Friday, March 18, 2011

The Black Cat Lynx

(If you use this machine with Make-the-Cut, please add your opinions about this machine under the COMMENTS section of this post. Please only comment if you use the Lynx. If I see any comments on this page about any other cutters, I will move or delete it. Thank you.)

picture from thatsscrapinc.com

MSRP: $499.00


Websites:


The following user review is contributed by Tyler. Tyler is a frequent poster on the MTC Forum. He has very kindly written this review of the Lynx on my request. Thank you Tyler for taking the time to share your reviews with us.

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Black Cat Lynx
The updated Black Cat Lynx was introduced March 12, 2011. It is very similar to the old Lynx with a few upgraded components and a different color.

Look:
This machine takes after its big brother, the Cougar. It has a black sleek shine to with a 4x8 high resolution LCD Display and a green backlight. There are 10 silica buttons, and while they are not in the same layout as the cougar machine, they do have the same functionality. There are three pinch rollers/foot clamps that anchor the media within the machine, and they too match the exterior dark shine. Unlike the cougar, this machine does not have a tool compartment for storing those extra blades and accessories.

Construct:
Constructed with aluminum, this machine is built to last. The only plastic parts on it are the end caps, which are only present for looks and protection; they have nothing to do with the quality of cutting. The inner workings of the machine are compartmentalized and allow for simple and cheap repairs if needed, though that rarely happens. The grit shaft is also completely metal, and you can trust me when I say that they will securely hold your media firmly within the cutting bay. The only downside to this construct is the machine is heavier than those made of plastic, meaning it may be more difficult for some to travel with. That being said, I prefer my machine to have a metal construct, as plastic can bend and morph overtime and I don’t want that to happen to the machine or affect the cutting capabilities. While it might be heavier, I like the added strength provided by the aluminum when traveling. 

Capabilities:
The new Lynx is compatible with all of the cougar accessories, other than the current end table (though that may change soon as the machine has only just been announced). That means it can do all the embossing, debossing, etching, cutting, writing, and engraving the cougar can do. The only limitation to this machine is the thickness of the material that is able to be cut. This machine puts out ~500g of pressure, which is more than enough to cut all the vinyl, paper, heavy cardstock, and even thin cardboard that can be thrown at it. With the thicker materials, the user will want to use a deep cut blue plus blade. Unless you are cutting heavy chipboard, this machine will fit your needs nicely. 

Cutting:
The machine has a minimum speed of 50 mm/s and progresses by 50 mm/s increments all the way up to its maximum speed of 600 mm/s, which can come in handy when cutting out a lot of simple repeat shapes. It has the same detail capabilities as does the cougar and will allow you cut just about any design the paper can handle (I have actually cut designs where the lines got so thin that the paper couldn’t stand the stress/lack of support and broke, not because the machine did a bad cut, but because the paper couldn’t be cut that thin). In addition, the Lynx is compatible with Black Cat’s detail blade holder and click holder which allow for further detail. The mechanical precision of the machine is 0.025 mm with repeat accuracy of +/-0.1 mm. Without a doubt, this machine can do some very high quality cuts! Its max cutting width is 12 inches, though it will hold media that is 16.25 inches wide, and you can cut at an infinite length (good for those of you into vinyl)!

The precision is important to the success of this machine’s Print and Cut capabilities. That, along with the laser guided alignment, allow for delicate contour cuts to be performed (especially when done in Signcut).

Though not a cutting feature per se, the Lynx allows the front lid to easily lift up allowing you to draw with any size pen/marker/glue pen available. The Black Cat Pen Tool is recommended to do this (though I did it without the pen tool, just using some masking tape). It did equally well with the pen as it did cutting. I was able to write single stroke font text at 14 pt and easily read it. I did not test any smaller.

Software:
The machine is both MAC and PC compatible (runs on all versions of Windows) and runs exceptionally through the traditional Black Cat combination of Inkscape/Adobe Illustrator/Corel Draw and Signcut or through Make The Cut!. Future Sure Cuts A Lot support is in the making. The programs do not allow the user to set the force or velocity within the program; they must be set on the machine. Users can purchase MTC! Or Signcut for about $60 (Inkscape is free). This machine does not have a USB stick slot, but it does allow for communication to your PC by either a USB or Serial port.

Customer Service:
While I would normally never consider this as section of a review, the Black Cat Cutter’s customer service is second to none. I have never gotten quicker replies or better service than I have with this company.  And with the same operation as the cougar, more users are immediately available to assist the novice user despite this being a newly released machine. Black Cat Cutters also allows you to upgrade to the Cougar if you decide to at a later point.

Ease of Use:
I am not going to lie. The first time I used the Lynx, I had a little bit of trouble. Not because the machine is hard to use (it is the same as a Cougar), but because I had come from using a Cricut machine. Before, when using the Cricut, I had practically no settings to worry about. This machine allows you to do so much more that they can’t simply have just a “load mat” button. Luckily, their Quick Start Manual answered all my questions and walked me through step by step. By the end, I had the machine functioning without a problem and I just needed to get used to how it cut. I have occasionally asked questions on how to do something, and have received wonderful and accurate help.

