Ever wonder how your beautiful magazine is printed and put together? In this post we’ll explore the printing, binding, and trimming steps that goes into each and every magazine made at MagCloud.
In an age of high-tech machinery and robotics it’s easy to believe that everything is automated and is accomplished with the minimum of human touch. In actuality, modern printing is rooted in classic techniques. While the process has become incredibly streamlined and print on demand delivering higher quality and more consistent results, it still requires the talents and skills of an incredibly dedicated team to create your latest issue.
To begin, MagCloud transmits your print-ready PDF, along with publication metadata, to one of our finely tuned printers. At the printer your publication is queued up and scheduled according to the product’s dimensions, attributes and routed to the appropriate press for printing. When it’s your publication’s turn the printing begins with the “guts” or the inside pages of your magazine. The printers used for magazines are sheet fed. Every printed sheet will contain both pages of a spread with space in between for folding or cutting (depending on the binding) and additional space around the edges to be trimmed off later.
Our printers use HP Indigo brand printers. Image from HP
Like your printer at home there are trays behind the printer for collecting the printed sheets. For smaller print jobs (less than 10 copies) and inspecting print proofs, there’s a special tray at the top for technicians to easily access and inspect a copy of the current print run.
For larger orders, publications are collated in the trays at the bottom.
Cover sheets are likewise printed in the same way.
However cover sheets use a higher stock paper and are treated with a protective satin UV coating.
The UV coating is applied and passed under a drying light on a conveyor belt.
After drying the coating the cover sheets are stacked and prepared for trimming. Special contact paper is kept on the machinery to keep the sheets clean.
Wooden “joggers” are used to press the sheets together to align the edges before trimming.
Light guides are used to align the trim cut precisely.
Separately, the interior sheets are trimmed. Because perfect binding was chosen the interior sheets are cut in half. If it had been saddle stitch binding only the edges would be trimmed and the sheets folded.
The spine edge of the sheets are fed into a machine that grinds down the edge making it adhere better to the binding glue.
Below the inner pages is the cover sheet. Again lasers are used to position the cover precisely before it’s joined with the inner pages.
The cover needs to be pre-folded before attaching the inner pages.
The cover sheet moves below the guts and the guts drop down in the binding machine.
After the cover and guts are bound together there is a final trimming cutting the pages flush so that the guts and cover are precisely the same dimension. The finished magazine emerges!
But we’re not done yet, we still need to wrap them up. The magazine is enclosed in a shrink wrap plastic and heat sealed.
Then the sealed magazine is packaged according to its quantity and sent to its new home.
As you can see there’s a lot of love and hard work put into every magazine sent to you and readers of your magazines!