Friday, March 18, 2011

Craftwell ecraft

(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 eCraft. If I find any comments about any other cutters on this page, I will move or delete it. Thank you.)

picture from craftwellusa.com

MSRP: $349.99


Official website: http://www.craftwellusa.com/
(see their FAQ page for info on the cutter: http://www.craftwellusa.com/frequently-asked-questions

The following 2 user reviews were contributed by Denise O'Connor, the owner of the Purple Paper Paradise Blog (http://purplepaperparadise.blogspot.com/) and Ruthie, the owner of http://gedalovitch.blogspot.com. Thank you, Denise and Ruthie, for taking the time to share your reviews with us!


--------------------------------------------This is Denise's review---------------------------------------

eCraft Review

The eCraft personal cutter has been in user’s hands for about 6 months now and with the recent events involving Provo Craft’s lawsuits with Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot, a lot of users have been inquiring about other cutters including the eCraft. I have had my eCraft since the beginning and I do really like the machine. The machine itself is sturdily built and that is great news for longevity, but may not be the best choice for taking to crops because there are a lot of metal parts and the machine is heavy. The design is really quite innovative since it cuts without the traditional sticky mats. That being said, I do see some ways that the machine could be improved upon, but the improvements that I have in mind would just be to fine tune the machine. Since the cutter does not use sticky mats, there is a learning curve to this machine. I was a Cricut user prior to getting the eCraft and I thought that I would have this cutter going without an issue right out of the box. That was not the case. Since there are no mats, this machine is unlike any other machine on the market today and therefore users have to start at the beginning. I have to say that cutting without mats is fabulous! It is so nice to cut down on the prep time and just feed your paper in and cut. Even though the machine doesn’t require the use of a sticky mat, most users have found that using a cardstock stabilizer makes your cuts cleaner and is necessary for cutting thinner materials. The cardstock stabilizer is simply a piece of cardstock placed underneath your cutting paper and feeding both pieces of paper into the machine at the same time. If you have your pressure setting correct, the machine will only cut the top layer and will leave a score mark on the bottom layer. The cardstock stabilizer sheet can be used several times before needing to be replaced.

The machine can cut thin materials like vellum. I actually cut up a page from a paperback book with no issues at all. The machine cuts vinyl well (just make sure to turn off your tabs). It can also cut thick materials extremely well. It can cut materials up to 1mm thick and most of the materials that I have cut can be cut in 1 pass including cereal box chipboard and American Crafts glitter paper. There are no speed settings on the machine, but so far when cutting from the console the speed does not seem to be an issue in regards to the cleanliness of the cuts. The speed is a good speed; I don’t feel like I am waiting too long for the cuts. I am hoping that as the software programs develop further that some speed control can be added to give us users more control. Some potential eCraft users have expressed concerns about the tabs that the machine uses to keep the cuts in place. The machine does have a setting for no tabs and if you are cutting something that is simple without a lot of interior shapes you can use this setting in conjunction with the cardstock stabilizer. I usually only have to sand off the tabs when I cut thick materials with the tabs. Most of the times this really isn’t an issue and it only takes a few seconds to sand off a tab. Since getting the machine, I have tried to cut lots of different things and so far, the only thing that I have tried and so far have been unsuccessful at cutting is felt. There is one brand of stiffened adhesive backed felt that I have been able to cut, but so far I have been unsuccessful with other felts. Circles cut really well at 1” and bigger, the smaller circles can appear to be slightly off. See picture of ¼” ½” and 1” circles. I have been able to successfully do a Print and Cut using Make the Cut beta, but it requires a bit of set up time to figure out your margins. For more information on how to do it, see my blog post (http://purplepaperparadise.blogspot.com/2011/02/print-cut-with-ecraft.html)

The biggest complaint about the eCraft is the software that Craftwell made to go with the machine which is called eCraftshop Pro. Right now, the software is not even close to MTC or SCAL. The updates have made improvements, but the list of needed improvements is long. The developers have said that they won’t be adding new features until the improvements have all been made. It could be a long time before their software is something that crafters would want to use. Since the software has not lived up to our expectations, many users asked Craftwell to work with Andy at MTC and Todd at SCAL to allow the eCraft to work with their programs. Both programs have released beta versions which are available to eCraft users right now. I have used both of the beta versions and each one has some kinks in them, but they are definitely usable and a big improvement over the eCraftshop Pro software. Once the stable versions are released, I will be doing more in depth reviews on how these programs work with the eCraft. If you decide to get an eCraft and do not already have MTC or SCAL, plan on getting one of those programs! I have enjoyed my eCraft so much more since the beta versions were released!

