Monday, August 16, 2010

Five Days of Impressions

Five days isn't a very long time.  It's an especially short time when you can't put full days into evaluating a product.  But, it's certainly enough time for either buyer's remorse or confirmation that one's decision was a good one.

I have a Gazelle, it's the only other digital die cutting machine I have ever used.  And, it's a good one.  In fact, among those digital die cutters that use a cutting mat, it is one of the best ones.

I have two daughters.  I would like to give each of my daughters a digital die cutting machine and keep one for myself.  That means needing a minimum of three machines.  And, as I've mentioned earlier, I have already ordered 2 eCraft machines.  So, the question is this.  Should I simply give one of the daughters the Gazelle?  Or, is the eCraft impressive enough to go ahead and make sure that each of us owns one.

Now, remember, I've never tried the software with the eCraft.  And, my final decision will certainly have to wait until I've had a chance to see how easy it is to use eCraftShop Pro.  And, I should also say that one daughter is a Mac user.  To purchase a third eCraft also means giving that daughter a PC with which to use it.  Even so, my inclination after just 5 days of having an eCraft is that whereas the Gazelle would sit for much of the time, the eCraft would be used for much of the time.  And, that means I am planning to purchase a third eCraft while the introductory price is still available to us.

Obviously, this means that I have no buyer's remorse at all about my initial eCraft purchase.  None whatsoever!

Yes, there are some actions when using the control panel that could be smoother and more intuitive.  As soon as I have a voice back, I'll create a video that demonstrates some of these.  And, yes, there are still some questions as to the absolute precision for more advanced applications requiring repetition.  But, from the standpoint of simply sitting down, selecting a shape, putting in a piece of paper and creating a cut... as I expect my granddaughters will want to do... there is no cutter out there that is better for them, if for no other reason than one does not need to mess with a mat.   And, should my granddaughters have a friend over for a visit, they can step them through the process by simply pointing out the Quick Start directions right on the inside of the cover. 

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There is something about the eCraft that just makes it comfortable and non-intimidating to use.  It invites you to use it.

And, if there is one thing that I would like to impress upon you about my own initial impressions is that very thing.  It invites me to use it.  It invites me to think of new ways I might use it.  It invites me to thnk of new materials I can use with it.  It is an inviting machine.  And, it is an inviting machine because of the thoughtfulness of the designers.  They weren't just designing a machine that cuts.  They were designing a machine for US... the humans that need a machine that cuts.

The tests that I have done and have planned might be able to communicate tangible hard facts.  But, they will not be so great at communicating the intangible ways the eCraft's designers just make you feel comfortable with it.  Sooner or later, I expect the eCraft to recieve an award simply for the case design itself.  That's part of it's inviting appeal.  And, then, there is the way the cutting/printing trolley is so accessible and the comforting blue light is so visible.

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The thoughtfulness of the numbered and lighted pressure dial contributes to my appreciation for it.  But, perhaps, the thing that makes it say, "I'm here for you." more than anything else is the abundance of step-by-step directions printed right on the machine itself.

The Basic Operations on the inside of the top cover....

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The clear Blade Replacement directions just above the trolley...

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And, even the Pen replacement directions.

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In five days there is no way to know how well the eCraft will hold up.  There is no way to know if it will easily do everything we will want to do with it.  And, in fact, it is already apparent that it will NOT do all I'd hoped it would do, like handle Fun Foam and give me perfectly aligned cuts across pages time after time.  But, I would rather have an inviting machine than a perfect machine with a design that stands in the way of using it.

And, I will say it one more time.  The eCraft is an INVITING machine.


Ruthie said...

hee hee - so, errrr, you like it then?

Thanks again for all your work with this one!
Am sooooo tempted to jump right in but am hoping to check one out for myself tomorrow! Just setting up the trip now!

Ruthie said...

Ooooo Tom - not sure if this will work with the thickness of foam you get from Michaels - but...."It CAN cut fun foam! You have to take the grey safety cap off of the blade and then it will fit under the trolley. We've tested it in the office and it works :)" from the ecraft facebook page! As I said, not sure if it will work on the thickness you buy - suspect you have tried this!


Tom Meeks said...

Thanks, Ruthie.

Please take a piece of fun foam with you and try it out and let me know what you think.

The Fun Foam I am trying is by Creatology. And, a brave person, with some effort will get it under the cutting head. I won't say any more than that since you are going to be looking at a machine tomorrow.

But, I really am looking forward to seeing if your experience and reaction is the same as mine. :)

wolfmax said...


Great blog. Just the sort of info My girlfriend and I needed.

Having just bought one of these for my girlfriend we have come across an issue that i have not found any info about on the web so i was wondering if you had an insight. The issue is the perspex tray insert with the ruler markings on. The instructions say it is a 'Paper Support Insert' and it sits in the tray. But when we tested a piece of 12" x 12" 240g card with the insert in the tray, the card failed to be drawn in properly and the machine made some rather disconcerting noises. Without the insert, the same card worked flawlessly but we did find we couldn't put more than one piece in at a time as the machine pulled more than one through (well at least both the sheets we had in the tray at the same time). So, any idea on what and/or how this insert is to be used?

Thanks in advance.

ps.Also posted in wrong blog section (14th Aug)

Tom Meeks said...

Wolfmax, Your question is so important that it deserves an article... and, special comment on how important this community of readers is to each other.


See "This is OUR Blog" for my full reply.