KNK Force: Lesson 2

Force Blade Holders

Today I’m covering the new Force bladeholder. A few features about it:

  • There are three colors of blade holders: red, blue, and yellow. The only difference between them is the color. Thus you can use any Force blade in any color of blade holder. For convenience, I personally use red capped blades in the red blade holder, blue capped blades in the blue holder, and yellow capped blades in the yellow holder.
  • When you install a blade, you’ll observe that the blade is fully extended. There is no way to retract it and that’s how the blade will remain, regardless of which material you cut.
  • The blade holder has a large internal spring that controls the force being applied during the cut. As you rotate the top of the blade holder, you are compressing or decompressing that internal spring. Compressing it increases the blade tension, while decompressing decreases the blade tension.
  • There is a blade tension scale you set based on the material being cut. Tighter settings are used with denser materials while looser settings are used with lighter materials.
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    Parts of the Blade Holder:
    BH1

     
    Installing the Blade:

    (1) Remove the lower cap from the bottom of the blade holder and set aside.

    (2) Remove the plastic colored cap from a blade and insert the non-sharp end of the blade into the main section of the blade holder:

    BH2

    (3) Gently guide the cap over the sharp end of the blade and begin tightening the cap:

    BH3

    (4) Once the cap is fully tightened you will see the sharp end of the blade extending beyond the cap:

    BH4

     
    Setting the Blade Tension:

    Recommended Blade Tension (BT) settings will be available in the user manual and on the Force support sites. So make sure you look up that setting for your material so that you won’t need to guess. If your material isn’t listed, then pick a material that is similar in density. You can also contact me via email and I can provide input, as well.

    The scale is from 1 to 6 where 1 is for light materials, such as vinyl, and 6 is for very dense materials, such as mat board.

    BH5

    To set the Blade Tension (BT), hold the top cap of the blade holder firmly with one hand, making sure you can see the numbers on the tension scale. With the other hand, rotate the main part of the blade holder. As you rotate the main section of the blade holder, the tension will change:

    BH6

    When setting the BT according to a recommended value, adjust the blade holder so that the number is half-covered, half-showing as in the prior photo where the setting is at 5.

    There are approximately four revolutions between any two numbers. If a “half setting” is recommended, such as 3.5, then the blade holder would be rotated about two revolutions so that the tension is approximately halfway between 3 and 4

    BH7

     
    Protecting the Blade

    Because the blade is fully extended, it’s very important to exercise caution when inserting and removing the holder from the Force. Currently, I store my holders (with those blades extended) inside the fold-down table. But if I were needing to close up the Force’s table, then I would remove those blade holders, just in case. Michele Harvey (owner of http://cuttinupdesigns.com/) came up with a great idea for protecting the blade tips. She stores the holders in their original plastic tubes, but has added two foam pop dots in the bottom of the tube so that the blade will be resting against that foam:

    Blade Holder Idea

    If you don’t have these foam pop dots, there are other alternatives, such as cutting a few small squares from craft foam or from an egg carton or even from a thick material such as felt.

    In the next lesson, I’ll cover the settings in C3!

    KNK Force: Lesson 1

    Force1_resize

     
    The KNK Force is unlike any other blade-based cutter on the market! Regardless of your past experience with other cutters, including prior KNK models, it is VERY important that you understand the “new principles” behind cutting:

    • The KNK Force has Z axis control. Instead of the head “dropping” to begin cutting, it will move downward at a controlled speed. This change was necessary for adding rotary tool capability. It has also added a great deal of power, as well as functionality to the cutter.
    • The blade will now be fully extended at all times. With new depth settings, you control how “far down” the blade will try to cut. Blades are fragile, however, so use caution when inserting and removing your blade holder from the Force, as well as storing your blade holder.  Also, avoid “seeing what happens” by using extreme settings!  You can easily break a blade doing that!
    • Every time you insert any tool, you will set a Z Axis origin with the tip resting on either the top of the mat or on the top of the material. Thus you will no longer need to estimate how high to insert a tool. It’s important, when setting this origin, to not have the tool tightened within the blade holder seat until after the blade holder seat drops. The text on the screen will remind you because this is another way you can break a blade!
    • The blade holder has a Blade Tension setting. This setting is used to provide more or less force, depending on the material being cut. A material such as vinyl and thin paper will require the least amount of tension, while a material like mat board will require the most.  More about this will be covered in a future post.
    • There is no longer a Force or Pressure setting. This is due to the fact that the force applied is a combination of the Ending Depth and the Blade Tension.
    • With multi-pass cutting, you now have the ability to cut progressively through a material versus the blade trying to penetrate the entire thickness on the first pass. You will enter a Starting Depth, an Ending Depth, and the number of Passes. This will also be covered in more detail in a future post.
    • There are changes in how you approach cutting some materials compared to how they’ve been cut in the past. For example, there will be different settings for vinyl cut on a mat versus vinyl cut without the mat. These will be presented separately in the recommended settings table.

    Copics Boot Camp #6!

    Copics Boot Camp

    If you love Copic coloring or if you have invested in some Copic markers but are not using them to their fullest potential, then think about attending the Copic Boot Camp presented annually in Arizona. I can’t praise them enough!

    Jennifer Dove has become a Copic guru! She’s published in several of the Copic coloring guides and is featured in the Annie’s Attic Copic videos. The wealth of information she shares at her retreats overshadows the Copic certification classes and workshops I’ve also attended.

