Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Boss Kut Gazelle: The First Test Cut


The manual had a tutorial for a heart.  So I followed it and hit ‘cut’.  The first surprise was how loud this machine was.  When I researched, alot of users who had multiple machines said this one was one of the quieter ones.  That is not my opinion.  If you have young children, this will disturb them during their naps. 

The heart was symmetrical and had clean edges.  Basic shapes and text that comes with the Funtime software, it was easy to get those from sketch to cut.  Here’s another example with a flower that came with Funtime:


I’ve read with any cutting machine, it takes time to get used to the settings for good cuts.  I’ve been practicing and this is true for the Bosskut.  I’ll write about my experiences in a different post, but there is a lot of testing and experimenting to find out what works for you.

I highly recommend you watch the videos on the disc that came with the machine and read up in the Bosskut forums when you start to get to know yoru machine.  I tried design without watching the videos and I don’t recommend it.  The videos shows you all the basics.  So far, very happy with the result of the cut quality

Do not leave paper on your cutting mat when you are not using it.  I left mine on overnight and the tackiness bonded to the paper.  When I did more test cuts, it was very hard to take off the paper and I ruined many pieces.  And there was little bits of paper stuck to it.  I had to wash it with soap and water.  What a pain!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lucky Me! Won a Cricut Tool Kit

Cricut is hosting a contest through their Instagram account where you post a photo and if yours get picked, they will send you their 7 piece tool kit as the prize. 

Can you imagine how excited I was?  This will be so handy for my new BossKut machine I just received!  I’ve been working with it for a couple of weeks and first thing I found out is how difficult to remove the pieces off the sticky mat. 

What won me this tool kit?  My thinning shears.  I used one of my mini-flower clothespin just in hopes that’ll get me noticed.  I don’t know if that was a factor of me winning, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt!

Want to win one?  There’s still time.  Cricut is running their contest until February 7th.

* Note: Cindy Ho Designs is not afflilated with Cricut so any endorsements is not in any way compensated. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Boss Kut Gazelle: The Set Up

IMG_3957The first thing I’d like to point out is that this is not a plug and play machine.  When I started to pair it to my laptop, I wasn’t happy to see 4 page step by step guide just to have you computer to recognize it.  It’s not hard to follow these instructions and there’s even a video online.  Anyone can set it up but it took over 10 minutes.  My opinion is that it’s pop in a driver disc or plug in the machine and it should be automatically recognized.   Good thing, you only have to do this once.  If your computer crashes and you don’t have online access, you better keep those instructions

IMG_3981Note:  I knew this coming into the purchase, but it’s still a negative I want to point out.  The cutting software the Gazelle comes with is called Funtime which will only run if you plug in a USB security key called a Dongle.  The purpose of is to prevent people distributing illegal copies of the program.   For the user it’s a USB plug hoarder.  I only have 2 USB ports on my laptop and one has to be connected to the cutter.  I need a mouse in order to design.  Looks like I’m investing in a USBIMG_3958 hub.  For me, I plan to learn Funtime until I recoup my investment on this machine with sales. Who knows, maybe it’s the best program for me .  There are a few cutting software on the market that is more user friendly.  That’s okay, I’m up for the challenge. 

Next step: Making the first test cut!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Boss Kut Gazelle: The Unboxing

I borrowed a US mailbox since shipping was free in the continental US. Please note, due to the larger size of the shipping box, I had to pay more in the receipt fee. Normally it’s $3 but I had to reimburse $10 when we went over the border for pick up.

I was so excited and couldn’t wait to open it! I neglected to take take photos. It’s not that much different then what Under a Cherry Tree experienced here. The main difference is her cutter was packed in a big styrofoam clamshell. Mine just had endcaps and was easy to pull out.

Here it is! Yes, I already tested it. The heart was a very clean cut, great on the first try!



Footprint: The cutter compact but is wider then expected. I should have paid attention at the specs. It didn’t fit in the space I was originally planning to store it. Since I’m learning to use it’ll stay on my work table for now.

Weight: Pleasantly surprised how light it is. Roughly 10 pounds. This is a plus when you need to move it out of the way

IMG_3986_thumb6Feel: The pink end caps are plastic and the white casings is powder coated metal. It’s sturdy and don’t feel ‘cheap’. The underside is looks like it’s galvanized steel.

Extra Storage: Before we built our house, it was a pet peeve to store the extra blades forIMG_3979_thumb11 with my paper trimmers and rotary cutters. I’d forget where I put them. The Gazelle has two hidden drawers to store small accessories. The blades are tiny and there’s a security key (will mention in a later post) that comes with the included software so it’s perfect to store them in the machine. If you lose that key, you won’t be able to use the software.

