Cricut is an American brand of cutting plotters, or computer-controlled cutting machines, designed for home crafters. The machines are used for cutting paper, felt, vinyl, fabric[1] and other materials such as leather, matboard, and wood. In March 2021, Cricut filed for an IPO.[2]

Cricut, Inc.
TypePublic
IndustryConsumer electronics
Headquarters,
United States
Key people
ProductsCutting plotters, heat press
Websitecricut.com

ModelsEdit

The original Cricut machine has cutting mats of 6 by 12 inches (150 mm × 300 mm), the larger Cricut Explore allows mats of 12 × 12 and 12 × 24. The largest machine will produce letters from a half inch to 2312 inches high. Both the Cricut and Cricut Explore Air 2 require mats and blades which can be adjusted to cut through various types of paper, vinyl and other sheet products. The Cricut operates as a paper cutter based upon cutting parameters programmed into the machine, and resembles a desktop printer.[3] Cricut Cake produces stylized edible fondants cut into various shapes from fondant sheets, and is used by chefs in the preparation and ornamentation of cakes.[3]

CartridgesEdit

Designs are made from components stored on cartridges. Each cartridge comes with a keyboard overlay and instruction booklet. The plastic keyboard overlay indicates key selections for that cartridge only. However recently Provo Craft has released a "Universal Overlay" that is compatible with all cartridges released after August 1, 2013.[4] The purpose of the universal overlay is to simplify the process of cutting by only having to learn one keyboard overlay instead of having to learn the overlay for each individual cartridge. Designs can be cut out on a PC with the Cricut Design Studio software, on a USB connected Gypsy machine, or can be directly inputted on the Cricut machine using the keyboard overlay. There are two types of cartridges, shape and font. Each cartridge provides for hundreds of different cuts. Currently[when?] over 275 cartridges are available, with new ones regularly released.[5] While some cartridges are generic in content, Cricut has licensing agreements with Disney, Pixar, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, DC Comics and Hello Kitty.[6] The cartridges are interchangeable, although not all options on a cartridge may be available with the smaller machines.

SoftwareEdit

ProprietaryEdit

To use Cricut cutters, users must use the company's own web-based design software, Design Space, which allows users to draw designs, select and combine designs from its own online library, or upload vector or bitmap files they've created in other software.[7][8]

On 12 March 2021, Cricut announced it would be limiting users to 20 free uploads per month to Design Space at an unspecified date; the old unlimited uploads would remain available under a paid subscription. This announcement was criticized by users at the company's unofficial subreddit, and a petition was launched in protest.[9][10][8] Following the backlash, its CEO apologized, and Cricut eventually scrapped the plans a few days later.[11][12]

Past softwareEdit

The Cricut Craft Room software enabled users to combine images from different cartridges, merge images, and stretch/rotate images; it does not allow for the creation of arbitrary designs.[13][unreliable source?] It also enables the user to view the images displayed on-screen before beginning the cutting process, so the end result can be seen in advance.[14][unreliable source?]

Citing Adobe's abandonment of Flash, Cricut announced it would be closing Cricut Craft Room on 15 July 2018. Users of "legacy" machines were offered a discount to update to models compatible with Design Space. As of 16 July 2018, Design Space is the only official software available to compose projects. Some third party programs are available and can be used to input the files into Design Space.[15]

Third-partyEdit

Provo Craft has been actively hostile to the use of third-party software programs that could enable Cricut owners to cut out designs and to use the machine without depending on its proprietary cartridges. In a comparative review of die-cutting machines, review site TopTenReviews identified being "limited to cutting designs from a collection of cartridges" as a major drawback of the Cricut range, though the review noted that it could be a preference for some.[16]

