Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More about the Cricut Explore (and a Valentine peek)

I had a busy Tuesday but I did my best to keep up with the news about the new Circut Explore machine by checking FaceBook, message boards and blogs.  This machine has some great potential but there are also features that will be a drawback for some people.

I answered everyone who left a comment on yesterday's post - I don't think I have caught up with all of the email yet but I will today.  I haven't seen this machine in person so I really can't give a full opinion.  My friends Joy and Melanie were at the launch event and they sent me a couple of photos of cuts that were much better than any other scallop circles that I have seen cut by a Cricut machine.

Here are some pros for this machine so far (in my mind):

It will cut circles and scallops that are round and evenly spaced/sloped.  This has always been a problem for me with the older Cricut machines.

It is supposed to be quieter than the other machines - which could be important if you craft at night when others are sleeping.

The ability to cut True Type fonts and SVG files in addition to the Cricut images is something that Cricut crafters have been asking for for years...here at last!

Ability to pay a monthly fee and have access to a huge number of Cricut images - or buy images as needed for 99 cents each.

Ability to control the machine and plan projects from a tablet (iPad will be the first, not available right away but soon).

Bluetooth/wireless cutting.

Some drawbacks to the new Explore machine (my opinion - based on what I know so far...)

You must be online to use the machine - there is no way to control the machine to select cuts and give instructions other than through a computer or tablet.  Not everyone has the ability to be online when they want to craft, particularly if they attend retreats at hotels where wifi is not available or available only for a large fee.

The projects in the Design Space look nice but it isn't clear if creating your own designs from drawing on a blank screen will be possible right away - from what I have read, that is a "to come" feature.

Several important features are "to come" and given past history, it is possible that these will not be available as soon as consumers would like.  I am not clear on the "print and cut" potential - and this is an important feature for me.

The monthly fee for access to half to the library and 200 Cricut fonts, also allows the cutting of true type fonts and SVG files.  This would be an ongoing expense and could really add up - particularly since you would not own the images - it is more like a rental.

At this time, there doesn't seem to be any backwards compatibility - so the new Design Space can only be used with the newest machine.  You can not use the Gypsy with the new machine.

I am sure there will be a lot more information coming out as the bloggers who attended the launch get back to blogging.  It is interesting that so many of them were from blogs that don't primarily deal with papercrafting.

Melanie (Courtney-Lane Designs) and Joy (Obsesessed with Scrapbooking) will be sharing the details about the capabilities of the new machine so be sure to check out their blogs and Facebook pages.

If there is not a possibility to create your own designs with a full set of drawing tools, I will probably just stick with the Cameo for now and use my many cartridges in my many older machines!  This machine might be a perfect fit for some people - I am not sure if it is right for me (but those circles and scallops keep calling out to me!).

Details about the valentine card above will be in my Wednesday post.  It was fun to make!

Stay warm and stay home if you can if you are in the areas affected by Winter Storm Janus - it sounds like it could get very messy!

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