Since there are no mats, there really is no additional expense tied to that. The blades are very reasonable. You can get a 20 pack for $30. I will say that the blades don’t seem to last quite as long as they did on the Cricut, but at $1.50 per blade, I don’t have an issue with this. I purchased my eCraft and any of the accessories from cutterscreek.com. Kim is the owner of that store and she is wonderful, she really cares about her customers and has the best customer service. Kim was also a beta tester for the eCraft and she runs the eCraft_Crafters Yahoo Group. The group is has a lot of great people in it that are always willing to help. Right now Kim is also offering (while supplies last) a free SD card with each eCraft purchase (use coupon code FREE SD CARD) and shipping is also free! That is a savings of approximately $70.

One thing that has really impressed me since getting the machine is the customer service that Craftwell provides. There have been a few complaints about it taking a long time to get back to people, but once they do it seems like everyone is satisfied. When they come across a defective machine, they have been very quick to send out a replacement. They listen to the crafters and because of that, we can now cut directly to the eCraft using Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot. They are developing the eCraftCentral website (in beta mode right now) that allows users to purchase images individually. The SD cards that you can purchase for the machine containing images (no computer necessary) are in the $40-$50 range so if you like the whole set, you can get the SD card. If you want only one or two images, you can purchase those from the eCraftCentral website. This is a feature that crafters requested. They are also planning on having an IPhone app that will allow you to design on your IPhone and then link them to your online account for cutting. Overall, I am very happy with the machine and I just love that Craftwell wants to encourage all of us to do what we want to do with our machines.

For more information about the eCraft, join the eCraft_Crafters Yahoo Group and you can also visit my blog www.PurplePaperParadise.com for videos, tutorials, etc.

-------------------------------------------end of Denise's review-------------------------------------

Here are a few things that Denise has made with her eCraft:



Here is some additional info from Denise that was sent to me after the review above was written:





The beta plug in for MTC was just released at the end of January.  Some of these projects used MTC for the designing part, but actually all of these ones were cut either from the console using one of the eCraft’s SD cards or from the eCraftshop Pro software. For the Mickey Mouse gift bag, I pixel traced the clip art in MTC, broke it out into layers and then exported each layer as an SVG and imported those into eCraftshop Pro for cutting.  The Yellow flower box is made from the Handled Boxes SVG set from LD, the flower is a cut from the Fundamentals 1 SD card (included with the machine) and I cut it out several times and then “patchworked” the different papers together to get this look and just layered from small to large.  The Happy Birthday gift tag was made in the eCraftshop Pro software using a flower from one of the SD card (I think this is also Fundamentals 1) and then I used a TTF font to add the Happy Birthday on top of it.  The star shaped box was created with a SVG from SVGCuts.com, the paper rosette I did by hand following a tutorial from Jennifer McGuire, and the balloon is from the Balloon Craze SVG set from LD.  I had to bring the balloon into MTC and break out the layers there before importing them into eCP because eCP doesn’t even have the basic function of ungrouping.  When you bring an SVG like this into eCP, it comes in as one image and there is no way to separate it.  The yellow box and the balloon box were projects that I made for a contest that Craftwell had and these were selected for display at their booth at CHA.  I have attached a couple pictures of eCraft projects that I did that includes the cutting from MTC.  The dinosaur treat bags were using the Love Pets SVG set from LD, I just simplified that dinosaur down to two layers since I had to mass produce these.  The sentiment (also from that set) I actually just printed that directly on the toppers to again save some time on this project.  The card uses a frame from the Felt Owl Right set in which I added a shadowed black out layer and the funky scalloped border is from the LD scalloped border set.  Can you tell that I love LD?

-------------------------------------------end of Denise's review-------------------------------------




=======================This is Ruthie's review==========================

I love my ecraft by Craftwell!  Ok, so now you know where I am coming from!

I used to have a wishblade which I used rarely.  I would faff around finding the leads etc, getting the image designed, finding the software (yep I can lose software!) and then I would be ready to cut.  Hmmmmmmm, but that was sometimes an issue...because I used it so rarely I forgot what colour blade cap I needed, then I couldnt remember the right pressure setting...or the speed.  So when I did try and cut something out, I was rarely successful first time!  Normally by the 4th or 5th try I would have something usable.  Well, that was if I didnt tear it getting it off the sticky mat!   Now, let me be fair - I know that alot of people used the wishblade very successfully - in fact I still have mine and may return to use it at sometime - but I never really mastered it.

