everhack Stuff I've been messing with, or just thinking about.

17May/119

Secrets of the Cricut Carriage

I've been looking into and learning some secrets of the Cricut's cutting carriage.

First off, it appears to be a custom version of the US Cutter "Refine EcoCut" carriage. See for yourself: http://www.uscutter.com/Refine-EcoCut-Carriage_p_1669.html - the only difference I can see from the photo is there are TWO positions in the tool holder. The manual says the front hole is for the pen attachment, and the rear hole is for the blade attachment.

Regarding cutting pressure, both the Refine manual and in other places, the maximum pressure is claimed to be 400g (or 0.88 lbs). However, a colleague of mine actually tested it and got an indicated 0.4 lbs at +4 vdc. I'm planning to retest this on a running machine (after disconnecting the stepper motors!).

Finally, I originally believed this to be a solenoid, but after taking the carriage apart and checking voltage readings, it was discovered that it's actually a voice coil! Basically just like a speaker without a diaphragm. Normally, a -2vdc current biases the blade upwards, and switches to +4vdc (at maximum pressure) to press the blade downwards.

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  1. so if the carraige has no pressure…can it be repaired? provo craft will only sell a used model, wont fix mine. no warranty

  2. thanx for helping, you rock!

  3. Ok I lifted the keyboard out of the way and tried re-soldering just the top of the solenoid case. The blade still won’t go up and down. I noted that the black and red wire from the main circuit board runs to the top of the solenoid case. The black wire then connects to a yellow wire that runs into the solenoid. The red wire from the circuit board runs to the top of the solenoid case and then connects to a different black wire that runs into the solenoid case. Is there a way to test to see if the issue is really with the solenoid vs another problem? My next step would be to try to take apart the solenoid case but I am not sure if I do so if I can reassemble it properly…

    • With the device unplugged I applied voltage to the solenoid and it will go up and down if I apply voltage directly. I then traced the circuit as far back as I could and there is continuity from the solenoid all the way back to the white plug on the right hand side of the device between C34 and C35. So either there is a continuity problem from the white plug going further back or it just isn’t sending the power signal through. Any idea on how to determine which is the problem to fix this?

  4. My cricut stopped cutting through paper in the middle of a cut tonight. I took off the cover and noticed that the copper wiring seemed to have a misplaced thread. Could this be causing the pressure to not work? And if so, is it something easy to fix?

    Thanks!

    • When you say a misplaced thread, are you saying one of the wires has come loose from the top of the cutter carriage?

      This would definitely cause the blade to stop moving up and down. If you’re handy with a soldering iron you can try reattaching it. It’s pretty close quarters in there, if you have an expression or personal model you can remove the keyboard to give yourself a little extra room (described the cricut repair blog entry if I recall correctly).

      • No it’s not a wire from the top. It’s the copper wires that run in a circle around the metal part inside the cutter carriage. It looks like one wire has just gotten off track. Any suggestions?

        • I see.. I don’t think this is a problem unless there’s no continuity through the coil. You can test it via the Ohms setting on a multimeter, I don’t know what it should be exactly, but as long as it’s not infinite should be OK.

          • Hmm ok. I wasn’t sure of that was causing the problem or not. It’s just not getting enough pressure. I tried the easy fix of pressing on those two joints but that didn’t seem to so the trick. Do you have any other ways to fix the pressure problem?


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