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KNK Force plotter


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Another new tool is rolling out at the end of this month. This one should please a few people who are making miniatures with drag knife plotters. They have added a second knife/pen holder head to the machine and also are going to offer a holding for rotary tools such as a Dremel.  The KNK company has been in the business of making the electronic drag knife  (vinyl cutters) that can handle thicker materials such as cardstock for quite a few years. They appear to be decent quality machines, definetly much  better and more capable than the entry level craft cutters such as Silhouette and Cricut.


With this machine you actualy will be able to cut and engrave thin wood with what is essentialy a souped up vinyl cutter. However instead of risking spitting the wood under pressure from a wedge shaped knife you will be able to machine the wood to cut through it with a small router bit. There will be a vacuum hose attachement for the rotary tool holder to collect the dust.


While they actually are going to start shipping the machines to customers this month they still not yet made public the full specifications  or any video tutorials. Also the rotary tool holder is not yet available.  Personally I a not a huge fan of all this early development shipping that gets generated by the pressure of the Kickstarter campaing funding.


For me if the specifications for the viny cutting are of high enough resolution it might be a handy tool to travel with in my mobile workshop space.

It will also be handy because with the dual heads you can have a knife and an embossing tool employed on the same project as demonstrated in this video. That could be very useful for miniature makers as you would be able to create professional quality packaging of  custom sized small boxes on demand without having to shop for them, purchase  in quantity to get a good price or store them.



Here is the introductory video used on their kickstarter campaign where you see the rotary tool in action. Not much time spent on showing that but at least it is in the video.


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Karin, thanks for keeping us informed about options in this area of knife cutting machines.  I wonder about the thickness of wood that can be accommodated for the KNK... and then was thinking why someone who is interested in the using a rotary tool, wouldn't buy the Rockler CNC Router, and just purchase a collet adapter to use a 1/8" bit.  Certainly you need a smaller bit to accommodate the fine detailing that miniatures require. 


As I have spent, hours, and hours and more hours in my current project of carving the overmantle from the most recent Guild Study Program, I keep thinking that with a digital probe, it would be so easy to recreate this out of wood.... and while the folks overseas who make mini furniture for export to the US Markets make a decent project, I am hoping that collectors will always understand and know the difference in quality of a non-mass produced miniature.


That was a lot of money that they raised for their kickstarter campaign.  I did not catch the projected price of the unit.  I am guessing you would still need software for your design and software for the machine to use the design... then that makes me wonder how the end user controls the programming functions of embossing vs. cutting without proprietary software. 


So, I would only guess that two heads for embossing & cutting are better then one.



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The Rockler CNC router cost considerably more than this machine which is priced around $600.00 with the rotary tool holder being an additional amount that has not been stated. It is also a much larger machine that is more suitable for heavy duty work and light duty daily manufacturing. I had one but sold it when I shut down my larger workshop. I never used it that often anyway and I have other other CNC machines around to use instead of that one.


The current trend in scanning is going towards using digital photography. It works better and can be used for objects such as in museums where they don't want to damage the surface of the object..


As to the cutting machines and software. Most commercial cutting machines do come with software that can run the machine and also has some design functionality as well. That software is always part of the package with this type of cutter.  I never design in that software as it is is not a 3D CAD program. Its OK for a lot of basic crafters projects such as done by scrap book fanatics. Its fine for signs and 2D graphic cutting such as work in vinyl.


Why two heads are better than one. Because when you set up a machine for a project you have to test to see if you have the height of the tools,the pressure and speed just right. Easy to run test and to see if you got it right before you start but not at all easy to do when you have a piece of material already in the machine that is partially worked on and you then need to switch tools for that secondary function.  I can understand why you don't realize this, its one of those things that comes with experience. Fortunately I learned on a 4 axis CNC machine with an automatic tool changer and did not have to discover through frustration just how usesful it is to have multiple heads on machines.

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  • 2 months later...

They have now released the user manual for the KNK Force cutter. http://www.iloveknk.com/0um/Force-with-C3/KNKForce-with-C3-UM.pdf


It is different than other cutting machines made for vinyl/cardstock cutting  in that you can do multiple passes at different depths. That is really useful for cutting or embossing thicker material such as chip board and mat board or metals and also essential when using the rotary tool for cutting or engraving.

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