The minimal body concept was partially created as a quick test for the Cricut Explore, the newest tool in my design and prototyping studio.

The machine is essentially a ink-jet carriage mechanism across the X axis and rollers which feed a mat through the machine for Y axis. The small pivoting carbide blade cutter and ancillary scorer units are on mounted the carriage.

This model features an optical registration-mark reader, too, which is brilliant in concept but nearly useless in execution. It requires the art be printed out from the software at an incredibly limited size (6 x 8"), wasting most of the page. Precision cutting, then, is down to getting the paper onto the mat in exactly the right position and getting the mat fed into the rollers at exactly the right depth and exactly perpendicular.

Which of course wasn't as straightforward as it sounds. After many hours of experimenting with corner-test cuts I worked out that there's a math error somewhere between the web-based software and the machine's roller feed. An 8 x 10.5" source art rectangle will be cut at 8 x 10.625, which means everything along the art is cut 'wrong'... Not to sound disappointed, but this isn't quite what I had expected from a seemingly well-developed product.

Ultimately I was able to produce a successful cut job, the machine working out in about 5 minutes what would have taken an hour with my knife and ruler and awl. The pile of parts went together quickly, and before long I have a three-dimensional prototype of my bodywork design.

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