Thursday, March 24, 2011

There is a new cat at my house.  He's all black and sleek looking.  He showed up yesterday and boy does he put up a fight.  I have cursed and screamed at him, and have cried over DH's shoulder out of sheer frustration.  He didn't come with instructions either.  Just a nice note that basically said, "Enjoy your black cat".

Now before you think I am abusing a real cat and want to send me hate mail, he's electronic.  I could never hurt a real cat.  I have Bandit sleeping on me as I type.

Wanna see my new beast?  He's a Black Cat Cougar cutter.  Now if I could just tame him enough to use it.  He hasn't played nicely in two days and you all know what happens when I try to set up a new toy.

The machine is actually really nice once I got it to work.  The setup is worse than you can ever imagine so if you get one, be prepared to pull your hair out.  It doesn't come with any instructions other than a welcome letter.  Apparently; (I didn't know this) I was supossed to get an email with a link to download the PDF files except I didn't get one.

The only reason I got any help is because I belong to the MTC forum (which is how I found out about the Cougar)  and someone started a Cougar Yahoo! group.  I finally got sent the link to the Black Cat Forum to get the instruction manual and downloaded it.

The set up was so confusing.  I went back to the MTC forum to figure things out.  Then I went back to the Black Cat forum and found another PDF file that gave me the information I needed.  I managed to install the drivers and put the right information in the device manager.

The letter said to use the blade holder they sent me and to use their blades.  I can't find the blades.  For half a day I couldn't find the blades.  I had seen them when I opened the letter.  I knew I hadn't tossed them out.  Turns out they were taped to the paper that had the blade list on it.  Sigh.

Okay.  Insert blade into blade holder.  Instructions in the small bag say to put some kind of ring on it.  There's no ring in the bag.  Instructions say to use the CD to adjust the blade height.  What CD?  I didn't get a CD.

The PDF file has you using the blade holder that came with the Cougar, but the letter said to use the one they gave me as it was better quality.  I can't use it because I don't have a ring.

I go back to the MTC forum and ask for help.  I don't need the ring.  I just need to adjust the blade using any CD you have.  Sigh.

I put the blade in the holder and put it into the machine.  Now how do I put the mat in?  The Cricut has a load page which automatically sets the mat where it needs to be.  There's no such button here.  If I put it in, how do I even know it's straight?  Turns out you have to manually put the mat in using the +/- keys.  Doesn't say that in the PDF files I got.  There's an align button that I can't seem to work right either.

I finally say forget it, load a design in from MTC and click the cut icon.  It starts cutting but it's not lifting to go to the next cut.  I have cut marks all over the design.  Once again to the MTC forum.  The people over there are amazing.  They had me check different settings and 2 hours later finally one of them came to the conclusion that maybe the "better" holder was defective.  Who knows...

I put the blade in the other cutter, make the adjustments according to the PDF file, used an old CD to make sure the depth was right and hit cut.  No problems.  It cut beautifully.

I wish the company had done several things:

1.  In the welcome letter packet,  let you know that there is an email that is sent to give you PDF files and which ones I should look at.  If you don't get an email, let us know. (turns out she had forgotten to send it to me)  Maybe it did say that.  I seem to have put that away so well I can't find it.

2.  You don't need an O-ring to use the blade cutter.  Change the instructions on the card or let me know in the welcome letter.

3.  That I just need to use an old CD to align the blade depth right so I don't dig through the box looking for one.

4.  To put the mat in, you do it manually by moving the arrow keys. If it's spitting the mat out at me at full speed, my alignment button needs adjusted or something like that.  Still haven't worked that one out.

5.  How to align the mat with the different software versions out there.

6.  A PDF file with a beginner tutorial of getting the mat to load and to cut out a basic shape.  Maybe I missed it while trying to figure everything out.

7.  Put all the PDF files in one place so I'm not looking through the Black Cat Forum trying to go through the posts.

8.  Include several blades, not just two.

Or maybe I just don't read manuals very well...

It was just frustrating jumping from one forum to the other trying to figure things out.

What I've decided to do was keep a notebook next to my cutter and write down what works and what doesn't and any specifications that need done.

Tomorrow I'll do some more basic playing and I plan on doing some satin stitching on "My Tweets".

I'm crawling into bed now.  It's been a frustrating couple of days.  That's what you get going from the bottom of the line cutter to the top of line one..mass confusion and a splitting headache.


Linda said...

Wow! I think I'll just stick to my trusty old scissors!!!
It seems that directions that come with products are getting "skimpier" if they even exist. I got a couple of Christmas presents that came with minimal instructions. It was frustrating.
I hope that you enjoy your new toy now that you've worked out most of the kinks!

Linda said...

I think that any company which is putting out a new product should send it and the instructions to you first. You seem to find every bug and figure out how to go around it every time! Good on you! Wish you could write all the instructions I'll ever need.
Lurking Linda