Taubman College

Digital Fab Lab / Zünd Knife Cutter


Important Documents

1. Have an Idea

The first step is to have an idea about what you would like to produce and how the Zünd can help you accomplish it. What material are you seeking to cut? What does the geometry look like? If you are unsure how the Zünd might help your project, you may wish to talk with a TA already for advice (See Step 3 below).

2. Get Trained

Like the laser cutters, students are responsible to cut their own jobs on the Zünd. Any student who wishes to use the Zünd Knife Cutter must first be trained by a FABLab Administrator or Zünd TA in order to gain access to the machine. The Zünd TA calendar is posted online here. Training sessions operate on a first-come/first-serve basis and are given to a maximum of 5 people at a time. Check the TA Calendar for training availability. If a shift is labeled OPEN, then it is available for training (based on the number of openings listed). If it is labeled CLOSED, then it is not available for training. To sign up for a training session simply email taubmancollegezund@umich.edu and request a time. Once you are confirmed, a TA will respond to your email and you will see your name appear on the TA Calendar. After you complete training, you will be given access to the Zünd Sign-up Calendar and login rights to the Zünd computer. Note that training takes approximately 2.5 hours.

3. Talk With a Coordinating TA

TAs can advise you on the appropriate materials and associated knives that can be cut on the machine. Some materials and knives will eventually be sold through the FABLab and can be acquired during TA shifts. There is also a Zünd-supplied pdf (PDF 214KB) and book entitled "Product Catalogue: Accessories and Consumables" (found at the Zünd machine) that are very useful guides to understand which knives best cut each material.

The FABLab does not supply or sell any Zund blades. Students must purchase their own blades prior to their cutting shift at the Media Center. For a listing of supplied blades (and associated materials), click here (PDF 128KB).

4. Sign Up For Cutting Time!

Log On to the Zünd Sign-Up Calendar and sign out time to cut. You can sign out a maximum of 3 hours at a time, in hour long increments. You are only allowed 3 hours/day and up to 9 hours/week. If you have signed up for the Zünd and find that you are not going to use that time slot, please delete your name from the calendar in advance so that others are aware that they can use that time. If you are not at the Zünd machine within 15 mins of your start time, that shift will open up for anyone to use, so please be punctual!

5. Create Your File

The Zünd cutting software accepts Adobe Illustrator (*.ai) files only. Other tips: be sure your files are as clean as possible: i.e. the fewer line segments and control points the better. Use a bounding box to represent the material edges (keep this geometry on a separate layer in order to turn it off and not actually cut it). The software reads each layer as an order of operations, so set up your file accordingly (i.e. Layer 1 as bounding box, Layer 2 as score operation, Layer 3 as first cut, Layer 4 as second cut, etc.).

6. Test Cut!

Each file is going to have slightly separate settings and demands, even if you have cut with the same material or knife before. Be sure to test cut your job to be sure that the geometry, material and knife all work together to obtain the desired outcome.

7. CUT!


After using the machine, please return it to its original condition. Take your knives out of the holders and keep them with you. Clean up any excess materials that you might leave behind (from test cuts, etc.) and be sure that you have shut down the Zünd and log off the computer.