Digital Craft Cutting

My latest fad is a Digital Cutter so I though I would put a dedicated page on line so anyone interested can find my cutting files and otherย  stuff easily.

I started out with a Craft Robo cutter, which I found to be just a little too limiting with the materials it can cut. It is fine for most light craft workย  but I found it was just not up to cutting some of the thicker materials I wanted to cut so I have replaced it with a 15 inch BlackCat Cougar which is a much more capable machine.

It is very rare these days to find a product which really stands out from the crowd but I can assure you that the BlackCat Cougar definitely does.

The BlackCat Cougar cutter is every bit as good as the support, it has a cutting force of 950 grammes with 255 adjustable steps and a cutting speed of up to 600mm/s both of which can be changed in the software or directly on the machine LCD display. You can even pause the cutting and change the cutting force and speed on the fly. If your cut settings were not quite right you can simply make adjustments to the blade length, adjust the force, and hit the repeat button to cut again over the original cut – No wasted material.

Cougars come in various cutting widths from 13 inches to 24 inches and unlike some other cutters on the market that is the actual cutting width not the media width. They can cut a range of materials from thin vinyl up to 1mm chipboard or 1.5mm mount board, metal foils, shrink plastic, paper, card etc.

The Cougar has a built in laser alignment system so you can perform contour cuts. Basically you can add cut lines to a picture/ photograph ect within the software, then you can print the file on a normal inkjet/ laser printer and put the printout into the Cougar and automatically cut out the shapes around your image. This is often referred to as Digital Die Cutting or Print & Cut. The process is not quite as automatic as it is on the Craft Robo, but at the same time it is less limiting – with the Craft Robo the limited cutting size is further reduced by having to avoid large areas around the page so the system can locate the special registration marks, the cougar does not suffer from this problem and will allow you to still cut up to the full size of the media when doing contour cutting.

That’s not the end of the matter by a long way, not only does the Cougar cut but with an optional tool it also embosses card, velum etc. The tool has interchangeable tips from 1mm up to 6mm diameter for outline or filled embossing. I have the embossing tool and the results are really quite fantastic ๐Ÿ˜‰

Had enough yet? because there is more, much more!ย  There are a number of other optional tools available, such as an engraving tool to engrave metal, detail blade holder for cleaner cuts on very fine detail cuts such as lattice work, click adjustable blade holders for quick and easy blade adjustment, cutting tables which attach directly to the machine to hold the media steady while cutting and a number of other tools are currently being developed including a rotary engraving tool & hot foil transfer pen among others.

Software wise the Cougar comes with various options to suit all abilities, Sure Cuts A Lot is a basic editor and cutting software combined into a single very easy to learn program but can also import and cut SVG files so you can create more complex designs in any software which saves SVG and cut them in SCAL. The excellent Inkscape editor and Signcut Pro package has a steeper learning curve but is about as good as it gets without spending more on software than on the cutter!. Inkscape is a free vector editing program which uses the SVG file format, it is a VERY capable editor indeed and offers pretty much all the tools you would ever need to produce superb cutting files. It may appear a little daunting at first as there are lots of tools and options which will take a while to absorb, but after a short time you will pick up enough of the basics to create very usable cutting files. The advantage of Inkscape is that once you have the basic knowledge you can then progress onto more advanced tools & techniques to produce some stunning bespoke cutting files. If you are dead set against Inkscape then SCAL is the best option, and once you have joined the forum and we convince you to learn Inkscape you will then have both options (simple SCAL and powerful Inkscape) available for the same price ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even if you are not interested in designing your own cutting files SCAL/ Inkscape is still a good choice; as SVG is a free open source format there are a wealth of free SVG files for you to download, and they will also load up a multitude of other programs files such as Adobe Illustrator AI, EPS, BMP, JPG to name just a few.

The BlackCat Cougar is the Porsche of cutters, it may be more expensive than a Craft Robo but the difference in quality and ability far outweighs the extra cost. If you are thinking about purchasing a cutter then think very hard before making the same mistake I did by opting for the cheaper machine, if you obtain a Craft Robo/ wishblade type machine you may well find your creativity being limited by the machine, if you purchase a Cougar you will find the machine driving you to producing bigger and better things.

If, after reading that, you are still heading for a cheaper machine, there is the Craft Robo/ Wishblade machines.

CraftRoboThe Craft Robo is a computer plotter/ cutter which can be used to cut vinyl sheets, paper, card etc and is mostly used for crafts such as card making/ scrapbooking etc.

