Okay first off I want to be completely honest with everyone about this whole Cricut Explore review thing and how it came about...because as we all know I am very honest with my readers and I don't want to stop being that way anytime soon. I was contacted via Facebook by the CEO of Provocraft and during a brief conversation he asked if I would be willing to review the Explore and I told him I would be willing to do so. I also told him that I only give my honest opinion and he said that is what he was wanting. Of course in my little smug mind I thought "yeah I bet!" but he did seem sincere about wanting only the most honest of opinion from me. So before anyone asks...yes, I was sent the Cricut Explore, I did not purchase the machine. And before anyone jumps to conclusions if that would effect my opinions and review the answer is NOPE *okie thinks she should have said hell no actually but figures people will read that in the NOPE anyway*. No matter if a product is purchased by me or sent to me I still review it fully and honestly and give my opinion. Now that is out of the way let me begin with my first review.
The first thing I did was hook up the machine as directed and I had some problems getting my computer to recognize the machine but that could easily be a problem with my USB port as I have problems with my thumb drive at times as well. After getting my computer to recognize the machine I was ready to set up the print and cut, from now on will be referenced to as PNC. The instructions were clear for the most part and the only problems I had with that was I was out of ink in my printer and had to install new cartridges.
I got my piece of cardstock printed and loaded in the machine and was ready for it to do it's thing. I watched it with curiosity waiting for it to do some kinda jerk and bump terrible cutting thing but it didn't. It made quite a bit of noise with beeping and moving around and cutting little lines. To be honest I thought it was kinda cool how it jumped from one registration mark to another.
I remember it said something the process might have to be repeated and I was understanding why after I looked at the cuts and unloaded the mat from the machine. As you can see in the picture the little square in the middle is not cut very well and is off center.
If you look at the cuts along the numbers and letters they are much like when you add new cartridges to a printer and have to calibrate it.
I was afraid I would have to repeat this process like 20 times before I got it to calibrate right but I was in it for the long haul and got ready to repeat the process.
After printing another sheet of cardstock and loading in the letter and number that had the best cut in the middle I actually got a good cut and to be honest I was like "OMG! It's centered perfectly!". You might need to click on the picture and make it larger to see what I'm talking about it being centered.
Next it was time to try to PNC an image and me being me I didn't want some simple image I wanted to test this baby's ability to cut something difficult. Of course the software warned about using complex images so that didn't deter me but instead challenged me! I chose an image of my niece's caricature she uses for her real estate business. She had asked me sometime ago if I would be interested in making some cards for her to use when she sells a home and she wanted the caricature used and I never could figure out how to get a nice clean cut of it with Make the Cut and the Pazzles so I never did. This failure with what I was use to using was the exact reason I chose the image I did.
I got the image printed on some cheap Walmart cardstock, which never cuts nicely in any machine I've tried, once again testing the bounds of the Explore and set about cutting it.
This is the image after it was printed and then cut, at this point it is still on the mat. I was giving it a good look over and wondering if even the smallest of pieces were cut neatly and smirked a bit thinking "yeah it probably screwed up somewhere or cut jagged on the cardstock".
As I lifted the outer cardstock off the mat the image left on the mat seemed to have clean cuts. How could this be? I used the crappy cardstock? This can't be happening! As I continued to remove the outer cardstock I looked for errors and couldn't find any...no jagged or torn edges, no irregular cutting lines...it was...well...PERFECT!
Now you can see a slight lighter edge along the left side of the image but notice it is equal all the way around and I think it part of the shadow on the image.
MY HONEST OPINION: The calibration was simple to do and even though I had to repeat the process the software clearly informed me I might have to do so in order to get the machine calibrated correctly. I am truly impressed with how well the machine was able to cut accurately around the difficult image I chose, especially with me using cheap cardstock that generally tears with other machines. So over all I am IMPRESSED with the Explore's ability to do print and cut!
