About / Subscribe

Search for Past Topics

About Sandy McCauley
Digital Die Cutting: More fun than anyone should have with a piece of paper... or vinyl, plastic, fabric, iron-on, foil, and more!

Purpose of I Love KNK.com

This web site provides support, comparisons, videos and other information related to the Skycut and Klic-N-Kut digital die cutters, as well as various cutter software programs.

If you are just now learning about cutters, check out the Skycut videos.

If you are a current Skycut or KNK owner and need some help, check out the Support section of this site.

My Store

In the store at this site, I sell KNK Studio software videos.

Affiliate Links

I am an affiliate seller for:
Scrappy Dew's SCAL Video Training If you are an owner of SCAL and need help, I highly recommend this program which includes over 10 hours of online videos you can watch at your leisure.


Need some inspiration? Check out the Team KNK blog where talented KNK owners present never-before-published creations made with their cutters. New projects are posted several times per week.



I mainly use my K-N-K for cutting fabric appliques and this wonderful machine has been the answer to my "cutting" problems. Sandy has been a delight and such a helpmate from the first email we exchanged up to the present time. WOW! She is truly a blessing. Thanks, Sandy, for the many free videos. I like the fact that I can call those up when I need a quick answer. You are the best!!!

Sandra S.

Click here to read another testimonial.

Copic Certification

Copic Boot Camp


March 2021

Papers and Pixels

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About me:

I live in Tempe, Arizona with my husband of 31 years and we have two adult sons. I have BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M and worked for Exxon in Texas for 7 years before having my first child. After my boys were born, I became a dedicated stay-at-home mom. Once they were both in school, I split my time between volunteering at my sons’ schools and having part-time software support jobs.

My aunt convinced me to try scrapbooking in 1998 and I became hooked on paper crafting. When the first Craft Robo die cutters were released in 2005, I found an entirely NEW passion… digital die cutting. That grew even more after the Klic-N-Kuts were released and I was very honored to be hired by Accugraphic Sales, Inc. to write the user manuals for the Klic-N-Kut, ACS, and KNK Zing cutters. I also wrote the Design Master user manual for Graphtec GB.

I provide education and support for all Klic-N-Kut and ACS models (including Eagle and Falcon). This site provides both free and purchasable videos for KNK Studio, KNK Studio GE, ACS Design Studio, and Design Master.

I want to thank the following wonderful people for their contributions and hard work to support my business:

  • Michael and James McCauley for setting up the downloadable store, adding products, developing store graphics, troubleshooting problems, mailing packages, shopping for supplies, and all the other dozens of tasks that were required to build this business.
  • Chad Youngblut for teaching me how to cut and everything he knows about KNK Studio. I also want to thank Chad for rebuilding and continuing to provide tech support for this site.
  • Chris Durnan for urging me to start a blog! Great idea, Chris!



  1. Sandy McCauley

    Sorry for the delay! I missed seeing this post. The software isn’t transferrable from one owner to another, so I recommend purchasing SCAL5. If your Zing’s Serial Number on the bottom begins with ZA, then it’s a Zing Air model.

  2. Michael Waddell

    I am researching cutters. KNK Force bubbled up in my web research because I have a variety of materials I’d like to cut. BUT – I found out that KNK has discontinued this machine. There seems to be a lack of information and discussion about how this will impact the community and support. Also, the replacement device they steered me to doesn’t offer rotary cutting, which was a big selling point for Force. I was considering buying a used Force but now, I’m not so sure. What’s up with KNK?

  3. d. molinar

    i just purchased a zing knk cutter from an individual. she lost the software. she gave me links to re down load but i’m having issues doing that. how can i tell what version of this zing cutter is? so should i just purchase the sure cuts alot 5?

  4. Sandy McCauley

    You’re welcome, Lesle! So glad to read that it’s helpful! Please don’t hesitate to post any questions if you have them.