I have a big-shot, but wanted to be able to design my own stuff (hey, I have aspirations!).  I ALMOST got a cricut, but didnt because I saw the ecraft advertised as coming soon....and I am an absolute sucker for getting the latest thing!  When I first saw it, it was being promoted as automatic pressure and no mats....answer to my prayers I thought.  The final version does not have automatic pressure but is so simple to set that I really dont find it a problem.  Hmmmm, lets try to be a little more logical about this....

MATS - the ecraft cuts without using sticky mats!  The way it achieves this is to put in little tabs so that the cut-out stays attached until you "push it out"....kind of like decoupage that you push out.  It does leave tiny, tiny little tabs on the paper, but I can just "scratch" these off with my thumb nail and they are gone...they are really, really tiny!  However, I dont use the tabs at all - yep, you can turn them off altogether!  What I, and lots of other ecraftie people do, is use a scrap piece of card under their card or paper they are cutting.  If you set the pressure for the material you are cutting then the "mat card" you are using stays intact for lots of uses.  I loved this idea - no paying out for mats that I damaged when I set the pressure too high!  AND no ripping bits off my design when I pulled it off the mat.  Oh and no fluff and cat hair sticking to the mat either - yukkkk!  I do have to add that I also sometimes just take a chance and cut with no tabs and no card underneath - alot of times it works, sometimes it doesnt, but then thats the thrill-seeker in me!

PRESSURE - the pressure is adjustable.  This was changed from the auto pressure system because people wanted to kiss-cut vinyl and the auto pressure just cut all the way through - Craftwell really listened to feedback!  I was a bit sad about this when I first heard about it - I wanted that auto pressure (remember the issues for me and the wishblade???).  Then I heard about the blue light....mmmmmm the blue light!  The blue light on the cutting carriage lights when you are cutting right through your card/paper etc.  Now, because I often use a card mat, this blue light is more of a warning light to me now!  If that blue light is lit, then I know I am cutting through my card mat and not just what I want to cut!  Pressure adjustment is super-easy though....1-8 (although you can choose 1.5 etc) - I tend to cut thin paper at 3 with card being about a 5 or 6.  Once you get used to the weight of the card you use most then you will tend to know instinctively what pressure you need.  There are pressure charts out there for you to use though if you want to be more certain of your outcome.

DESIGN CARDS - Craftwell produce design cards.  I got one with my machine and used that a fair bit while I was waiting for the software to get sorted (more on that in a minute!) and it has your swirls, flowers and stuff on it.  I do use it when I just want to cut out a couple of flowers to go on a card, a butterfly etc.  There are a whole lot more of these cards coming out now and you can see what is on each card in the ecraft software which updates from the internet.  I found that really useful to be able to see what was available out there. The cards cost about $50 each so they are not cheap - but perhaps still cheaper than some cartridges?  The designs on the cards have preset minimum cutting sizes, they have been checked to see how small they will cut and that information preset on the card...Craftwell really do want us to have a good experience!   AND now, Craftwell have opened ecraft central, where people can upload their own designs to sell and where you can buy individual designs - no more buying a whole cartridge for one design!  Craftwell recently sent out a $10 voucher and that bought me 9 designs, so they are reasonably priced....but I did really buy it so that I could design my own stuff!

SOFTWARE - oh my word!  OK, this is where Craftwell fell flat!  The ecraft was meant to be able to cut from the computer and import svgs to cut.  BUT it wasnt always very successful at that!  Some of us early adopters had a wry old time with that software, let me tell you!  I was lucky in that the majority of my svgs cut out fine...but there were the odd ones that would (for no apparent reason) cut a circle (or 3) in the middle of the design!!!   Now, I have to say that I am very chilled about all this, but then I am not designing and making stuff for a living so can afford to be!  AND I had the faith that they would sort it all out eventually.  We had a release or two on the software which certainly didnt resolve all the issues (and still left a very basic software) so Craftwell listened to their customers again!  They have worked with Andy at MTC and Todd at SCAL to allow their software to cut to the ecraft!  Oh, the day they announced that was a good one!  I plumped for mtc and love it!  Having worked in inkscape before, alot of the commands were intuitive to learn and it does what I want it to!.....and then it cuts out!  Eeeeeee!  Massive kudos to Andy for his fabby software - but also to Craftwell for listening to their customers, recognising that they couldn't offer the level of sophistication their purchasers wanted and not being too proud to admit it and seek help!   Takes a big company to do that!

WHAT IT CUTS - well there is alot of information out there on what the machine cuts and doesnt - I only use it for paper and card, but hope to try it on vinyl soon.  It also cuts some kind of sugar gum (???? we dont have it in the uk I dont think!) for decorating cakes and will do thin chipboard, adhesive felt etc.  It wouldnt be fair of me to add much more to this as I havent tried out the other things personally.  I do remember someone saying that if it fits under the rollers then the ecraft can cut it!

SIZE - I dont do scrapbooking so havent had the need to cut out 12x12 - I suspect that it doesnt cut a true 12 x12 but I am not sure...I use A4 for the majority of the time...although you can insert a 12 x12 into the machine as I use a piece of this as my "mat card".  However, it cuts long!  Really long....there is a roller attachment that fits on the back of the ecraft (and comes with the machine, so no extra cash to pay out!).  This is something I hope to play with at sometime but havent used yet.  I am not aware of anyone having used it yet...but sure the minute I type that someone will leap in and say they use it everyday.  Whilst we are on the subject, the ecraft also comes with a tray feeder.  The idea is that you load the tray, choose your number of cuts and then leave it at it!  Again, because I am not commercial, I havent needed to do this yet.  I tried getting everything set up for my tray when mtc first released their beta version because Andy said it worked better from the tray...but I failed miserably - dont know what I was doing wrong.  I did briefly chat to customer service who said they would talk me through it all, but I have yet to have the conversation!  Not their fault, mine...just got to playing with mtc...oh well, sure you all know how time flies once you have mtc!

BLADES AND PENS - the blades are cheap!!! But not CHEAP!  They are inexpensive!  You buy them in a set of 5 and they seem to last really well - obviously it depends what you are cutting (as with any blades) but they seem to last longer than my wishblade ones (or is that because I had to cut things out so many times cos I kept messing them up?).  The ecraft does not do print and cut (well, not without using a workaround!) but it does draw without having to change the blade out.  There are gel pens available for it too (although I havent tried these yet).  You just designate lines as draw or cut within the ecraft software and off it goes.  The design cards have images that use both, so these are fun to play with.  Also, when you would like to test cut something to "see how it looks" in real-life - you can just ask it draw so you save paper!

CUSTOMER CARE - I really do think this is important, especially with a new machine!  Craftwell have been great with their customer care to me.  I had a machine initially which was faulty and was dreading that they were going to ask me to send it back to US for it to be exchanged.  But they didnt - they authorised my dealer to just swap it out for me..no fuss, no bother!  I know that for a period their communication went a little awry....they stopped updating information etc about the software and it happened very shortly after the machine was shipped.  Not great and lots of people lost faith in the company at that point...but speak as you find...I found them excellent, I think they care about their customers and are happy to do what it takes to give you the product you want, to use in the way you want to.

PRICE - $349 is what is showing at the first website I went to.  Not sure how that compares...lower than quite a few I guess.  For me, it was a good price for what it offered - and it looks cool too!  Not that I am judging it on that of course..No!

Bottom line for me, is that this machine is out all the time....therefore, I dont need to hunt for the leads, the software, the mat, the software...the machine (yep, didnt mention that one did I???).  I get very little time to craft and this meets my needs...I can switch it on and use it from the design card if I just want to cut out a flower or a swirl...or if I want something specific I can find an svg I like and use that...or even design something special

I do think that people need to take the time to see any cutting machine demo'd, read lots of reviews and really think about what they would like it to do - you are going to spend alot of money on this machine so you really should take the time to find out the good (and bad) points about it.

Ruthie - http://gedalovitch.blogspot.com/
=======================End of Ruthie's review==========================


Thank you, Denise and Ruthie, for the detailed reviews.

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

Thanks so much!

21 comments :

  1. Thank you for posting this. I am researching right now on cutters and am leaning towards the eCraft. I've had a Cricut E for 5 or so years now and it's dying on me. CS is crap with Provo Craft and then now with all the legal things going on there, i'm not going back to that machine. Sick of the mats and accessories!
    Anyways, I might link to this post from my blog because it is so informative. I hope that is alright!
    Lyssa
    bornagaincrafter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am interested in the eCraft as well, however, I do like being able to stick multiple layers on a mat and cut them all at once from different papers.

    Can you do this with an eCraft using the scrap cardstock mat technique? Or would you have to put each different paper in one at a time?

