Posts tagged ‘CDS’

To SCAL or Not To SCAL?

Okay, the wonderful thing about my Cricuts is that they have tons of options available.  The terrible thing about my Cricuts is that those options come on individual cartridges which are not cheap. 

Oh sure, both my machines came with a few cartridges thrown in, and I ordered the extras they offered as part of the package.  But I’m still limited to what’s on the cartridges I have. 

I don’t like limits.

During an internet search of the Cricut community, I stumbled upon information about a program that would completely eradicate those limits and allow my to cut ANY true type font (TTF) I have on my computer.  It would allow me to create my own images and cut them.  So I kept looking and reading.

The program is called Sure Cuts A Lot.  It is NOT made nor is it endorsed by the manufacturer of the Cricut.  In fact, use of the program will void my Cricut’s warranty.

I knew there had to be a catch.

See, ProvoCraft (the company who manufacturers the Cricut machines and all those expensive cartridges) offers a program of their own.  It’s called Cricut Design Studio, or CDS for short.  You install the program on your computer, connect your Cricut to your computer via a USB cable, and use the software to access any of the images from any of the cartridges offered by Cricut.  The catch?  You have to own the cartridge in order to cut the image.  So CDS does not elimate the need for yet another cartridge, it just gives you more flexibility to combine images from different cartridges.


After much research and thought, I finally decided to go with SCAL. 

So, for those of you who are considering doing the same, and who are awesome scrappers but don’t know much about computers, here’s a quick overview of what I had to do to make it work.  (BTW, Windows XP is the operating system running on my PC.)

First, I had to connect my Cricut to my PC using a USB cable.  Current knowledge indicates there’s a problem with connecting through a hub, so this might be a stumbling block for those of you with networked computers.   For users like me who aren’t networked, you just plug the cable into a free USB port on your PC and into the port on the back of your Cricut.

The second thing I had to do was update the firmware on my Cricut.  SCAL requires a version 2.1 or 2.3.  My Cricut Expression came installed with version 2.0.  In order to find out which firmware version your Expression has, turn it on.  The display screen will appear and will tell you which version you have.  In order to update the firmware I went to and downloaded a trial version of CDS.  Once I’d downloaded and installed the program, I opened it, clicked on Help, then Update Cricut Firmware.  The directions are very clear and very easy to follow.  Just make sure you follow them exactly.

The last thing I had to do was download and install SCAL.  I found a Cricut community where they said the best price on the software was at and sure enough, it’s offered there for $59.99.  However, at the time I was searching for it, it was on backorder, so not only did I have to wait for them to get it in stock, I had to wait for them to send me the CD.

I’m not big on waiting.

So I found an immediately downloadable version at for $75.00.  It cost me 15 bucks more, but I didn’t have to wait.  For $90.00 I could have ordered both the downloadable version AND they’d have shipped me a CD.  Instead I just made sure I copied the program file onto a CD, labeled it, and put in my storage case with all my other programs.

SCAL’s interface is awesome.  Within fifteen minutes I had the basics down and had my first cut.

No wonder ProvoCraft insists that if you use SCAL you’ll void your warranty. 

Stay tuned for pics of the projects I’m turning out (once my camera has been either revived by the Canon techs or replaced), for project instructions and free…yes, FREE…files for you to use. 

Happy Cricut-ing!!!


January 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm 5 comments

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