It can perform normal cuts such as cutting vinyl lettering for signs etc or print & cuts (contour cuts) where an image is first printed using a normal computer printer and then the image is cut from the sheet with the cutter – also known as digital die cuts. Some of the Craft Robo range do not do print & cut so if you are just thinking about obtaining a machine and want this facility make sure the machine supports it.

Cutting wise the machine is designed to cut material up to 0.3mm thick, this range can be extended with various tricks and cutting multiple times but your mileage may vary. The blade depth is set by fitting different colour caps to the end of the blade holder which give 0.1, 0.2 & 0.3mm of cutting depth, but depending on the density of the material it may not be possible to actually cut to these depths in one go because the maximum cutting force is only 230 grammes. The cutting speed is also quite low with a maximum of 100mm/s.

The Craft Robo/ Wishblade cutters come with RoboMaster software which is basic, very basic, if you are at all interested in creating your own designs you will very quickly find this software too limiting. I found the software pretty close to useless within a matter of hours, it is really a next to useless software bundle that is going to mean you will need to buy an upgrade pretty soon after buying the cutter! There are other software packages available for these machines which will give you more editing capability, but they are not free so this closes the gap between the cost of the CR & the Cougar.

The Craft Robo/ Wishblade machines are basically home/ hobby machines, not suited to extended use, and only really effective for quite thin materials. If you just want to cut a bit of light weight card once in a while then they are fine, if you want to cut lots of card, or heavy card/ dense materials you will find they are far from ideal.

If you are thinking about obtaining a craft robo, or already have one but are not a member, then you should join the Yahoo Wishblade Group. The group is an invaluable source of tutorials, cutting files, help, support and friendly banter for a range of cutter machines not just the Wishblade ๐Ÿ˜‰ The members include some extremely talented crafters with a wealth of experience they are all to happy to share.ย  Joining the group also gives you access to the www.GSDfiles.com which is a superb archive of free cutting files, fonts, tutorials and all things cutter related.

Flower-LPThe cutting files for the Craft Robo are also usable by Wishblade cutters so if you have a Wishblade you can use my Craft Robo cutting files too.

I will be adding tutorials and cutting files to my website which you will be able to find using the appropriate subjects in the Subject navigation links in the sidebar (Craft Cutter – Tutorial/ Cut File/ Print & Cut) I am also working on coding a sort of gallery page with thumbnails of the example pictures which link to the full size image and also provide a quick description plus link to the article & zip file, it may take some time though so for now you will have to do it the hard way ๐Ÿ˜€

The cutting files on this site will be in the form of a ZIP archive, most of which will contain the cutting file in Craft Robo/ Wishblade GSD format and Adobe Illustrator AI format or SVG (Inkscape) format. The zip file will also contain a ReadMe.HTML file, example photos in JPG format and other files as required.

Please note, I am producing these files for the benefit of the craft cutter community, and unless indicated otherwise in the ReadMe.html file they are:

Creative Commons LicenseLicensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

You are free to modify the files as you like, but if you wish to distribute modified files in any manner they must be licensed under theย  same or similar licence and also be attributed to the original work and myself by including the following line:

Based on an original design by Louise-Paisley (www.bratpack.org.uk)

If you find any of my tutorials or files useful or have any suggestions regarding them please take the time to leave a comment on the relevant page to let myself and others know ๐Ÿ˜‰

54 Responses to “Digital Craft Cutting”

  1. christine taylor says:

    Hi, boy am i glad i found you as you seem to know your stuff. Im new to this but im looking for a machine that will enable me to download fonts from my pc and print and cut onto vinyl. Any advise would be very much appreciated. Thankyou.

    • Louise says:

      The Craft Robo, Wishblade, or Cougar would all allow you to do this.

      The software for all the machines use the standard true type fonts installed on your computer and will cut them on vinyl or card.

      The main issues are how much editing you want to do and what materials you want to cut. The Craftrobo/ wishblade software is VERY limited, and they will struggle to cut thicker card or dense material.

      I would think carefully about not only what you want to do with the machine now, but what you may well end up wanting to do later once you have ‘played’ around with it and realised it’s potential.

      I would have no hesitation recommending the BlackCat Cougar, as I said on this page the after sales support alone is worth the asking price and it is really a VERY capable machine.

      If all you will ever do is cut a few vinyl letters up to about 7.5 inches high max, then the Craft robo/ wishblade machines will work out a bit cheaper.

      Louise

  2. Wendy Churchill says:

    Hello. Please can you help me. I run childrens messy play art and craft groups and spend my evening cutting out lots of different shapes and feel that a cutting machine would help me. The problem is I dont know anything about all the different ones available and was hoping for some advice. I need to be able to create my own templates and down load templates from the internet and also cut about 100 shapes a time. Any ideas as to what would best suit me. Thank you in advance.

