Thursday, January 31, 2008

So I Took the Plunge...

... and bought Sure Cuts Alot to test it out on my Cricut Expressions... After a few minutes I was up and running!

The program is pretty simple and straightforward. You can see all your installed fonts and cut them. What you see it what you cut. Here were some of my experiences/concerns:

* Before starting you have to be sure your Cricut Firmware is updated (you can do this using Cricut Design Studio (Free Trial, or Full Retail Version). You need Firmware version 1.1 for Cricut, and 2.1 for the Expressions machine.

Here is a link for the Free Trial of Cricut Design Studio.

* You also need a program called libusb for this program to work. You can download it here:

* Designing is pretty easy. You just click where you want the application to cut your design, choose your font, and type away. You can resize by dragging.

* NOTE: Welding and Shadowing are not yet available. Disappointing yes, but it is in the works as a future feature that will be available for free upgrade later. Free is good!

* It can also cut shapes and comes with a basic library of shapes. Looks like there may be future shape files available for download - fun!

* It will only cut installed fonts - so be sure they are installed before you open the program, or else they won't show up in the font list.

* You have to have a cartridge inserted for the machine to be able to advance the mat. Doesn't matter which cartridge, but there does need to be a cartridge inserted.

* I did a test cut using my fave basic font - Georgia. It cuts great BUT painfully slow. But a tradeoff I would make if it meant I didn't have to buy any more font cartridges (yeah right, but that's my reasoning anyway... LOL). Maybe this is another thing that will be worked on...

* From my experience, it looks like the pressure is still controlled by the dial itself. I will email customer support though to make sure that is the case... NOTE: I heard back from a VERY QUICK responding customer service. The pressure is controlled by the knob on your machine.

The only worry I have is Provocraft's reaction to this program. There is speculation that they could come out with a Firmware Update that will block this program. Not sure if that is possible (or even legal)... But time will tell I guess.

All in all I think as it is, it is worth the $69.95 special that it is selling for right now. Not sure that it is worth the $90 retail price though - at least not without the welding/shadow features... But it is a solid first effort and freeing all those TTF's that we have on our computers!

I will update this review as I use the program more, and as new features come out...