You were so excited to purchase a new electronic cutter so you could start creating fabulous projects. Is that Cricut, Cameo, Scan N Cut, Pazzles, Klic N Kut, Silver Bullet, or other fine cutter still sitting in its unopened box? It is time to get your cutter out of the box! Don’t let the warranty expire on your machine before you even have a chance to use it! Do you need some help getting started using your cutter? Do you want to make some of those lovely projects you have been admiring for so long? I have helped many crafters get their cutters out of the box, set up, and started using them. If you live near me in the Pacific Northwest, you might want to come for a visit. Or perhaps you can attend a class that I am teaching in your area. Alternatively, the following tips can help you get started. You can begin to create some of the projects you envisioned when you invested in your cutting machine.
I was frightened to take my cutter out of the box when I first received it, about 13 years ago. It took me 4 months to actually start using it! Some private help from the company who sold me the cutter gave me courage to get my cutter out of the box. Perhaps you don’t have the advantage of hands-on help where you are. If not, I hope I can help you a bit here to get you started. Here are some steps to help motivate you get your cutter out of the box, and set up. Then you can get started using it for some creative and fun crafting!
Prepare a Space for your Cutter .
While you are waiting for your new cutter to arrive, decide where you will be putting it once it arrives. This is a great time to prepare a space for your cutter. You need a space as wide as your cutter, and about 36 inches deep. Your machine can sit on a desk, or under a shelf on your desk. Leave some room behind and in front of it to allow the cutting mat to move in and out of the machine smoothly without interference. If you don’t have room on your desk, you can set up a sturdy table, stand, or rolling cart behind or beside your desk. Cutters equipped with bluetooth may be used further from your desk after you get it set up. You will find it much easier to get bits of crafting done if you don’t have to worry about taking care of these details each and every time you want to create something. You will use your cutter more if it is within arm’s reach of your computer work space, plugged in, and ready to use.
- Prepare a place for your cutting supplies near your cutter. Having a shelf above the cutter could be a workable solution. Do you have some space under or near the table, stand or rolling cart where you can keep your cutting supplies? You will need a place for your mats, blades, and frequently used tools. Mats need to be stored flat. I keep my covered mats stacked neatly on top of my drawer cubes. Get the free list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools in the Free Library.
- Learn while waiting for delivery day. You can watch some unboxing YouTube videos . Find the company’s support page, join some cutter support groups, and learn about your new purchase. Unboxing videos will help you to warm up to the idea of getting your cutter out of the box, and become friendly with the possibilities waiting for you with this new tool.
- Delivery Day! Think about why you purchased this machine in the first place as you head toward that box. Place the box on a large table with room for all of its contents.
Unpack the Box
. You can use scissors, a box cutter or knife to cut through the packing tape and open the box. There is another box inside of the shipping box, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the machine when you are opening this outer box. You may see a packing list which you can check as you unpack the contents of the box.
- Remove the inner box from the shipping carton. You may need help pulling it out. It may be easier for you to get the inner box out by turning the carton on its side or upside down to pull the outer box off.
- Open the inner box. The cutting mat is often wrapped loosely around the body of the machine. Take it out and allow it to lie flat while you unpack the remainder of the box contents.
- Remove packaging. The machine is wrapped in plastic foam or bag to protect it from moisture during transit. Remove this wrap and other packing material used to stabilize the machine during shipment. Save all packing materials. If you ever need to ship your machine for service or repairs, etc., it will be much easier to ship if you have the original packing materials.
- Look for the “Quick Setup” instructions that are most likely near the top of the box. This will guide you through each step of setting up your new machine. Continue unpacking the contents of your box, to make sure everything is present that you will need. Your Quick Start Guide will list everything that should be in the box.
- Power Cord and Converter Box. The converter box may look like many others that you have around the house. However, this one is unique to this cutter. Do not use other power supplies intended for other cutters or devices, as not all electronic devices have the same input and output power ratings. Use some tape to label these cords with the cutter name to avoid confusion in the future.
One end of the black cord plugs into a surge protector strip, and the other end plugs into the black box. You should invest in a surge protector power strip if you don’t already have one, in order to protect your machine from sudden surges of power that could destroy your machine.
- USB Cable If your cutter connects to a computer via USB, it probably shipped with an A toB USB cable, similar to one that a printer uses. One end of the cable plugs into the cutter, while the other plugs into a USB port on your computer. Plan to use a primary USB port on the back of the computer, rather than an auxiliary port or hub. If a hub becomes necessary, use only a self-powered hub. Even if your machine is equipped with blue tooth wireless technology, you may still need a USB cable when first setting up your machine. Check your instructions and follow the recommendations for setting up the machine and software used to run it.
Software – If your cutter purchase included software, there may be a software CD in the box. Some companies provide software downloads in lieu of an installation CD. Software frequently requires updates, so even if you do have an installation CD, you will need to install software updates once your machine is set up. If there is a registration number in or on the CD packaging, be sure to put that number in a safe place. Be sure to register your machine and software with the company. This software has the License Key number on the back of the CD envelope.
- Don’t let your warranty run out without doing some test cuts on your new machine. There should be a warranty document included in your box. Take a look at that to see if you have any warranty time left, if you delayed in opening your box. Most electronic cutters come with a one-year warranty. If that time is drawing short, you should plan to dive right in to using your cutter as soon as possible! There is likely a warranty registration card. You should definitely register your machine right away, either by sending in the card, or registering its serial number online with the company.
Find and record the Serial number on your machine. You will need this number to register your cutter. It is usually found on the bottom of the machine.
- Remove packaging Tape. Moving parts of your cutter may have been taped down for protection during shipping. Your quick setup instructions should direct you to locate the positions of the tape or other packing materials, so that you can remove it before starting to use your craft cutter.
- Insert the cutting blade into the blade holder, and insert the blade holder properly into the carriage on the cutting head. The blade should barely be peeking out from the end of the blade holder for most cutting purposes.
Be sure to position the blade holder in the carriage so that the depth setting is visible from the front of the machine. This will make it easier to make adjustments to blade depth without having to remove the blade holder from the carriage.
Plugging in your Cutter
- Take a look on the machine to find the power port. The USB port will be located near the power port. Plug in the power cord to the converter box. Plug the other end of the power cord into the machine, and plug in to a power source. Don’t turn the power on until you are directed to do so by the instructions that came with your machine.
- You may find some extras in your box such as sample materials to cut, depending on the machine package that you purchased.
- Install the software that will be used to drive your machine as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. Some cutters use online software, while others come with stand-alone software that you will install on your computer. Some also have apps for your mobile devices. Go ahead and get the software loaded on your computer and/or your mobile device.
- Once you get your cutter power plugged in and get it to connect with your computer or mobile device, you may be directed to do some firmware updates. Most cutter manufacturers provide updates for the machines they produce. You may need to access the most recent Firmware updates for your machine online. Firmware is the programming that is built in to the machine. The update process is usually simple, and often it runs automatically. During the software installation process, the drivers necessary for your computer to communicate with your cutter will be installed as well.
Get Support if Needed
- Don’t let this process get in the way of setting up your machine. You can always contact the company from which you purchased the machine for direct help in setting it up. Don’t be afraid to call them, email them, fill out a support ticket on their web site, or post your questions in online forums. Even if your machine is now out of warranty, most companies are willing to provide the help you need to get your machine and software up and running.
You now have your cutter out of the box, set up and ready to use! Don’t forget to grab your free list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools from the Free Library, and get them in their new home near your cutter. Then you are ready to move on to making some test cuts and get started on making some of those great projects you have envisioned!
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