KNK Zing Orbit Review

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KNK Zing Orbit Review

VCM Verdict

The brand new KNK Zing Orbit is a fantastic computerized cutting machine — the perfect stepping stone between an entry level machine and a commercial one.

It offers exceptional cuts, incredible Print & Cut function and there are some awesome accessories on the way too.

There is a learning curve to this machine, but it’s well worth investing your time and energy in.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of the KNK computerized cutters.

Which is why we’re so excited about the brand spanking new KNK Zing Orbit (available now on Amazon) — an upgrade on their budget cutter, the Zing Air.

knk zing orbit guide

Our Zing Orbit has been ordered and will hopefully be on the way to our craft room shortly. We’ll spend a few weeks testing it out for you guys before we bring you an in-depth and impartial review of the cutter, to help you decide whether or not it’s right for you.

In the meantime, we thought we’d compile a guide to the brand new cutter from Klic-N-Kut USA to get you up to speed on the details.

UPDATE: Our Zing Orbit has arrived and we’ve been playing with it for a few weeks now. Head straight down to the Review section to hear our thoughts.

Let’s take it away…

KNK Zing Orbit: Features

The most exciting thing about getting to know a new cutter upgrade is all the new features included.

The Zing Orbit from KNK certainly does not disappoint.

Here’s what it’s packing.

knk zing orbit

1,000g of Cutting Force

One thing that’s always stood out among the Klic-N-Kut cutters is just how much more powerful they are than your average hobbyist desktop craft cutter.

With an upgraded 1,000 grams of cutting force, the Zing Orbit is seriously powerful.

knk zing orbit review

KNK advise that it can tackle a slew of materials, including:

  • Vinyl
  • Cardstock
  • Heat transfer vinyl
  • Fabric
  • Mylar
  • Craft plastic
  • Chipboard

… And many more.

By way of comparison, the Zing Air enjoyed 750 grams of cutting force and hobbyist machines like the Silhouette Cameo have just 210 grams.

The Zing Orbit is still dwarfed by the power of the KNK Force, however, which clocks in with a massive 4,000 grams of force.

USB and WiFi Connectivity

Joining the ranks of most other hobbyist vinyl cutting machines, the latest KNK Zing can be connected to your computer via either USB cable or WiFi — goodbye, pesky cables!

One of the pretty cool things about the Zing Orbit is that you can choose to communicate directly with the machine in standalone mode or via your computer software with the WiFi connection.

klic n kut zing

Improved 2-Way Communication

Speaking of communication, another huge improvement the Zing Air is boasting is the fact that it now uses RTS/CTS flow control signals.

For those of us not fluent in computer lingo, this essentially means that jams, delays and overruns will become a thing of the past.

Where with standard communication protocols, the cutting software will simply send packets of data to the machine with no let-up, occasionally leading to the machine becoming overloaded and messing up. The Zing Air, on the other hand, will communicate with the software to tell it when it’s ready to receive data packets — ensuring faster and more consistent communication, even on the most complex jobs.

We’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out in practise.

Better Print & Cut

Thanks to its Automatic Registration Tracking (ART) system, the Zing Orbit promises to be much better and faster at producing print & cut projects.

Ensuring a high degree of accuracy, the ART system is powered by the machine’s optic eye and scans a total of four registration marks.

The optic eye is a fantastic feature that we love in other machines — it’s especially great for those of us who indulge in the odd bit of contour cutting every now and again.

Take a look at this awesome video from Cutter Punk showing how quick this bad boy works:

Fully Adjustable Pinch Wheels

When we initially reviewed the KNK Zing Air, we commented on how this was an artisan’s machine, best suited to someone committed to producing the best possible cuts for their individual circumstances and capabilities.

This is in contrast to many cutting machines these days that are designed to simply allow you to produce the same old designs in the same old way, in the fastest way possible.

The Zing Orbit is just as committed to giving you, the crafter, as much autonomy over your designs and projects as the Air was.

Not only does that mean that you need to choose the best pressure, speed and depth settings for your blade, but it also means that you have full control over the pinch feed assembly.

You can arrange the pinch wheels (3 for the 15″ model and 4 for the 24″ one) individually, as you see fit, to enable to most accurate and precise pinch feeding we’ve seen in a cutter at this price point.

knk zing orbit pinch wheels

There’s also a single pinch feed lever on the machine which allows you to raise and lower the wheels all together if you please.

