very handy and efficient piece of equipment, but the cheap and nasty copies give more trouble than service.

The off side is that staples are not friendly to clothing, nails and copy machines. To remove them is often quite a hassle even with the staple removers.

I have wondered about re-inventing this piece of equipment often. The best solution I have come up with, but I haven't been able to try it yet, is to replace the staple with hotmelt glue. This would obviously require some means of heating and the obvious choice is electricity.

Suppose you could have an instrument that would clamp the pages and then inject a thin thread of glue along the side of the pages bonding them together. If this thread can be cooled down 'instantly' then it should be as good as a staple without the sharp ends and with the possiblility of removing a page without removing the staple.

Maybe it will not be as permanent as a staple but for the permanent ones the traditional wire staple could still be used.

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#12
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Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 2:10 AM

What you are describing is already invented and called "Perfect Bond." You might go one further by supplying a paper that can be run through computer printers and fused together by a temperature-sensitive adhesive.

On the other hand check out the Japanese staple-less stapler at J-list.com. Caution - adult material ahead.

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#13

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 4:10 AM

Interesting question

(1) they always jam (okay, not always, but like the humble telephone and copy machine, you only notice when they stop working)

(2) the normal, desk varieties don't staple enough papers. It isn't required often, but now and then, there is a need to do a thicker pack of pages.

(2A) how about a machine that WON'T LET you insert more pages than it can easily staple?

(3) how about a simple machine that has an expandable 'throat' so when you need to staple something in the 'middle' the location won't be out of reach?

(4) how about having an adjustable 'stop' in the throat of the stapler that would allow one to place a series of staples alone the edge of a stack of pages, creating a 'book'

(5) OKAY, NOW THE REAL CHALLENGE . How about totally re-inventing the process so we can 'bond' pages together either temporarily (post-it note style) or permanently that doesn't rely on a piece of steel stitching the pages together.

Now the design challenge is YOURS .

Regards,

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#15

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 5:05 AM

The biggest problem is the strength of the hinge mechanism: if this allows the "business end" to move slightly sideways the staples don't go in properly. Clearly making a strong hinge costs a lot of money, and, you are now competing with some very cheap manufacturing resources.

What about an L shaped device. This looks stupid but has the advantage that you can staple the top and bottom of a booklet without making the arms so long that the hinge needs to be very strong.

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#21
In reply to #15

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 10:02 AM

Randall, for some strange reason, I quite like that approach.

Nice bit of thinking eh?

John.

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#23
In reply to #15

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 3:46 PM

I can't disagree...but the problem is that (1) there are staplers already that meet your criteria (allowing for normal wear and tear); and (2) and true improvement must compete with trends to reduce cost of production....as you have stated.

The better mouse trap is the cheaper mouse trap...even if it doesn't work as well, or at all.

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#16

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 5:43 AM

Always prefer metal staplers over plastic. If plastic cosmetic cover, always open and look for sturdy metal working parts.

If the stapler seems like a great value on the clearance table at a Office Max, drug stores, or elsewhere...don't buy it.

Never buy a stapler you can't open and test, and inspect before buying.

Be cautious about any stapler produced in China.

Stay with brand names...although even this is not always assurance.

When you buy things at a Office supply store with a credit card (or return things for credit, ask the cashier for the a stapler to staple the charge/credit slip to the purchase/return receipt. These are usually drawn from the better staplers in store stock...and you get a chance to "check it out" (if you, not the cashier) actually does the stapling. (When the casher tries to staple for you, pull the receipts back and offer her you open hand into which she can place the stapler.)

Give the cold shoulder to any stapler which seems underpriced...or over-hyped on the packaging (especially packaging that can't be opened without a tool). Often these staplers will fall apart or won't work...but the vendor is counting on your not bringing it back. (That is very often the motive behind offering things too cheaply. And the stores know full well they are trying to cheat you...but you need'nt accuse them...just insist on a refund.)

Be careful about any stapler packaged with "free" things, like extra staples (other than those loaded in the stapler), and staple pullers. These items are almost invariably included with "worthless" staplers as an inducement, not only to get you to buy, but (more importantly) to get you to not return the stapler...they count on you to feel guilty about returning the stapler without the "freebies" that were included with the stapler. Don't fall for it; even if you made this mistake, take the stapler back anyway...along with any freebies that weren't used while discovering that the stapler was worthless.

Be cautions about any package advertising touting "new improvements" and other kinds of hype...staplers for the most part have long since been perfected. The only "improvement" lies in the attempt to substitute plastic for structural metal, soft metal for hard metal, flimsy sheet metal for hardened metal...

Weight is a fairly good indication both of stapler quality and durability.

One exception to the two preceding cautions, is with spring pre-loading staplers...a fairly recent (and an actual...not de-value engineered) stapler innovation. These staplers are both light weight (because of plastic shells, not plastic working parts) and effective. You'll recognize this kind of stapler by package claims that it will penetrate--will staple--a certain, maximum number of sheets...say 15, 25, 50... Unlike standard staplers with which pressure or striking upon the top (the striker arm) powers staple hammer down and staple through paper, these staplers offer resistance from the instant of starting to push the top (arm). As the arm is pushed (or stapler squeezed) spring pressure is progressively stored within the stapler's "action"...until the striker arm makes contact with paper and anvil arm. At that point, tiny projecting "triggers" on the striker are pressed inward, which action releases (triggers) the striking anvil, driving it and the staple...with no pressure required from stapler user. Paper Pro is a good brand name for this type of stapler...and they are quite reasonably priced. Follow instructions carefully because they can cause greater injury (either by direct puncture wounding or if a staple is "fired" into the air) than standard staplers if used incorrectly or used such that failsafes are overridden.

