Written by T. Michael Testi
When I first saw the Photobook Creator, I thought that this might be nice for people who were into scrapbooking, but it wasn't until I started playing with it that I saw its real potential. What is the Photobook Creator? It is a thermal binding machine that you can use to make hard-bound photo books. It is made by the Unibind company who have been making heavy duty thermal binding equipment for years.
What you get with the Photobook Creator is a resin binding machine, a resin-based binders, and software. Actually you get a registration card that you can use to download the software. After that, you provide the photographs and the paper. The Photobook Creator uses the same technology that is used in Unibind's other thermal binding products. In the fold of the photobook is a steel spine that contains a strip of resin. When the book is placed in the binding machine, the resin is heated and this is what glues the paper to the binder.
The Photobook Creator comes with the Photobook Creator mechanism which what binds the books, one black 3mm Photobook, and instructions on how to download the software that can aid in laying out your images. You can purchase additional Photobooks through various places like Amazon. They come in sizes from 5x7 to 12 x12 in size, and if you buy in bulk, you can get 10 for around $80 USD.
While you can use literally any kind of paper, if you want to make this look good, you really want to use a quality paper. That said, now all you have to do is create the pages. Ideally this will be a double-sided photo paper that is compatible with your printer.
Of course, the simplest type of book would be a general photobook. The software is pretty straightforward to use and there is nothing here that requires you to use the provided software. If you have another product like Adobe Photoshop that you are more comfortable with, then by all means use it. In this case, you just print out your pages how you would like them presented on what ever paper you want to use.
Once that is done, then you plug in the Unibind system. Keep in mind this system has no on and off switch so plugging it in makes it ready to use. Next you place the pages into the binder cover. You want to make sure that everything is lined up correctly.
Once all of your pages are in and everything is evenly aligned, then you place the cover in to the binding compartment. The light will turn red. You leave the binder in until the light turns green. This takes around 90 seconds. You then need to let the document to cool for at least 60 seconds. This can be left in the machine or, if you want to, gently remove the book. Once this is done, your book is ready to use.
I found the Photobook Creator very easy to use, and liked its simplicity. If I had one complaint about this is that I feel better with machinery that involves heat if it has an on/off switch. However, there is nothing that gave me a feeling of being unsafe, so I only mention it in passing, and it does not affect my experience with using the Photobook Creator.
Also, after playing with this and seeing the quality results, while I think it will be a hit with the scrapbook crowd, I also think that it will find many uses with businesses who need to put reports together. Just because it is called Photobook Creator does not limit you to using photos, and it will go well with photographers who want a cost effective way to put portfolios together, as well as customer presentations from a shoot. This would be a high class way to give a client a series of contact sheets for review in a professionally done binder. I am sure that there will be a lot of uses for the Photobook Creator. I can highly recommend this product.