Where am I going wrong?

Where am I going wrong?

Postby JessicaM84 » December 7th, 2015, 2:45 pm

The first problem I'm having is that I'm trying to cut 65lb card stock and after testing in almost every increment I've been unable to cut through with anything less than 170 force and that's with the blade at almost double the recommended length showing.

Secondly when I do cut with the 45 degree blade it's tearing apart any detailed or intricate design (for example a snowflake) I've tried.

So before I lose my mind can someone please guide me?
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby MeFlick » December 7th, 2015, 5:44 pm

Hi Jessica and welcome to the forum. I will tell you that right now - there is not a lot of activity going on here on the forum. I think it is the fact that we are in the holiday season. Plus, some other regulars have had some family concerns that are keeping them away right now.

First, have you been through the Learning Center? Have you used the information there to set your blade holder and blade depth correctly? (Do not over extend your blade, that will cause some of the issues you are seeing with the tearing apart of designs. You don't want that much blade exposed - if you have too much blade and/or pressure/force then you are going to cut into your mat, chip/blunt your blade, etc. Since you are having issues with your cutting, I would highly recommend that you check the tip of your blade(s) (if you have used more than one) and make sure that they are not chipped or broken in anyway. This is a common occurrence for those new to the machines and why it is recommended that you get additional blades and mats when first starting out. Also, are you using the test button on the machine to test settings before moving on to actual files and media? It is highly recommended that you use the test button to find the correct settings for cuttings. Also note, the settings you find will usually work for you but can change depending upon the age and use of your mats, your blade, the weather, etc. so always consider any settings as a "starting point" and adjust as needed to find the right settings for that time.

Second, I believe that 65 lb cardstock is fairly "light weight" - while you are learning your machine I think it is recommend that you try with a little bit heavier cardstock. Lighter weight paper/card is going to be harder to cut then heavier cardstock. Many start out trying to cut regular copy paper and fail because it is too light and more difficult to cut, especially for those just starting out. Also note, that all paper and cardstock are not created equal, especially when trying to cut with a blade cutter. Some paper is just not good for cutting at all. Others are okay, and others better. It is a trial and error somewhat in finding what works for you and your machine. For example, I have and use the Georgia Pacific 110 lb white cardstock from Walmart all the time. I have heard others say they can never get a good cut with it. I would be befuddled as to why that might be since I get great cuts with it. What I use primarily when I do "print and cuts".

So, I would first recommend that you lighten up on the blade depth and start with a heavier weight of paper to learn with. Check your mat and make sure that you have not been cutting into the mat, you shouldn't really feel any real "cuts" in the mat. Also, learn to brayer your media down on the mat for better adhesion, less shifting, and moving.

You can also check the forum here for older threads discussing similar issues/concerns and answers provided then.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby JessicaM84 » December 7th, 2015, 6:48 pm

Thank you so much for your reply! Of course I would start to use my machine as everyone is taking a hiatus from the forum!

I'm not cutting into my mat, not yet anyway. I've tried just about everything and I've put in two brand new blades thinking that maybe I had indeed chipped it. I did go through the learning center to learn how to set my blade and used all of the recommendations when doing so. When I press the test cut butten my test cuts are perfect and I can cut them all the way down to 45 force without a problem. When I try to cut anything at all with SCAL - square, snowflake, heart, it doesn't seem to matter, it just will not cut through the card stock. It's the most frustrating thing.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby MeFlick » December 7th, 2015, 8:22 pm

Ahhhh - based on what you just said, let's see first thing to check is do you have it set to use the settings through the software or on the cutter its self when you go to cut from SCAL. Sounds like you may have it on in the software and you don't want to do it through the software. You will want to make sure that you tell it to use the settings on the machine its self rather than through the software. When you go to the Cutter Menu and select cut with Silver Bullet - in the Cut Settings window that pops up - make sure that you do NOT have a check mark next to the box that is about half way down under the Cut Settings that says "Use Software Speed and Pressure". If you look further down under the Multi-Cut option you will see where the software has speed and pressure settings but it is recommend that you turn that off and use the settings from the cutter its self.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby JessicaM84 » December 7th, 2015, 9:51 pm

