Totally unconvinced this machine works

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Sandy 4 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #37293

    rorocuts
    Participant

    Cutting with a zing orbit. Or… trying to. Other than cutting copy paper, I am totally unconvinced this machine works. A few complaints:

    When cutting any vinyl, the pinch wheels always seem to catch edges and destroy the vinyl. It’s incredibly annoying/frustrating. The machine also has an extremely limited number of places to place the pinch wheels (…3…), so even though the pinch wheels can move freely, they actually can only be in 3 places. All 3 of these places over lap with the limited cutting space. The combination of cutting matts, pinch wheel locations, and cutting area leave you with a very frustrating area with which you can even attempt to use the machine.

    When cutting thicker materials, I have not had any success whatsoever. The main problems:

    1. The cutting mats are both stiff and flimsy, easily deformed and hard (impossible?) to fix. the cutting mat that came with zing orbit was already deformed from being in the box. Nothing seemed to flatten it, and the bend caused all sorts of problems. I tried to flatten it using some light heat from an iron, similar as you would a self healing cutting mat, and it wrinkled. I bought 2 new cutting mats. 1 was ruined in a week by the pinch wheels. The pressure placed on the matt caused it to to bend on either edge where the pinch wheels held it. It now has a flat area of about 10 inches. How is that useful? thank god I wasn’t using the middle pinch wheel or it would be totally worthless. The other problem with the cutting mats is that they are stiff enough to ruin a cut by bending materials, but too flimsy to hold a material in place. hobby foam will cause the cutting mats to bend. It’s so hard to get the materials flat enough for the machine to work. One example would be cutting paper. If paper is even slightly bent – say from lifting it off the cutting mat – it’s game over.
    2. I simply cannot figure out how one would get this machine to work cutting something like thick paper. The machine either doesn’t cut it all the way or it cuts all the way and then loses it’s place. I’ve tried tons of different pressure settings, speeds, etc. Multiple passes. It just seems to be a disaster every time. It can make it through one pass and then on the second pass it’s no longer lined up. This machine claims it cuts balsa wood and plastic but I can’t even get it to cut water color paper.

    I do not believe this machine works. Most frustrating purchase in recent memory.

    #37318

    Sandy
    Moderator

    Sorry to hear you’re having issues.  I’m very much committed to helping you through these.

    First of all, make sure the little black tabs on each pinch wheel are in the up position.  You don’t need them pushed down which results in a lot more pressure applied which can contribute to the issues you’re having.

    Also, when using the cutting mat, don’t leave the pinch wheels down when the cutter is not in use. They do result in warping of the mat but the mats should still last a long time.  One thing that I do is not have the wheels in the exact same spots all of the time. Instead I will shift the mat between ~ 0.5 to 1 inches left or right each time I cut.

    You mention only 3 positions for the pinch wheels, but there are actually 4.  When cutting, say, 12″ vinyl without using the mat, I will use the 2nd from the right and the 4th (last one on the left). When using the mat, I will use the far right and far left.  This is on the 15″ ZO.   Other combinations come into play with cutting without the mat and need to cut, for example, 4″ or 6″ wide vinyl.

    When using the mat and heavier materials, I find that having the mat supported is important to keep the material stabilized and preventi bowing of the mat. If you didn’t buy the tables, then use a stack of books or paper or a box… anything that will keep the mat horizontal during cutting.

    Watercolor paper should cut fairly easily on the ZO, even if it’s thicker and requires 2 passes.  Skewing of the mat will occur any time the blade is being force through a material faster and or deeper than it can be cut.  So, if you have the blade over-extended and it’s cutting INTO the mat, then you need to first retract the blade until your small test cut is clean and there are either NO lines in the cut mat or the lines are so faint you can scratch them away. Anything deeper than that will cause cutting issues.  If you have that correct blade exposure and you’re not getting a crisp clean cut, then you need to do one of the following:

    (1) increase the pressure

    (2) use 2 passes

    (3) add more adhesive to the mat

    Regarding the 3rd one, the Zing Orbit mats normally have the least amount of adhesive on them for the sake of new owners cutting paper and light cardstock.  So, it’s very typical for cutter owners to add more adhesive for heavier materials.  Have you tried them and what adhesive did you choose? Also, do you brayer your materials onto the mat as suggested in the user manual?

