Okay, I saw a used Cricut Mini at the thrift shop for $40, and friends have told me that the new Cricut software is much "friendlier" than the old stuff. So I bought it to try out.
UPDATE: CRICUT MINI IS NOW A DOORSTOP. I'm glad I took mine back when I had the chance. It ONLY ran on Cricut Craft Room, which Cricut was forced to remove from its servers when Adobe stopped supporting the underlying "Flash" software.
It worked fine printing built-in graphics, the software installed like a charm, and then I got down and dirty with it. While it has more built-in shapes that the original Cricuts, it still keeps you from cutting patterns you made with non-ProvoCraft programs.
UPDATE: CRICUT CRAFT ROOM IS DEAD
You can save the .ccr (Cricut Craft Room) files you create, then share them with other people, so that's a good thing.
I thought, maybe if I got REAL creative with the limited built-in stuff, I could make .ccr files that would meet the needs of readers who can't use the .svg files we provided at pages like https://www.cardboardchristmas.com/html ... terns.html
But when I have REAL graphic software on my computer, it grinds me to have to make the "Basic Shapes" do, er, basic shapes. And if I use a cartridge that the reader doesn't have, the other person won't be able to use the file anyway. I thought, even if I really did get creative and made some nice files that anybody with a Cricut could cut, all I'd really be doing was either encouraging people to buy the wrong machine, or helping them to feel better about buying the wrong machine.
Fortunately our thrift shop lets me take stuff back. It will make nice doilies or whatever for someone who's endlessly satisfied with other folks' graphics.
I also learned that if I leave the Cricut Craft Room software installed on my PC when I hook up my old hacked Cricut Expression, which I CAN drive from my PC, the software will reconfigure the firmware on the Expression so I cant use it after all. So I'll have to make certain that every bit of ProvoCraft software is removed before I start using my big old machine again.
So four years ago, when I started writing about these things, my strongest warning was "Don't Buy a Cricut." In the meantime, some folks had some luck using external files with the Cricut Explore series. But they've discontinued those, so (in my best Rosanne Rosannadanna voice) "Never Mind.
BTW, here is the original article about craftcutters: https://bigindoortrains.com/primer/buil ... utters.htm
Here's my update about craftcutters for 2017: Don't Buy a Cricut!
Especially with the Silhouette Cameo line getting so many nice features.
Have a great spring, all!