  5. Lesle Berry

    I just wanted to say thanks for the SCAL5 manual. I do not have KNK but found your manual thru Google. I have been working my way thru it and learnt so much. So just wanted to say thank you.

    Melbourne Australia

  6. Sandy McCauley

    Hi Bill,

    1. Yes. Both Make The Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot should work with your yellow KNK. However, I also urge you to test the trial versions of either or both before purchasing. I can help you with communication issues, if either do not work. You can download trial versions from these links:

    http://make-the-cut.com/Download.aspx?ref=lp (download both the program and then the Klic-N-Kut plugin under Cutter)

    http://www.craftedge.com/download/download.html (you’ll want to download Sure Cuts A Lot 4)

    Email me at smccauley45@cox.net if you need help with the communication settings to use.

    2. I assume you have the serial cable that comes with the yellow KNK? You’ll need it AND then connect an RS232 Serial to USB converter cable to the end of the end of that serial cable. The converter cable alone will not work. If you do not have the serial cable then you can contact KNK USA about a replacement, if they still carry them.

    3. The driver at this link should work:

    https://knkusa.com/resources/ (1st and 2nd gen KNK Driver)

    Again, happy to help with any additional questions or issues!

  7. Bill Alles

    I just purchased a KNK Yellow. no software, serial cable or dongle.
    I am very computer literate, so just need the basic answers.
    My questions are:
    1. Can I use other software without a dongle?
    2. Will a serial to USB cable be purchase from a computer store work?
    3. Are there drivers for Windows 8.1

  8. Sandy McCauley

    Hi Andrew,

    In case you didn’t get my private email response….

    I’ve never cut balsa that thick… only 0.06” (1.5 mm). In fact, I’m not even sure the cutting edge of the blue blade is long enough to properly cut a material that thick.

    If it were long enough, then the next thing is to make sure that balsa is stuck down very well to a sticky mat. Tape the edges isn’t just enough. The material needs to be completely stabilized in order to get a clean cut across the entire surface.

    Finally, if you do a get a clean cut, then you have to be careful about removal. One way to protect the cut during removal is to use a craft knife to make cuts from the outside of the shape to the outside of the waste and that will help loosen it from the mat and make it easy to remove.

  9. Andrew Mclaren

    Hi Sandy
    I am in need of help with cutting balsa wood. I’ve tried everything and have no solution to the remedy. I am about to toss this machine out of a tall story building
    I am trying to cit 2.5mm balsa wood and the Maxx 24 is not cutting the balsa . all it does is rips / tears / breaks the balsa wood
    I am using the silver holder with the blue blasé for thick materials and still no joy.
    Would you know of the settings for the machine speed and force as I’ve tried every speed and force as low as force = 10 to 160 – still have the issue ?
    Many thanks
    Andrew Mclaren
    South Africa

  10. Sandy McCauley

    Hi Jordan, sorry for the delay! The KNK Force would probably be best because, with the optional rotary tool, you’re able to cut thicker materials like foam core. The blades used in the regular blade holders are limited to about 2 mm whereas, with the rotary tool, you’re able to cut up to 5 mm in thickness. The Force cuts very fine detail from thin materials and can score the brick patterns you need. With the dual heads, you will also be able to score and cut at the same time.

  11. Jordan Billingsley

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for being such a great resource! I am an architectural model maker and have been using laser cutters for most of my work but am starting to see advantages to these electric cutting machines. Can you recommend a cutter that can cut intricate detail for say window mullions, score details for say brick patterns, and maybe cut thicker material (foam core or cardboard) for topography contours? Now THAT would be AWESOME! If there is not an all in one option, would you recommend a combination?

  12. Sandy McCauley

    The driver installs separately and isn’t really tied to KNK Studio. Let’s try that part again, using a number of different drivers. Interestingly, I’ve heard from users that one of these will work when others did not. For each test use these instructions.