I wish you were right :( I do have it to the manual settings and I'm using the machine to set the force. This is beyond frustrating. I feel like I either got a dud or this isn't for me. I've changed the blade, tried different paper, tried the click holder and the regular holder, tried the blade in more, out more, you name it. I've even tried rotating the holder to see if it maters what direction the blade is slanted at in the clamp. There isn't enough wine in the world for this!
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby MeFlick » December 8th, 2015, 8:41 am

I don't typically use SCAL like most users here so perhaps someone else will come along and offer you some more or better suggestions soon. I will also try to get Thyme (Dawn) to hopefully see this post and see if she can provide you better insight/information to help you. Sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away for a while - do something enjoyable, get a good night's sleep and come back refreshed and ready to try again from the beginning. You are not the first newbie to become frustrated in trying to learn the machine, everybody has different learning curves so hopefully we can get you going soon. Do you have thicker cardstock that you can try to work with to start with? Are you trying to do something specific that you just "gotta get done now?" If so - that is always a recipe for issues! In the interim, I will see if I can find some time later today to see if I have any similar weight cardstock on hand and break out SCAL and do some testing with it. No guarantees though.

Also, if you tell us what actual brand of light cardstock you are trying to use - someone may come along who has worked with that brand who might give better help and/or say that just won't cut well. Further, if you can share the file you are trying to cut, someone can look at it and tell you if the file its self might have issues that could be causing some of the problems and if there are "Fixes" that can be done to help it cut.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby Thyme » December 8th, 2015, 3:07 pm

I will try to help by eliminating some possibilities first.
First of all do a factory reset on the cutter.
When you put the blade holder and blade in the carriage is the mat already in the cutter with the media on it?
Extend the blade approx 1mm, do not extend any further than that. Use the blade height tool to set the height of the tip above the surface of the media. Once set you should be able to remove the blade height tool with ease, you shouldn't need to exert force to remove it from under the blade.
You say your test cut is working fine, so next take a simple shape like a circle or square from the library and cut that using the same settings as with the test cut. Let us know the result.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby JessicaM84 » December 18th, 2015, 1:43 am

Thanks for everyones help! I took a while away from it for my own sanity lol. I have been setting it with the media and mat on it but I'll try to reset and see what happens!
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby Gigi » December 18th, 2015, 6:14 pm

Also, Terry to make your test button and setting told your best friends. If you switch things around a lot you will have a harder time figuring out what is working and what isn't. I would also tend to work with light to medium weight card stock as the heaviest can be more problematic. Just take it in little steps and you will have success.

Also double check and be sure your blades are not nicked.

Sorry I have been absent. I have been having personal health issues the past month and still am recovering. Hopefully soon.

Thanks to all will have stepped in to help.

Good luck.
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby JessicaM84 » December 19th, 2015, 4:01 am

I've been using card stock from Michaels that comes in bulk. Nothing amazing but I wanted to get a feel for it. Instead I find the following now.

Other than a very basic shape beyond a circle or square I can't cut anything with out ripping the paper layers and exposing the white 'middle' of the card stock.

I can't cut all the way through on most things

It cuts better on one side of the machine than the other.

I've cleaned everything, reset everything, inserted a new blade.

I'm running it at v 500 and f 100. 110 seems to get through the paper a bit better but even that has areas it won't cut through and chops everything up. Maybe I'm built for a more basic machine :(

I hope your personal issues are working out alright and everyone is having a happy holiday!
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby Gigi » December 20th, 2015, 3:35 am

I am in the hospital but trying to help..

Should I assume you are using the michaels recollection paper. Some of the darker, richer colors are more difficult to cut.

Are you getting clean cuts with the test cut. That should be your best friend. Your blades from debris as well as your mat. Your card stock should be well brayered to the mat. I recommend sticking to one thing at a time and achieving success before moving on to something else

When you say you can't cut all the way through what happens. Is your overcut and offset property set?

You can also upload the file so someone can test cut it.

Keep trying and going through all of the steps one by one...
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Re: Where am I going wrong?

Postby Patr.Pool » July 21st, 2016, 12:10 pm

First of all do a factory reset on the cutter.
http://www.excell.to/
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