Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update on the tray attachment issue

I had a few minutes to study the issues surrounding the screw that I could not get to screw into the support in the video. In my machine, the screw hole in the support did not line up cleanly with holes in the paper tray.

It didn't miss by much so it was easy to correct with a small rasp to widen the hole in the tray. (It helps to have a jewelry designer daughter's tools hanging around.)

But, I THINK i have a suggestion that will not make that necessary. Turn the machine over when attaching the paper tray. The visibility of the screw alignment and access to the screw, itself, is MUCH better. I think had I turned the machine over when attaching the paper tray, even with the close tolerances on one side, I could have still done it the first time.


I started with the hardest materials first with mixed results. And, I THINK the reason the results are confusing is that I still haven't completely figured out where to start a cut to ensure that it stays on the material. When it goes off the side, and comes back to hard materials I think the tip of the blade gets broken. I can see the tip is broken off with my microscopes.

So, I am going to back up, start with more traditional materials until I am confident I know that a part will stay within material and check the blade condition every three or four cuts to check for wear. With chipboard, for instance, even with a lower setting I could see it cut. But, once it ran off the material and came back on, the cutting ceased. So, on the one hand I think it CAN cut chipboard on the other I think the jury is out.

I can tell you that my first cut here was with Glitter cardstock Matstack by DCWV. And, it did a BEAUTIFUL job.

I can also tell you that fear of chads is a phobia. My cuts with the eCraft are as clean and cleaner than the edges on the items cut by the Gazelle and lifted up by finger nail or Exacto knife. I am able to demonstrate this very graphically with the respective cuts under a 20x microscope. You see, people never looked all that hard at the cuts by their mat based cutter. We just lived with it.

It was only when eCraft talked about 'connectors' with the spector of 'chads' that people started paying any attention at all. Paper fiber is just that, fiber. So, I see similar edge behavior with both types of cutters... and, that is BEFORE the item is forced off the mat. I expect that to cause visible damage under 20x, no matter how careful I am.

I'm willing to go out on a limb and declare 'connectors' to be a non-issue in the grand scheme of things. My gut instincts were right. Being able to cut without a mat is WONDERFUL!

I'll keep checking things out. But, remember, I'm now going to pick off the low hanging fruit first so that I can learn how to conserve the precious few blades I have.

And, speaking of blades, let me be the first to call on eCraft to create a premium line of blades that use a diamond or carbide cutting head.


Ruthie said...

Eeeeee Tom - this is great - loving the feedback you are giving are the ONLY person out there giving us answers! Yes, really! Well, as of yesterday evening that is!

SO - bottom it worth me changing to? I have wishblade and can design in that BUT I do hate the faffing around to set pressure etc - and when the paper gets dragged....arghhhh!

What I am looking for....a simple system that will cut something out of paper or card FIRST TIME...and simple enough that I can leave staff to do it themselves - ok, that might be a bit much to hope for...but then I can just set it up with the paper tray and let IT do the work!

thanks again Tom - really do appreciate any information you are giving us.


Tom Meeks said...

Hi Ruthie,

I can't say for sure yet. I really think it's going to depend of the paper we use. I have not had a single failure with cardboard and glitter cardboard.

But, it is WAY too early to give the eCraft an unqualified endorsement. I am a former science teacher, so I have the tools (microscopes, etc.) and the methods to objectively test the machine. I not only want to test what it will do; but, what are the ramifications on expendables when we cut exotic materials.

Remember, though, no-one else has ever tried to take this approach with any of the other cutters. So, we have to realize the eCraft is going to be under review more harshly than the Gazelle or your Wishblade. I will, however, try to do real comparisons over time.

Ruthie said...

Great Tom - I love that you are not getting caught up in the hype about the machine. I really look forward to seeing your comments and results as you move through the tests.

I'm quite impressed that you have not had any huge issues despite what you are putting it through! Have read your next blog post too and even then, there was only one issue which may (or may not) have been due to the card used.

I have been back at the wishblade these last few days and decided that I have to really have a good long go at excising some of my demons with that machine before I get the ecraft - after all, if some of the problems are mine then they will come with me to a new machine!

Thanks for your hard work with this!