Posts filed under ‘Cricut’

A Cricut policy you need to understand

Imagine if you picked out a new printer, checked the system requirements on the box to be sure it would work with your computer system, took it home, set it up, were happily using it until one day when, without warning, your new printer was disabled by a non-optional, irreversible driver update. Your call to support yields one simple solution … purchase a new computer to support the new requirements of your printer. Say what? You’d be outraged, and rightfully so … yet that is exactly what has happened today to Cricut Explore owners with MacOS 10.6 under Cricut’s policy of changing system requirements retroactively.

On the left are the system requirements that appear on retail boxes for the Cricut Explore and Explore Air. On the right are the new system requirements that quietly appeared in the FAQ’s at Cricut.com after a February update to Cricut Design Space, which is required to run the Explore. As you can see, RAM requirements quadrupled and 4 operating systems were dropped.

ExploreSysReqs

System Requirements for Cricut Explore Air per HSN.com screen captured 7/15/15

As of this writing, Mac OS 10.6 users are unable to use their Explores, even though their computers met the system requirements at the time of purchase. Others who do not meet the new system requirements are sometimes encouraged by Cricut’s Customer Care to purchase a new computer when they call about a problem. While it is sometimes possible to update an older computer to a newer operating system, this can be costly, result in performance loss or perhaps resulting in the loss of other legacy hardware or software that may not be replaceable at all (Mac OS 10.6 users should be especially cautious about the 4 OS jump Cricut is recommending to you). I remain a Mac OS 10.7 user by choice for this very reason, yet wonder how much longer my Explore will operate.

I was still holding out hope that this was an oversight until Cricut’s policy on this was added to the FAQs this spring, and until today’s instructions to Mac OSx 10.6 users.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.35.46 PM

I know of no other hardware that comes with this kind of caveat. Up to this point, the system requirements on the box have always been assumed to be current and valid for the life of the product. Yes, time marches on and technology improves, but you always have the option to refuse updates to be able to keep your hardware running if that is your need or choice. Cricut is changing the game here in a way that is not consumer-friendly and it’s important that anyone considering an Explore understand that. If you have already purchased an Explore, and especially if you have already been impacted by this policy, please do not quietly buy a new computer thinking this is the norm. It is not the norm, it is unprecedented (and I’m not even sure how it is legal.) Let Cricut management hear from you that this policy is unfair and unacceptable and that there needs to be a way for those that are happy with their current computer to refuse Design Space updates that would render their Explore inoperable.

Update: Let me try one more approach to make this clear. With any other diecutting machine (or phone, printer, etc) you can buy it, set it up and continue to operate with your existing operating system, RAM, internet speed etc for as long as you wish or until the device or computer fails. Periodically, you would have the option to update drivers, etc. at your convenience. Until you do, the machine keeps working. WIth the Cricut Explore, this is not the case. When Design Space stops supporting your operating system you must update it or buy a new computer to continue using the Explore. Periodic plug-in updates are not optional, and not at the user’s convenience. Until you complete a Design Space update, your Explore will not operate at all. These are, of course, consequences of the cloud-only system that Cricut has chosen, but it is important to understand what the practical difference will be to the users in terms of life cycle cost.

My intent is to serve the diecutting community of which I am a member both as a long time Cricut and Silhouette owner. If you follow this blog you know that I call out any company or product that I believe is not treating its customers respectfully or performing as advertised. I am going to delete any comments from Silhouette users who wish to bash Cricut because that’s not what this is about. Thank you for understanding.

July 15, 2015 at 11:05 am 65 comments

Text Warp in Inkscape


Video tutorial from CleverSomeday plus free shapes!
If you’ve not yet discovered the Bezier Envelope Extension for Inkscape, a treat awaits you. Here’s a video on how to create great shaped text with this cool and easy tool.

Video tutorial on text warping and free shapes from CleverSomeday
To download a free Inkscape template of ready made shapes, click here.