Multi-Colored LED Lighting

We’re not sure how much of a draw this will be for individual crafters, but we have to admit that we like the look of the colored LED lights that come with the new Zing Orbit.

The extra lighting will certainly prove useful in shining a light on the pinch feed assembly.

Available in 2 Sizes

Klic-N-Kut are spoiling us with the Zing Orbit, offering two sizes up for grabs: 15 inches and 24 inches wide.

knk zing orbit 15

The Zing Air, on the other hand, was only available in a 14 inch configuration so this is yet another upgrade.

Which one you choose will likely depend on your budget and the size of projects you typically work on.

Here’s a table comparing the two sizes so you can see which is best for your needs:

 Zing Orbit 15Zing Orbit 24
knk zing orbit reviewzing orbit review
Max Cutting Width15"24"
Max Cutter Opening19.5"28.5"
No. of Pinch Feed Wheels34
Metal Flatbed TablesOptional, buy separately2 included
Weight21.16 lbs27.6 lbs
Dimensions5.75" x 6.8" x 26.5"5.75" x 6.8" x 35.5"

Zing Orbit Software

One of the more controversial aspects of the new KNK Zing Orbit is the fact that it doesn’t come with any software already included.

KNK have justified this by saying that the reasons they’re able to keep prices at the level they’re at is because purchasing software alongside the machine is optional.

While that means that you’ll need to fork out an additional $59.99 for Sure Cuts A Lot 4 (or $199 for the PRO version!), this is unlikely to be an issue for the many KNK customers that already have access to SCAL.

Early reports confirm that it’s very easy to link the Zing Orbit with existing copies of SCAL4 and we hope to confirm this once we’ve got our hands on the software!

We’re not sure about the Orbit’s compatibility with Make The Cut software, although again will report back once we know more.

Accessories for the KNK Zing Orbit

Klic-N-Kut have been teasing us since they announced the release of the Zing Orbit that this cutting machine would have — and we quote — ‘out of this world accessories’.

While we understand that the Orbit will be compatible with the normal KNK engraving and embossing tool, the main add-on that crafters have been getting excited about is the so-called Orbitizer.

This tool is the reason why the machine is actually called Orbit — because it will allow us to mark directly onto spherical objects like spheres and cylinders.

We can’t wait to find out what this means for our homemade Christmas and Easter decorations…

knk zing orbit accessories

Unfortunately the Orbitizer attachment won’t be available for purchase until later this year — at least late Summer, the rumors are saying.

It’s a pity about the delay but something to look forward to nonetheless!

knk zing orbitizer

KNK Force vs Zing Orbit

Much of this Zing Orbit guide has focused on how the machine compares to its predecessor, the Zing Air — but how does it compare to the other KNK computerized cutters?

Let’s take the KNK Force to start off with.

In our view, this is one of the most innovative cutting machines on the market right now, thanks to its dual cutting heads with a true Z axis, incredibly precise camera alignment for Print & Cut and amazing 4,000 grams of cutting force.

This table is a quick guide to how the two compare.

 KNK ForceKNK Zing Orbit
knk force vs zing orbitknk zing orbit review
Max Cutting Width15"15" or 24"
Cutter TypeDual Heads with True Z axisSolenoid
Max Cutting Force4,000 grams1,000 grams
Type of Registration TrackingCameraOptic Eye
ConnectionWiFi & EthernetWiFi & USB
No. of Pinch Wheels33 (15") or 4 (24")
Price$629$449 (15") or $960 (24")

It’s impossible to compare how they fare against each other in reality without having tested the Zing Orbit yet although on paper, the Force still seems to have the edge over this new cutter — albeit at a more expensive price and with size restrictions.

KNK Maxx Air vs Zing Orbit

The other Klic-N-Kut product we want to compare against the Zing Orbit is the 24″ KNK Maxx Air.

Just like the Force, the Maxx Air is part of the KNK’s professional range of cutters so is more expensive although arguably offers a lot for its higher price tag.

Most notably, that includes a powerful Bluetooth connection (works up to 30 feet away) and a high top speed of 800 mm per second.

Let’s see how the two compare in this table.

