Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Outsmarting the Cricut....

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am viciously cricut-ing away. And that I have discovered that even though the cricut is a WONDERFUL machine, it still needs some outsmarting here and there.

I wanted to try the "Paper Saver" and the "Quantity" Features today. I am working on a project that requires 48 owls, with 48 shadows, to then be nicely perched on 48 branches. No big deal, right?

Cutting the owls wasn't terrible. I had enough Cricut experience to know to turn down the pressure, speed, and the actual knife when cutting with regular paper instead of cardstock. Getting the balance just right so that the owl is cut through without tearing the paper can be difficult, but I had no issues. It took me a while to punch out the intricately cut details of 48 owls and mount them on their coordinating blue shadows.
Hootie Owl Assembling

I was frustrated because when I wanted the owls to cut as many on a page as possible, I figured that I could fit about 24 owls to a page. I figured correctly, but whenever I would get to 16, the cricut would tell me my quantity was too large. I would have to cut 16, and the starting right where the cricut left off, I would add the remaining eight owls and it would cut them, easy as pie. But it couldn't handle more than 16 at once. I thought that odd.

So I thought I would try the Quantity feature. Next I would be cutting sticks, which I felt could be rearranged and crammed together nicely on a page and I should be able to get AT LEAST 24 branches per page. So I tried both the Quantity and the Paper Saver features Together (feeling bold) and on my ACTUAL paper that I would be using for the project (feeling reckless and stupid.) Well, to my shock, paper saver told me that I could only fir FOUR branches on a 12x12 piece of cardstock, even though my eyes were smarter than that.
Outsmarting the cricut
Stupid machine. So I cut another 8 from a different piece of brown cardstock, and then lined up the second cardstock over the first to see if more would fit and how and where, and cut a strip (about an inch) off the side of one of the cut sheets. Then I mounted it to the mat and ran it through again on papersaver, with the cricut only cutting the "8" that would fit. Then I rotated the paper and was able to get another two branches, for a grand total of 18 branches
Outsmarting the cricut(and I am sure I could get at least two more if I wanted to be completely anal) out of one piece of cardstock, when the cricut's "paper saver" feature tells me that only 8 will fit on a piece of 12x12.
Outsmarting the cricut
So now I have 36 of my 48 branches cut from two pieces of cardstock. I am frustrated because I know that if the cricut's brain could ROTATE the branches, there would be even MORE that would fit on the cardstock. It's like when you put pieces of pizza on your plate, one goes this way, one goes that way, one goes this way, and before you know it you have more pizza on your plate. (yum) I know that in the software you have the capabilities to rotate and plan out your cutting. I have the software but haven't installed and played with it yet.... so I was just a little disappointed in the paper saver feature. It really doesn't seem to save much paper!

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