If you don’t already have the extension, here’s what you need to do the first time you want to use it:
1. Download the extension here and unzip the folder. [alternate download link here]

2. To install the extension, copy both the bezierenvelope.inx and the bezierenvelope.py file into the folder/directory indicated.

-In Windows: Copy the two files into: C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions\
( Assuming that your Inkscape is located at C:\Program Files\Inkscape)

-On MacOS for Inkscape .48 or earlier : “/Applications/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions”

-In MacOS for Inkscape .91: “/Applications/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/share/Inkscape/extensions”

To get to either location on the Mac, you can use the Finder’s “go to folder” feature, in the Go menu and copy/paste the string inside the quotation marks

If you don’t can’t find the extensions folder using this path, you can open Inkscape and look under Preferences>System>Inkscape Extensions to find your specific path

3. Re-open Inkscape and verify that Bezier Envelope appears under Extensions menu > Modify Path submenu.

If you need more help installing the extension, here are some videos

June 11, 2015 at 4:22 pm 23 comments

How to Foil Adhesive Vinyl

Wait, what??? ... Foil works with vinyl, too! ... Who knew?? I wrote my first article on laser foil back in 1993 and I couldn’t be happier to see the shiny stuff making such a strong comeback. Since a lot of you don’t have laser printers, but you do have diecutters, I want to let you know of yet another method you can use for foiling. Foil sticks to the plastic in adhesive vinyl (gloss finish works best), just like it does to toner, so have at it!

IMPORTANT: Please use caution when using parchment or copy paper instead of the folders. If the combined stack is not large enough or stiff enough it can wrap around the rollers and possibly damage your machine.

May 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm 55 comments

Class of 2015 free SVG

Time for posting the 2015 edition of my “class of” SVG and .studio files. Hope you enjoy the file and congrats to all your graduates!

Classof15ss

Click here to download in SVG format

Click here to download in .studio format

Terms: Free for personal and commercial use. Just don’t sell the file in digital form. Please share the link to this post, rather than the file itself. Thank you!

2011 is here

2012 is here

2013 is here

2014 is here

April 22, 2015 at 2:52 pm 33 comments

A new free font for stand up lettering

Several years ago, the gift packaging project pictured below was posted on Martha Stewart’s site.

wordribbons

It’s no longer there, but it continues to live on via Pinterest and gets circulated in the various craft groups every so often. When it first appeared, I started working on a font to make it easy to create these stand up letters with a digital diecutter. Soon, however, new features like the eraser tool were added to our diecutting software that made a specialty font unnecessary. But now that Cricut Design Space has hit the scene, I’m dusting off some old resources that can be really useful given its limited feature set. And this one is a time saver no matter which software you use.

So meet the font that I’m calling Top College (because it is a college style slab serif with its bottom missing)…

Download Top College here (If you like it, I’d appreciate a pin, a tweet or a mention in your favorite diecutting group)

To use Top College in your diecutting software, simply type. All of the letters are upper case, but when you use upper case on your keyboard, you get letters with score marks and when you use lower case on your keyboard the letters will appear without score marks. This way you can decide which works best for your project. To use, simply type. If you want the letters to stand up from the top of a downward folded card, be sure to position the base of the text so that it rests on the vertical center line of your card as shown here.

TopCollegeInstrux

I should mention that this font has very thin lines that will seem to disappear in pull down menus, so you may have to locate it by typing into the search box instead of scrolling.

TopCollegename

 

And because no one likes single layer text (and Top College font can’t be offset properly), I designed it to work as a background/mat/shadow for a thinner font called CollegiateInsideFLF. The companion font is widely available online but I’m including it in the download package for your convenience. Be sure to type in all caps when using CollegiateInsideFLF. You will have to isolate letters and use the arrow keys to correct the spacing in Cricut Design Space, but it will line up perfectly in other programs as long as the font size and character spacing settings are the same as the Top College layer.