 KNK Maxx AirKNK Zing Orbit
computerized cutting machinezing orbit review
Max Cutting Width24"15" or 24"
Type of CutterSolenoidSolenoid
Max Cutting Force1,500 grams1,000 grams
ConnectionBluetooth, USB and SerialWiFi and USB
Top Speed800 mm/second762 mm/second
Flatbed Tables?IncludedIncluded with 24" model
Adjustable Pinch Wheels?YesYes
Price$1,199$449 (15") or $960 (24")

The benefits of one or the other over the Maxx Air and Zing Orbit are a little more subtle, although doubtless it will depend on whether you need the 15″ maximum cut width or the 24″ model.

KNK Zing Orbit Review

The Positives

Exquisite Quality Cuts

The first thing to say about the KNK Zing Orbit is that this machine is capable of producing some incredibly high quality cuts.

Thanks to a combination of a sky high cutting resolution and a whopping 1,000 grams of cutting force, this machine is well equipped to not only cut intricate shapes, but also to cut them on a huge variety of different materials, including thick media like chipboard, mylar and craft plastic.

Not only that, but the Zing Orbit is one of those rare machines that just works.

There’s nothing worse than being halfway through an intricate cut only for it to become overwhelmed and jam, losing your work, or worse — tearing it.

The improved 2 way communication on this machine ensures that this simply doesn’t happen, and it works efficient and fast to boot.

In comparison to other personal die cutting machines — and even compared to the Zing Air — the Orbit is seriously impressive in the cutting stakes.

Flawless Print & Cut

In addition to the above, we’ve also really relished using the Print and Cut function which we’ve been doing through the Sure Cuts A Lot software.

It’s probably fair to say that there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to PNC with the Zing Orbit — be prepared for lots of practice (and maybe even hit up the guys on the KNK Zing Facebook group if you want some tailored advice).

But once you do get the hang of it, we’re not sure that you’ll be able to stop playing with it. Cuts are accurate and fast, thanks to the Automatic Registration Tracking System, with its optic eye and 4 registration marks.

Perfect Step Between a Personal and Commercial Cutter

If we could recommend the KNK Zing Orbit to anyone, it would be the person who feels like they’ve grown out of their Cricut and Silhouette desktop machines but isn’t quite ready for an expensive commercial cutter either.

Not only is the Orbit an exceptional cutter, it also allows you plenty of control and creative freedom as you cut.

We really feel like we’re increasing our crafting skills as we use the machine, instead of having settings and designs spoonfed to us like you do with many of the smaller, cheaper machines.

You’re really in control with the Zing Orbit: the fully adjustable pinch wheel system allows you to arrange each wheel individually as you see fit. If something isn’t cutting exactly as you’d like, you’ve got the power to experiment and change that.

Of course, this means that it probably isn’t a good machine for cutting beginners.

Some Awesome Accessories

We actually couldn’t decide whether to put this point in the Positives or the Negatives section — there are some really cool accessories promised with the Zing Orbit, but they hadn’t yet been launched by the time we wrote this review.

The latest rumors are still maintaining that we should see them some time in the late Summer… we can’t wait!

The biggest stand-out looks to be the incredibly named Orbitizer (sounds more like a superhero, huh?!)  which will allow users to draw on spherical objects.

We’re just imagining the slew of Christmas decorations now…

The Negatives

It Can Be Overwhelming

One of the criticisms we’ve heard a few times from friends and other people testing out the KNK Zing Orbit is that it’s pretty overwhelming as a machine.

And we’d have to agree. At least at first.

We’ve had the Orbit for almost a month now, and we’ve only really felt ready to write a review on it in the last couple of days.

There’s a lot to process and a lot going on. Sure, it’s a fantastic machine — revolutionary, even — but you’re going to need to be patient with it to really master it.

Don’t expect to jump into this Orbit with no learning curve if you’re coming straight from a more entry level machine like the Cricut Explore or the Silhouette Cameo.

You’ll need to read the manual, talk to people in the Facebook group and on the forums and — most importantly — keep experimenting and testing.

This is a true craftsman’s machine. It will help you become a better crafter. Just give it time, energy and patience.

Some Would Still Probably Still Choose the KNK Force

One of the things we were wondering before we got our hands on the Orbit was how it would compare to the KNK Force.

And honestly, we’re still not really sure now.

There’s no denying that the KNK Zing Orbit is a fantastic cutter — a cutter that we think will appeal to lots of people across the board.

But for just $629 on the KNK website< — just under $200 more than the Orbit — you could go for the Force machine, which truly is revolutionary.

We’re talking 4,000 grams of cutting force, a true Z axis and camera registration tracking. This won’t tickle everyone’s pickle, but for those with some extra cash and a wish to experiment far and wide with their cutting, it will be worth it.

Just something to consider before you buy.

The Verdict

We can’t recommend the KNK Zing Orbit highly enough — it’s a fantastic cutter, with remarkable cutting specs and potential, that’s well made and available for a very reasonable price.

It’s the perfect stepping stone between an entry level cutter and a commercial model, and will allow you to develop into a true cutting craftsman.

There is a learning curve, and you may find it overwhelming at first, but with lots of practice and reading, we think you’ll be able to master the Zing Orbit in no time.

UPDATE: How Does It Fare In 2019?

If anything, we love the Zing Orbit even more now than we did when we first reviewed it!

It’s the one desktop cutter that we think has the chops to rival the more popular Cricut Maker 3 and, in our minds, is a criminally underrated machine.

The Zing Orbit is priced at the higher end of the market for a desktop cutter, but this reflects its quality. It’s more demanding on the user than Cricut and Silhouette’s machines, but it allows you more creative control as a compromise.

Where to Buy the KNK Zing Orbit

You can buy the Zing Orbit directly from Klic N Kut’s website.

There is occasional availability on Amazon, but stocks appear to be running low and the cutter is frequently listed as unavailable.

Check Price on Amazon

Have you tried this popular KNK machine yet?

Want to see how the KNK Zing Orbit compares to other top vinyl cutters? Visit our buyer’s guide revealing the best machines on the market today. Also, be sure to visit our Reviews section for other machines from KNK.

16 thoughts on “KNK Zing Orbit Review”

  1. Would you please help me decide which machine to buy. I am using the latest circuit machine for my small card making business. Business is doing great and growing. I have been researching to take my business to another level. Which machine would you recommend.

    • Hi Olga,

      That’s great to hear that your business is doing well — congratulations!

      What do you want from a new machine — greater precision? Faster speeds? The KNK Zing Orbit would be a great purchase for a small business: it’s very powerful, precise and fast moving. There is a bit of a learning curve with it compared to the Cricut machines, but you should be able to master this easily with your experience.

  2. Hello! I am just trying to figure out how well this machine would cut leather. What is the maximum media thickness this device can handle and would it be able to cut leather with several passes? Time is not an issue for me. Just as long as it’s neatly cut. Also, does it handle embossing on leather? Thanks for any advice 🙂

    • Hi Amy,

      We haven’t trialled using leather on the Zing Orbit yet but we’re sure you’d be fine to do so. If the leather is thin, you’d be fine to use the 45° red capped blade that comes with the machine, or you could purchase the 30° yellow capped fabric blade if the leather texture is closer to softer fabric.

      As a reference, the manual recommends for 0.02″ thin, bookbinding leather, that you use the red blade, take 2 passes with pressure at 75, speed at 13 and blade height at 15. You may need to do some tinkering to find the perfect settings for your material.

      You’ll need to buy the embossing tool for embossing, but it can definitely handle leather. Other users recommend you use normal craft store tooling leather (2-3mm thick) and ensure the material is saturated beforehand to make sure it retains the embossing.

  3. Hello there! Great review, thank you! I’ve been hoping to read one for a little while, so its great to finally hear your thoughts.

    Like the two people before me, I am too wondering which new machine to buy. I’ve had a Silhouette Cameo for my startup business and have outgrown it. I’m looking for a larger machine to do print and cuts. I really want (if possible) accurate cutting over large sizes and easy registration recognition. I find the Cameo to be a bit flaky with the registration marks and wondering a little over large sizes. Any advice or thoughts you have would be very appreciated. 😀 Thanks!

    • Hi Kirsten,

      Thanks for your message. The KNK Zing Orbit will probably be very well suited to you — it’s certainly larger and more sophisticated than the Cameo (and great for Print & Cut) but not as expensive and industrial as commercial machines like Roland and Graphtec.

      We were really impressed with its registration and, although there’s more of a learning curve than with the Cameo, it produces really high quality cuts.

      You might also be interested in the KNK Force — more expensive than the Zing Orbit, but it’s incredibly powerful and uses a camera for super accurate registration.

      Let us know if you have any more questions!

  4. I am a “seasoned” (read: old) graphic artist. I have long tired of making cold calls and trying to sell quality print graphic art at a fair price. (what I consider a fair price for my talent). I have an advanced understanding of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I am also extremely spatial, and do not have issues with learning new tech. I have never used any form of vinyl cutter. Your review speaks of a learning curve that scares me a little. I am very interested in purchasing a vinyl cutter and diving in. Budget is not an issue, I want to purchase what will best serve my needs. I will use it for vinyl cutting only, probably not the other stuff. I have a friend with a couple of flea market booths, another friend with an upscale home decor and furniture consignment store, and ample outlets at local craft fairs for selling unique, high quality vinyl designs on wood, in frames, on old windows, etc. I plan to use this machine for an hour or two daily. My first question is this: Which cutter would work best for me, as I have no experience with them? My second question, and possibly MORE important: how do I use Adobe Illustrator (I already subscribe to CC) and then import my designs into something usable for one of your vinyl cutters?

    • Hi Mary,

      Although it may take a few tries to fully master the KNK Zing Orbit, I shouldn’t think you would have any issues with the learning curve considering your experience and spatial awareness. The machine itself is very user friendly, but it allows you plenty of creative control too — ideal for an artist.

      As regards software, the Zing Orbit currently only works directly with Sure Cuts a Lot 4 (SCAL4), which you will have to purchase separately. SCAL4 can import various file formats (.ai, .svg, .pdf etc) though so you could use it simply as a bridge program between Illustrator and the machine. Hope that answers your questions!

  5. Would you recommend this machine for doing large wall decals? My husband has a rustic,/ farmhouse/personalized wood sign making business and would like to start making large decals. He’s had several folks asking about it….made several for a lady but all had to be made so they could be cut apart…..(we own a Silhouette Cameo machine). Would you recommend the 24″ Zing Orbit ? What type of mylar does it cut…..reusable stencil?
    Thanks for your help and time.

  6. hi my name is frank

    I’m looking to buy a printer/cutter alittle better than the circuit but not as expensive as the Roland versa studio bn20 I read this whole article but no where did I see how much dpi print quality is you could let me know that would be great

  7. I have the original KNK Zing. How would you compare the learning curve of the Orbit to the original? Is the Orbit as difficult to use/learn, or easier? Thanks!

  8. I’ve been researching vinyl cutters lately and wondered which cutter you’d recommend between the Zing Orbit and the Graphtec CE6000-60? Thanks in advance.

  9. My husband bought the KNK Orbit for me as a gift this past Christmas, so of course, it sat around unopened for a couple weeks. By the time I was able to open it and start working with it, the return policy of 15 days was way past. First thing out of the box, the mat had ZERO stickiness. None at all. Wouldn’t even hold a piece of copy paper. Sent an email about it, and they suggested that I BUY reposition sticky glue for the mat. Ummm, excuse me? Didn’t my husband BUY this useless mat from the company? Ok, fine… I got the it. Again, another useless purchase as the machine doesn’t work properly. I have gone over the instructions very carefully. I have watched so many YouTube videos I can’t count. After all the money, time, and effort. I can’t even cut a simple circle. The pinch wheels (and yes, I have checked, quadruple checked, had my husband read and check, watched videos….) won’t even keep the mat straight. I can’t do anything with it. Don’t even get me started with the worthless and very expensive engraving tool. The Sure cuts a lot program is awful. Nothing about this machine, it’s components, or the software program is user friendly. I understand why the return policy was placed at 15 days. It’s going to take you more than that to figure out how to use the dang thing, and then once you think you have got all the information you can possibly get, it still isn’t worth having. You have no idea how excited I was to receive this gift. I was a bit upset about the price he paid, but we only exchanged one gift each. This was mine. Now, I’m stuck with it and can’t even use it. So SO disappointed.

    • Im after a machine to cut large curves into my heavy weight card stock / wedding stationery – it would already be preprinted – im not sure if this machine is what i need ? Any help would be greatly appreciated


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