Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slice: upgraded

I don't post about it too often but I do scrapbook and recently was able to upgrade my original Slice machine to the new Slice Elite.  I invested in a Slice die cut machine made by Making Memories a few years ago to make my scrapping time a bit more productive.  I chose it because compared to the competition it was the most affordable by far (only $150 compared to $300-600 for the competition), seemed to have the best ability to change the size of the cuts and was compact in size.  Unhappily all did not go as well as I hoped.  I do agree with many comments I have read on various scrapbooking forums, that the original Slice was rushed to market before it was ready so Making Memories had something to compete with the other electronic die cut machines for sale, Cricut, Xyron, Quickcutz are a few, then there are a slew of manual machines also (but with those you can't change the size of the diecut and then there is a lot storage required for them).

It worked fairly well at first, and then the problems started.  It seemed to rather often have problems with retracting the blade all the way up.  The result of this little bug was that I ended up with lots of tiny pieces of paper as the blade continued to cut even when it was supposed to just be moving to make the next actual cut.  I don't know exactly why it did this but I found ways to work around it, letting it charge for awhile, only using it while plugged in, changing blades, constantly having it 'home' the blade, etc.  Finally about 2 months ago I absolutely could not get the darn thing to cut out the word 'birthday', everytime I tried the blade wouldn't retract all the way and would cut the word into pieces.  After I had ruined a considerable amount of paper, time, and patience trying all my tricks to get the Slice to work I finally gave up and emailed customer service.

I will report that I was very pleased with the response I got, it was quick and the customer service rep, Valerie, really seemed interested in resolving my problem.  We ran through quite a few steps at first, making sure the machine was charged, that it wasn't overheating, that there was a fresh blade, etc.  Then she had me add some oil in the bottom to see if lubricant would help, nope, it didn't help at all.  Next she sent me a new blade housing unit to see if that would resolve the problem.  After receiving it in a few days I installed it with high hopes, but sadly it didn't work either.

Since nothing we tried seemed to fix my machine and it was out of warranty I was given two options, I could send in my non-working machine (at my cost for shipping the whole thing in, ugh!) and they would assess what the problem was, for a small fee of course and then I would be advised what it would cost to fix it, or I could take advantage of the Slice upgrade program for current Slice owners.  The upgrade program would require me to send in a piece of my current Slice, making it inoperable, and then I would be able to purchase the new machine for $75.  Hmm, let me think about this, pay to have my old Slice fixed, which although I liked just did not perform as I hoped, or pay for a new machine at 50% off?  Yup, where do I send in the piece of my Slice, and how do I pay?

I will admit, it's not the best solution as I now have a paperweight and a new machine that I essentially paid a premium for if you count in the cost of my original unit, but at least I now have one that works.  And wow does it work!  Of course the first thing I cut out was 'birthday' and it did it with no problem at all.  I was able to use it unplugged and everything I had it cut out it did so without any problems.  Lil' Miss was very happy as we also used it for a school project of hers.  The new Slice Elite is also much quieter and faster, I am loving that!

Elite on the left, the poor cousin on the right

Visually the biggest difference is that the part of the machine housing the blade is larger on the Elite and seems to have some sort of gear inside, otherwise they appear identical.  We'll see how it works as I continue to use it, but as of now I am one happy customer.  Now maybe I can finally get caught up on my scrapbooks, right now I am still finishing up Fall of 2010, wow, how did I get so behind again!

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