Here are some samples I put together to show you how Top College works with and without CollegiateInsideFLF. At the back is the corner of what I envision as a placemat, with the stand up portion used as the shadow for the blue letters cut from the companion font. In front is a ribbon that I split and inserted the strip of cut letters through. (This allows you to have a ribbon that is longer than your paper.) And my favorite is the black placecard, made by drawing the companion font with a sketch fill using a metallic pen in Silhouette Studio, and then cutting the unscored version of Top College from the center of the card. I can’t wait to see your projects.

IMG_4461

Here’s a video where I show how to use Top College in Cricut Design Space and Silhouette Studio.

If you don’t know how to install fonts in Windows, click here and for Mac, click here.

February 2, 2015 at 10:17 pm 21 comments

More on Samantha

The most popular lady in all of Font Land, Samantha, is still on sale and continuing to generate lots and lots of buzz, and questions.
The information below also applies to Zelda, Dom loves Mary, Gioviale, FunkiDori and this fantastic bundle of 8 more Laura Worthington fonts which are also on sale right now.

63135-604x302

I have spent a lot of time fielding your questions and finding the best procedures, so here is the latest info our lady Samantha (and all of her specially PUA-encoded friends from Laura WorthingtonDebi Sementelli , YellowDesign and Stephen Rapp.)

Where’s the best place to get Samantha?

The best place to buy is Mighty Deals, when it is for sale there it is deeply discounted.

Which package should I buy?

$17 Upright includes Upright Regular version of font plus matching alternate characters (with swirls), ornaments and catchwords

$17 Italic included Italic Regular version of font plus matching alternate characters (with swirls), ornaments and catchwords

$37 package includes Upright Regular, Upright Bold, Italic Regular and Italic Bold plus matching alternate characters (with swirls), ornaments and catchwords for each of those four versions

$55 package includes Upright Regular, Upright Bold, Italic Regular and Italic Bold plus matching alternate characters (with swirls), ornaments and catchwords for each of those four versions plus the versions you need if you are a web designer serving live type on the web. If you don’t know what web fonts are then you do not need them.

Can’t you just recommend something?

If you use the Cricut Explore, I recommend the $37 package so you will have the bold versions. (no offset in Design Space, boo)

If you have the free version of Silhouette Studio, I recommend the $17 Upright version and the $17 Italic version. You can “bold” your fonts with the offset feature.

If you have other cutting software, I recommend the $17 Upright version. You can “bold” your fonts with offset and “italicize” them with the shear tool.

Are these OK for commercial use?

Yes, these fonts are also licensed for use on items diecutters typically sell (words and phrases, not individual characters). For licensing details please see Laura’s FAQ’s.

How do I install them?

Unzip the folder and double click on the font file you want to install. Click the install button. You should see the fonts in the font list in your software the next time you open it or log on. You can find more specific instructions for installing fonts for your operating system in your computer’s help.

Which fonts do I install?

Either OTF or TTF, not both. For Mac I recommend installing all OTF files. For Windows I recommend installing all TTF files. That is just what seems to be working best for me.

I installed 4 fonts but only see 2 listed in my software.

This is normal, regular and bold are combined from your computer’s perspective.

How do I access the extra glyphs?

That depends on your OS and the software you want to use it in…

Windows Cricut Design Space

Windows Microsoft Word (including on to Cricut Design Space)

 Click here for my video tutorial

Windows/Mac Adobe Illustrator (including on to Cricut Design Space)

Windows Silhouette Studio

Also please see this link for written instructions and a couple of corrections.

Mac Cricut Design Space

Mac Silhouette Studio

Windows SCAL 3, Mac SCAL4

Also please see my last blog post about SCAL here

Mac – other programs

I’m using Windows Character Map, but the glyphs are so small.

Here are some ways to see them better

Use Nexus Font’s character map instead – Written tutorial from Paper Moon Snippets

Use Microsoft Word instead – video tutorial by me here

Use the Magnifier – Written tutorial from Under A Cherry Tree

I found the Private Use Area but it is empty.

You likely have an earlier version of Samantha and need to email designer Laura Worthington (hello at LauraWorthingtonType dot com) with your receipt so she can send you the latest version

I get an error in Cricut Design Space on my Mac when I select Samantha.

