The following review was written on March 30, 2007, a few months before the Elements was actually released. The review was written based on knowing the capabilities of the 13″ KNK and the changes that were being made to the Element. I’ve added some updated comments in blue. I also want to add one comment about the Klic-N-Kut line of cutters. They are production-quality machines and can be run all day long without overheating. This is not true of most other digital die cutters in the same price range or less. You will even find that some of these others are not warrantied for production use.
Onto the review….
10 Reasons to Buy the Klic-N-Kut (KNK) Element
(1) The KNK cuts like butter! 🙂 Finally, I don’t have to worry about ANY of my Bazzill cardstock not cutting. I pulled out one particular heavy weave that I couldn’t even cut in two passes on my CR and it cut right through on the 13” KNK. The Element has the same 500g of cutting force and uses the same blades.
(2) I can plop ANY of my scrapbooking papers or cardstock on the mat and not have to trim them first. I suppose if some company starts producing 18″ x 18″ cardstock, then maybe we have a problem. But I don’t see THAT happening, do you? While the Element is limited to a cutting width of 8.5”, the cutter itself will have an opening wide enough for 12” wide cardstock. Note: there is no limit on cutting length. The KNK Element will hold a 13″ wide mat and will cut up to a full 9″ on the left side of 12″ x 12″ cardstock. Thus you can more efficiently utilize a sheet of cardstock compared to other similarly sized cutters, such as the Wishblade, Craft Robo, and Silhouette.
(3) Because of the way you set the origin at an EXACT corner, I can get a lot more out of a sheet of cardstock and know precisely where an image will cut. Further, the software has settings to allow a WYSIWYG approach, so that the way I see it on the screen is the same orientation as how it will cut on the mat as I face the cutter! (No more upside down cutting, as with the Wishblade and Craft Robo!)
(4) There’s a keypad on the front of the cutter where you set both the speed AND the pressure. I can even change these settings DURING the cut! Speaking of speed, the maximum setting is 24.5″ /sec which is about 6 times the speed of the CR or WB.
(5) The Klic-N-Kut Studio software is LOADED with all the features a scrapbooker can ever dream of using. I can easily make welded titles with mats, fill a page with identical images and “scrunch them” to save on cardstock, and auto-trace images imported from my scanner, hard driver, or even the Windows clipboard. Please refer to my separate review of the KNK Studio program. This review is in the blog just posted before this one.
(6) With the optional engraving tool, the Element can emboss on paper/cardstock and not just do outlines! The KNK Studio software has “color fill” functionality, thus one can emboss back and forth across an image to give a true raised look. I created beautiful embossed images on vellum, too!
(7) I LOVE the handle! Being able to simply lift this cutter by a handle to move it has proven to be a great feature! Even moving the CR and WB felt a bit awkward to me. I’ve taken the 13” KNK to crops and classes to teach and it was easy to get it in and out of the car and to carry in one hand while pulling my scrapbooking tote with the other. The Element will be even easier. And this has proven to be VERY true. I always take the Element, rather than my 13″.
(8) The KNK has a built-in tool storage. The new CR II’s and WB II’s no longer have the little extra storage for one tool… what’s up with that? The KNK can store up to FOUR tools. The Element will have at least this much storage also available. You can purchase additional tool holders, as needed. Some crafters like to have several bladeholders to hold the new drop-in accessory tools and various types of blades.
(9) These cutters cut chipboard! For the first time, I’ve been able to cut my own letters and shapes from scrap chipboard! The software has the built-in capability of doing multi-pass cutting to make it easier for thicker chipboards. I found that thin chipboards cut in one pass at only 300 g of pressure. The thicker chipboards took several passes at 500 g. There’s a new sliver blade that improves the cutting ability of thicker materials, such as chipboard, Grungeboard, foam board, stiffened felt, etc.
(10) The price is great! Okay, the Element IS $549, but with the added functionality and amazing software package, it is worth the extra $100 – $200 over either Wishblade, either Craft Robo, the Silhouette, or the Pazzles Mini.
There are only a couple of disadvantages I see:
(1) You still won’t be able to cut ALL chipboard. If it’s thicker than the maximum blade length or really stiff chipboard, then forget it. On the other hand, I’ve had no problem finding suitable samples from my stash and I’ve located a terrific on-line store for buying a reasonably thick, acid-free chipboard that cuts beautifully in two passes. Note that NONE of the other cutters, even those in the $1000-$2000 price range, will cut all chipboard.
(2) The following isn’t really a negative, but rather a warning to the prospective buyer. The Klic-N-Kuts are heavy-duty cutters and are not light weight and compact. They are made of metal and have far fewer plastic components compared to the cheaper cutters. Again, they come with a handle to make them easy to move, but if you’ve seen the cheaper cutters, realize that the KNK’s are substantially bigger. The KNK Element is 8.75″ x 19.5″ x 9.5″ and weighs ~20 lbs.
I LOVE the Klic-N-Kut! It solves all of the problems I’ve had with the Craft Robo, namely the inability to easily cut through certain cardstocks and the limitations in software capability. I can now cut certain chipboards! Additionally, it’s far easier to know where something will cut. I will keep my Craft Robo because I teach WB and CR students using it, but I haven’t used it for my own personal use since the KNK arrived.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I’m eager to discuss. You can also email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS Please feel free to share this review elsewhere.