I am glad this went so well! I have owned cricut since the beginning and had , until the explore, given up on Cricut. I love my Explore!ReplyDelete
Nice Review Shirley. Seems like step 1 you really put it through the paces. -- Kathy WyattReplyDelete
Thank you Shirley, for doing this.ReplyDelete
Thank you, yours is the first review I read because I didn't trust anyone elses review. I try you to be honest. I do not own the explore I do have a cricut. I gave up on the print and cut long ago. I also have an . So anyway I will keep watching for more reviews.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your trust! I have always given my honest opinion about products and sometimes people haven't liked it but I'm just here to share what I think about things.Delete
Well I knew that you would give your honest opinion Shirley and this is what I loved when I heard you were going to review this machine!!! I love that it did so well for you and now I'm so excited about getting mine and can't wait for it to get here! Thanks Shirley!! Hugs, BrendaReplyDelete
Glad it calibrated easily and works well! You will enjoy using the print and cut feature. Once you learn their software, I'm sure you can add a line on the outer edge of your image and totally eliminate any white cardstock showing. I use that same cheap cardstock and do print and cut on my machine. It cuts out fine for me too. Now, I'm ready to read your review on their software.ReplyDelete
the explores cutting ability is what is impressing me the most! i still don't have one, but.............ReplyDelete
Great review Okie!! I love my Explore & had no fear of you doing an honest review as it is simply an awesome machine!!ReplyDelete
WOW ... I am impressed too, especially since you deliberately tried to give it obstacles (a complex image and cheap cardstock). Now I'd like to see you cut a circle and maybe a scalloped circle ... will they be perfect too? Or will they be Wonky cuts like the Expression would sometimes do???ReplyDelete
Oh I shall have to see about the dreaded scallop circle!!!Delete
Very good review. I'm thinking the shadow around the image can be eliminated by turning off the bleed feature. I haven't tried it, just read about it. Looking forward to upcoming reviews. TyReplyDelete
Thank you for giving us your honest opinion. Looking forward to continued reviews!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your honest opinion. This may be my new cutting tool.ReplyDelete
So does this machine scan and cut? Or does it print and cut? I am so glad you said yes to review it because I know you would left it like it is. Oh and can the new blade fix in the Cricut Expression? Thanks!ReplyDelete
It does PRINT and CUT. I have no idea if the blades are interchangeable. Someone told me that you can't use the old blades in the new machine but I don't know if it works the other way around either. I was also told the new blades are a lot better, only time will tell! LOLDelete
Both blades are interchangeable. The housing is not tho.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing. I have wanted the Explore but after all the problems with the imagine .... I have been not wanting to jump in and get one.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad your BACK, I sure have missed you, hugsReplyDelete
When you parted ways with Cricut (seems like eons ago) I felt like I was caught in the middle of a friend's divorce--his friends/her friends--and it was painful. Since you went with a machine that I didn't have, couldn't afford and didn't want to veer off to, I stuck with ProvoCraft. Got the Explore at launch because I could time pay it off, and I don't regret one single penny. I feel like I've found an old friend again when I say you on a FB board about the Cricut. Will there be hiccups in some things along the way? Probably but I try to stretch and learn and adapt and conquer those hiccups and am hoping to have you by my side while we do this together. Pardon me while I walk off and start my happy dance. And I have met Ashish twice and both times he was accessible, real, talented and SMART.ReplyDelete
That has to be one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me! I am really impressed so far with how well the machine cuts.Delete
Why would they send you a machine when you left them. So many of us were loyal and we didn't get a machine to review.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your review. Funny that you always had problems with the Walmart cheap white card stock (assume you are meaning their GP brand). That is the one I ALWAYS use with my machines - especially for doing PNCs and it has always cut very nicely for me on almost all of my machines which include an Expression, a Silhouette Portrait and a Cameo and my best and largest machine - a Black Cat Cougar. Interesting isn't it how somethings work better for some then others!ReplyDelete
Thanks for reviewing this machine and giving your opinion. I know you are a lot like me - you say what you mean and mean what you say! I appreciate it. MeFlick
HI I am looking for someone to give an honest answer about the Explore. It's my third Cricut and I love it. I just am having one problem. It's about two weeks old and I am noticing that it beeps every time the cutting mechanism is raised or lowered. I received a response on the Cricut facebook page that it is normal but I did not notice it until yesterday.Why would this suddenly happen? Ican't find an answer anywhere. The Cricut forums seem to be down. Thanks!ReplyDelete