    Wendy

    • Louise says:

      Sorry for late reply but I have been rather busy lately.

      Regarding a cutter it is one of those “you get what you pay for” issues, the cheaper models like the craftrobo and wishblade are OK but limited in the size and materials that can be cut.

      I have a craft robo which is sat collecting dust basically, it was fine when I first got it but then quickly found it just could not cope very well with the card I wanted to cut and the size limitation of A4 was too small and the software was absolutely next to useless for design work so I bought the cougar.

      The Cougar I have is 15 inches wide and with the supplied software can cut up to 24 inches x 24 inches (well 15 inches by 24 inches on my machine) and it can cut a much wider range of materials, fabric, fun foam, thick card, shrink plastic, vinyl, metal foils… the list goes on and on. Dawn at thyme graphics is an absolute saint when it comes to after sales service, she will literally stop at nothing to help you if you have a problem.

      Buying a Cougar also gives you full access to the Thyme Machines forum where there are lots of people, including myself, who help ease new owners into cutting with the Cougar. If you have a specific template you require posting the request on the forum will undoubtedly result in one of us either having it to share or making it for you. The Cougar cutters use Inkscape (a free but very very good design software) which has thousands of free templates available on the web and hundreds on the blackcat forum free for download.

      I would strongly recommend that you give Dawn at thyme graphics a call and discuss the matter with her, she will give you honest advice and is very knowledgeable with most cutters including Craft robo/ wishblade etc. She will bend over backwards to help you make the right choice but won’t pressure you into it at all.

      Contact details can be found on her website http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk/contact.asp Also ask her for guest membership of the Thyme Machines support forum, you will then be able to ask other owners about the Cougar and cutting in general

  3. April Masson says:

    Thank you for you review, I have been trying to plough through the mine field of cutting machines as this will be a birthday present from my family. You have given me all the informations I was looking for and also things I wanted but did’nt know I could get with a cutting machine such as embossing, which I find fustratating with the little hand machines.

    Thanks very much once again

    • Louise says:

      Hi April,

      I am glad my quick review helped you choose a machine.

      If you don’t mind me asking what have you decided on? If it is a Cougar you will be very happy with it I can assure you ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you do decide on a Cougar let Dawn at Thyme graphics know you saw the review on Loupy’s website :)

      I hope you have many hours of happy digital craft cutting, better do a good spring clean before you get one though because they are quite addictive and normal domestic chores seem to slip away into the background LOL

      Louise

  4. Tanya says:

    Hi,

    I have been looking at the craft robo/pro but I am really put off my the carry mats I have had an xyron which lost its tack way to quick and now I am reserved about the alternatives as I don’t want to be replacing cutting mats it gets expensive. Someone told me that I would need to change a cutting mat every 4 months/100 cuts. Just wondering if you could advise me on what you have found.

    Also can you get on none full sheets of paper?

    Thanks for letting me pick your brain.

    T

    • Louise says:

      The craft robo is toy like compared to a Cougar, I don’t know much about the craft robo pro but in all honestly I would doubt it measures up to the Cougar.

      Regarding cutting mats:

      You do not need to buy new mats when they loose their tac. Often washing them with a drop of washing up liquid in a cup of water and leaving them over night to dry will restore the stickiness, when that fails you can just spray them with a re positionable adhesive and they are good as new. You only need to replace the mat if it becomes badly scored by cutting with too much pressure (The cougar on full force will easily cut right through a cutting mat).

      I am not sure how many times you can cut on a mat before it loses tac as it would depend on the material you are cutting. If you are cutting a more fibrous paper/ card then the mat will lose tac much quicker than if you are cutting a smooth shiny paper/ card. It all depends on how much fibre gets permanently stuck to the mat.

      I don’t buy cutting mats at all any more, I buy heavy duty template plastic sheets and spray them with re positionable adhesive to make my own, very much cheaper and I think they are better than bought mats. The adhesive I use is Krylon Easy Tac 7020 and the tin will refresh a mat hundreds of times for about ยฃ5

      Using offcuts of paper/ card/ vinyl on the Cougar is very easy indeed, you put it on the carrier and load it into the machine, then you use the controls on the Cougar to move the blade to the front right corner and press the origin button. The Cougar then starts cutting at that exact spot. With the craft robo it is not as easy as you cannot change the cutting origin at all so you have to make sure the paper is positioned correctly before cutting.

      My advice would be to contact Dawn at Thyme graphics via phone or email and discuss your requirements with her, she will not attempt to pressure you into a purchase but will be more than happy to give you honest free advice.