    (1) Unplug your KNK from your computer.
    (2) Download and install the driver.(see link and recommended omes below)
    (3) Reboot Windows and wait for Windows to fully come up.
    (4) Plug in your KNK and wait a bit.
    (5) Check under Ports Windows Device Manager.

    Link: https://www.iloveknk.com/Support/Drivers/Klic-N-Kut/

    Try the one called Newer Driver, then Older Driver, then Driver- Maxx, Maxx Air.

    Fingers crossed! Post back and let me know what happens.

  13. Donna

    Hi Sandy, Thank you so much for your help, I’m very grateful. Unfortunately I am unable to get the USB connection to appear in my ports.
    I have tried to install the software following your instructions, there were a few slight differences along the way, but I’ve managed to get Klic-N-Kut Studio to open on my PC. I am now attempting to set up KNK Studio Version 8 following the next stage. My system is running on Windows 7 and I cannnot find the exact information as detailed on your instructions…..I have followed things through roughly, but can’t seem to find the USB showing in the Ports. I have taken screen dumps of what I have looked at, just to show you what is appearing. Do you think I have not installed the software properly?
    There doesn’t appear to be a USB named in the ports. I can see that there is an unknown device appearing on the USB controllers

    There appears to be a problem with the device status for the Klic-N-Kut……I’m not sure how I get this part sorted? Do I need to uninstall the software and try to reinstall?

    I’m afraid my screen dumps will not copy into here, so I cannot show you this properly. Can I email the screen dumps direct?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards

  14. Sandy McCauley

    Hi Donna,

    The software to download is here: https://www.iloveknk.com/Support/Software/KNK-Studio-V8-for-Older-KNKs/

    From your license CD, you’ll want to copy/paste the TWO files called Products and place them in the folder where you install KNK Studio: c:\Klic-N-Kut Studio Elements (or something like that). Those files will overwrite my own so that YOUR dongle will then work.

    You’ll need to install the driver for your cutter: http://knkusa.com/resources/ (your model is called 1st and 2nd Gen)

    Here’s is the UM link: https://www.iloveknk.com/support/user-manuals/original-knk-yellow-element-xl-grande-user-manuals/

    Let me know if I can help with anything else.

  15. Donna

    Please can you help! I live in Scotland and I have a Klic-N-Kut XL that I received as a present back in 2007. The machine has hardly been used as I found it difficult to get help at the time. I am now attempting to set it up on a PC that is running on Windows 7 Home Edition, the disc I have appears to have an error and will not work, I can’t find the instruction manual that came with the machine and don’t know which version online applies to my particular model of machine. I have the dongle for Klic-N-Kut Studio and also a Licence CD but I’m unsure how to proceed with setup. I have contacted Accugraphic Sales INC and Ron said to go online to download the software, but gave me no information about what I am to download or how to proceed, so I am totally stuck and unable to do anything with my machine. I will be very grateful for any assistance or information on any alternative software that will be easier to use.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

  16. Sandy McCauley

    Sorry for the delay, Lynn. Besides the ability to purchase and use the rotary tool with the Force, the dual head feature is also really nice if you’re into dual applications, such as score and cut for popup cards or boxes. The Zing Orbit is easier to get set up initially and has USB as well as Wi-Fi connectivity.

    Both cutters have a learning curve. On the Force, it’s actually easier to learn if you’ve never owned a cutter because it’s very different from the others in the hobby world. Those who have owned Cricuts, Silhouettes, Pazzles and even prior KNK’s have to “let go” of a lot of the rules of cutting gained from those cutters. The Zing Orbit behaves more like the standard cutters but with an amazing cutting resolution, allowing one to cut at higher speeds and still get the same cutting quality. It’s very impressive!

    I hope this helps. Please do ask more questions if you have them!

  17. Lynn Milano

    I have a question. I am new to cutting – never done it before. I am deciding between the Force and the new Zing orbit. If I had the Force I could also do heavier materials like wood – but I am wary of the high learning curve on this machine.
    If I get the Force though it seems to do more, plus all that the Zing does. ( I do not foresee needing the orbital tools) Just need some advice.

