Answering Cuttlebug Machine Questions

The Provocraft Cuttlebug is one of the most popular die cutting and embossing machines for the home crafter and semi professional artist. While the Cuttlebug is a breeze to operate there are some things you need to know before you use one. Today we will examine the most frequently questions Cuttlebug owners often ask.

First off most people want to know what a Cuttlebug costs to operate. Generally it's not too hard to find a Cuttlebug version 2 for under $80.00. Included in that price is the Cuttlebug, the needed plates used for die cutting and embossing, and an embossing folder. Obviously price is one of the reasons it is so popular. This die cut embosser comes with a limited one year warranty which covers manufacturer's defects. In other words if you use the machine for commercial applications or use it with die cutters it will not accept the warranty is void.

As with any die cutter or embossing system there will be added costs as you purchase the cutting dies and embossing folders you want to complete your projects. Fortunately for Cuttlebug owner's dies and embossing folders are reasonably priced. Depending on size and complexity of the pattern dies can cost anywhere from five dollars to twenty dollars. Embossing folders cost about ten dollars each. Lastly one must remember that cutting plates and dies do eventually wear out and cost about ten dollars each to replace.

Most users also want to know what types of materials the Cuttlebug will cut. Both Provocraft and owners report that the machine will cut paper, card stock, cork, foil, felt, and thin fabric, thin wood, poster board, chip board, Bazzill, and foam. The manufacturer recommends that any material you want to cut should not exceed 1/8 of an inch. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you stick with materials no thicker than the white foam on the cutting die, do that and things should go fine.

The Cuttlebug will easily cut through and emboss 2 or 3 sheets of thinner paper or card stock. When working with thicker papers or materials one layer is best. If you are cutting a very detailed or complex pattern you should start with one layer then move up to two, then see if you are still getting nice clean and detailed cuts.

Many crafters own multiple types of die cutters and want to know if their dies manufactured by other companies will work with their Cuttlebug. In most cases dies made by other manufacturers will work in the Cuttlebug Machine ,which translates to real savings since you don't have to start a brand new library of dies. Dies from Sizzix and Surekutz will work in this machine. But keep in mind there is no guarantee that all die cuts will work. Provocraft has a "stacking chart" guide on their website to show how to sandwich your cutting plates for other dies.'

Conversely some Cuttlebug dies and embossing folders may work in other brands of die cutters. However always consult with your manufacturer's instructions and recommendations before mixing and matching die cut machines with dies from other manufacturers.

As we mentioned earlier cutting dies and cutting plates eventually wear out and need replacement. Cutting plates get scratched when the cutting surface of the die presses against them, however if you flip your plates every other cut there is no reason why you cannot get hundreds of cuts on each plate. If you strictly stay with embossing only the cutting plates should not wear out. Similarly cutting dies get worn down; after all they are cutting surfaces. Each die will give you several hundred cuts before you notice any dullness. Some users claim that cutting through in foil will sharpen dies; others say aluminum can cutting will also sharpen the dies.'

Sometimes your dies will make less than crisp cut despite the fact that they are nearly new. If this happens try placing the die closer to one of the sides of the cutting plate instead of in the center when cranking it through the Cuttlebug. If you start getting clean cuts again the culprit is most likely a worn down or warped cutting plate. You still can get plenty of use from the cutting plates by placing the die off center, but by this point consider getting some replacement plates.

We just mentioned "warped plate," by this I mean the cutting plate starts to bend, or warp into a slight curve. Since the rollers exert hundreds of pounds of pressure onto the plates it's no wonder they can bend. Over time this is normal and you can extend the life of your plates by rotating them, or flipping them over every other use. The high pressures exerted on the cutting plates can also cause the machine to make a cracking sound, this is normal. However if the die cutter makes sharp cracking noises and the cutting plates and die seem not to be going through the machine make sure you plates are stacked properly or your material is not too thick to cut.'

On the other hand your dies should not be bending. If your dies are bending check to make sure you are running your dies through the Cuttlebug with the foam side up, if you do not you will most certainly end up with curved or bent dies. If this happens flip the die over and run it through the rollers again, this should straighten it out.

Well those are most common questions Cuttlebug users have about using their machines and how to solve some common problems they may encounter. While this article is intended to answer the most common questions Cuttlebug users have it's always important to consult your manual or contact Provocraft. Using your machine improperly can cause it to break or void your warranty. If you lose your manual you can find an online version online. You can also find lots of great information about die cutting and embossing all over the web on crafting and art forums and discussion boards.

Happy crafting.
Brenda Baun is a frequent contributor to http://www.Cuttlebug-Machine.com

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