Two programs which could formerly be used to make and then get Cricut machines to cut out arbitrary designs (using, for example, arbitrary TrueType fonts or SVG format graphics) were Make-the-Cut (MTC) and Craft Edge's Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL). In April 2010 Provo Craft opened legal action against the publishers of Make-the-Cut,[17] and in January 2011 it sued Craft Edge to stop the distribution of the SCAL program.[18] In both cases the publishers settled with Provo Craft, and removed support for Cricut from their products. The programs continue to be usable with other home cutters.[19]

According to the text of its legal complaint against Craft Edge, "Provo Craft uses various techniques to encrypt and obscure the USB communications between Cricut DesignStudio [a design program supplied with the hardware] and the Cricut e-cutter, in order to protect Provo Craft's proprietary software and firmware, and to prevent attempts to intercept the cutting commands".[20] Provo Craft contended that in order to understand and replicate this obscured protocol, Craft Edge had disassembled the DesignStudio program, contrary to the terms of its End User License Agreement, thereby (the company asserted) breaching copyright law. Provo Craft also asserted that Craft Edge were violating its trademark in the word "Cricut" by saying that its software could work with Cricut machines. Provo Craft asserted that this was likely "to cause confusion, mistake or deception as to the source or origin of Defendant's goods or services, and [was] likely to falsely suggest a sponsorship, connection, license, or association of Defendant's goods and services with Provo Craft".[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wayner, Peter (December 2, 2009)."For Crafters, the Gift of Automation." The New York Times.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b Flaherty, Joseph (April 18, 2012). "MakerBot + Pinterest = Craft Juggernaut." Wired Magazine.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Cricut Cartridges". Provo Craft. August 26, 2011. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011.
  6. ^ "Featured Brands - Cricut Shop". www.cricut.com. Archived from the original on 2014-01-28.
  7. ^ "The Best Electronic Cutting Machines From Cricut and Silhouette". NYT - WireCutter. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b Cox, Kate (2021-03-16). "Cricut backs off plan to add subscription fee to millions of devices [Updated]". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  9. ^ Campbell, Ian (2021-03-15). "Cricut is limiting the use of its crafting machines with a monthly subscription". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  10. ^ List, Jenny (2021-03-15). "Cricut Decides To Charge Rent For People To Fully Use The Cutting Machines They Already Own". Hackaday. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  11. ^ Campbell, Ian (2021-03-18). "Cricut completely unravels subscription plans that would limit its crafting machines". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  12. ^ Cox, Kate (2021-03-19). "Cricut fully abandons plans to make device owners pay subscription fee". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  13. ^ "Can Cricut Cut Custom Shapes & Designs? - Craft Room Application - Cricut Forums". us.cricut.com. Archived from the original on 2015-01-25.
  14. ^ "Original Expression and the new Cricut Design Space - Expression Machine [29-0300] - Cricut Forums". us.cricut.com. Archived from the original on 2015-03-27.
  15. ^ Important News for Cricut Craft Room Users. Accessed 10 August 2018.
  16. ^ Cricut Expression review, Top Ten Reviews. Accessed 26 January 2012.
  17. ^ Nancy Nally, Provo Craft Sues Make The Cut, Scrapbook Update, 7 April 2010
  18. ^ Nally, Nancy (March 11, 2011). "Provo Craft Sues Sure Cuts A Lot, Alleging Copyright Violations". Scrapbook Update.
  19. ^ Nancy Nally, Make The Cut Settles Cricut Software Lawsuit With Provo Craft, Scrapbook Update, 11 March 2011
    Nancy Nally, Provo Craft Issues Statement on MTC, SCAL Lawsuits, Scrapbook Update, 5 April 2011
    Communication from Craft Edge, Notes from the Scrapbooklady (blog), 17 May 2011
    Update on SCAL and Provocraft, UK Scrappers, 16 May 2011
  20. ^ Complaint: Provo Craft and Novelty Inc. v. Craft Edge Inc., at 28 (page 6)
  21. ^ Complaint: Provo Craft and Novelty Inc. v. Craft Edge Inc., at 57 (page 13)

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit