7/31/11

Cutting Circles Pazzles Inspiration and SCAL 3

Hey all

Got some good news for those who may have been struggling with this like me.

I posted a question to CraftEdge/Sure Cuts A Lot a few days ago.  Yesterday I got an email saying I needed to use Overcut.  He/She didn't say where it was located so I pulled down every menu and right clicked on the mat, right clicked on the image and still, nothing.  I couldn't find any help any where.

So, I kind of gave up in completing circles and just avoided them for a little bit.  This morning, I decided to try again so I can write another review.  Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the cut button:





I got this after clicking the button:


Yayyyyy!!!  I had seen this before when getting ready to cut, but never paid much attention because there is no help out there explaining how it's used (at least not in my searches).  Anyway, here's the good news:  If your circles are not cutting all the way around, check the Overcut box (mine was not checked by default).  I didn't change the setting and left it at the 0.30 and it cut wonderfully.

Before Overcut was selected:





After the Overcut box was selected:


I cannot tell you how happy I am to have found the setting to complete something so simple, but needed.

Hope this helps someone so they don't have to pull their hair out trying to figure out what to do.

7/30/11

First Successful Pazzles Inspiration Overlay

I have just completed my first overlay using the Pazzles Inspiration and the Pazzles Studio Basic Software!  Of course I had to do this a few times to get it right after watching Klo's video on Pazzles website.  Thank you Klo!  :-)

With this particular cutout I used plain old black paper from Michael's.  I don't even know the paper weight, but I am guessing it is about 65 lb weight.

On the Pazzles machine I set my blade to 2 and pressure of 33.  Two things I will do differently with this cut is make the border thicker and expand the hole in the Y.

The images are from my Pazzles Inspiration Studio library.  I won't be using this cutout for anything because it was a test to see if I could do this successfully.



Also, I would not dare use that orange paper.  It is too "in my face" even though I love orange. :-)

I have a lot of ideas for these overlays!  I really, really like overlays.  I used to make them with my Cricut, but now I can design my own anyway I want with the Pazzles Inspiration.

SCAL 3 Assistance Needed for Pazzles Inspiration Machine

Hey there, I have a quick question or two regarding Sure Cuts A Lot/SCAL 3 (for use with a Pazzles Inspiration machine).

First let me start by saying that CraftEdge and Svgcuts.com have awesome tutorials and the forum is great on Craftedge's website, but it seems most info is geared towards SCAL 2 and not the current version of SCAL 3 (at least at the time I am writing this post).

What does "Automatically simplify shapes" mean (see next image)?  Can I use this to ensure small circles are completely cut out all the way around?  When I was watching the Preferences video I noticed that this option is not in SCAL 2 and I have not found any help on it at all.  That is the one disappointment I have with SCAL 3, there is barely any help for this version (but tons of help for SCAL 2, and the HELP file in my version is of NO HELP to me for my specific questions.

From my SCAL 3 Version of the Edit tab:



SCAL 2 version of the Edit Screen taken from their Preferences video on svgcuts.com:

Also, after I did a USB Driver update, I thought that my cutter, Pazzles Inspiration would appear but it doesn't.  Could this be why I can't cut small circles correctly, because I can't manage my PI within SCAL 3?  Looking at SCAL 2 videos on SVG Cuts.com, when they used the Cricut, the machine was added to this area for basic management (notably changing of the cut speed to low, which SVG Cuts states is to get better cutting for intricate cuts).

My SCAL 3 version of the Cutter tab (after I updated my driver to work with the Pazzles Inspiration (twice to make sure, but same result)). Notice my Pazzles Inspiration is not listed and no way to change the cut speed as in SCAL 2 (see next image).


SCAL 2 version of the Cutter tab from svgcuts.com:


I am completely new to SCAL, so I have not used any other version except SCAL 3.007, but I have limited resources to find out what I need to know about SCAL 3 to use it for my specific needs.  It has been stated a few times that SCAL 3 is no different than SCAL 2 except that SCAL 3 no longer works with the Cricut.  As you can tell from my post, there are indeed differences and they don't appear to be documented for those who are new to SCAL 3.

So if you have any tips and tricks, please let us know, especially regarding my issues above.

Thanks a bunch for any tips you have for us newbies.  :-)

7/27/11

The Cricut Mini


Ok, please let me know if I’ve missed something.

PC has a new Cricut mini that can only be used with the Cricut Craftroom (right now you can’t get into the craftroom unless you get an invite from PC) AND you must have an internet connection?  With the Cricut Mini you have to be connected to the internet.  You can link your cartridges to the CraftRoom or the Gypsy.

The cutting area is only 8 ½ x 11! Sounds like a downgrade from the Expression.  Looking at one of their videos, PC did state this was one of their low-end machines so that anyone can afford a machine (MSRP $119). I'm sorry, but if I was to buy a PC machine for anyone as a gift, which I won't, it would not be the Cricut Mini.  This one is more restrictive than the other machines!  Must be connected to the Internet?!!  Get real!

Also, the linking of the cartridges to the craftroom (CCR) is a dangerous idea IMHO.  Why?  I have a Gypsy.  Once the cartridges are linked to the Gypsy you are not supposed to resell the cartridges you no longer use and there is no way to unlink the cartridges from the Gypsy so you can legally sell them.

I can’t see why things that cost so much lose their resell value after you have linked them up to the company’s machine WITH NO WAY of unlinking the cartridges. To me, not letting customers unlink the cartridges is downright wrong, but that’s just my opinion.

So, my concern is this:  Once you link your cartridges to Cricut Craftroom, does this mean you can’t link the cartridges to your Gypsy or vice versa?  Will there be a way to unlink the cartridges from the CraftRoom?  I guess this part doesn't matter since the dang machine is made to be used with CricutCraftRoom?

I love my Expressions and won’t be selling it, but and I won’t be buying another PC machine, especially since there are other die cutters out there that allow you to use jpgs, pdfs, SVG cut images, etc. to use on your machine and not have to purchase cartridges that lose their resell value as soon as you link it to a craftroom or Gypsy.

One other question I have is, why is PC selling the Cricut Mini, but only inviting a select view into the CraftRoom?  The dang machine does not work without a connection to the Craftroom and/or Internet!

Make Your Own Rhinestone Design Templates

UPDATE:  April 1, 2013

I finally found the information I was searching for.  I had been having trouble brushing in the stones quickly and was placing more into the template individually than brushing in.  I found out that the holes for the rhinestones should be cut at least 0.5 mm bigger than the rhinestone size.  I was thinking: "that sounds really big" and then I tried it.  Worked like a charm!!

Example:  If your rhinestones are 2.9mm, add 0.5mm and your holes will be 3.4mm for the stones to stay inside the holes while brushing.
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A couple of months ago I was in search of rhinestone design template material and found some, the green stuff (hartco 425), but it is too costly for me (there is a cheaper product at speciality-graphics.com and it's orange).  So, I went through a series of tries to see what I could come up with.

My first attempt was to use 110 lb paper to cut my holes into and taped it to a piece of chipboard.  It worked ok with larger rhinestones, but not with 2mm rhinestones.  The stones kept falling in between the paper and the chipboard.  FAILED ATTEMPT

My second attempt worked out much better.  I covered some chipboard with contact paper (easily found at a dollar store), cut out the holes on my Pazzles and voila! a very cheap way to make a rhinestone template! SUCCESS!

Now that I know how I will make my rhinestone templates, I have to get my Pazzles Inspiration to cooperate with me to make the 2mm holes.  See my other posting on this.

I added a video to show you how I make rhinestone designs using the Pazzles Inspiration Pro 2010 software:




Here is the video of me discussing what I use to make my homemade Rhinestone Template Material (Sept 30, 2011):



7/23/11

Pazzles Pen Tool - Ask for a metal screw when ordering

Heads up because I didn't know this until today.  If you order the Pen Tool from Pazzles, ask them to also send you a metal screw with it.  The one that comes with it is plastic and strips easily.  Unfortunately, I have to go to a hardware store to see if I can find a metric screw to fit inside so I don't have to wait for it in the mail.

