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KNK Zing Orbit Review

by | Jul 20, 2017

Released in March 2017 to replace KNK’s popular Zing Air cutting machine, the KNK Zing Orbit is a significant upgrade to the range of KNK cutters. Boasting an impressive cutting force of 1000 grams — yes, that’s 2.2 pounds (or a full kilogram) of force behind that blade — this latest KNK Zing machine already has a slew of raving fans. Considering that it’s been on the market for a few months now, and it’s obviously popular among cutting machine enthusiasts, I thought it was high time to publish a detailed KNK Zing Orbit review!

The KNK Zing Orbit’s Top Features

  • Is the very latest KNK cutting machine
  • Has a cutting force of 1000 grams (which dwarfs the Silhouette Cameo 3’s cutting force of 210 grams)
  • Comes in two different sizes: a 15” wide machine and a 24” wide machine
  • Is exceptionally quiet
  • Offers both USB and WiFi connectivity
  • Automatic registration tracking
  • Fully adjustable pinch feed assembly
  • Has a maximum cutting speed of 30” per second

KNK Zing Orbit: In-depth review

 

The KNK die cutter range continues to impress me, and the Zing Orbit is no exception. The versatility of this machine is pretty amazing and it has quickly gained a cult following and a rapidly growing base of raving fans.

(You can always check out the KNK & Zing Users Facebook group if you don’t believe me!)

Stretch your creative wings

The Zing Orbit is a great machine to consider if you’ve outgrown your Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore Air. Unlike those two vinyl cutters, this Zing vinyl cutter doesn’t rely on standard settings, allowing you to control everything from blade depth, cutting force, pinch feed assembly and the number of passes you take.

Because of this, the KNK Zing Orbit is not a machine for beginners.

If you’re ready to take the next step and have complete creative control over your vinyl cutting designs, then this is the machine for you!

The Zing Orbit is a bit of a cross between your hobbyist vinyl cutters (I’m thinking of you Cricut and Silhouette) and your professional (and hideously expensive) vinyl printers and plotters such as those offered by Roland or Graphtec.

It’s perfect if you’re ready to expand your creative wings but aren’t ready to take the financial plunge into commercial grade die cutting machines.

Two width options

It’s a solidly built number, and comes in two different widths: a 15”-wide model and a 24”-wide model. Apart from the widths, there aren’t too many differences between the two models.

The 24” model comes with everything the 15” model comes with, but also includes two 24” Zing Orbit metal flatbed tables for the front and back.

The metal flatbed tables for the 15” model are optional extras.

Improved communication with software

The other terrific feature of this new KNK machine is the improved communication between it and cutting software. If you’ve ever had a complex job ruined because your cutter got overwhelmed, then you’ll be relieved to know that’s not going to happen with the Zing Orbit.

I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details, but let’s just say that freezing in the middle of complex, large jobs and screwing up your job because of it is a thing of the past because of the top-notch communication protocol the Zing Orbit uses.

It’s ridiculously quiet

For a cutting machine with such grunt, the KNK Zing Orbit is crazy-quiet. If you’re used to the rather weird, sometimes odd, and just plain noisiness of other machines, the fact that it’s so quiet might worry you.

Fear not! Even when cutting through heavy duty chipboard, this bad boy is still amazingly quiet in comparison to lower end, entry-level machines.

Auto registration tracking

This latest Zing model features automatic registration tracking, which means you’ll have faster and more accurate cuts when using it as a print-then-cut machine.

Why is this important?

Put simply, the Zing Orbit has a single cutting head, which means you can’t print and cut in the same operation. You will need to change your tool between each step (from a pen to a blade). This is where the auto registration tracking comes to your aid.

The Zing Orbit’s optic eye scans all four registration marks on the material being cut, and automatically adjusts the cutting mat to ensure your project is fully, and accurately aligned for perfect cutting in the next step.

You can see the Zing Orbit in action here:

Exciting accessories

In the biggest news in the craft cutting world, KNK will be releasing the optional ‘Orbit Accessory’ in the very near future. KNK claim this accessory will allow you to cut or draw on spheres and cylinders.

Watch out Christmas tree (and my family and friends) — there’ll be a whole new set of handmade decorations this year (if KNK get there act together and release this amazing attachment in time!).

Of course, this Orbit Attachment hasn’t been released yet, so I can’t actually say if it’s great (or not) but you can bet your sweet butt I’ll be ordering one of these babies to test it out as soon as it’s released!

Until then though, I just have to keep myself occupied with the other, less cool, Zing Orbit accessories such as the:

  • Engraving tool
  • Embossing tool
  • Punch/piercing tool
  • Stand
  • Extra mats
  • Metal flatbed tables (which are included with the 24″ model but are optional for the 15″ model)

You can also buy additional blades for specific materials, and it’s pretty handy to make sure you’ve got spare blades on hand because no-one likes waiting for a few days for blades to arrive when they’re in the middle of a big project.

You can buy the following blades separately, or as part of a pack:

  • Standard material blade (red cap)
  • Thick material blade (blue cap)
  • Fabric blade (yellow cap)

Drawbacks

Of course, I haven’t given this machine a perfect score because it does have a few not-so-great things that are worth being aware of.

Firstly, it doesn’t come with included vinyl cutting software.

Yes, I know what a pain in the butt that is. However, if you’ve already got a copy of Sure Cuts A Lot (either SCAL4 or SCAL4 Pro), then you don’t have to worry about it. And you’re not slugged with a higher price for the machine to cover the cost of software you already own.

And if you don’t have it, well … I guess you’re fresh out of luck, and should consider purchasing your copy at the same time as your Zing vinyl cutter.

Secondly, this latest Zing cutter has just a single cutting head. 

Both the Silhouette Cameo 3 and Cricut Explore Air 2 have dual cutting heads, which is a significant point in their favor over the Zing Orbit. However, the superior automatic registration tracking offered by Klic-N-Kut in this model goes at least some of the way in making up for including a single cutting head.

If you really need a dual cutting head though, and are serious about vinyl cutting, then I recommend the KNK Force over the cheap hobby cutting machines.

Thirdly, there’s a learning curve to conquer.

Learning how to design and cut with your new Zing Orbit is a bit of a learning curve, particularly if you’re used to the done-for-you solutions offered by Silhouette and Cricut. To me, this is not a bad thing if you’ve found the Silhouette or Cricut standard settings couldn’t cut the mustard (yes, it’s a terrible pun, I know! 😉 )  

 

Maybe you’ve decided the KNK Zing Orbit is not the best option for you? That’s ok – it’s good to know these things before you get buyer’s remorse, don’t you think?

Why not check out my ultimate guide to finding the best vinyl cutter? I’ve reviewed 10 other vinyl cutters, and have a comparison chart to help you decide on the best machine for you. You’re sure to find a good option there, and I’m adding new reviews all the time, too!

You’re welcome! 😉

What’s in the box?

  • The machine (makes sense, hey!)
  • One blue blade holder
  • One standard material blade (also known as a ‘red cap’ blade)
  • One thick material blade (also known as a ‘blue cap’ blade)
  • One test pen
  • One USB cable
  • One 15″ x 15″ blue grid cutting mat
  • One power adapter and cable
  • The 24″ model includes two metal flatbed tables for the front and back. (These are sold separately for the 15″ model).