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Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?

Posted by jcabrer 
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
February 11, 2008 07:47PM
hmmm... I recognise FTDI, they are Future Technology Devices International & I think they are based in Scotland... I got given one of their DLP-2232M-G modules a while back by a mate of mine, tho I've never got the damn thing to even detect when I plug it in... unless I've been doing something really stupid, or there's some wiring that's needed to get the usb power to the right place on the thing, I think my one's bust, but their site with all data sheets and stuff is at [www.ftdichip.com]
The Cricut electronic cutting machines cut paper, card, etc, and work with proprietary font and shape cartridges. They work like modified plotters with a cutter head instead of a pen head that moves over the paper area and they have a computer USB connection. They can work as stand-alone machines or by connection to a computer. Trial software is available (Cricut Design Studio - download at [www.hallmarkscrapbook.com]). The commercial software comes from "Cognitive Devices" and it has an activation process as well as an installation serial number. The files for fonts and shapes are stored in a zip folder under the program folder and the fonts are not installed into the Windows OS for protectionist reasons! THE FONT ZIP FOLDER IS PASSWORD PROTECTED! ProvoCraft wants to force people to buy their expensive font and shape cartridges. They also don't allow people to send their own designs and Windows fonts to the device for cutting out of paper or card. It would be very good if a hacking person or team could make a combined keygen/activator for Cricut Design Studio. ALSO CRACK THE FONT AND DESIGN RESTRICTION AND LET PEOPLE USE CRICUT DESIGN STUDIO TO DESIGN AND CUT OUT ANY SHAPE DESIGN WITH ANY FONTS INSTALLED ON THEIR COMPUTER. IT WOULD ALSO BE USEFUL IF THE PROTECTED FONTS COULD BE EXTRACTED AND PUT INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN OR FILE SHARING NETWORKS! What do you think of this challenge? Let the contest begin .... !
"Sure Cuts A Lot" ( see it and download it at www.craftedge.com ) is an extremely easy program to allow you to cut your True Type fonts and various shapes on your Cricut Machine.

Works with the Cricut Personal and Cricut Expression Machines.

Works with your installed True Type fonts.

No special cartridges required.

Cut additional shapes from the "Sure Cuts A Lot" Library.

WYSIWYG Interface - What you see is what you cut.

Available for Windows and Macintosh OSX.

Save your design layouts, so you can save your work to allow you to make changes over time.

Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
February 13, 2008 09:13PM
I hope you unregistered individuals are using some anonymous proxies, or are safely outside the US jurisdiction.

And considering what happened to the kid who wrote DeCSS, I'm not sure anyplace is such.
Those interested in Cricut Design Studio and Sure Cuts a Lot may be interested in the following free single-file download which contains notes and documentation:-

Brian Healey Wrote:
> Here is an idea (haven't confirmed it yet)..
> I think the cricut usb interface is a built in
> version of the USB JTAG interface. An example
> board would be
> [olimex.com]. As you
> can see this device uses the same chip to convert
> usb-serial as the cricut. Have you tried
> downloading the software from atmel yet to see if
> you can interface with it via the usb interface?
> Judging by the faq's on cricuts website they are
> saying that this usb port is for
> troubleshooting/upgrading machines. If that is
> the case it would make sense that it is just a
> jtag interface.
> It would be nice to be able to get a memory dump
> of the firmware of this machine.. I can't imagine
> that reverse-engineering the firmware would be too
> difficult (disclaimer: I have no basis for that
> comment smiling smiley ). Once that is done, either a new
> firmware could be developed or you could determine
> if the existing firmware supports commands being
> sent via the usb port.
> If it is indeed a jtag interface you would be able
> to send test firmware builds to the machine
> without worrying too much about messing it up..
> since you could just reprogram it with the
> original.

