KNK Retreat in Texas: July 22 – 24, 2016!

Texas Retreat

Come join Michele Harvey from Team KNK, and learn to master your Klic-N-Kut and Make the Cut software!

The cost of the retreat is $395 which includes:
✩ 4 great meals
✩ 6 – 7 classes
✩ Demonstrations
✩ Make-n-Takes
✩ free goodies
✩ one-on-one assistance
✩ class notes and files
✩ cutting materials

Favorite projects from Team KNK will also be presented!

Your hotel and travel expenses are separate. Rooms are $89 a night, plus tax. When you call to reserve a room, be sure to mention “Cuttin’ With KNK” to get this group rate.

DEADLINE TO RESERVE A ROOM: June 22, 2016

Springhill Suites by Marriott DFW East/Las Colinas/Irving
(972) 580-1120

5800 High Point Dr.
Irving, Texas 75038

Hotel Amenities:
✩ free breakfast buffet
✩ fully equipped fitness center
✩ on site parking
✩ heated indoor pool
✩ whirlpool
Conveniently located near DFW Airport with free shuttle service to and from the East airport entrance.

The Lonestar lll room will open at 3:00 PM with the first class starting at 4:00PM. Dinner will be served, followed by classes, demonstrations, and an evening workshop. Saturday will be chock full of classes, demonstrations, challenges, games, lunch, dinner, and an evening workshop. On Sunday, we will have one more class, followed by brunch and some final Q & A and parting gifts. The event will conclude at 1:00PM.

Participation in all classes and demonstrations is optional, so you can head out any time to enjoy the local attractions. We encourage you to bring your cutter, but it’s not a requirement to join us as we will have extras and will seat everyone for sharing as needed.

If you would like to have a guest join us for a meal, please include the request in your application. We will provide actual pricing after we have a final count. This retreat is available for 25 attendees, and we will have a waiting list in case of cancellations.

***Reserve Your Spot***

1) Complete the online registration here. Please complete all of the questions – each retreat is customized to the responses you provide. If you prefer, you can email Michele at cuttinwithknk@gmail.com to let us know you wish to attend. We will send you a short application form to complete, scan, and return. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours, please contact Michele.
2) Send $195 deposit by check, money order, or PayPal to Michele Harvey. If you use PayPal, please use href=”mailto:cuttinwithknk@gmail.com”>cuttinwithknk@gmail.com.

THE DEADLINE FOR MAKING A DEPOSIT IS June 22, 2016. The $200 balance will be due July 8, 2016.

See Y’all in Texas!

User Manual Changes and Why You Should Be Reading It

UM I want to emphasize the importance of reading the first 3 chapters of the KNK Force User Manual:

  • The KNK Force doesn’t work like any other blade based cutter in the hobby world. Read the Introduction for details.
  • If you don’t follow the instructions, you’re not going to get good cuts AND you can break a blade.
  • If you don’t understand the new settings used in Z axis cutting, you won’t be able to troubleshoot cutting issues.
  • On Monday, I uploaded a new version. Below is a list of the major changes for those who have already gone through the initial January 11 publication. There are some other minor changes such as typo corrections and a few clarifications here and there. But if you’re just interested in knowing the “big changes”, here’s the list:

  • Introduction: Added a section before Important for those customers who have never owned a cutter
  • Section 2.01.1 Cutter Tabs – covers functions on each of the main pages/sections and where to find details in the UM
  • Section 2.02: More information in the Important box
  • Section 3.04: Added two new terms: Tool Mode and Layout Mode to better explain where images will cut
  • End of Chapter 3: More materials added to the suggested settings table. This will continue to change with future updates.
  • Section 4.01: Explained more about SVG files
  • Section 4.02: Entire section rewritten to cover Tool Mode and Layout Mode for various vector programs, as well as “things to do” before or during SVG export
  • Section 4.03: Explained how to find out which C3 version you’re using and what each version changed
  • Sections 5.03 – 5.07: Added information about using Force accessory tools
  • End of Chapter 5: Recommended settings for accessory tools. This will continue to change with future updates.
  • Section 7.08: Preliminary information on design changes to make for rotary tool use
  • Acknowledgements: Added to say thanks to the people who are contributing to the content of this user manual! 🙂
  • As always, if you run into problems you cannot resolve after reading pertinent sections, seek help! We enjoy making KNK owners successful! Also be sure to check out the various resources for the KNK Force. Right now, the Force Facebook Group is VERY active and a great place to join in on friendly discussions and sharing of ideas and solutions. Hope to see you there!

    KNK Force with C3 Support Page and User Manual

    ForceA

    At long last KNK USA is ready to provide instructions and support for the new KNK Force die cutting machine. I have set up a support page here with a link to a preliminary user manual. This manual will be updated every day or two so I recommend holding off printing it.

    I still need some time to compile the suggested settings for materials tested so far. The settings table for cutting with a blade will be at the end of Chapter 3 and I’m targeting to have the first version of this table uploaded by tomorrow at the latest. Settings for the various KNK tools, including the rotary tool, will be available in about a week. If you’re eager to get started using any of the accessories, please just contact KNK USA or me directly and we will provide some suggestions to get you started.

    As in the past, I’m open to constructive criticism regarding the user manual. Please let me know if there needs to be clarification in certain sections, corrections to typos or other grammatical mistakes, and suggestions for making it better.

    Have fun with your new KNK Force! And thank you for your patience as the C3 software continues to be enhanced.

    KNK Force: Lesson 4

    L41

    Understanding where shapes will cut is always a challenge faced by anyone with a new cutter. Our brains are programmed to expect one result and, unless you just get lucky, a different result is what you get. KNK USA has always provided a test pen with every new cutter so that new owners can draw on scrap paper for the first hour or two or three and avoid wasting material or cutting into the mat.

    I want to emphasize that this lesson is based on how C3 works currently. At some point in the future, C3 will have more options. Also, I welcome questions, so don’t hesitate to post them here. All posts are moderated to prevent spamming so you won’t see your questions immediately appear nor will they be answered quickly. But I will answer them within 24 hours.

    Let’s get started! As you work through this tutorial, click on the screen captured images, as needed, to get a larger view. The bounding boxes around the shapes in C3 can be difficult to see otherwise.

    There are usually two orientations in a cutting program: Portrait and Landscape. Currently, C3 only cuts in Portrait mode. Thus, the way you see it on the screen in the design program, left to right, is the way it’s going to cut in C3: left to right, as you face the Force. Note that it doesn’t matter whether or not the design program has a portrait or a landscape setting. Therefore, if you have a design that is wider than 15″, you need to make sure it’s rotated before exporting as an SVG. For example, let’s say this is your design and it is 23″ wide:

    W9

    This file cannot be cut in this direction. It must be rotated so that the 23″ side is running up and down on the screen:

    W10

    Now the file will cut to the Force the correct way. Note that being able to rotate shapes before cutting is on the To Do list for C3, but not yet available.

    The material to be cut can be located anywhere on the cutting mat:

    W1

    Some programs use a virtual mat and users place the material on the actual cutting mat based on where the shapes are located on the virtual mat. In C3, there is no virtual mat. But the following steps will help you understand where you can expect shapes to cut based on how they appear in C3.

    You always set an X,Y origin before cutting. This origin is typically in the lower right corner of the material, just a small distance from the outside edges. The tip of the left side tool is used for setting this origin.

    W2

    The thumbnail image in C3 indicates where the image will cut relative to the origin you set on the Force. For example:

    W3

    If you have several shapes, then those shapes maintain the same relative distance apart:

    W4

    If you set the origin in a different location, such as at the “X” below, then the shapes will align with that new origin. For example:

    W5

    To help clarify this, note the box that surrounds the thumbnail image. The lower right corner of that box approximates the location of the origin you set:

    W11

    Depending on the program which exported the SVG file, you may find a situation where the thumbnail box around the shapes is much larger:

    W7

    In this case, the thumbnail box indicates that the original software had the ability to store more information in the SVG file: specifically the size of the document area that was used in the software and where the shapes were located in that document area. The same alignment occurs in that the bottom right corner of that thumbnail box will align with the origin that is set. The origin is again set in the lower right corner of the material and the shapes will be cut in the location indicated by the thumbnail:

    W12

    Some vector programs allow you to choose, during export, how the shapes will be located relative to the bounding box. In other words, you can decide if you want the bounding box to be just around the shapes themselves or around the document area that was set up in the original program. This will be covered, in the User Manual, for various common vector programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape.

    For programs that cannot export an SVG with information about shape location (e.g. Make The Cut), a quick work-around is to add a tiny shape, such as a small line, at the bottom right corner of the virtual mat or document area:

    W13

    Without that small shape, the bounding box is around the other shapes:

    W14

    However, by including that small shape in the lower right corner (which matches the location of the origin on the Force), the bounding box now extends to the origin and the shapes will cut in the same location on the material as they are positioned on the virtual mat in MTC:

    W15

    The best way to master this topic is to play around with some shapes of your own, exporting them from your vector design software, predicting where the shapes will cut on the Force, and then verifying using the test pen and paper. You can’t get started quite yet! But soon you will and again, if you have questions, post away!