    I would love to see more input about this machine!

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  3. I have a craftwell cutter and their service is fantastic!! I was having an issue they never heard of before and asked me to send in my machine to them. I did and they did extensive testing to reproduce my problem. They then sent me a new machine that works like a charm!! With Make the Cut software and this cutter I am in heaven!!
    Cuttting paper, vinyl, thermocuts, etc. with fine details and great results!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I purchased this machine and after a month of wasting both time and materials I returned it to the store for a refund. Despite being sold as mat free, you are advised to use a cardstock stabalizer under your material to prevent it slipping. Using this stabalizer makes feeding the cutting material into the machine extremely difficult. Even then the vast majority of the time the ecraft would not make a clean cut on any type of material (card, chipboard, paper)etc. It did cut a few things successfully, but using the exact same settings the next cut on the same material would tear and jam up the machine. Despite persevering with different pressure settings etc, I was very rarely able to achieve a satisfactory end result. If you look on amazon.com there are several one star reviews for this machine. I agree totally with the comments made my these reviewers as I had exactly the same issues with my machine and that is why it was returned for a refund. Personally I would not recommend this machine to anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi:

    I bought this machine, as I am looking for something to upgrade from my Cricut (unfortunately my Cricut does NOT cut straight lines when cutting business cards and this is what my business is all about). I bought the eCraft, and was not really happy with it. Not sure whether it was a defective machine or not, but it was returned within 3 days of trying it out - I couldn't get it to pick the paper from the tray and it kept making really horrible noises. Even if it did function properly , I have to say I do not like the tabs it cuts to help keep objects in place (so you don't need a mat). For my business of cutting business cards, it creates unprofessional little bits of paper around the card and when we get 250 and 500 card orders in - having to manually remove those off each card can really become a problem. Wish I could say I loved it, but honestly I did not.

    I'm also sick of mats, terribly sick of them and shelling out $13-15 every time we get a large order, but I just don't know whether this method is going to work for professional results. Just my $.02.

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  6. I agree that the customer service was helpful and polite, but did NOTHING to make my machine workable. I wasted huge amounts of cardstock, paper and blades in a futile attempt to cut something successfully. I assumed it was the old 'operater error' too, as I was a first time cutter. After weeks of ripped up shredded paper and wading through on line help sites, I contacted the company. I was advised to try a vegetable cutting mat - when this machine boasts it doesn't require one. It sliced the cutting mat up! Great, at least it could cut something. More wasted card stock and now a mat too. I was then told to grind down the blade cover with a drill bit, just a little and do it gently. Now come on, I don't need this sort of thing on a brand new, out of the box cutter. I has contemplated trying different soft ware to see if this could solve something,but since the cutter obviously cannot cut successfully, it seemed like a pointless exercise. Good money after bad. Don't get me wrong, it has actually cut out a couple of pieces from the very limited SD card it comes with, but it is too unpredictable and generally fails in the task. You can't cut with a 60% failure rate. it will cut one shape out quite well, try and do the same thing with the same settings and paper and it is just as likely to chew it up. I have an expensive waste of money that I wouldn't be dishonest enough to try and sell to some other unfortunate victim. This product is far from able to do what it claims, so do your research very carefully, I know a lot of people have had the same awful and expensive results. Take care, hope this helps, Rebecca Southern

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  7. I had an ecraft as well. All the money and time I spent trying to get it to cut was horrible. A square will cut, but anything else doesn't. You also have to use a MAT because it requires a cardstock stabilizer which is not MAT FREE! The learning curve is terrible, and I tried to use the software with it, and it just took forever. I have the original cricut, and I just purchased the new one which I love. It actually cuts, and I am now deciding that I would rather save my cardstock and spend a little on the mat. There are a few people that have had luck with the ecraft, but overall most hate it.

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    Replies
    1. I'm a dealer of vinyl cutters, we buy 16 machine for resell, nothing work fine, great problems for all with great damage to our reputation.
      very bad product

      Delete
  8. i had mine 3 weeks, got it as a present for mothers day. so far i have used 2 boxes plus of cardstock of different thickness. every single one of them rips or doesnt cut no matter what u set the pressure at. waste of £300 i can cut what i want with a knife, might take much longer but its far less expensive then amount of card am throwing away trying to get a decent design cut out. Fine is you want a circle or square, anything with intricate designs and you got no chance.
    taking it back for refund

    ReplyDelete
  9. Review Part 1:

    I've had my eCraft for 4 months now & I love it! The customer service is fantastic! I haven't used the rollerYET, but I have no problems cutting from the tray/front. For intricate cuts, I do use a 'stabilizer', otherwise, I just slide my CutMates cardstock in & cut away. BTW, I NEVER use tabs! The software has changed for the better; a break-apart has been added, along with cutting from the inside out. I've cut everything from tissue paper to vinyl to lightweight chipboard.