This is a bug in Design Space affecting Samantha Italic. Workaround is to wait it out, then choose Italic from the style menu and proceed. And/or email designer Laura Worthington (hello at LauraWorthingtonType dot com) with your receipt and ask her for the split version

It sounds so complicated.

Samantha is an advanced font that requires advanced techniques but yields advanced results. I recommend that anyone who is apprehensive download Milkshake, which is a free font by the same designer. It has a limited number of alternate characters but enough that you can practice the steps that are needed.

Can I download it to more than one computer?

Yes the license allows for one person on up to five workstations.

How can I print out all the characters?

There is a PDF for that here.

How can I get access to the special characters on my iPad?

You will need 2 additional apps to access the special characters in Samantha in the Cricut Design Space iPad app. One called AnyFont that lets you install fonts on your iPad. The other app called Unicode Character Viewer to let you access the special characters.

I am having trouble using Samantha in Cricut Design Space since the 2.0 update. Any advice?

Try this sequence: Click to make a new text box, type some dummy text from the keyboard, change it to Samantha. If it will not let you change the font, click on the mat and back onto the font box to re-select it and try again. Once you have Samantha selected, paste in your characters from Character Map, Font Book or whatever you use to access the alternates.

The characters I copied, don’t match the ones I pasted.

If the characters don’t match what you copied, try different versions/styles of Samantha (bold, bold italic, etc) because they have to match or you can get the wrong characters.

January 13, 2015 at 5:40 pm 22 comments

Sure Cuts A Lot ups its game

If you haven’t taken a look at Sure Cuts A Lot lately, it might be time. There’s especially good news if you are…

… a font lover with Windows (as of v4.008 works in Windows and Mac)
…. a Brother Scan and Cut owner
…. a Pazzles Vue owner
…. or an iPad or Android tablet user

Craft Edge has released both Sure Cuts A Lot 4 ( $59.99 new or 19.99 upgrade for registered SCAL users) and the Sure Cuts A Lot app in recent weeks.

SCAL4 features2-1

SCAL4 has lots of new features including easy alignment, a stencil tool and conical warp, but the best one, in my opinion, was not announced. You can now get to all the characters in fonts like Samantha and Cantoni (PUA encoded) from the SCAL4 font palette. This makes SCAL4 the very best option for diecutters looking to use these advanced fonts, since a click of the mouse brings each character onto your mat in proper proportion as editable type.

SCAL4WinSam

Unfortunately, for now this only works on the Windows version. (Please let support@craftedge.com know you’d like the Mac version to support extended character sets, too.)
We were heard! Thanks for adding your voice and thanks, Craft Edge, for responding so quickly! Here’s a video on this

Brother Scan and Cut owners will be happy to know that SCAL4 can export to Brother’s native .fcm format!

export as fcm

While you can’t cut directly from SCAL4 (or any other software including Brother’s) to a SnC, you can design anything you like, or import an existing SVG, export it to a thumb drive and cut without going through their cumbersome Canvas web app. SCAL4 can cut directly to a large number of cutters including the Pazzles Vue. Actually so can the latest version of SCAL3, I’m just late figuring this out.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 4.10.09 PM

While you won’t find Cricut Explore on this direct cut list, SCAL4 is a great companion to the Explore because it can export to SVG for vector upload into Design Space. In addition to designing from scratch, SCAL4 can import .ai, .eps and vector .pdf files and convert them to .svg. SCAL4’s line fill effect is also helpful for creating write files with letters and shapes you want the pen to color in.

SCAL’s tablet app (9.99 via Apple’s App Store or Google Play) allows you to design for any cutter offline (away from the cutter and from the internet) and then transfer your designs to your computer to cut. If you also have SCAL4 desktop you can control it from the app to be able to cut from the tablet to supported cutters like the Cameo and Vue. Here’s a first look at the SCAL app from Rob at Scrappy Dew.

January 1, 2015 at 2:51 pm 67 comments

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