Try the software Sure Cuts A lot (Available for $69.95 from [www.craftedge.com])

it allows you to cut out any ttf or svg file

WOW... Do you own shares in 'Sure Cuts Alot'? Nobody here has shared any info on how to reverse engineer or for that matter give any pointers as to how to crack this unit. Where's the threat? Stay on topic!
I saw this prog (cuts a lot) and i was intrigued. Im in high school and im trying 2 do this 4 my mom. Disassembled and looked at it through ollydbg. Im having trouble though. Anyone got any tips. It dosent look too hard, but I i am a noob and I have only ever cracked about 7 programs before with weak protections.
Glad to see 'sure cuts a lot' mentioned finally. Looks like the hack has been done by a hard-working commercial company. While the notion of slaving away trying to make the cricut do what you want is intriguing, SCAL is only $70 for the s/w which will do it all for you with only a bit of microsoft hacking to get it installed. Also, i'm sure it would be easier (based on nothing) to read the output from SCAL to figure out what to tell the cricut to do. we just got a cricut and i was ready to send it back after reading about craftROBO (and witchblade). But as someone remarked, cricut is everywhere and the cutting blades are much cheaper (maybe dull faster?). however, with some nice software (have yet to try SCAL or whup-up on cricuts own DesignStudio) it should be somewhat comparable. The robo machines allow cutting out of pictures which i have yet to see mentioned for the cricut s/w. the robo II even has a sensor to detect images on the page - that pretty nifty technology and they come pe-packages with holders for plotting pens to draw instead of cut - that brings back memories of trying to make those crazy hp pen plotters work with their dinky langauage.
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
August 27, 2008 12:02PM
I can get into the fonts folder to see the breakdown over all fonts and images for the cricut design studio software. Is there anyway this can be altered so no cartridge is needed, or the software thinks all cartridges are loaded? Im getting really tired of buying them at $80 bucks a pop, and have seen the cricut expressions cutter cut an image from the design studio software after I had taken the cartridges out. It did it in error, but now I know if can to do it. There has to be some way.
Thanks for your help!
Is there any way to get the cricut to remember permanently what cartridges were put in. I read on the cricut design studio faqs page that it will remember during a project. Here are some of the faqs that apply.

14. How can I cut designs I make in Cricut DesignStudio if they use characters from more than one cartridge?

You will be prompted to insert different cartridges as needed. However, the Cricut machine will remember what cartridges are being used during that project session and only prompt you to insert the cartridge once.

15. Isn
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
October 13, 2008 03:33AM
This forum is hosted by the RepRap project and doesn't condone software piracy.
You should be able to use the original key to install your software, if that doesn't work call Cricut for support.
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
October 15, 2008 04:41AM
uhm.. not reeally the right forum for this, perhaps?
This is the RepRap forum.... :/

this is awkward...


Here is an app that interfaces the cricut. just hack this. =)
Well, CTRL+f failed me. I looked for "cuts" on this page after getting here through google. Nothing came up, so I made my post. THEN (oops) I read the thread and felt stupid. Enjoy my pain. =)
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
November 25, 2008 05:01PM
Early rapid prototype machines did nothing but cut multiple layers of paper that you glued together!

Maybe you would want to use the program referenced as it shows you a layout of the layer that it is cutting.

The main page has a like to a artical showing how to layout a custom shape to cut in a svg editor. My understanding is that the svg file type is open and in xml format.
Let's get down to the basics. I'm not interested in creating font cartridges, because we'd still need a bunch of cartridges, which we'd have to swap. I want to be able to create what I want to cut on the computer screen, and then dump it to the Cricut.

It appears 'Sure Cuts a Lot' does this, but I'm interested in how.

We really need to know what is being communicated to the USB port. Some questions to be answered are:

- Does the Cricut share any commonality with any known printers (could you send an HP command to the Cricut, and have it respond appropriately?)
- Are vector commands being sent to the Cricut?
- Does the system require ascii characters, or binary?
- Does the system use absolute position commands, or relative (may be capable of using either)?
- What specific commands are required? (pen up, pen down, move to, speed, pressure, etc.)
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
January 02, 2009 05:45AM

It's my understanding that "Sure Cuts a Lot" flashes the firmware in a Cricut to implement its own custom commands.
The original Cricut firmware has two fonts packaged with it, they aren't really on the cartridges in those cases... this means there is plenty of extra room in memory for a few new commands. The firmware is compiled into binary before it is flashed.
None of the details of the specific USB communications are published by Cricut, it's likely that "Sure Cuts a Lot" backwards engineered the Cricut firmware to discover the flash update code, but to my knowledge they haven't shared it, or their own custom USB commands. It's also likely that the commands include pen up, pen down, lines, and bezier curves.

