Friday, July 2, 2010

The more I study available cutters, the more intriguing the eCraft

As I have said before in this blog, I am completely new to the intricacies of electric die cutting machines. I've always thought that being a complete novice at something puts one in a unique position to analyze it without the baggage of a "This is the way we've always done it." mentality.

Ignorance really can be bliss. At least as long as we are willing to admit our ignorance and be willing to come back and revisit our wrong assumptions later.

With that in mind, let me share the state of my mind with regards to the BossKut Gazelle sitting right next to me and the Craftwell's eCraft, which, more and more, I hope to have sitting next to me in the future.

I've already posted about my dismay with dongles and what it may say about a company's view of its customers. But, now I'm going to have to refine that a bit. Bosskut does not produce the FunTime software. They bundle it. So, the dongle decision comes from the software manufacturer, not Bosskut.

So, far Bosskut, itself, has been incredibly helpful. They have a forum and the moderators are extremely quick to help anyone that asks for that help. Yet, there is something that stands in the way of a quick and direct learning experience that is difficult to describe. But, let me try.

There is a marvelous area of Philadelpia that is known as Fabric Row. As you enter these shops you are faced with thousands of bolts of fabric crammed into every nook and cranny to the point where if you are as wide as I am, it's best someone else goes in for the hunt! The people, at least in the stores I've visited, are wonderfully helpful and friendly. But, the sheer volume of choices is overwhelming. You KNOW that what you want is in there somewhere; but, who knows how long it will take to find it!

And, as I pour over the threads in the Bosskut forums it seems to me that that is where most first time users find themselves. The sheer volume of both hardware and software considerations is just plain overwhelming. Do I appreciate the great spirit of the Bosskut moderators and the owners of Bosskut? Absolutely. I have no complaints at all with them or their spirit.

But, even so, I long for something that promises to be simpler and more straightforward. And, the more I study all I can find about the eCraft machine, the more I THINK that its technology is the answer to my longing.

Being able to simply lay paper in a paper tray and not having to spray sticky stuff on a mat and position the paper because there is no mat!  Having a machine that can run off of battery power. A machine that both draws and cuts in one motion.

So far Craftwell hasn't mentioned needing a vinyl blade and a regular blade to cut different materials. It might be that they will introduce different tyes of blades in the future. But, so far I haven't found it to be so. It looks like my poor little brain can rest easy and just buy one standard set of blades. It's only going to be taxed by having to choose what color pens I might want to use. But, I can live with that.

There is really nothing at all wrong with my Gazelle. But, I'm just lazy enough to want something easier and simpler. I think I want an eCraft. Take a look at this video and see if you, too, find yourself enticed by its promise.

eCraft Video at Cardstock Headquarters

One doesn't have to find that a current product is bad in order to want to replace it.  One only has to find that some future product is better and more efficient.  And, that seems to be my dominant thinking right now.  The Gazelle seems to be a wonderful machine marketed by wonderful people and supported by wonderful people.  But, maybe the technology is about to be trumped so decidedly that one can honestly justify making the leap.

We certainly haven't gotten our investment back on the Gazelle.  But, that isn't Bosskut's fault.  It's ours.  But, our real investment can't be seen simply as the cost of a piece of hardware.  It has to be measured in terms of how well our decisions will contribute to achieving our production and artistic goals.  Perhaps, setting aside the Gazelle and all that it entails in terms of a learning curve with both hardware and software is actually a BETTER investment decision in the long run.  Right now, that appears to be so.

Will I have to come back, hat in hand and revisit this question later, having more experience under my belt?  Perhaps.  But, so far in my life, I've been an excellent judge of winning technologies.  And, I'm betting that my instincts regarding the eCraft and the eCraft management will not fail me.

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