    I’ll help you work through these issues, but it make take some time and some photos and some testing.  Please be patient because the Zing Orbit IS worth it.  🙂

     

    #37398

    rorocuts
    Participant

    Well I see how any of this is true. I have 3 places to put the pinch wheels with one being in the middle… So one at 16.5″ (terrible placement btw, it means I can’t use it with the mat all the way to the right which really ruins any ability to use the full width of the cutting range), on at 9″ (right in the middle), and one at 2.5 (so again, I can’t put mats all the way to the right). The mat warped quickly- within a week of getting a replacement- even though my pinch wheels are in the up position. It is completely useless now as the cutting mechanism gets caught on either edge. Seems disingenuous to recommend placing the wheels in different places if the pinch wheels take up space on the cutting mat and ruin a lot of things to be cut – they peel vinyl, leave indentation marks etc. So for some things maybe I can move it a very limited amount, but for the most part that’s not possible. Even if I moved them around a little bit when the mat was new, that would extend the life of the mat… a week to.. two weeks? And if it causes bends anywhere but on the furthest edge it just ruins the mat faster.

    Between uses I always leave the mat on a flat shelf or under a self healing cutting mat… nothing prevents it from getting warped quickly.

    As far as skewing being caused by cutting through… I see no solution here. I can leave the blade high enough that it won’t cut through everywhere and yet it still cuts through enough to cause skewing? How can that be?

     

    As far as the other suggestions.. I’ve tried multiple things. 2 passes? I’ve tried FIVE. It’s leads to a lot of failure though, as any skewing in any layer ruins everything. I’ve also noticed that sometimes, for no reasons at all, the machine will try to flip the cut and just do something completely different than the previous for no reason at all. Increasing pressure only seems to increase the skewing.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  rorocuts.
    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  rorocuts.
    #37401

    rorocuts
    Participant

    Also yes, I have a brayer and I have two different mats, extra sticky and normal sticky. More tack of course just ruins the paper though. It’s not the paper sliding around on the mat.

    #37420

    Sandy
    Moderator

    I’m going to address your comments one at a time and hopefully, the information will help you resolved these issues.

    “I have 3 places to put the pinch wheels with one being in the middle… So one at 16.5″ (terrible placement btw, it means I can’t use it with the mat all the way to the right which really ruins any ability to use the full width of the cutting range), on at 9″ (right in the middle), and one at 2.5 (so again, I can’t put mats all the way to the right).”

    If you need the full 15″ cutting range with vinyl, then do not use a cutting mat.  The Zing Orbit and all of the KNK cutters will cut backed materials without a mat.  You can slide the vinyl under the lever when the lever is partially raised.

    If you need to cut a full 15″ wide with an unbacked material, then I suggest buying Messy Mats from Amazon. They are gridded 16.5″ wide and, again, you can slide the mat under the lever when the lever is partially up.  If you decide to get them, make sure you buy the correct size. There are different listings on Amazon and some are smaller.

    —————————————————————————————-

    “The mat warped quickly- within a week of getting a replacement- even though my pinch wheels are in the up position. It is completely useless now as the cutting mechanism gets caught on either edge.”

    Two things: (1) Are the little black tabs on each pinch wheel in the up position?  (2) If you switch to these wide Messy Mats, then the blade won’t get caught.