  18. Sandy McCauley

    Yes, you can. You can export from Corel Draw in SVG or EPS formats and both should open in MTC. The only thing is that I’m not sure color will also import. Try making both the Fill and the Stroke colored in Corel Draw to see if that works. You can also try direct copy/paste from CD to MTC… maybe that will work.

  19. Shanae

    Hey Sandy, can I transfer my graphics and files I made from Corel Draw into make the cut so I can cut to my KNK?

  20. Sandy McCauley

    No, not on that model. You might want to contact KNK USA to see if their Maxx model might be able to do that since it has a Repeat button on the cutter itself… essentially repeating the last cut.

  21. Mike Pearce

    As a follow up, I am using preprinted sheets from my inject printer. I use MTC only to score and cut. Once mounted on the 12″ x 12″ cutting board and clamped in position all I am changing is the emboss tool/blade as needed. I have been using Use Last when setting blade origin without removing the board+sheet and so had hoped there might be a way to save the three reference points for use on the same sheet once the scores were done and ready to be cut. It looks as though that can’t be done.
    I routinely need to score and cut the same sheet. Is there a way to save the blade origin and the three reference points with the Print and Cut feature? I have a 2016 KNK Zing with Make the Cut software.

    You can save the origin. When you go into the origin window, click on Use Last. But with the PNC feature, you cannot save those because there’s no guarantee of the following:

    (1) The printer printed in the exact same spot as the last time
    (2) The printout is on the mat in the exact same spot
    (3) The mat is loaded into the cutter in the exact same way… for example, isn’t slightly rotated by a fraction of an angle.

    Any discrepancies in those three will throw off a PNC by as much as a mm and that’s more than most PNC projects can tolerate.

  22. Sandy McCauley

    You can save the origin. When you go into the origin window, click on Use Last. But with the PNC feature, you cannot save those because there’s no guarantee of the following:

    (1) The printer printed in the exact same spot as the last time
    (2) The printout is on the mat in the exact same spot
    (3) The mat is loaded into the cutter in the exact same way… for example, isn’t slightly rotated by a fraction of an angle.

    Any discrepancies in those three will throw off a PNC by as much as a mm and that’s more than most PNC projects can tolerate.

  23. Mike Pearce

    I routinely need to score and cut the same sheet. Is there a way to save the blade origin and the three reference points with the Print and Cut feature? I have a 2016 KNK Zing with Make the Cut software.

  24. Sandy McCauley

    A few months ago, I ran into the same issue. I had to increase the Blade Offset to 0.45 mm and that resolved the issue. Try doing that and adjust the value up or down based on how the corners look. If the corners are rounded, go up to 0.50. If the corners are starting to bulge out a bit, then reduce to 0.40.

  25. Mike Perace

    My 45º blade was dull and so replaced it with a new 45º blade. The blade tip protrudes minimally beyond the opening of the blade holder and allows a test hand cut through a sheet of my 48lb paper. However I’m getting small lengths of incomplete cuts and tears and I noticed many smaller rectangular cuts are not square. There is excellent tack on the cutting board plus I us a roller to press the sheet down and I tape down all four edges. The stock is 48lb, blade is set at 25 post-it height, speed is Cut: 11 Up: 11, Force is 60 and Multicut is 1, Blade offset is .25mm and am using the print-and-cut option. Also I have a fomecore surface level with the KNK Zing on each side so the cutting mat doesn’t sag going forward or reverse. Have I got too much force or do I need to retract the blade a fraction of a turn?

  26. Sandy McCauley

    I don’t use a blank sheet… I simply have my light weight cardstock (~ 65 lb) directly on the mat. I use maximum pressure with 3 passes. However, I use 25 Post It notes so that a lot more force is applied. Try that. Another thing, the score lines are never deep on the underside of the cardstock. However, I fold ALL of the score lines forward first. Then I flip the cardstock over and can then, quite easily fold those that need to be mountain folds. Give it a try. I swear by my technique and have demonstrated it to others in the past.