    Here’s a link to find out more about the upcoming retreat: Copic Boot Camp

    This is a weekend you’ll never forget! I will be there and I hope you will be, as well!

    Test Cutting Materials: A Troubleshooting Flow Chart

    For a PDF version, see the link at the bottom of the post.

    For a PDF version, see the link at the bottom of the post.

    I’ve devised a flow chart that I’m hoping will help all cutter owners who struggle with knowing how to find optimum cut settings for new materials. This has always been an issue for new owners since the principles involved in cutting are often counter-intuitive. I’ll always remember hearing from one of the KNK dealers who had a customer who thought his new KNK had to be defective because he had the blade fully extended and was using maximum force and was not getting a good cut from cardstock! If only it actually worked that way! There’s a reason why one does NOT cut with the blade all the way out NOR have the software set to maximum pressure. Not only are you attacking the material but you’re also cutting the mat versus the material… just not going to work!

    Now most new KNK owners have read Section 2.01 of their user manual and have at least been exposed to the following facts about cutting:

  • Set the blade length to match the material thickness – more blade isn’t going to result in better cutting
  • Set the blade height about 1/8″ above the material – too low and the cut won’t be consistent
  • Adjust the speed, force, and number of passes based on the material and shapes – refer to the user manual for “suggested” settings for your first test cut
  • Keep the cutting mat clean and sticky – if the material isn’t stabilized, it’s not going to cut.
  • Adjust blade offset according to the blade or tool you’re using – should be written on the blade packaging


  • There are some troubleshooting tips in Appendix B of the user manuals. There you will find suggestions about what to check if your cuts are not complete or you’re getting tearing of the material. But based on how many times I see posts about questions during test cutting, I figured it might be time to document how I’ve always gone about my own test cutting. I started with just some notes but quickly realized that it really is a logical flow chart procedure that I’ve always used:

    Test Cutting Flow Chart

    I’m eager to see how this works for all of you. I’ve privately shared it a few times now and received some positive feedback. But that doesn’t mean it still isn’t missing something. So feel free to let me know your experience when using it. I’ll be adding this to future user manual updates.

    Note: I also want to thank Steve Bailey for some great suggestions to improve the overall style. 🙂

    KNK “Secrets Revealed” Retreat – Appleton, WI June 12-14

    Capture

    Come join Michele and Nancy from Team KNK!!!! Master your Klic-N-Kut digital cutting system and Make-the-Cut software!

    The cost of the retreat is $395. For this price, you will receive 6-7 classes, 3-4 demonstrations and Make-n-Takes, 4 fabulous meals, lots of time for one-on-one assistance, class notes and files, free goodies, cutting materials and prizes! We will request topics of interest and will also feature favorite projects from Team KNK.

    The room will open at 2:00 pm on Friday with the Meet and Greet starting at 3:00 pm and class at 4:00 pm. Dinner will be served at approximately 6:00 pm, followed by classes, demos, and an evening workshop. Saturday will be packed with classes, demos, challenges, games, lunch, dinner, and an open workshop in the evening. On Sunday, we’ll have one more class followed by brunch and some final Q&A, farewells, and then parting gifts – concluding by 1 pm.

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

    Your hotel room and travel expenses are separate. We bring you a wonderful deal with the Holiday Inn of $99 per night plus tax. A full breakfast buffet features eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles and much more. If you live locally, you are not required to stay at the hotel. If you would like to be paired with a roommate, please note it in the application. You must mention Klic-N-Kut when you call the Holiday Inn Appleton directly at (920) 735-9955.

    The deadline for room reservations is May 20, 2015.

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

    Reserve your spot today by completing both of the following steps:

    1. Complete the application online. Please complete all of the questions – each retreat is customized to the responses you provide. If you prefer, you can email cuttinwithknk@gmail.com to let us know you wish to attend. After receiving the email, 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 at cuttinwithknk@gmail.com. Sometimes the evil queen intercepts email and all could be lost if we don’t find each other somehow!
    2. Send $195 deposit by check, money order, or PayPal to Michele Harvey, the event organizer. If your preference is PayPal, please use the email address cuttinwithknk@gmail.com.

    The deadline for making a deposit is April 20, 2015. The balance of $200 will be due by May 20, 2015. If you prefer to make three payments, arrangements can be made.

    The Holiday Inn Appleton is conveniently located:

    The Holiday Inn® hotel in Appleton, WI provides a lodging experience like no other in the Fox Valley. Conveniently located 1.5 miles from Appleton Outagamie County Airport (ATW), our Appleton hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to help meet your transportation needs.

    While staying with us in Appleton, hotel guests are conveniently near the corner of Highway 41 and College Avenue (exit 137) and within minutes of many area businesses including Pierce Manufacturing, Proctor & Gamble, Illinois Tool Works, Kimberly-Clark, Appleton Paper, and many more. We provide free high-speed Internet access, a 24-hour business center, and seven meeting rooms to meet your event needs and our friendly sales and catering professionals are happy to help make your event a success.

    Leisure travelers can enjoy a day of shopping at Fox River Mall, a Broadway performance at the Performing Arts Center, a day of family fun at The Building for Kids Children’s Museum, or even a Packers game at famous Lambeau Field, just a 30-minute drive away.

    The hotel has something for everyone. Kids can swim or play video games while mom and dad relax in our over-sized whirlpool and the family can relax at our outdoor courtyard or enjoy a meal in our Pub & Grill, where kids eat free.