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CHA Summer 2011 | New Cricut and Silhouette Digital Cutters

Electronic die cutting powerhouses ProvoCraft (makers of the Cricut line) and Silhouette both unveiled new machines and new functionality at the CHA Summer 2011 show. Both companies are vying for a larger piece of the market, but they’re doing it in completely different ways – ProvoCraft by reaching out to the lower-cost market and Silhouette by beefing up the size of its machine.

Provocraft announced two new additions to its line of Cricut electronic die cutting machines. The first, the Cricut Expression 2, is a remake of the Cricut Expression 2 Anniversary Edition that was debuted at CHA Winter 2011. The restyled machine, capable of cutting a mat size of up to 12″ x 24″, retains most of the Anniversary Edition’s feature set including a sleek new design, LCD touch screen with mat preview, cutting area light, and the ability to save cutting settings for specific materials such as chipboard, fabric, or cardstock. The differences between the Cricut Expression 2 and the Cricut Expression 2 Anniversary Edition are actually purely cosmetic and content-related. The newer Expression 2 ships with silver endcaps instead of the bright green of the Anniversary Edition (though both models advertise swappable side trim pieces), and the new machine also lacks the two exclusive cartridges (Just a Note and Cricut Decals Cartridge) that the Anniversary Edition shipped with, sporting only Cricut American Alphabet and Cricut Essentials in its pre-loaded content library.

While ProvoCraft’s flagship Cricut Expression 2 remains largely unchanged since its debut, the company is showing signs of reaching out to a new segment of the market by delivering a brand new machine, the Cricut Mini, at a relatively low price point. The Cricut Mini (MSRP $119) is ProvoCraft’s new small, lightweight, and portable electronic die cutter sporting a mat size of 8.5″ x 12″ – a departure from the long-standing 6″ x 12″, 12″ x 12″, and 12″ x 24″ mats that have been standard for Cricuts in the past. Size isn’t the only thing that’s different about this machine – the Cricut Mini lacks both a control mechanism (the only buttons are the power and load buttons) and a cartridge port, because it’s designed to work exclusively with ProvoCraft’s upcoming Cricut Craft Room software. The Cricut Mini will connect to either a Mac or Windows computer (both wireless and wired connections are supported) and will also include a cartridge port to link your cartridges with the Cricut Craft Room software. A ProvoCraft representative that Scrapbook Update spoke with at CHA confirmed that the new machine will also be compatible with the existing Cricut Gypsy device.

The smaller size and lower price point of this machine makes it more appealing to crafters who may only want an electronic die cutter for occasional use – perhaps for a DIY wedding or to have on hand for school projects. The 8.5″ x 12″ size also makes it a great option for cardmakers who often work with 8.5″ x 11″ paper and don’t need (or want to store) the bulk of the larger Cricut Expression.

Provo Craft’s Cricut Craft Room software is still in beta testing but is due to be released (along with the Cricut Mini) later this fall. The software will give users the ability to design with the entire Cricut cartridge library on their computer screen (both Mac and Windows are supported), though cutting will only be allowed using cartridges that the user owns. The program will also include search capabilities and allow the user to store their projects and cartridge content online and then access them from any computer at any time.

Silhouette also introduced a new size of their popular electronic die cutting machine at CHA Summer 2011. The Silhouette Cameo (MSRP $299, available October 2011) is capable of cutting materials up to 12″ wide and up to 10′ long, giving a huge boost in size over the now discontinued Silhouette SD. Like its predecessor, the Cameo is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers.
Silhouette actually had a Cameo on hand in their booth at CHA Summer 2011 along with several display projects like this intricate lace paper, similar to popular laser-cut papers that are produced commercially.
The Silhouette Cameo is capable of making extremely intricate cuts, one of the hallmarks of the old Silhouette SD.
Each box in this pair of advent calendars was cut using the Silhouette Cameo and shows the amazing variety of items that this machine can produce.

While CHA Summer 2011 may not have seen some of the massive innovations (such as the Cricut Imagine’s integrated print & cut feature from CHA Winter 2011) that have been debuted at past shows, the cutters that were shown have solid feature sets and have made improvements either in size or functionality in response to user requests. Those looking to buy their first electronic die cutting machine or to simply upgrade from an older one will have plenty to choose from in this new crop of devices.


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21

Cricut Competitor Black Cat Lynx Announced

World Innovations Ltd. has announced the addition of a new machine to their line-up, the Lynx. This machine is a version of their popular Black Cat Cougar electronic cutter model designed for the craft market. The Lynx is intended to be capable of cutting a wide variety (such as cardstock, vinyl, cereal weight chipboard) of crafting materials up to 12″ in width, and will work with the full line of Cougar accessories already on the market. In addition, the Lynx is reportedly compatible with many of the software programs already on the market that are designed to work with electronic cutters (such as Makes the Cut and Sure Cuts Alot), and it will also be fully compatible with the company’s upcoming “Black Cat Cutting Studio.”