Price:
Compared to what you are getting, the price is very competitive at $499 in the US and €359 in the UK. They were able to lower it about $190 from the cougar price by taking out a reset button, some of the force, and speed settings (though the maximum speed is still the same as the cougar). That puts a very high quality, professional grade machine in the range of many of the basic to intermediate crafting cutters. 

Overall:
While the Cougar is still king, Black Cat Cutters has done a great job with the new Lynx. It allows those who are mainly vinyl, paper, cardstock, and thin cardboard crafters to have the Black Cat quality at an affordable price. I have been very pleased with the Lynx and expect it to be a very popular machine in the crafting and cutting community. It is not a machine that will be easily overlooked by those looking to get involved in cutting community or those looking to upgrade, and those that own it will be pleasantly surprised with its capabilities.


It can be purchased at http://thatsscrapinc.com/ in the USA or http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk/ in the UK.

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Thank you, Tyler for the detailed review.

Everyone, if you are using this machine, please add your own review to the COMMENTS section below.

Thanks so much!

13 comments :

  1. I just ordered this machine and can't wait to get it. Thank you Tyler for your review. I do own a cricut but I love MTC! I checked You Tube for videos and only found one so I am hoping soon there will be many more videos to learn from.

    Blessings,
    SallyW

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  2. Thank you Jin for all the work that you've put into obtaining reviews on the different machines. Tyler, thank you for the info on the Lynx. I will definitely be switching to one of these machines.

    Thank you,
    MaryT

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  3. I have one of the original 15" Lynx machines and love it. I received it Nov/Dec of 2009 and have never regreted the purchase. It has done everything I have asked it to. I was even able to cut some extremely dense chipboard with a couple of passes - then finished it up with an exacto blade. Mind you I was asking it to do something I probably shouldn't have and should have looked for a less dense chipboard. I have cut less dense chipboard with no problem, as well as quilters plastic for templates without a problem. I also must say the support system for the Black Cat products is second to NONE. Never for anything I have purchased have I received such wonderful support. I have never been one to be involved in a forum and have fully embraced it as a second home were I visit with family. Cause we do feel like a family there. By the way I have also owned a Silhouette and a Cricut and in no way can they compare to the Lynx. They were toys compared to my Pretty Kitty!

    Hope this helps!
    Lynda J.

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  4. Where can I purchase a Black Cat Cougar in the US? It seems that they are not available with ease. Help??

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    Replies
    1. All Black Cat Cutters can now be purchased direct from www.blackcatcutters.com

      www.thatsscrapinc.com is no longer an authorised reseller of Black Cat products

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    2. Not true CheekyChappie. That's Scrap, Inc. continues to be the only authorized distributor of the Black Cat cutters in the US.

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    3. Not true CheekyChappie. That's Scrap, Inc. continues to be the only authorized distributor of the Black Cat cutters in the US.

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  5. At this time there is only 1 US distributor. http://thatsscrapinc.com/contact-us.aspx

    Sherri is a frequent poster in the MTC forum. I would suggest that you email her if you have questions about the Black Cat Cutters. Her email address is available from the link above.

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  6. I have the new Black Cat Lynx cutting machine and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this machine!!!! It is so amazing and does awesome cuts, embossing, engraving, drawing.......and so much more...I am over the moon happy with my decision and 1000% happy with my choice from switching from the Expression to the Lynx.......I would HIGHLY recommend this machine to anyone wanting a machine to take the place of their existing machine especially if you're wanting a machine to do more than cut paper/vinyl...You won't be disappointed.....

    I've done a couple of tutorials and posts on the New Lynx which you can view here.....
    http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/few-thoughts-to-shareon-my-lynx.html
    http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-1st-creation-with-my-lynxsable.html
    http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/few-thoughts-about-my-lynx.html

    And today I did a podcast interview with Leo at SVGCuts.com sharing information on the Black Cat Lynx....I also did a blog post about it which you can find here....
    http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/2011/04/nice-interview.html

    This is sincerely and truly an AMAZING AMAZING machine!!!!

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  7. I purchased my Cougar almost 2 years ago, It honestly has never failed me once. I had a project cutting out 300 snowflakes out of cereal weight chip board, It cut each and every one like butter. Customer service well lets just say that Dawn, has an alarm that goes off even in the middle of the night in case someone needs help. Sherri, and the Black Cat US forum are wonderful also. Sherri is also the Distributor for the US at That's Scrap Inc. The only thing I can say is the learning curve is different than the Cricut, there is no load unload button, it does take a little time to get going, but everyone it so so worth it. When I got mine there were only a couple of videos showing what it could do. I had a manual and a wonderful sales rep. You all will have it easy, between all the tutorials that Tyler and Christy have produced you will be up and running in no time what so ever.
    Also Thank you Jin for taking the time to test all these machines. You are an awesome person for doing this. Me I am selfish I want my Cougar and thats it.

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  8. I would like to know if cat cuts funfoam ofrece max 2mm. Where can i get software and accesories?

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  9. I would like to know if cat cuts funfoam ofrece max 2mm. Where can i get software and accesories?

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    Replies
    1. I heard in one of the forums that you can cut balsa wood. I think that's something. I have cut chip board and cereal boxes, too

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