    This machine is FAST! So if the settings aren't right, paper will rip. I think if everyone took the time to cut a small, simple shape out of their paper before proceeding with the full blown image, they would save themselves a lot of waste & frustration. Now I don't do this with every sheet I put in, every time I put it in - I only do it at the beginning of a cut session because the climate changes (yes, humidity affects paper) & although card tock is created in massive quantities, I've gotten two pieces of cardstock from the same company, with the same color name & yet there was a visible difference. So if the something as simple as the color changes from batch to batch, I imagine the paper itself does too. I save myself a lot of heartache by simple cutting a 1/4" octagon to make sure I have the pressure setting right.

    This machine is NOTHING like the other personal cutters on the market. I spent a lot of time watching the videos at Purple Paper Paradise & watching the eCraft tutorials on youtube & its probably why I don't have trouble with my eCraft.

    Lots of people like to state that only a few people have 'luck' with this machine & that 'overall most hate it' - its not true, because if it was the company would have gone bankrupt by now. What does tend to be true is that those thousands of happy users aren't the ones you see on the internet talking about the machine; its the users that are struggling with the machine that are posting on the net, so of course you'll see a lot of negativity. When was the last time you spoke to a manager in a store, restaurant, etc., about the GOOD service you got?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am impressed with your observation that "climate changes" and " humidity affects paper." In fact that is the spark for Willis Carrier to invent air conditioning in Buffalo, New York, on July 17, 1902. Carrier worked for an engineering company that was hired to solve a printing resistration problem for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn. They could not successfully register printed images from day to day. Carrier determined that the size of the paper changed with humidity causing the image registration problem. His solution was to hold the humidity of the factory constant from day to day using air conditioning.

      in response to a quality problem experienced at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn, Willis Carrier submitted drawings for what became recognized as the world's first modern air conditioning system. The 1902 installation marked the birth of air conditioning because of the addition of humidity control

      Delete
  10. Review Part 2:

    This machine is also cost effective! I don't have a lot of $$ to spend on supplies, so I love that my replacement blades are only $2ea. The initial purchase was a chunk, but its still one of the cheapest machines out there (typically about $200). I love that I don't have to spend $$$ on 'carts', if I want to buy one of the 'SD' cards, they're only about $20 & they come with a TON of images. eCraft's site also sells single images that are $1.50ea or less. I don't have to deal with gross 'sticky' mats or buy expensive mats that have to be made sticky again & again. For the times that the paper needs support for intricate cuts, I just slide in the veggie mat that I got at the Dollar Tree (pkg of 2 for $1). When I didn't have those, I just used (& reused many times) a piece of cardstock in a color that I really don't use.

    For the person that likes to put different colors of card stock on the mat to cut at one time - you can do that with the eCraft, just put a little bit of temp. adhesive on the cardstock & put it on a veggie mat so it doesn't move when the machine is cutting the other colors - I do it all the time!

    I also like that Craftwell isn't suing people left & right; my cords haven't melted either. I can use 3rd party software with my machine & have 1000's of free/inexpensive SVGs available for me to use via the internet that I can use with the native cutter software.

    My eCraft is my 2nd one, my first one was dropped during transit (Christmas gift)-I called Craftwell & they promptly sent me a new machine (before they had even received my first one back). So if you're having trouble with your machine & haven't contact Craftwell - don't blame the eCraft or the company for your frustrations, Craftwell can't help you or fix the problem if they don't know it even exists! If you're not in the US, they have email & will even call you so you don't have to pay the telephone charges.

    So yeah - I LOVE my eCraft!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jennifer,

    Do you think that the people who purchased the ecraft have not taken the time and effort to try and make this macnine work? When I spent a large sum of my hard earned money on this machine, I tried watching various tutorials on the craftwell website and on you tube and there was no way that I could replicate those results on my machine. Only time will tell if this company can survive in the marketplace. Just because they have not gone bankrupt (yet) does not mean that this is a testament to their product! If they are still selling the machines in three or four years time then yes, maybe it isn't as bad as the majority of reviewers on here have found it to be.