      Personally I would recommend a Cougar over a craft robo. The Cougar will not let you down at all, the software it uses is fantastic and you will be able to do very much more with it than the software that comes with a CR, the Cougar machine is a professional cutter at an affordable price and will cut practically anything you throw at it. Yes it is more expensive, but it is worth every penny, and you may well find the cheaper option becoming frustrating with its limitations very quickly.

  5. Shireen says:

    How glad I found your page, I was about to sell my craftrobo but now after you detailed explaination on how to use it, I have just this minute got it out of its dusty box, many many thanks for the tutorial

    your in friendship from N. I reland. Shireen

  6. Bob says:

    Just a quick note to say that an Adobe Illustrator plugin is available free of charge from the Craft Robo website.
    This allows you to create your design within Illustrator and then send it directly to the Craft Robo which removes the limitation of the poor/very simple RoboMaster software.

    Sadly this doesn’t help the problem of cutting right to the edge of the paper/card…

    • Louise says:

      Yes that is true Bob, however if you start adding the price of illustrator into the equation the low cost solution is getting much closer to the price of the professional one ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Hi, Louise. Thank you for your review. I live in Nicaragua where I have asmall business of handmade gift boxes and gift bags http://www.facebook.com/kraftesania. I have an urge to buy a cutting machine and the Cougar seems to be what Iยดm looking for, but Iยดm not sure if it cuts and scores al the seme time so that boxes come out ready to glue. Do you know where can I download an instrutions manual? I would appreciate your help so much as Iยดm planning to buy this cutter on my next trip to US. Thanks.

    • Louise says:

      I sent you an email directly with a long winded answer, the quick answer is yes you can cut, score and MUCH MUCH more ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. kerry says:

    Just looking at buying a cougar have not read a bad review. Would love the long winded answer to the cut and score that you sent to Louise as this is one of the features I like about the cougar.
    thankyou

  9. Tammy MacKinnon says:

    I am looking at buying the cougar for creating quilt applique….do you have any experience in cutting fabric…mostly quilting cotton and some felt.

    Thanks in advance for any information you may be able to provide
    Tammy

    • Louise says:

      I don’t myself, I was intending cut fabric but the idea got shelved due to a million and one other things I want to do LOL

      I know there are people who do cut fabric, I think depending on the fabric It may have to be stiffened first, and cutting felt is possible too as I have seen examples on the forum.

      You really should contact dawn @ thymegraphics.co.uk (remove spaces) and ask for details of and guest membership to the Thyme Machines Forum, you will be able to see examples of things you can cut and also ask the members questions.. They are an extremely friendly bunch and will help with any questions you might have.

      If you buy you get full access to the forum, it is HUGE, as a guest you only get to see a fraction of it. There are thousands of templates, if you need a template you can almost guarantee someone will have it and share it for free, the forum is worth as much as the machine!!!

  10. Ken says:

    I am looking for didgital cutting machine but can not decide between your Blackcat Cougar and the Lynex can you help me

    Ken thank you

  11. Ken says:

    Lots more i would like to ask as i have always wanted to get into this side of craft and card making

    Ken thank you

    • Louise says:

      It all depends on what you intend to do with it.

      The two machines are pretty much the same, the only differences are the force and number of steps for force and speed. The Cougar has 950g or force the lynx has 500g, basically the Cougar will cut thicker materials in one pass such as 1.5mm chipboard. You can still cut thicker materials with the lynx but it may require 2 or 3 passes, so if you would only occasionally need to cut chipboard or similar heavy materials then the lynx may well serve your needs.

      Either way is is a significant purchase, I would REALLY urge you to contact Dawn (dawn@thymegraphics.co.uk) and ask her for details of the Thyme Machines forum and a guest membership and ask as many questions as you can before taking the plunge – there are hundreds of very devoted crafters on there who will be more than happy to explain everything you could wish to know.

      If you buy you get full access to the forum, it is HUGE, as a guest you only get to see a fraction of it. There are thousands of templates, if you need a template you can almost guarantee someone will have it and share it for free, the forum is worth as much as the machine!!!

  12. Helen says:

    I just saw the Cougar machine on creatandcraft and it nudged me to look at available machines as I’ve been toying with getting, (or saving for) one and had only seen the cartridge based machines before, which don’t appeal to me as I think it mean you are forever having to buy more and more cartridges and I cannot afford to do that.

    I count myself lucky to have found your site from my first ‘google’ as you have put so much helpful information on here. I must admit that the price of the cougar is rather daunting – I am partially disabled due to having M.E. for more years than I want to think about – so my finances are very restricted but I may ask for money for Christmas and birthday etc.

