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KNK Force review

by | Jul 26, 2017

This beast of a machine is a serious player in the world of vinyl cutting, and my website wouldn’t be complete without a KNK Force review. I mean, this bad boy has a massive 8.8 lbs (or 4 kg) of cutting force behind its blade (hence where its name comes from, I guess!) and a swag of features that will make all your vinyl cutting friends green with envy.

Initial production for the KNK Force was funded by a Kickstarter campaign back in 2015. It has since built a solid reputation and fan base through its versatile cutting ability, terrific customer support from KNK, and now offered at a price point that seems far too low for all this cutting machine has to offer. Considering this then, it’s time to have a better look at the KNK Force!

The KNK Force’s Top Features

  • Did I mention the 8.8 lbs (4 kg) cutting force? 😮
  • Dual cutting heads for printing and cutting in the one operation
  • Extraordinarily quiet
  • Maximum cutting speed of 29.5″ per second
  • Can cut a massive range of materials from the thinnest paper, vinyl through to mylar, chipboard and MDF
  • Cuts from SVG file formats, so you can design your cutting projects in any graphics program that saves your file as an SVG (with the correct settings, of course)
  • A specially designed rotary tool is available, giving you even more flexibility with your projects.

KNK Force: In-depth review

There aren’t too many KNK Force reviews out there, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not actually sure why. This KNK cutter is a ridiculously great buy, with so many features just not found in any other vinyl cutter at this price point!

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It’s seriously great value, isn’t it?!

And although it’s price tag is a bit heftier than your standard, entry-level cutters aimed at the casual crafter, the KNK Force comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a professional vinyl cutter but without the expense.

True z-axis for superior and accurate cutting

Ok, I wasn’t really sure what a ‘z-axis’ meant either, but it’s pretty simple really. The x-axis controls the blade’s horizontal movements, the y-axis controls its vertical movements, and the z-axis controls the blade’s depth, giving the KNK Force unprecedented fine control of the blade throughout a single job.

It’s possible to set a cut’s starting depth, as well as its ending depth — wow!

Need to start that cut nice and shallow but need a deeper cut elsewhere in the project? For example, do you need a kiss-cut for that sticker project you’re working on, but need a complete cut to make multiple stickers — all in the one pass? No problem – the KNK Force has got you covered!

Setting the marketing jargon aside, this feature is pretty revolutionary. Including such fine motor control was essential for KNK USA to develop their amazing rotary tool, which we’ll talk about next.

KNK Force rotary tool

Oh rotary tool, where have you been all my life?!

Seriously, this tool is the bee’s knees and lifts your Force’s capabilities to the next level. This baby will increase your Force’s cutting depth from 2mm to 5mm, and means you can use it instead of a router or laser cutter to engrave deep or hard materials with the precision you’ve come to expect from KNKUSA.

Want to engrave your name onto a sign, or carve out some hard plastic partyware — no problem! You can even use it to make your own custom stamps out of ezy-carve rubber or some reusable plastic stencils.

What? Did you say I’ve just given you some ideas for your Etsy shop?

Glad I could help! 😉

Motor-controlled dual cutting head

Taking a leaf out of the Silhouette and Cricut playbooks, this KNK machine takes their best feature and makes it better.

The KNK Force uses a motor, not a solenoid, to drive its cutting head, meaning it has far greater precision and control than most of its competitors. Combined with its crazy 4 kilograms (8.8 lbs) of cutting force, it leaves the Silhouette’s piddling 210 gram force for dead.

Honestly, if these two features don’t put you squarely in Team KNK, then I’m not sure what will!

Built-in camera for improved registration tracking

The team at KNK claim they have always had some concerns about automatic registration tracking with optic eyes (as in their Zing Orbit) as it can have some issues finding registration marks in low light.

Now personally, I’m not one for using my vinyl cutter in low light conditions (give me a sun-filled studio any day), but I hear what they’re saying. And any improvement in accuracy for multi-pass jobs gets a big tick from me!