    KNK Force: Lesson 3

    Force Main Screen

    This lesson will cover Layer settings in C3… meaty stuff, so grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage for this one! You might also want to click on the image above and print it in Landscape orientation. That way you can refer to it as you go through the settings and even jot down some notes on the printout.

    As previously mentioned, the KNK Force doesn’t have a “force” setting, which is kind of funny, right? Instead it uses a combination of depth and blade tension (this latter setting was covered in Lesson 2). Also, because of Z axis control, you can have progressively increasing depths in multi-pass applications, as well as control the speed along the Z axis. Thus, there are new settings to learn and this lesson presents the names, descriptions, and typical values. But remember that you’ll want to check the settings table before trying out any cuts to make sure what you’re using seems in line with the materials you’re planning to cut.

    Passes
    Passes

    The Passes setting, which can be set from 1 to 20, controls the number of repeats on any individual path before the blade or tool moves to the next path.

    This is an important feature in many applications because having the blade or tool work its way through a material yields a higher quality product. The blade or tool also will remain in the down position during the repeats, which is better than having the blade or tool start over after completing an entire project.

    Some examples where more than one pass is recommended:

    • Cutting thicker denser materials, such as chipboard, where multiple passes allows the blade to progressively “carve” through the material
    • Cutting fibrous materials, such as fabric, where two or more passes ensures that all of the fibers have been cleanly cut
    • Cutting intricate or detailed shapes (such as script titles) from certain materials, such as heavily textured cardstock, where a single pass may leave certain spots not cleanly cut
    • Cutting rhinestone template material where a second pass results in much cleaner weeding of the cut circles
    • Using the rotary tool for cutting or even just engraving thicker and/or denser materials

    Cutting Depth / Ending Depth

    The depth settings are target locations on the Z axis for the tool to attempt to reach, based on the Z origin set to 0. Each increment represents ~ 0.00085 inches or ~ 0.02 mm.

    The Cutting Depth only appears when Passes is set to 1.

    CD

    When Passes is set to 2 or higher, this same setting is called Ending Depth.

    ED2

    This setting is important because it controls how deeply the blade will attempt to penetrate the material. If set too low, the material will not be completely cut. If set too high, the blade will cut through the material and into the cutting mat or the backing sheet of a material like vinyl. It will also then cause tearing of materials, such as paper and cardstock.

    While it would seem logical for this setting to simply be the thickness of the material, the resistance of the material (density), combined with the fact the blade is being pushed up due to an internal spring inside the Force blade holder, means that a higher setting is required.

    Starting Depth

    When using more than one pass, the Starting Depth setting also appears.
    ED1

    ED2This is the target depth for the first pass only. This setting can be the same as the Ending Depth or it can be smaller, which often makes sense when cutting thicker materials. Having Z-axis control, combined with the Starting Depth and Ending Depth settings, allows the blade to work its way through thicker materials in stages versus the usual way cutters work (trying to cut all the way through the material right from the start).

    If three or more passes are selected and you have entered a separate Starting Depth and Ending Depth then, after the first pass, each subsequent pass will have a progressively increasing target depth based on a linear calculation. Details about this are in an appendix section in the Force User Manual.

    Recommended depth and pass settings will also be available in the user manual for a range of materials and applications. These settings will be regularly updated as more testing is done. But it’s also important to remember that with any recommended setting, you must still perform test cuts using small shapes or a portion of your project to make sure the settings are sufficient for a great cut. Many factors play into how well a material cuts including the dullness of the blade, the condition of the cutting mat, the material’s exposure to humidity, and slight differences in setting the tension on the blade holder.

    Cutting Speed

    Cutting Speed
    The Cutting Speed is how fast the blade or tool travels while in the down position. On the Force, the setting ranges from 1 to 40, where a setting of 40 represents the maximum of 750 mm/sec.

    Note the word “Default” in the screenshot. In C3, you can set default values for the depth and speed settings. Of course, they can still be changed before a cut but, if you typically always cut the same types of materials, it’s handy to have these settings start up at default vaules. More about defaults will be covered later in this post.

    For small and/or intricate designs, slower speeds are better. The same is true when using the rotary tool. But when cutting, with a blade, larger or simpler designs, much faster speeds should work fine. A slow speed is 10 – 15. A really slow speed is less than 10. A fast speed is ~ 25 – 30. A speed over 35 is extremely fast but useful when using a marker or a pen.