    I am going to email Dawn and ask for a guest membership to the blackcat forum before I make any decision but I do feel drawn towards the Cougar and it’s lack of limitations. I use graphic packages to create elements of may of my cards, as I can’t afford to buy all the necessary dies and other items I would need to enable me to make the things I want. I mainly make cards but would like to be able to make boxes and other, more ambitious items.

    I have a large family, including 10 grandchildren and numerous great nieces and nephews – all the children, nieces and nephews are adults now but I like to make things for them too and I try to make individual cards for all my family and friends. Christmas is a real challenge too as I made all my cards for that last year, for the first time – they weren’t ALL individual designs but a lot of them were. My illness is often the biggest limitation but I think I would find it all much easier with a cutter – You can see I am talking myself into this.

    I’ve been far too long-winded already, so will cease and desist now, except to say a big THANK YOU, for all the information.

  13. Maggie says:

    Hi
    like all of the above , and was thinking about a craft robo. I have a cricut imagine

    But I saw the cougar on create and craft and was intrigued. Im so glad I found your blog
    with so much informatiion im sold I think its got to be the cougar. and im glad I did not waste
    my money because these are all substantial buys at one time or another. I have made templates
    by cutting out card but need a machine to do the work. thanks
    and I will add you to my crafting buddies

    • Louise says:

      The Blackcat machines are incredible ๐Ÿ˜‰

      As I say to everyone though, ask Dawn for guest membership of the forum before you purchase. Ask the members as many questions as you can think of, everyone will be happy to help. These machines are quite expensive so it is best to be absolutely sure it is what you need before investing.

  14. Marisol says:

    Hello and many thanks for your kindness and for the help you provide to all of us looking for info in these confusing matter. I’m writing you from Mรฉxico and I have cero experience with die cutting machines. Still, I need a machine that can cut and draw shrink plastic. Precisely what I need is to be able to make some pre-cut, pre-draw pieces of this material to make charms for necklaces and bracelets. So my machine will have to allow me to use my own designs, use files available in the web, cut shrink plastic, use ink that will be permanent on this material, out-line and draw, make many cuts and do it fast, and so on. (Sure hope I have explained myself). Could you please give me some advice as to what machine you consider proper for the job? My best regards, Marisol

    • Louise says:

      You will be able to use any of the Cougar machines to cut Shrink plastic.

      As for drawing, that would depend on the design. You can use permanent marker pens in the cougar cutter to draw your design, however you would need to manually change pen colour if you needed more than one colour, providing the plastic is not removed from the machine this would be quite a simple matter of swapping pens and selecting the next colour to draw.

      I would strongly encourage you to contact Dawn at http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk/contact.asp and ask her to grant you guest membership to the blackcat forum where there are hundreds of very helpful crafters who will answer any questions you may have regarding the cutters, software and how to draw and cut shrink plastic ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Marisol says:

    Thanks a lot Louise!!! I have contacted Dawn and she has answered. You 2 are great!!

  16. Jennifer Ford says:

    Really informative and friendly.I was looking at KNK cutter new from America but this is not available in UK plus no after service! Would you say the Cougar is equal or better to this?I want to link this cutter with my machine embroidery work,so will need to cut through at least felt thickness.Being retired now,I will not be able to keep updating so I want the best there is.Thanks for any help you may offer. Jen.

    • Louise says:

      The Cougar exceeds the KNK in all respects I think, it has been awarded gold in the cutter top ten for the last two years – http://die-cutting-machines-review.toptenreviews.com/

      The review says support is lacking, that is quite wrong and support is very very good and in fact the best support I have ever had for any product, if you buy a blackcat machine you get full access to the black cat private forum which is absolutely the freindliest most helpful forum on the planet and full of cutting files, video tutorials, printable tutorials and lots more all available for instant download and completely free of charge, if you need a cutting file not included just ask and someone will have it or make it for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I would advise you contact Dawn at dawn@thymegraphics.co.uk and ask her to arrange guest membership of the blackcat forum and speak to other users before making choice, as a guest you only get access to a small part of the forum but you will see how friendly and supportive it is ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Let dawn know Loupy sent you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Pauline says:

    Hi there. I embarrassingly admit to having bought Cricut machine(s). I bought the Imagine at its launch and since then have had 5 (4 of them being faulty), an E2 (also not working properly) and my Expression which thank heaven, does work. After seeing the Cougar on Create&Craft a couple of months ago, I did a bit of homework and contacted Dawn at Thyme Graphics. 2 days later I was at her company in Derby, having a brilliant 2 hour demo and coming away with my 15″ Cougar. I have to say, I’ve not done a great deal with it, having had surgery on my foot since then, but HAVE worked out what NOT to do LOL. Once I’m up and about again, I will be having a good old play with my new baby. As has been said, Dawn is exceptional in her after sales service which is more than can be said of other companies – Cricut in particular. Can thoroughly recommend Dawn, the Cougar and the whole concept.
    Pauline x