To improve registration, they’ve given the optic eye the flick in this KNK cutting machine and replaced it with a fully fledged camera. As digital cameras and lenses decrease in size (and price) I suspect this won’t be the last we’ll see of cameras replacing optic eyes.

Control the Force with any operating system

The KNK Force cutting machine is driven by KNK’s own browser-based Cutter Control Center (also known as C3). It’s a pretty nifty move, because every operating system, whether it’s Windows, Android, or Apple, runs browsing software, and C3 is compatible with all of the main ones: Chrome, Safari and Firefox in particular.

So whatever hardware you’re using, you can drive your cutter.

Want to start your project on your iPad while watching bingewatching Suits? Sure!

Want to shift that project over to your Windows-based PC to finetune the design? Done!

Want to send something to your cutter via your smartphone? Easy!

What’s even better than that flexibility? Despite using a browser to drive your machine, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to do it. You just need your cutting machine and designing device connected to your home network and away you go. Nice one, KNK!

Cuts from SVG files

Combined with C3, the KNK Force can cut any shape saved as an SVG. Admittedly, the correct settings need to be chosen when saving your work as an SVG file, but that’s fairly normal with any graphic design software.

That means you can use almost any professional design software (such as Adobe Illustrator)  to work up your KNK projects, save them as an SVG files, then cut them out.

Of course, if you’d rather develop your cutting files using Sure Cuts A Lot 4 or Sure Cuts A Lot 4 Pro, then you can do so easily, as they are both directly compatible with the KNK Force.

Extra features of the KNK Force

While I don’t think any of these extra little features are a huge selling point for KNK’s Force, I do think they’re worth mentioning.

Firstly, the Force can connect with your network using either WiFi or an ethernet cable. Personally, I’m a wire-free girl so the WiFi option is definitely my preferred choice, although it’s nice to know I can still complete my project if my WiFi decides to misbehave.

Secondly, the Force can cut up to speeds of 29.5 inches (or 750 mm)  per second and without losing its accuracy.

Thirdly, you’re not restricted to using the mat provided if you don’t want to — or if you’ve got a larger project on the go. You can feed your vinyl through the machine if it’s still in a roll, and the length of cutting projects is limited only by your imagination. Although the width is limited to 15 inches.

Lastly, the KNK Force has a storage tray for your tools, proving that Silhouette and Cricut have some good ideas worth copying in professional vinyl cutting machines such as this.

Drawbacks

There is no perfect die cutting machine on the market, just the perfect machine for YOU. So there are some things you should be aware of before splurging on this beastly cutting machine.

This is not a machine for beginners.

I’m really serious when I say this, so I’ll repeat it: the KNK Force is a professional-level machine and not the one for you if you’re just starting out.

There’s a lot to learn, and even if you’re experienced with a hobbyist cutting machine, then you still might find the KNK Force very, very difficult to use. However, don’t let me put you off though! There is a dedicated Facebook group full of very helpful and friendly people who are more than willing to help you. Also, KNK’s customer service is very good too.

You can join the KNK Force Facebook group here.

Lastly, setting up the machine and connecting it to your network can be tricky and you MUST follow every step in the manual closely. Even then, some Force owners have had difficulty getting their machine connected. If this happens to you, you’ll need to contact KNK directly as they will be able to help you.

Apart from those points, the KNK Force is a terrific machine if you can overcome the network connectivity difficulties and very steep learning curve.

May the Force be with you!

What’s in the box?

  • The machine (what a surprise!)
  • Power adapter
  • Ethernet cable
  • Installed WiFi adapter
  • Blade holder
  • 2 blades (one for thin material and one for thick material)
  • Test pen
  • One 15″ x 15″ cutting mat

KNK Force specifications

Weight: 23 lbs
Dimensions: 28.5″ x 7.5″ x 9″
Maximum cutting speed: 29.5″ per second
Compatible software: Driver is KNK Cutter Command Center (C3), and Sure Cuts A Lot 4 or Sure Cuts A Lot 4 Pro are the recommended design programs, and are available to purchase separately.