The Black Cat Cougar Line of die-cutting machines was launched in December of 2008 as a collaboration between Colin Russon and craft industry designer and teacher Dawn Grantham.  Russon is the partnership’s technical expert, while Grantham has knowledge of the craft market.  The Cougar is based on a machine originally designed for the sign making industry, but is modified to appeal to crafters.  The Cougar machines vary in size depending on the maximum width needed to cut various materials. Machines range from a 13″ cutting width to a 24″ cutting width. They are designed to cut everything from paper and cardstock to vinyl and heavy chipboard. There are even cutting tips designed to etch (toughened) glass, emboss metal, cut stencils and do intricate cutting work. For more examples, visit Grantham’s website Thyme Graphics.

The Lynx is priced at $499 retail.  The Cougar starts at $689, and increases in price based on the cutting width desired. Additional accessories available (for additional cost) include specialty blades/blade holders, cutting trays and more. For more information on the Black Cat line of cutters, visit the company’s website.


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27

Provo Craft Issues Statement on MTC, SCAL Lawsuits

Provo Craft today issued a public statement in response to public outcry about its lawsuits against Makes The Cut and Craft Edge over their 3rd party software for Cricut machines.

As previously reported on Scrapbook Update, Provo Craft recently settled its ongoing lawsuit against Makes The Cut. Around the same time, the company filed suit against Craft Edge over their similar Sure Cuts A Lot software.

Consumer response to these lawsuits has been largely less than favorable to Provo Craft, but until now the company has not discussed the matter publicly due to the ongoing litigation in the two lawsuits. Today, however, the company finally issued a statement related to the lawsuits, saying that while it couldn’t comment on specifics of the suits it hoped that “context will help our customers understand why we have taken these steps, and why we believe we are acting in both a fair and ethical manner.” Continue Reading →

Provo Craft Sues Sure Cuts A Lot, Alleging Copyright Violations

Editor’s Note: Please note that Scrapbook Update is an independent news organization and not in any way affiliated with Provo Craft or any party involved in this lawsuit. 

Provo Craft’s attorneys have once again moved to take action against a company making third party Cricut add-ons. The company filed suit in U.S. District Court on January 20th, 2011 against Craft Edge, the producer of Sure Cuts A Lot software, and Craft Edge’s owner, Brandon Kuroda. The suit alleges that Kuroda violated Provo Craft’s copyright on the Cricut Design Studio software when he created the Sure Cuts A Lot software code, and that the company has been violating Cricut’s trademarks in its products and marketing.

Provo Craft is seeking compensation, damages and attorney’s fees in the suit, as well as an injunction preventing the future sale of the Sure Cuts A Lot software.

Sure Cuts a Lot is a software program by Craft Edge Inc. Developed in 2008, this program was designed to allow users to cut out any true type font, various shapes/dingbats, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files and even their own personal creations with their Cricut Machine. While no specific cartridge is required to use the program, it is necessary to insert a cartridge to cut with the machine.

At its launch in 2008, SCAL was only a Windows release and was met with mixed reviews within the Cricut community. Many people eager to expand their library of Cricut fonts quickly purchased the program. Other Cricut owners, fearful of damage to their machines, shied away from even trying the demo version. Provo Craft also scared off some users by issuing a formal warning stating the use of third party software with the machines voided the warranty on them. Continue Reading →

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Make The Cut Settles Cricut Software Lawsuit With Provo Craft

Documents filed in US District court on Wednesday reveal that Make The Cut has reached a settlement with Provo Craft in the lawsuit over 3rd party Cricut software created by Make The Cut. Provo Craft had sued Make The Cut in April 2010 alleging that Make the Cut’s 3rd party software for Cricut machines illegally circumvented copyright protection on Provo Craft’s products and violated copyright on the company’s Cricut Design Studio software code.

Provo Craft had appeared particularly to be targeting in the suit the recently introduced “back-up” feature in the Make The Cut software, which allowed users to create back-ups of their Cricut cartridges. (The feature was only available to users for a two week period in March 2010 before being pulled from distribution as a result of the litigation.)

Terms of the settlement were stipulated to the court in joint documents filed by the companies Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, which had been hearing the case. Under the settlement, Make The Cut is permanently and immediately disallowed from selling software that is compatible in any way with Cricut machines. The company is also required to destroy all copies of the software’s Cricut-related source code.

For the existing software, Make The Cut also is required to take measures within 30 days to disable the 600 copies that were sold of the software with the cartridge back-up feature. Make The Cut is ordered to render these copies of the software completely non-functional until these users update their software to a copy that eliminates the back-up function.

Provo Craft also recently filed suit against another 3rd party Cricut software creator, Craft Edge, in an attempt to stop distribution of their Sure Cuts A Lot product.

[Editor's Note: Comments have been closed on this topic because too many were violating our comment policy and the conversation had become too heated.]


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