My KNK Zing was yet another tool/material/[Insert crafty thing I’ve always wanted here] I purchased under the banner of, “It’s for my wedding! If I do it myself it will be cheaper!” My trusty and frugal new husband even helped me find a less expensive, refurbished model through KNK.
Yes, I did buy it for wedding crafts, but I find myself using it all the time even now that the wedding is over.
Why I chose a KNK Zing Air
I first came across the concept of a cutting machine on Pinterest of course, probably somewhere in hour five of the day browsing wedding crafts. I first saw the Cricut and was intrigued. But, after learning more, I knew that being slave to buying predesigned cartridges was not for me.
I was in love with the idea of creating something from scratch or finding a new design somewhere and using it however I wanted.
So I then set out to search for a machine that would let me use my own designs. I came across the Silhouette Cameo, which was a strong contender. I also found the reviews on toptenreviews.com really helpful. These reviews, in addition to watching several dozen youtube videos of people using both the Cameo and the Zing, helped me make my final decision. Ultimately, the Zing was more expensive (even the refurbished model, for which I paid $385) than the Cameo, but I chose the Zing because of the greater cutting force and ability to cut a much wider range of materials. Hey, if I am going to buy this, I want to use it on as many things as possible.
Why I love my Zing
Overall, I am very happy with my Zing. It cuts cleanly, quickly, and can cut up to 14″ wide and unlimited length. There is also a lot of control in terms of force, blade height, blade reveal, tools you can use with it, speed, etc. I think in order to have this control there is a bit of a learning curve. However, it is not nearly as complicated as I expected. I think the two techniques/processes that took the most effort to understand were:
- Mastering the blade reveal. You have to twist the small blade holder to set the amount of the blade that is revealed and therefore available to cut. You base this on the thickness of the material you are cutting. In the manual, you are not supposed to see the cutting come through on the mat but I always do.I think I would rather have a completely clean cut with some slight damage to my mat then try and protect my mat and not have a clean cut.
I think this blade reveal thing is most tricky for vinyl that has a backing. You want to cut the vinyl but not the backing so all the pieces stay in place. I’ve found that even if you cut through the backing slightly, it still works just fine – you just need to keep the pieces together. I think I taped the back of the backing one time to make sure it stayed together.
- Understanding and choosing the correct “cut type,” which basically means where and how the machine will cut on the mat. I started using knife point because you can just tell the blade right where your scrap of paper is and have it cut there. My issue with that is I was never sure how my design would be oriented on that scrap.
Now, I just use the wysiwyg mode.
You align the blade with the bottom right corner of the mat and it cuts exactly as it looks on your screen. So for the picture below, I would be sure I had a piece of paper that covered the entire 12″ width and was at least 9″ high, and was placed at the very top of the mat where the arrow is.
What I’ve made with my Zing
So for some background, I have my KNK Zing Air on my desk and use it with the Adobe CS5 suite and Make the Cut on my iMac. So far I have only used the standard mat that ships with the machine, but I bought the extended mat to use in the future. I also have a self-healing cutting mat that I keep under the whole setup for trimming materials both before and after cutting with the Zing.
I’ve cut a wide array of paper so far, and, ironically enough, the Silhouette brand vinyl.
Some of my favorite projects include the flower garland backdrop for my wedding ceremony, donut-shaped confetti for a birthday invitation, and vinyl for a mug for my parents.