    With regards to doing a test cut on a simple shape, I think that alot of people (me included) were not even able to achieve this. I would cut a circle or square ok and then the next cut literally one minute later with the same settings would chew up the paper. An intricate cut was a dream too far for me!!

    As regards to cutting different colours of cardstock in one pass, even you admit that this is only possible my means of sticking the different scraps on to a vegetable mat with temporaty adhesive. This is just as time consuming, if not more so than using a conventional cutting mat! This machine is sold as MAT FREE so why when you take it out of the box are you advised in the manual that you should use a piece of cardstock under your cutting material. Why does it not say on the box 'Cardstock cutting mat or vegetable cutting mat required'!!

    I think that a lot of people purchasing the ecraft are not first time cutter users. Please give them some credit that they have been able to figure out their previous machines (with or without tutorials). Since returning my ecraft for a refund, I have purchased a Sizzic eclips and I have managed to get this machine up and running and cutting without any help. I do not think it was my lack of perseverance with the ecraft that was the problem, it was more to do with a machine being sold as something that it is not and for a lot of people it has been a waste of money and effort.

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  12. Customer support for this cutter was excellent. I got my ECraft in the first batch that was available. Couldn't pass up the great deal. The features that I needed were matless cutting and tray feed. I am now on my 4th ECraft machine. Craftwell replaced the previous three. This one has something inside of it that is rattling, but Craftwell support said that if it didn't interfere with cutting then don't worry about it.

    I waited a very long time for the software updates for this cutter, hoping that the improved software would allow me to cut my designs to the eCraft. When my designs wouldn't cut properly, no matter what I tried, I was told by Craftwell that my designs were the culprit. My designs cut fine on every one of my 9 other cutters.

    Cutting without a mat is an elusive dream on this machine. Solution - create my own mat from cardstock. Not acceptable.
    Cutting multiple designs from paper in the tray - also an elusive dream. If I have to use a mat to cut, then I cannot use tray feed. Paper would not feed in one at a time from the tray anyway. Cutting from the tray was inaccurate and most of the time resulted in torn paper.

    Only heavy weight cardstock will cut in my machine without being skewed, ripped and ruined. I practiced and practiced, gave it renewed tries multiple times, until I have destroyed over 300 sheets of expensive 12x12 cardstock.

    Most of the time when cutting designs from the design cards, I could get about 30% of the designs to cut properly. Not acceptable. When cutting intricate designs from the software - I tried SCAL, MTC, and the ECraftShop Pro software - the first part of the design would cut fine, but only once did I ever get a lattice style card front to finish cutting in the same place it started. Soooooo Sad.

    It is impossible to cut a full 11.5"x11.5" design from a 12"x12" piece of cardstock using the ECraft. The machine requires at least 2" for grabbing the paper and holding it in place. In most cases I found the usable area to be about 10"x10". This may be fine for those cutting smaller shapes from a large piece of paper, but this amount of waste is unacceptable for me.

    Cuts are inaccurate. I cannot cut a perfect square or circle on the machine from any software. Cuts do not end where they start, as paper shifts during the cutting. Once cut will work fine, the next on the same paper will not.

    Rarely can I get vinyl to feed into my eCraft. It has to be perfectly flat, so forget using any vinyl that has been rolled. Rolled paper? That never came to pass. Too bad. Sounded interesting.

    I do not recommend this machine for anyone. There are many excellent cutters on the market. Save yourself the extreme frustration that I and many others have experienced in trying to get this machine to be productive. Trying to learn to use it has cost me too much time and paper, with nothing to show for it.

    I have been using electronic cutters for crafting projects since 2004, and have used nearly every machine that has been on the market for crafters since then. I have provided customer support for most of them. Perhaps my experience is a handicap in this case. I am happy for those who have had any measure of success using the Ecraft cutter for their purposes. Matless cutting, option to cut SVG files, and roll or tray feed are not good reasons for purchasing this cutter. The machine and software do not work as advertised. If you need a doorstop, have lots of time and paper to waste, and are up to a huge challenge, you might want to give it a try. Just don't get rid of your other cutter before you get this one, and make sure that it does what you want it to do.

    It grieves me to post a review like this, but it grieves me more when people purchase this machine and become disillusioned with cutters in general due to their bad experience. Don't give up cutting! Just get a cutter that works!!!!! Any other one is better than ECraft.

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    1. What machine would you recommend?