  27. Mike Pearce

    For making pop-up cards I’m having limited success with the emboss tool for scoring 48lb paper. I have the printed sheet (48lb) on top of a blank sheet (48lb) with the small end emboss set 3 post-it sheets above the surface. Pressure is set to maximum 160 and passes also at maximum 10. The resulting scores are just barely enough to make accurate folds and with that I still have to work slowly or use a ruler/straight edge to aid folding. Anything to suggest for what may be a better backing surface for a deeper score or a better method in general? Thanks in advance for anything you can pass along.


  28. Sandy McCauley

    I assume you’re wanting to do rhinestone templates? Any of the KNK models can cut the template material needed for brushing in rhinestones. My email is smccauley45@cox.net.

  29. Momar

    Hi Sandy
    I am really happy to see your website, I am very interrested on products like this. I am searching information for a small bussiness I would like to start. I will need to cut motif for ringstones for women clothes.
    Can I have your email I would like to send you some examples of article I would like to do, and to ask you if I can cut the design with this cuting machine.

    thanks in advance.

  30. Sandy McCauley

    Sure! Happy to help. I need to know a few things:

    (1) What materials do you want to cut? What kinds of shapes?
    (2) Are you planning to use this as a small business application or as a hobby cutter only?
    (3) Do you need print and cut capability?
    (4) Do you have other applications besides cutting in mind?
    (5) Do you use a Mac or a PC?
    (6) Do you currently use a vector program for designing? If so, which one?

  31. Rachel

    Hi Sandy,
    I am wanting to purchase a KNK machine and I am not sure which one I should purchase. Could you please help me ? Thank you.

  32. Sandy McCauley

    Sorry for the delay, Lorri! I missed seeing this post. You Element MIGHT work with the Mac version of Make The Cut or Sure Cuts A Lot. You can contact KNK USA for help in determining whether or not you will need to purchase different cables for connecting to your computer.

  33. Lorri Smith

    Ms. Sandy,
    I purchased a KNK Element from you several years ago. It has been a while since I have been at home to use it. As far as I know it still works. I now have a Mac and I see the new KNK’s can be used with Mac’s unlike mine. Is there any reason I should look at another KNK? Thanks, Lorri Smith

  34. Sandy McCauley

    John, mostly likely it’s an issue of stabilization. The KNK mats may not be sticky enough to properly hold the laminated sheets during a cut. I’m not saying that the material is shifting on the mat, necessarily. I’m referring to the entire material being stuck down securely. So, the first thing I recommend is trying the ScanNCut mat to see if that makes a difference. Also, are you using the 25 Post It note method for seeing the blade tip height? That’s another thing that is important in order to get more force invoked. Also, while trying these tests, please go back to a more conservative force because if the SNC can cut this material, then a MA should be cutting it at no more than 160 or even less. If you still have problems, would you be able to call KNK USA during their working hours? Feel free to email me at smccauley45@cox.net so that I can answer you more promptly.

  35. John

    Hi Sandy,
    I’m hoping you can help with this problem. I have a brand new MAXX AIR and so far I am very impressed except for one thing. I have documents which I have laminated using 10mil laminate sheets and when I try to cut them with the cutter it only cuts 90% to 95% through the material. My settings are : Speed 50, force 250, 3 cuts, Blade is extruding enough that I can cut through the material by hand. I noticed that if I apply a slight bit of pressure on the blade holder while it’s cutting, it cuts all the way through.

    I also purchased a Brother ScanNcut which is a toy compared to the MAXX AIR and surprisingly it is able to cut through the Laminated document.
    I am a bit disappointed that the MAXX AIR is having trouble cutting this material but I am open to the idea that it could be my lack of experience with the cutter so I am hoping you can help.


  36. Sandy McCauley

    This will work much faster if you email me instead of using the forum. My email is smccauley45@cox.net. Let me know if you are using Windows or a Mac.