    • Louise says:

      Indeed she is Pauline, and of course we have the friendliest, most helpful forum on the internet packed full of instant assistants as well :)

  18. Bex says:

    I am looking into cutting machines at the mo and am really stuck between 2 options: a second hand Cougar or a new Pazzles Inspiration. My business is very new and I don’t have much funds available to me, so really need it to be cheap rather than all singing, all dancing. I make photobooth props which mainly consist of felt or foam shapes (moustaches, glasses etc) backed with card. Any opinions on either of the options above for this purpose? Or maybe you have another suggestion?

    • Louise says:

      Hi Bex,

      I am afraid I do not have any experience with the pazzles so I cannot comment on that.

      The Cougar will cut stiffened felt and chipboard (solid cardboard) up to about 1mm thick in a single pass and 1.5 to 2mm thick (depending on density) in two passes.

      We do occationally get a second hand Cougar come up for sale, but mostly it is the smaller sizes where someone is upgrading to a larger cutter. Dawn also gets a few reconditioned cutters available which still have a full warrenty etc so it may be worth asking about that.

      I have recently been put in charge of customer support on the forum along with my friend Dragonlord (Gaz) – We are not employed or affiliated with blackcat in any way, Dawn asked if we could run the forum for a while as she has some important things to deal with elsewhere so we have taken over as second in command on a voluntary basis to help out therefore if you wish I can set you up with a guest account on the support forum http://www.thymemachines.com where you can ask other members questions and find out more about the machines, you only get full access to all the forum if you buy a blackcat as it is an owners only private forum – full access includes MUCH MUCH more than you see as a guest including thousands of cut files, tutorials, videos and access to the friendliest bunch of crafters on the planet for help and assistance.

      I think given that a blackcat is quite an expensive bit of kit you would be wise to join the forum and ask, ask, ask, it is better to ask too many questions than miss the one question which you really needed an answer for ๐Ÿ˜‰ the members will be more than happy to help you in any way – the support forum is worth as much as the cutter IMO, it really is one of a kind ๐Ÿ˜‰

      If you would like guest access let me know via email and I will create an account and send you login details.

  19. Hiro says:

    Hi Bex,

    Great read!

    How intricate can the BCC cut? I do a of detailed custom airbrushing for my customers. There are many stencils out on the market but is often very hard to find certain patterns. For example I airbrush certain patterns of fish scales and fish features onto a lure that is only 2-4″ long and 3/8″ diameter. I need really a small fish scale pattern. I normally use netting but its time consuming because too much paint will stick the netting to the lure so i have to do several thin paint passes with the airbrush. It would be much easier with a fine fish scale pattern on vinyl.

    I would like to find out if the BCC would be able to do these intricate small patterns before i purchase a unit.

    Any input is much appreciated.

    Thank you Bex.

    Hiro

    • Louise says:

      They can cut pretty intricate. Not sure if they will get down to the size you need though.

      I would say roughly 0.5mm circles are about as small as you can realistically cut, although I am unable to test this for you just at the moment as my cutter is dead. That does not sound good does it but Dawn has put the required part on overnight courier to me so I should be up and running about 2pm tomorrow.

      If you have a picture of the sort of pattern you are thinking of, or can sketch one and scan it, I will create a cut file and cut it at various sizes to see how small it will go and send you photos of the cut back.

      If you are thinking of mostly vinyl type applications then the Lynx cutter would suffice, it is basically the same as the cougar but with a lower cutting force, where the Courar will cut 1mm chipboard (solid cardboard)in one pass the lynx would need 2.

  20. CJ says:

    I am wondering how well this will cut soft leather. I make baby’s shoes for my small business and the cutting by hand has gotten to be too slow and I really need to automate the cutting process. The cougar totally seems to be what I need, but I wonder if it is made more for cutting stiff mediums. I love all the info you have offered here. Very helpful as I have been on the fence for a few months now and just need to make a move. If it will cut my soft leather like a dream, I’m soooo in.

    • Louise says:

      Hi,

      The Cougar can cut fabric and some leathers using a high tac mat instead and a fabric blade.

      Before committing it might be a good idea to contact Dawn at http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk and ask her to test cut some samples first ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would say if it is reasonably thin leather then there is a pretty good chance it will cut.

