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How to Remove the Cricut Expression Keyboard and Use Full-Length Pens

One thing that always bugged me about using pens in my Expression is the super short limit on pen length. I love the Staples mini gel pens, and I've gotten pretty good at shortening others, but some (like Sharpie paint pens) just not feasible to do this with.

One video on YouTube shows someone with a Personal model who removed the keyboard which allows a full length pen to be used. Unfortunately, this requires removing the end caps which is kind of a hassle. The Create is even worse, the body of the case extends underneath the keyboard and completely eliminates the option altogether.

Anyhow, with the help of a friend at the hackerspace the other night, I finally figured out how to do this EASILY on the Expression.

Here's photos showing how:

Look underneath the left side of the keyboard. You'll see a funny looking ribbed area. This is a latch that locks the left side of the keyboard to the case.

Here's the special tool I used to help with the next step. 🙂 (its just a deck screw)

Using the head of the special tool, slide the latch towards the rear of the machine. It's pretty stiff, but don't worry about breaking anything. You could also use a flathead screwdriver for more leverage.

Once the latch clicks, lift up on the left side of the keyboard. The right side is just held down by some plastic fingers in holes in the case and will release when you move the keyboard a little to the left.

Taking care not to tug too hard on the wires, you can now lift the keyboard up and out of the way, eliminating any length limit on pens. On mine, the power wires on the right side were especially short. Taking the right side endcap off allowed me to release a bit more wire, but it doesn't really take much.

Reversing the process is pretty easy, just tuck the right side back in the holes, press the left side down flush, and use your special tool in reverse, this time to pull the latch back towards the front of the machine until it clicks.

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  1. your a genius. you really should have a web site for repairs to ship ur cricut to….since there is not one, and provo craft wont. thank you for helping me, i cant wait to try the tips you gave me….here i go!

    • thanks so much for the info, can’t wait to get to it and see if it works. hopefully I won’t tear the machine apart, I am really a klutz! will let you know in a day or two.

  2. many thanks just tried this and it works like a dream 🙂

  3. Ha! I just bought an Expression. I was looking at the panel and noted how it seemed to have some flex as well as seeming to be separate from the rest of the body. I had a hunch it might be removable. A bit of googling and I found your post. Thank you for taking the time to take the pics and post them online. Now I am off to try drawing with the little beastie.

  4. Hoping that you can help me! I have no one in my area that can help me with the repair of my Cricut Expressions. I hadn’t used my Cricut for a couple of years after purchasing my machine. When I went to use it I forgot to put the vinyl on the cutting mat, and when I started the Cricut it crumpled the vinyl and I hit the stop button and my Cricut hasn’t worked since. I hit the reset button and I got the power light to come back on but the rest of the Cricut won’t come on, nothing on the screen or anything. Hoping that you can help!!!

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