IMG_3984_thumb8Look: I was surprised the branding is a sticker. From my experience in the high tech manufacturing industry, I expected this to be screen printed so everyone seeing it will know the company. It’s good for me though, I like the option to remove it. I’m going to put my logo on it when I learn how to die cut vinyl.

IMG_3982_thumb11There is a minor cosmetic flaw on my machine. There’s unevenness on the inside where you open the drawers. This is present on both ends. Doesn’t affect the machine itself, it’s something that I notice because of my manufacturing background. The door closes normally

IMG_3978_thumb7Blades: When I ordered, Boss Kut included an extra 12 inch cutting mat, an extra blade and vinyl blade as part of the preorder sale. I have an issue with the blades, both in were seal in the same bag so I don’t know which is which.

I’m pointing this out really because something like this should be more clear. What if I didn’t pay attention to the packlist and used the wrong blade?

In closing, I was impressed with the machine because even with the cosmetic flaw and sticker branding, it felt sturdy. Also I like how it’s minimalist footprint for what it should be capable of doing. Next step, setting up the machine!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Boss Kut Gazelle: Placing the Order

When I decided for this machine, the Boss Kut website stated their machine was on preorder and wouldn’t ship until January 1st, 2013.  I wanted the machine before Christmas so I looked around and they were out of stock everywhere!  The retailer I found it at was charging $600!  No way!  So went for the preorder.

The website isn’t as fancy as the more mainstream ones like Cricut, Cameo or even a lesser known like Pazzle with nice landing pages with flash pictures that change every 3 seconds to showcase their products.  To be blunt, they need to revamp the website to showcase their product properly.  The layout is cluttered and there’s inconsistent font type and size.  A retail website is supposed to draw you in to buy more. 


The price was $389 with $30 deposit.

When I did manage to place the deposit of $30, I didn’t realize it but it invoiced me something link $8 shipping.  So I emailed them.  They acknowledge their error and asked if I wanted to apply to the final payment, which I said ‘no problem.’  At the end of it, they just charged me $30 and then $359 when they shipped.

Clearly the company is more focused on their customer service and product (which is a great thing) which does make up for a website but did make me wonder what I was getting myself into. However, I’m convinced this is still right choice.  I’m committed.  I already have the machine!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Purchased a Digital Die Cutting Machine!

Before I put West Coast Origami and Cindy Ho Designs on hiatus last year, I made a decision to buy a digital cutter to grow my design business.   Well, 18 months later, I got one! 

Before making this critical decision, the problem was, I had no idea what was out there!  My friends from Scrapbooks by Design and Lucky Charms Card Collection had the Cameo and Cricut respectfully so they were considered, but I wanted to make my own cutting files and something that would cut more then paper, chipboard and vinyl.

Research began with the 2012 version of this same link:

2013 Die Cutting Machine’s Review

Great way to short list them by features, materials options, capabilities and customer service.  If you are looking for your cutter, I think this is a great start.

Additionally hours were spent reviewing YouTube, forums and blogs.  If price point is that important to you, I highly recommend reading reviews of customers who actually invested time and money in their machines. 

The best comparison reviews that I’ve found was here:

Under a Cherry Tree: Reviews of Electronic Cutters

What did I end up choosing after my hours of research? 

The Boss Kut Gazelle met most of what I wanted in a cutter but it was really my 2nd choice.  My first choice was the Black Cat Cougar but this was twice the price as the Boss Kut Gazelle.   I can always upgrade when the business grows but you never know, maybe this machine will be my last machine.

I did notice it was hard to find alot of information on the Boss Kut Gazelle.  Mostly forums who gave their opinion.  So I paid close attention of anyone who owned multiple machines.  Most were positive and there was only one one negative review specific to the machine.    Other than that review, most of the complaints was you can only get it in white and pink. 

By the way, I love the colour.  Even if I didn’t, it wouldn’t deter me.

Before making new designs for my business, I have to learn how to use it it first.  Since I had tough finding information, I decided to blog my learning curve experience so anyone whose thinking of buying one can at least ready about my experience.  In the next few weeks, I’ll keep you posted.  If you have any tips or comments to help me learn, please drop me a line!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sold My First Photo on Foap

I’ve been trying Foap since last year but I’ve been neglecting uploading new content for the last few months during the last stage of our house build.  I have many files to process before getting caught up!

Imagine my delight when I received an email stating I sold my first photo!


Messy House Sign

This one is really one of my favourites.  This was taken Country Village in a trip to Bothell, Washington last year.