Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cricut Explore Review 1

Hi all!

Pezza is in school today!  ALL DAY LONG!  Man the weather has been awful!  I am feeling very ready for Spring I gotta tell ya!

In this post 3 WEEKS ago I told y'all my Explore was here and gave a list of reasons why I had decided to go ahead and take the plunge and get one.  And then it arrived and I froze - I was scared and intimidated!  Hahahhaha!!!  Which is so crazy to me since I have been such a massive Cricut junkie for SO very long.  I have jumped right in to every machine made since Cricut always sent me one to test out/promote as soon as they were ready.  When I mentioned this on Facebook a fellow long time Cricut-er, Shirley (Okieladybug) laughed AT me.  Before now I was always at the Cricut Launch parties and getting first hand training on the new machines and software directly from the folks at Cricut.  This time I was totally on my own so there it sat, in it's box, on the family room floor, MOCKING ME and laughing at my fear.....I had already downloaded and played around with Design Space, the software used with the Explore.  Well, FINALLY, I couldn't stand it anymore and I put aside all of my "excuses" and jumped in!


I haven't done everything under the sun there is that can be done with the machine - let's face it that would be one seriously long post!  Instead I thought I would just share my observations as I go along.  Let's begin with the setup.  You can go online and find the Explore manual and it takes you through each step very easily and quickly.  And when I say quick and easy I mean quick and easy!  The manual is available as a PDF for those like me who prefer to read or you can click on youtube videos if you like that method better.  I have only ever owned one other machine besides Cricuts - I used it to cut SVGs along with Make The Cut software so SOME of what I say here may or may not compare adequately to other machines.  My non-Cricut machine was fairly difficult to get up and running - there was a lot more fiddling and fooyaying to get it to work - in fact the initial set up took several days and hours of frustration.  This took less than 30 minutes.  There was one point when I was downloading the plug-in I think it was, my computer kind of stalled out so I closed my tab (page) in my browser and opened it again and re-tried and it went just fine.

I already had an SVG file set up and ready to cut in Make the Cut which I had done for my other cutter before it quit working right.  So I went right to it and before I knew it I had all my pieces I needed!

And here is the sketch I made for this one - if you use my sketch do come back and leave me the link!

Now to be fair this is hardly the kind of thing that is going to put the machine through it's paces!  But I highly recommend starting simple no matter what it is you are doing that's new.  This also gives me a chance to talk about the basics of what I really really love about this machine!

I fiddled ZERO with getting the blade depth, pressure, speed, etc right - I set it on Cardstock and it cut perfectly.

**Let me pause here as I have just decided I need to completely rearrange my craft tables RIGHT NOW in order to take a picture of final set up for you.  Which means I now need to go get my vacuum cleaner to vacuum the area now exposed that I usually can't get too.  And I wonder why I never get anything done.....**

Hmmmmm I don't know if I like it....oh well onwards!

Now where were we....I whipped right through this set of cuts because I had already set them up in Make the Cut, a program which I am pretty familiar and comfortable with.  Because I let the machine sit and mock me for so long I did not set it up until after the upgrades on the Design Space software so I only know the new version.  When I imported this SVG set it remained the same size as I had made it in MTC so it was super easy.

A couple last notes for you and then I will sign off for today and continue my review on another post (hopefully not 3 weeks later!)

  • I do have an advantage in that I am familiar with SVG files and the Make the Cut software so I do my adjustments in MTC rather than Design Space for now.  I know that Design Space cannot make a shadow layer so that alone makes me want to continue to use MTC.  This is a $57.99 piece of software that will be out of reach to many people.  
  • I began using the software for simple things like changing the colors of items and that was quite easy.
  • The cutter itself cut amazingly smoothly and quickly using cardstock and the cardstock setting.
  • The new Cricut Explore Air - many folks might be wondering about the new machine versus the original - it launched on 2/18.  The big difference between the two machines is the Air is wireless - that means you do not need a USB cord to connect the Explore to your computer.  I honestly do not see the usefulness of this.  Because I need to do things on my computer and the machine at the same time to cut it's not like I can be sitting on my computer far away from my machine like when I am printing to my wireless printer.  This is why I rearranged my workspace:

  • I had no need to contact customer service so far but I hear Ashish Aurora and his team are incredibly diligent and he appears frequently in the various Facebook groups dedicated to the Explore.
  • Cartridges - I have a bunch of cartridges which I have never linked to anything.  I have not begun the process of linking them because A. I already have several SVG projects ready to go and B. I have 2 weeks of reign to use any image I want so I am going to try and use as many as I can that I don't own!!!!
Now to work on my next set of cuts!

1 comment:

  1. Marti, WOW! The title is DARLING! What a cute page, hope to use your sketch this week, I have some photos in mind I think will work well