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  13. I've had an eCraft for over a year and, although I have some positive things to say about it, I would ultimately not recommend it. The major positive aspect of the eCraft is that you don't need a mat to cut. This is totally awesome!! In my experience, the blades also last a long time, so there are very little maintenance costs on the machine. However, for what you save in maintenance, perhaps you have to spend on extra paper because it usually takes more than one try to get your design to cut properly. Like other reviewers have said, the paper shifts during cutting so that one end doesn't meet the other. This is not the issue every time you cut - but it happens frequently enough that you should plan to have enough paper to cut everything two or three times until the machine gets it right. But, you get used to it. After a while you learn to predict how your machine is going to handle certain cut types and different kinds of papers and you learn little tricks to improve the cut quality. There is a very active yahoo group that is very helpful when you have any questions about the machine.

    All that said, I recently purchased a Cameo and I doubt I will ever use my eCraft again. The eCraft isn't terrible, but there are just so many better cutters out there to choose from.

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  14. There were 3 main reasons for me purchasing this machine. Firstly, no mat was required, secondly you could create your own designs and a computer wasn’t required, and thirdly a full 12x12” cutting area.

    I found the advertising of this machine to be very misleading indeed.

    I am very limited for space beside my computer and believed that I could design my own shapes to add to a card and take to my machine away from my computer. I was so disappointed to learn that this wasn’t possible because the cards wouldn’t allow me to write to them. I ended up with it crammed on my desk beside my computer which wasn’t practical and really defeated the purpose.

    I soon learned that the cutting area is greatly reduced because gaps are required between each shape even if you’re only cutting lots of squares. The cuts would also weed as it was cutting and die cut bits would float – interfering with the rest of the cuts on the sheet, and then the paper would scrunch up and tear. Also, the actual area that the cutter can utilize is only 9.5 x 9.5”.

    I would love to know how much paper I wasted when cuts weren’t accurate with paper shifting in the machine.

    I found the shapes on the SD card supplied were very limited and basic and I feel that I was lead to believe that I could take my own designs on a card to the machine. Maybe they should have honestly told us that we do need a computer to send our designs to the machine.

    The tray feeder never worked – the machine just wouldn’t grab paper from it, no matter how hard I tried, so that ended up thrown out.

    At times I was using the machine when everyone was in bed at night and had to give that away because the beeper was so loud every time I made a selection on the panel and there was no way to adjust the volume of it.

    Overall, I would not recommend this machine to anyone – it doesn’t do anything that I purchased it to do and I just don’t trust this machine to do the right thing.

    Sorry Craftwell, I feel mislead and conned!

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  15. I recently purchased an Ecraft and have found that as of 8-2012 it still has some of the glitches that people are talking about when it first came out. It messes up a lot of paper and I can't figure out how to set the tabs so that my paper will cut properly. I want to love the machine, but messing up my vinyl is not an option. They really need to update the software so that it does a lot more than what it does. If ever the tabs could be set proper and it stopped messing up my vinyl-I would buy 2 of these.

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    1. I've only owned One cutting machine and since 2010 I used my eCraft, everyday. The machine is intact and resumes it's integrity.
      and
      Since MTC has choose Not to upgrade their beta plugin which is NOT compatiable with the eCraft, I have used SCAL and it works perfectly!

      I found this was my only solution for precise, complete cuts.

      Hope this has been helpful to other eCraft users.

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  16. i own a ecraft,it is the 1st electronic cutting machine i have had,so i have not got any thing to compare it with,when i first got it i made a lot of mistakes with it and i think that it was user error on my behalve, i have watched a lot of tutorials and am very grateful to Denice of purple paper paradise for all her help. i love it ,I downloaded MTC and am truley addicted,not that good with computers, but i am learning something new every day. i believe there are good, probaly better cutting machines than the ecraft out there,but i chose the ecraft because i didnt want to use a sticky mat,I do use a stabilizer sometimes but that's fine, I am very happy with want i have got

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  17. I've had my eCraft since it came out. If you only use the card or the eCraft Pro software WITH stiff card stock, tabs and allowable margins around the image you will have success. Avoid cheap paper or value packs. That being said, to guarantee 100% success when I'm using MTC, svg files or the tabless setting, I ALWAYS use a so called stabilizer. You could say I made my own mat from heavy 12"x 12" card stock and lots of repositionable tape. I'll try the vegetable mat idea. In a nutshell the matless claim is sort of misleading but I'm using mine until it dies then I'm getting a pro machine because I cut a lot. Content for now.

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