  37. Jessica

    Hi Sandy I did installed the programs, I have not done any calibrations, did installed the platforms but that’s it, now I am trying to do this Blue tooth and somehow I cannot find the maxx, I have many devices as my photo printers and regular printer via blue tooth, what am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help in advanced.


  38. Sandy McCauley

    In MTC you would use the Shadow function to do the exact same thing. I normally pick an outline of 0.01″ or even smaller.

  39. Gayle

    Comparing KNK studio software (I’ve used several years) and MTC (I have the demo) software.
    In Studio, I can take a font (papyrus) and with the “stroke and fill” tool, I can make it a thicker line to cut easier. I don’t see this feature, for fonts, in MTC. Can you help?

  40. Sandy McCauley

    The forum crashed and Chad is having big problems getting it back up and working correctly. I can help with the BT issue. Have you gone through the instructions in Chapter 1 on getting it set up?

  41. Jessica

    Sandy I am trying to get back to the forum but I forgot my password I tried to reset and website won’t let me, what do we do next, I am looking info about how to install the blue tooth.

    Thanks and God Bless


  42. Sandy McCauley

    I’m retired, so I no longer sell. The selling price on the Element will depend on which model (maximum cutting width). I recommend keeping the dongle so that you can continue using KNK Studio and then you’ll get MTC with a refurbished. If it’s not an option, that’s still a computer glitch. Just call them up when you’re ready to order (800-268-3672). Having both programs is great because they each have their own special features. Here’s a post I did on this topic:


  43. Gayle

    I purchased a KNK Element a few years ago. Still works great. However I am ready for something more. I am looking at the Maxx Air. Possibly a refurbished unit. Do you sell them? How difficult is it to sell the Element and what might it be worth? I do have accessories and blades for it. I have the Studio software that came with it (with dongle). How does that software compare to the MTC software that is supplied with the Maxx Air. Should I have both?

  44. Sandy McCauley

    I’ll email you directly!

  45. Sheryl

    I never downloaded the MTC. Do you remember what my password was in order to activate it?

  46. Sandy McCauley

    You should be able to cut templates from sandblast material on the KNK Zing Air. I’ve cut 2 mil Hartco sandblast rubber for rhinestone templates in the past.

  47. Chris Brooks

    Hi Sandy! I’m very excited to have found the KNK ZIng Air product – I’m hoping it will be just right for my needs. I’d like to use it to cut sandblast masks from 22 mil vinyl or rubber…. do you think the Zing Air is capable?

  48. Sandy McCauley

    Leather varies a lot in terms of how it’s been processed… in terms of three things: thickness, density, and stretchiness. The Maxx Air does the best job of cutting leather because of the high force it has. Basically, it can handle a wider range of leather types. So, I highly recommend it over the Zing Air. But if any of the leather you want to cut is stretchy, then it will need to be stabilized for cutting. That would just mean that it needs to have something applied to the bottom of it to keep it from shifting during the cutting process. Heat n’ Bond would probably work but there are lots of other alternatives, such as spray on adhesives and even freezer paper.

    As for fabric and vinyl, no worries there. Just make sure if you select a KNK, then you order a couple of fabric blades for the appliques.

    And yes, you can definitely engrave on most metals.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  49. Tonya Clinkscale

    I make purses, mainly from vinyl, and want to start accenting them with die cut appliques. I would like to use vinyl, leather and fabric materials for the appliques. However, I am not sure which die cutter will give me the power to work with leather, particularly. I also want the ability to engrave on light meteal, if possible.

    Can you recommend a machine?

    Tonya Clinkscale

  50. Sandy McCauley

    Sorry for the delay, Rasa! I was out of town when you posted this and somehow missed it upon returning.

    Try again at the web site you listed. That’s the one maintained by KNK USA. I’ll let them know you tried to reach them. Did you use the Contact link at their site?

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *