Maximum material thickness

This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Sandy 11 months, 1 week ago.

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    I am very interested in the KNK Force.  I presently own an Sizzix eClips which I use for cutting balsawood for model airplanes.  It works pretty good but maximum cutting depth is 1/16 inch using a 60 degree blade.  I think the rotary tool plus having a z axis would make a  big difference on the thickness I can use.  Balsa is easy to cut so what is the maximum thickness of material you can use?  Also how clean will it cut 90 degree cut with the rotary tool?  There a lot of 1/16 inch square notches that need to be cut for what I am doing.


    Darrel Farris

    The max thickness of media the Force can work with is around .25″, but when cutting with a blade there’s more of a 2mm limit.

    With corners, the smaller bit you use, the less rounded your corners will be.  The trade-off, of course, is the smaller the bit the less material being removed at any given time.

    I mostly cut wood with the rotary and often fill shapes with engraving lines to effectively cut a relief-type image.  It takes a very long time to do that with anything of size when using a 1/32″ end mill bit!  If you’re just cutting around a solid shape, but need it to be detailed, then that’s not so bad.

    It’s been on my to-do list to try cutting some dovetail joint shapes on some birth plywood and see how that goes.




    For the most part I use 1/32 to possibly 1/8 inch.  The problem with the Sizzix is it will score the 1/8″ but the blade drags across when it parks because it doesn’t lift high enough.  Also cross grain cuts are harder to do.  I have been separating the crosscuts from the with the grain cuts so I can do them first.  SCAL will cut by color so it may be easier to do.  I am thinking you could use the 1/32 to do the notches and a larger bit for the rest.  Balsa is pretty soft, mainly you don’t want to waste anymore wood then you have to.  I also want to build with foam and it is even easier to cut.   Will the Force do any 3D shaping?  Are there any carving programs that would be compatible  that would really be great especially with thicker foam.


    Darrel Farris

    If you wanted to use the rotary tool on wood that thin, I’d recommend putting a buffer layer between it and your mat just to give you some breathing room with cutting depth settings.  It’s a nice insurance policy to keep from drilling holes in to your machine bed.  That can be a thicker piece of wood, a piece of acrylic…  anything to give you a little more distance between the bit and your mat.

    So far, I’ve mostly worked with .25″ birch plywood and any warping of the pieces can interfere with cutting. That can usually be overcome with thinner wood, since it’s more flexible, by just taping it to the cutting mat.

    I’m sure you could cut 1/32″ or 1/64″ with a blade, but I suspect it would dull.  Does balsa cut well with a rotary tool or does it also splinter if you cut across the grain?



    It cuts okay with the blade on my Sizzix you just have to make about 3 passes to keep it from tearing the wood.  I have done up to 1/8 but like I said it drags across when the blade parks.  I haven’t noticed the blades dulling yet I have cut out about 100 pieces with one blade.

    There are a lot of folks using lasers to cut balsa but it does burn the edges.  I have seen it done with CNC machines but the Force looks like it would do all in one.  If you could get it to do some 3D carving that would be really cool.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  pedwards2932.


    Sorry for opening up a dead topic, but could you expand on:

    “when cutting with a blade there’s more of a 2mm limit.”

    What is it that enforces that? Are there potential workarounds?

    I’m looking at the Force for cutting custom boxes (corrugated cardboard, and sometimes EVA foam). Things that (to my knowledge) don’t require a great deal of force but would be 4mm or thicker.

    Would I need the router just to get the extra depth (on a job that’s ideally done with a knife)? Is the Force’s blade depth restriction the same as KNK’s other cutters?



    For all drag knife cutters in the craft and small business market, the blades are quite small so that the swivel radius is tiny enough to cut very small detail. The 2 mm limit represents the cutting length on the longest blade that’s available.

    Regarding using the Force’s rotary tool to cut 4 mm thick materials, I recommend contacting KNK directly because I have not personally cut corrugated cardboard or really thick EVA foam. They will be able to advise you.  Also note that there’s a 5 mm limit for cutting depth on the Force, even using the rotary tool

    You can either call KNK USA at 800-268-3672 or start a “Contact Us” ticket:

    Contact Us

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