      Louise

  21. Malinda Mey says:

    Hi Louise, thank you for all the information. I also want to buy a cutting machine. The cougar sounds great. I saw on the black cat cougar website that Dawn is no longer the UK representative. Is that true? If so, who is selling it now? Hope you can help me. Thanx
    Malinda

  22. Louise says:

    I can assure you Dawn IS still the UK distributor, Colin at blackcatcutters.com is attempting a hostile takeover of the company and you would be very wise to disregard anything posted on that website as much of it is completely and utterly untrue.

    Dawn has made blackcat what it is today, it is dawn who has tirelessly ensured that each and every customer gets the very best after sales support of any cutter, buying from blackcatcutters.com will result in you getting nothing in the way of after sales support other than the non functioning learning centre which he has stolen from another website not owned nor run by Dawn or himself.

    Dawn is currently evaluating a new cutter which will have the same or better specifications than the current blackcat range, once released it will be available ONLY from Dawn and her international retailers, however Dawn will continue to support anyone who does/ has bought a blackcat machine and has been given confirmation from the manufacturer that they will continue to supply her with spares and accessories for the blackcat range for as long as it is needed so there will be absolutely no issue with warrenties etc

    Please do not buy via the blackcatcutters website or resellers linked there, you will only get first class service by buying from Dawn at http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk, Sherri at http://www.thatsscrapinc.com/ or Joe at http://cuttingedgecraft.net.au ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Malinda Mey says:

    Thank you Louise. I will have to wait for this new machine, because I do not feel comfortable with everything that is going on with the black cat cougar machine. It is a shame, because I want to buy a machine soon. Do you have any ballpark idea of when this new machine would be available?

    • Louise says:

      A couple of months I think, you would need to ask Dawn for a true timescale..

      However, if Dawn has any blackcats in stock there is absolutely no reason not to buy one, you will get the first class service as always, there is no problem with warranty or accessories, there is no reason NOT to buy as everything is exactly as it was with regard to Dawn and her business.

      The new machine is simply the most sensible option, Colin is ruining the reputation that Dawn has built up over the years, and there is little that can be done to stop him. So the most sensible option is to re-brand and then he has no way to interfere with the new brand name/ machines.

      I can absolutely assure you that if you buy a blackcat from Dawn now you will not be left out in the cold, you will be looked after and assisted every step of the way in exactly the same way as every other owner has been.

      Please get in touch with Dawn and discuss the matter, she will better explain the situation and reassure you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Malinda Mey says:

    Thank you Louise, I have spoken to Dawn. How can I find out if someone near me is willing to give classes on how to use these machines and software? It all seems very daunting. I am not very computer savvy, but willing to learn. I am near Maidenhead. Thanks a lot.

  25. Colin Russon says:

    the real truth:
    http://www….

    • Louise says:

      Colin has attempted to link to yet another page of back biting, lies, and badmouthing in much the same way as he has attempted to do on many other blogs, youtube videos, forums and wherever he can.

      I have no intention of letting him use my blog to spread his rhetoric I have therefore removed the links he posted.

      Once again I will state that Dawn and Sherri built the reputation Blackcat has, Dawn in particular has worked herself nearly to death ensuring that customers are given the help and support they need to get the best from their cutter, without Dawn and Sherri no one would know anything about Blackcat cutters as it would have remained in obscurity with no one willing to invest the time and effort needed to promote it and assist the users.

      If you want a top quality machine with 1st class customer support then contact Dawn(UK), Sherri(USA) or Jo(AUS) , Colin will take your money and leave you out to dry when you need help figuring it out and almost everyone needs that help to get started.

  26. deb says:

    I hope you can help me.

    I am looking for an electric cutting machine that will cut sugar paste and fimo clay to approx 3-4 mm in depth from my own designs.

    I have researched a few but they seem to only cut wafer thin or work off cartridges which is no good to me, I want my own designs.

    Hope you can help and point me in the right direction.

    Kind regards

    Deb

    • Louise says:

      The blackcat machines and the new machine which Dawn at http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk will be launching sometime in the near future may just manage that thickness for a soft, easy to cut medium, although a special blade would be needed as the longest standard blade we have is only about 1.5mm cut depth.

      However, you should be aware that these machines are not rated food safe and although some people do use them for cutting icing etc for personal use you would likely be breaking the law to use them for commercial food purposes.

      You may like to contact Dawn directly and discuss the matter with her, she has much more knowledge about available cutting machines than I and will be more than happy to point you in the right direction if her machines are not suitable.

  27. Roxanne says:

    Just wondering i make felt board srories and i need a machine that will cut the felt for me but i have hand made stencils made of cardboard:-) Is there anything out there that can help me save time:-)

    • Louise says:

      The silver bullets and blackcat cutters can cut felt, it needs stiffening first with a home made solution but you can cut it.