    Up Speed
    Up Speed
    The Up Speed is how fast the blade or tool travels in the up position, moving from one location to another to begin cutting. The range of settings is from 1 to 40.

    For most cutting applications, this setting can be quite high, ~ 35 – 40. However, for some applications, such as a print and cut (PNC), the setting should be lower, ~ 15 – 20, for maximum accuracy.

    Plunge Speed
    Plunge Speed

    The Plunge Speed is how fast the blade or tool drops from the up position to the down position. The range of settings is from 1 to 40.

    When cutting soft materials with a blade, the Plunge Speed can be set quite high, e.g. at 40. If you are cutting a dense material, such as a thick chipboard, using a lower Plunge Speed, such as 20, can help protect the blade from too strong of an initial impact with the material.

    When using the rotary tool, it is important to keep the Plunge Speed even lower so as to avoid damaging the tool upon contact with the material. It also allows time for the tool to cut down to a desired depth before starting along a path.

    Lift Speed

    Lift Speed
    The Lift Speed is how fast the blade or tool rises from the down position to the up position. As with the other cut speed settings, the range is from 1 to 40.

    For light weight tools, such as the blade holder, embossing tool, pens, etc, this speed can be set high (~ 35 – 40). When using a heavy tool, such as the rotary tool, it’s important to use a slow speed.

    Cutting Tool

    The Cutting Tool setting controls which of the two heads is used for executing that layer. The default is left but when the right side is needed, then clicking on the word Left will toggle the tool to Right:
    Cutting Tool

    Since the X, Y origin is always set based on the location of the left side tool, it is logical to only use the right side when both sides are in use.

    Blade Offset

    Blade Offset is the horizontal distance from the center of the blade shaft to the tip of the blade. A pen, embosser, engraver, and rotary tool all have an offset of 0 because the tip is centered with the center of the pen/engraver/tool shaft. But a blade is different:
    Offset
    If you set the Blade Offset to 0 when cutting with a blade, corners will be rounded. If it is set too high, bubbles will cut on sharp corners:
    Offset 2
    Below are the current Blade Offsets for each of the three types of blades used in the Force blade holder. However, any time you have ordered new blades, refer to the packaging for the correct Blade Offset for that particular blade.

    Red capped blade: use 0.01 in (or 0.25 mm) (or 0.025 cm)
    Blue capped blade: use 0.014 in (or 0.35 mm) (or 0.035 cm)
    Yellow capped blade: use 0.03 in (or 0.75 mm) (or 0.075 cm)

    Closed Path Overcut

    Closed-Path Overcut is located under Advanced Settings:
    Overcut1
    Closed Path Overcut is related to Blade Offset in that it isn’t needed when using a pen, embosser, rotary tool, and so forth, as the tips of those tools are aligned with the center of the tools themselves. However, if Closed Path Overcut is left at 0 for a blade holder, then closed paths will not be completely cut:
    Overcut2

    Use the following settings, according to blade type:

    Red capped blade: use 0.015 in (or 0.38 mm) (or 0.038 cm)
    Blue capped blade: use 0.02 in (or 0.50 mm) (or 0.05 cm)
    Yellow capped blade: use 0.04 in (or 1.0 mm) (or 0.10 cm)

    Defaults

    Defaults can be set under Settings>Machine Settings. These defaults will then be automatically loaded each time a new file is opened. For now, just note the depth and speed settings in the window below. In subsequent lessons, I will cover the other settings.

    Defaults

    After entering new values, click on Apply Changes at the bottom. Any time a new SVG file is then opened, these default values are then loaded into the Layer settings.

    If you wish to save the current settings used for a particular file then, at the bottom of the main screen, click on Download an SVG Preset. You will then be able to save your current SVG, along with its cut settings, as a new .svg file. Be sure to give it a new name before saving.

    So, there you have it! It’s really not all that complicated. When cutting easy materials with the blade holder, you’ll just be adjusting Blade Tension and Cutting Depth. In some situations you’ll be setting Passes higher and maybe still using the same value for both Starting Depth and Ending Depth. It’s only if you want to cut materials like chipboard or mat board that using a separate Starting Depth from Ending Depth comes into play. And, with those same dense materials, you might want to reduce the Plunge Speed to protect the blade.

    The Force Rotary Tool will require more attention as more Passes will be common and lower speeds required. Not to worry! Those settings, along with more information, will be covered in its own chapter in the Force User Manual.

    Happy New Year, everyone! The next tutorial will cover opening SVG files and understanding where shapes will cut.