You don't need to hack the Cricut, There is a device called the CraftRobo made by Graphtec that is nearly the same in terms of function (your basic X/Y plotter cutter) but plugs directly into your computer (PC/MAC) via USB. It comes with software, but also has plugins that make it work with standard packages like Adobe Illustrator. The UI needs some work, but you don't need to buy a $50 cartridge to try a new font. The CraftRobo is also less expensive up front. I wrote a post featuring videos of it in action and some more info:



Cricutyooza Wrote:
> Those interested in Cricut Design Studio and Sure
> Cuts a Lot may be interested in the following free
> single-file download which contains notes and
> documentation:-
> [www.webfile.ws]

That link dosn't seem to work
I would like to see what it was if you could repost

Did anyone ever open an alternate cartridge than the George and Basic Shapes? It sure seems like the cricut needs to read a configuration on the cartridge, then look up in an index table an address hardwired in the cartridge. If the device is not doing this, then there is probably a Flash on board the cartridge. That is the place to begin looking. The basic cartridge, does not need anything since it probably just unlocks the data stored in flash on board in the cricut. I just bought his thing for my wife. I have installed the software for the PC. I don't see any reason to download all the fonts when the Design Studio software boots, unless this data is being uploaded into RAM/ROM somewhere. This leads me to believe that the vast majority of the fonts are probably in the cricut itself. I'm sure the dongle is merely a software key, which may have a flash with a little more data (a key) on it.
ZachHoeken Wrote:
> interesting. you could probably hack that into a
> circuit board cutter pretty easily!
There's a company called Craft Edge that has made a software called "Sure cuts a lot" That allows you to run the cricut off your computer and using your own computer fonts. You don't need the cricut cartridges. The nice thing is it allows you to import adobe illustrator files saved as a svg. That allows you to draw and cut anything!

Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
February 09, 2009 11:15AM
Coincidentally, I just saw this Instructable [www.instructables.com] on how to make solder paste stencils with Cricut.
sure cuts a lot
February 18, 2009 04:41PM
Ok question, if you just use the trial of sure cuts a lot and switch the blade to where it wont cut the horizontal lines then switch it back b4 it cuts the letters or whatever out it should work right? Might seem like a lot of trouble but if it works then hey why not?
I have 6" Cricut and Design Studio software. I have two computers. I would like to buy SCAL with CD, but will it allow me to install the program on each computer?
Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
February 19, 2009 08:45AM
Just to make that clear again.

You all realize, that this is a reprap forum, and no cricut support forum, no?

So if you have any questions regarding how to do this and that with a cricut you may not get an answer at all, or maybe very very slow.

I know you stumbled upon this with google, but sometimes it helps reading the thread you're intending to post in winking smiley

Nevermind, good luck with your questions; but you may look for a better place to find the answers if they're not reprap related.

Re: Cricut Automatic Paper Cutter - Hackable?
April 07, 2009 06:25AM
ZachHoeken Wrote:
> interesting. you could probably hack that into a
> circuit board cutter pretty easily!

After reading through this thread I took a look over at the instructables site. Sounds like this guy might have things figured out. Worth a look.

my friend and I both have design studio but my friends computer broke down and she tried to reinstall it on her new one. we have both tried the e-mail support but seems they don't answer. Any ideas to resolve the problem. I have seen people talking about 'Keygen', does this mean they can give you a number to install it on her new computer. Many thanks and hope you can help. She only had design studio for a month before her computer died.
I have been pondering all of this also, would love a way to import LOGO's I create for my clients and all of my own images and graphics. I am a single mom, started my own business and when I bought the Cricut Expressions was told I would be able to do my own importing. I wouldn't have dumped the, ummmm let's see here, over 3K so far in the machines and product if they would have explained to me I can only use the carteidges and none of my own work. If anyone knows anything they can share....PLEASE let me know. And like a dumb A** I bought like 9 of the cartridges, so if anyone here is around Hou, TX...contact me back here. You can come help H*CK this sh*t!!!!! LOL
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