      It depends on if you are willing to spend the money on a machine really, I would contact Dawn at http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk and discuss the matter with her, she will stear you right ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Katy says:

    Hi Louise

    Thank you for creating an informative, useful and helpful forum. I’m hoping you can help me with my query too. I love making crafts from felts and am considering buying the silver bullet to help me. Is the machine wi-fi compatible or is a usb required? Also what computer software would I require to run the machine and in order to create my own shapes. I apologise if you are repeating yourself but I am new to the ‘scene’ and not sure where to start!

    Many thanks

    • Louise says:

      Hi Katy,

      The machines are USB or serial connection not wireless. These are professional machines quite unlike the home/ hobby machines like the cricut etc. These things are big, heavy, solid bits of kit – like chalk & cheese ๐Ÿ˜‰

      They come with a free copy of Sure Cuts A Lot version 3 which is a basic easy to learn editor but plenty flexible enough to make most things, you can also use the free Inkscape program to create cutting files and send them directly to SCAL3 to cut – Inkscape is a REALLY good editor but quite a steep learning curve. Of course we will help you every step of the way on the thyme machines forum with both SCAL and Inkscape if required, and if you need a file which you cannot manage to make yourself there is every chance someone will have one they will give you or make one for you.

      You can download a free trial of Sure Cuts A Lot to try it before you buy, it cuts extra lines through the file in demo mode but that won’t make any difference as you don’t have anything to cut on yet anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can also download Inkscape as it is completely free anyway, but it is a bit scary so be warned ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Cutting felt is possible, you would need a special extra sticky mat and a fabric blade I think, also the felt may have to be stiffened before cutting – there is a recipe on the forum for making a stiffening solution which washes out but I forget what it is made from just now. It might be worth getting in touch with Dawn at ThymeGraphics (UK) or Sherri (US) or Jo (Aus) and asking them to test cut some of the felt you are using just to be sure it cuts it OK as there are lots of types and some work better than others.

      If you need any more help or a guest account on the forum to talk to other silver bullet owners just give me a shout.

      Regards

      Louise

  29. Jules Brownlow says:

    Hi,
    I don’t know if you can help. I make jewellery and would like to cut shapes from tin and aluminium for earrings- I’ve looked at some Sizzix die cutters which are ok for card but not for what I want. Do you have a suggestion of where to look. are the ones in your review for industry or personal use. Sorry, I had an idea, but then didn’t know where to go with it.
    Jules

    • Louise says:

      I very much doubt that the Silver Bullet or Cougar would do what you want. They can cut soft metal sheets, but would not cut tin or adonised aluminium I doubt. I think you would be looking at some seriously expensive kit to do that and it will unlikely be a blade based machine.

      You could contact one of the sellers and ask them to look at samples and see if it is viable, and I would strongly urge you to do so before buying a machine.

      The Silver Bullet is a pro level machine, it can be used in personal and business situations. Mine is used in my business more than personal use ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Kind Regards

      Louise

  30. Libby says:

    hello, I am new to this. I received a black cat cutter as a gift a few months ago and am just learning how to use it now. I joined the forum Thatยดs scrap when I got it but havenยดt been on the forum since as was so busy. Anyway today when I tried to enter the forum it says that I have been permanently banned which is a little odd since I have only signed up for it and never used it. Has anybody else ever experienced this as it is a first for me? Iยดve never had this problem before with my other machines.
    It was recommened by a friend who also has this machine.

    I am having problems learning where the paper is going to be cut exactly on the mat and wasting a lot of material. I am a designer and sell a lot of my design in Spain and using a different machine which is a lot slower. I canยดt find any videos or instructions which are clear on how to use this machine. Would you know of any? Also where can I buy a fabric blade and other supplies?

    Thanks for all,
    Libby

  31. Penny says:

    Hi Louise

    I am new to crafting and have never seen a cutting machine!!!
    I have been looking for one lately though, and was very excited when i saw the Silver Bullet .
    It sounds fabulous! The only thing stopping me from buying one is the fact that I want to
    cut out small circles to stack on top of eachother, but not stick.and because of the cardboard having too be stuck to the mat, this means that the backs of the circles will be sticky, which is no good. Do you know of any other way of keeping the cardboard on the mat? Maybe masking tape around the outer edges? My circles are 32-35mm wide (about an inch- inch and a half) and I would want to cut out flowers, butterflies etc in the same way – no sticky back…
    They would have to be printed first.
    I would be very grateful for any advice…Thx

  32. Lindsay says:

    Hi, can this machine cut bevelled edges or only straight?
    Many thanks

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