    —————————————————————————————-

    “Seems disingenuous to recommend placing the wheels in different places if the pinch wheels take up space on the cutting mat and ruin a lot of things to be cut– they peel vinyl, leave indentation marks etc.  “

    I meant shifting the mat just a little bit not using different grit shafts.  I always use the two outside locations with the ZO mat, but then one time the left pinch wheel will be closer to the left side of the mat and then the next day, I’ll have the right wheel closer to the right side of the mat… just slightly different pressure points on the mat based on how I load the mat. Does that make sense?

    Also, regarding calling my recommendations “disingenuous”, note that I’m not an employee of KNK USA. I own my own company, iloveknk.com, and provide contracted support for the KNK’s.  When I provide suggestions to you, these are not company-policy responses, but rather based on my own knowledge and 13 years of experience with KNK and other brands of cutters that I’ve tested and provided support for.  Additionally, I’m not being paid by anyone to respond to you here. I volunteer my time to help cutter owners at 3 forums, 3 Yahoo groups, and about 10 different Facebook groups.

    —————————————————————————————-

    “So for some things maybe I can move it a very limited amount, but for the most part that’s not possible. Even if I moved them around a little bit when the mat was new, that would extend the life of the mat… a week to.. two weeks? And if it causes bends anywhere but on the furthest edge it just ruins the mat faster. Between uses I always leave the mat on a flat shelf or under a self healing cutting mat… nothing prevents it from getting warped quickly.”

    I’ve not had my ZO mats warp that fast.  I do have five ZO mats that I’ve been using for 2 years but I don’t use them with wide vinyl and I do shift them left and right. I also use the Messy Mats when I cut something really wide, like poster board or I have a long cut from oversized   The one mat that has a right edge that is sticking up… I take out the blade holder before I set the origin so that it won’t catch on that edge.

    —————————————————————————————-

    “As far as skewing being caused by cutting through… I see no solution here. I can leave the blade high enough that it won’t cut through everywhere and yet it still cuts through enough to cause skewing? How can that be?”

    Okay… you don’t control skewing based on blade height… you control it first based on blade exposure. Those are two different settings. The blade exposure should be set to only penetrate the material being cut and no further. So, if you see cut lines on the mat that you cannot scratch away with your fingernail, then there’s too much blade exposed. Retract the blade until you can get a clean test cut of, say, a ring, which makes it easy to see if the inner circle was cutting too deeply. Reduce the exposure but do not reduce the pressure.

    As I mentioned in my last post… skewing happens any time the blade is being force through a material faster than it can cut that material… on any cutter.  The solution is to make that not happen which can be solved not only but making sure the blade isn’t cutting so deep into the mat that it’s dragging the mat but also by using a slower speed, more passes at a lower pressure, checking the blade holder to make sure no random little pieces of material are stuck inside the cap, making sure the blade is sharp enough for the cut, making sure the pinch wheels are still centered over the grit shafts and other possibilities.

    —————————————————————————————-

    “As far as the other suggestions.. I’ve tried multiple things. 2 passes? I’ve tried FIVE. It’s leads to a lot of failure though, as any skewing in any layer ruins everything. I’ve also noticed that sometimes, for no reasons at all, the machine will try to flip the cut and just do something completely different than the previous for no reason at all. Increasing pressure only seems to increase the skewing.

    Also yes, I have a brayer and I have two different mats, extra sticky and normal sticky. More tack of course just ruins the paper though. It’s not the paper sliding around on the mat.

    The purpose of the adhesive is not only to keep the material from sliding on the mat but ALSO to provide stabilization. It there are any spots where the paper is not completely pressed down onto the adhesive, then those spots will not cut.  My analogy is, “How easily could you cut through a steak that’s suspended in air?”   Anyhow, what is the exact brand and weight or type of watercolor paper you’re trying to cut and I will buy the same brand and test it myself.  Then I can provide you a better idea of the settings that should work.  Also, let me test the same types and sizes of shapes you need to cut.

    I will continue to help you as much as you need. So, don’t hesitate to post back and photos are always welcomed as well.

     

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