I didn't order mine from Pazzles, but I ordered it from Amazon.  I didn't even know a metal screw was available before I bought it, so this is why I am telling you all before you buy one.

Good Luck.  :-)

7/17/11

Quest for Rhinestone Software

UPDATE JULY 2012 - I broke down and bought the Pazzles Inspiration Pro 2010 software and use it exclusively for all my design work.  It has some kinks, but I usually find a workaround for what I need to do.  I don't use MTC or SCAL 3 anymore, nor do I do rhinestone designs anymore.  I may do some rhinestone designs if someone asks, but I am really not interested anymore.
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I thought my diecutter decision making journey was ugly, but I think I've found what I need in the Pazzles Inspiration.  My current problem seems to be finding the "perfect" software to use with it; one that includes a super rhinestone feature.  Don't get me wrong on this, I love the fact I can create my own designs!  This is super for us crafters and I thank both SCAL and MTC, you guys are super!

So far I have tried both SCAL 3 and MTC, but one is lacking something or the other.  Together, these two software would be awesome (I have both by the way).

This is what I look for in one software to use with my Pazzles Inspiration (don't even know if my wishes are realistic, but I can hope): (Not interested at this time in buying the Pazzles Pro because I think it is costly and should have come with the machine anyway).  Just my thought.  I will probably purchase it, hesitantly, later.

1. Rhinestone Counter
2. Accurate layout of the stones without gross overlaps and tons of cleaning (yes I do know that some designs are just not going to be proper for a rhinestone design)
3. Can handle the fill of at least a cartoon face with eyes of a decent size
4. Ability to handle fonts with some curves
5. Does not slow down on my Win 7 with 4GB RAM upon trying to fill a 4" design with no other software open (I do not have a lot of programs on my PC and I save everything to a SD card.  My PC is fast for most things (i.e. I can have Adobe Illustrator, PS, and Dreamweaver open with no slowness on my PC, but can't have one of the above opened alone to fill a 3" rhinestone design without it freezing))
6. Has an eraser tool
7. Has a pen tool and other common drawing tools
8. Ability to type in my own stone sizes and spacing without just a slider that I can't accurately move to the desired location
9. Works with Pazzles Inspiration
10. Under or at $300 with free updates
11. Good customer service with vendor/developer (at least have more than one video I can watch)
12. Ability to dock and undock panels

Is this too much to ask for one application?  I don't know.  I guess I can dream.

I have found that one software has almost all that I want, but lacks some simple tools like the ability to draw a line.  The other software has the drawing tools, but is horrible with vectorizing and does not have a rhinestone counter.  I just don't think it's cool that I have to use multiple software just to accomplish a task.  Why the heck should I go to one program to draw a line, then paste that line in the other software so I can use it?  Does that make sense?  No.

I had no intention of using my blog as a gripe session, but hey, it is what it is.  Hopefully, soon, I will be able to show some things I intended this blog for, but until then.....ignore my rants/reviews.  :-)

7/16/11

SCAL 3 Rhinestone Feature

Hey everyone

Got a question:  Does anyone know how to use the rhinestone feature in Sure Cuts A Lot 3?  I am having the most difficult time.  I can barely get text to rhinestones cleanly, let alone a simple image.  In the software, no matter what I do for spacing, some stones overlap and stones are appearing anywhere on the mat sometimes.  I clean the image before using it in SCAL, but it does not help.  I fear I will have to move on from SCAL 3 because my main goal when I purchased it was the rhinestone feature.  I feel I have wasted money.

Anyway, if you have any tips, I would love to hear them (before I delete SCAL completely).

7/6/11

New Rhinestone Iron On Transfers

Hey

Just wanted to show you some of the rhinestone iron on transfers I've made.




 It didn't take me too long to do these, but brushing in the stones takes a little getting used to.