Once I bought a bargain stapler at Rite Aid (a US drug store chain headquartered in Pennsylvania). Opening the stapler, I discovered a "stapler" that would never drive even the first staple. The opening where the staple descends was large enough for about 4 staples to pass through, so with each strike the "thing" jammed and staples fell out. Another bargain stapler, from Office Max, fell (or should I say, flew) apart when first opened for initial loading with staples. Try as I may, I could never figure out how it was supposed to go together; of even if all the parts were inside before it was attempted to be loaded. I figured the factory assembler in China was equally perplexed...so just pushed some parts inside, closed the top, and sent it on for packaging...and deliver to stupid Americans. It was a Swingline.

I don't recommend trying to improve a stapler, only trying to avoid "improved" staplers...and buying the one fit for your particular purpose. Some things can't really be improved without dis-improving them; staplers fall in that category....as the information above well attests. Put your creative juices to work for a more worthy challenge. A better stapler will not be the next..."white out" or "paste-its" rags-to-riches story. Count on it. Of course, you could try to come up with a compurized stapler; better still, one that works by receiving a text message at the office while you lie in bed at home??

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 6:39 AM

But you could try to improve on staple-less staplers. Have you seen one?

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#17

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 5:52 AM

For a while I worked on an "injection" stapler.
(another project to make me a fortune!)

With the instant adhesives today I designed a needle
to pierce the papers and deposit a small amount of instant
adhesive between the layers by injection / compression.

This only required an occasional disposable tube of the
adhesive and gave no handling problems, like do wire staples

However, as with most of my ideas, again I found one could
easily buy the regular mechanical stapler for only 99p!

How can anyone make a fortune in 99p! Good luck guys!

jt.

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... that's why we call it, the present.

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#19

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 6:44 AM

Thanks for all the great posts

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#20

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 7:50 AM

How about one that you can hold in your hand while you straighten out the papers? It seems that you pick up the stapler and papers, put down the stapler to straighten the papers and pick it back up to staple.

Maybe it's just me!

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#22

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 2:23 PM

Hi folks,

Thanks for all the responses. The thread has provided with great leads for Google research and inspired a new development route. My thinking has moved on to hole-punches now and I have started a new, follow-on thread

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/22269/Desktop-Hole-Punches-An-alternative-to-stapling

Thanks again

Des-Eng

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/03/2008 3:54 PM

Noticing your location...are you royalty looking for something, anything, to fill too much time on your hands? Has the Queen asked you for a stapler or hole punch she can use without irritating her hands? If so, you could just buy her a combination battery/plug in stapler or punch unit--or pay someone to build a combination punch/stapler machine; then design and fabricate a royal holster she could use to keep it with her during her royal rounds.

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#27
In reply to #22

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/04/2008 12:58 AM

Have you ever considered price? Where I work we have occasion to staple as many as 75 pages together. What the office usually gets is one of those BIG staplers that are about two feet long. Our only problem was that the damn thing never worked! The staples (heavy duty) would get stuck inside the stapler, and a pair of pliers was the only fix.

Anyway, this got me looking into the office supply catalog, I noticed that the one we had sold for about $45.00. On another page I found a similar type, but this one cost $250.00! Since we stapled so much, I was able to talk the office manager into getting the $250.00 one. After that, never had another problem! Worked perfect, always drove the staples through, and never jammed. There's always someone out there that thinks they can make a cheap knock-off, but the $250.00 one had that cost because it worked and lasted!

My guess is that almost 99% of the offices in the US use the $45.00 ones and there is a great deal of lamenting going on.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/04/2008 8:35 AM

For that price, I'd buy a drill and bolt the pages together!

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#32
In reply to #27

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/07/2008 4:00 PM

We have a desk top stapler that will handle 75 pages, made in 1945 by Speed Products Co., Long Island City, NY .. Is double duty as paper weight, made of steel with black wrinkle finish, cost $10 at yard sale

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#33

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/07/2008 7:08 PM

The strangest problem I've had with a stapler was the legs of the staples would bend out instead of in.

I have a Swiss Army knife, and its can opener blade with small screwdriver tip makes a dandy staple remover.

I also have a U. S. Army knife, and the can opener blade on it works great for the heavy staples used on large cardboard boxes. It sped up my work when I was at the auto parts warehouse.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/07/2008 7:12 PM

Most decent staplers have an adjustable shoe that will slide from splaying the staple legs out or in.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/09/2008 5:25 AM

Most cheap ones too bend in:-

Rotate shoe, bend out:-

Notice another post it note "innovation" in these pictures. It's not that people deliberately steal your post it notes: they just borrow them and forget to put them back.

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#38
In reply to #35

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/10/2008 10:49 AM

Cheap does not equal less than functional. Cheap with functionality equals good design...

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#36

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/09/2008 11:51 PM

Alright! I have completely redesigned the stapler and am planning to cross the English Channel with it.

My redesigned stapler has twin 15-foot screws, three smokestacks, and luxury accommodations for 500.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/10/2008 8:22 AM

Ahhh but is it 'green'?

Does it burn hydrogen, use wind power or solar power?

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Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 5356
Good Answers: 50
#39
In reply to #37

Re: Redesign of the Humble Stapler

06/10/2008 10:50 PM

...bicycle pedals for 500.

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