CutterPillar Pro ABS and Crop - (For earlier metal Pro versions 1, 2, 3, continue below)
Our most commonly reported problem is feathered edges or rough cuts. This can occur through extended use, abuse, or can occasionally be the result of a bad blade. If you've had your CutterPillar for a while, you may have worn down the rotating blade or the edge of the stationary blade. Check the stationary blade (metal cutting edge) for a sharp 90 degree angle. Without this, the two blades will not slice through the paper correctly. If your stationary blade no longer has this sharp 90 degree angle, it will need to be replaced. If you think you need a new blade, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Much of the time, frayed edges can be improved by employing techniques shown in the video below.
Proper Cutting Technique Video
Your cuts are crooked or not square from top to bottom. (The cuts are more of a wedge shape than a rectangle).
This is often a matter of how the paper is held on top of the trimmer. Although it may seem logical to hold the paper at the bottom and/or close to the blade.... The best spot to hold your paper is close to the top ruler. Holding firmly down, but also pushing toward the ruler is the best way to assure the cuts are square. It may feel counter-intuitive... but with a little practice, it is easy to observe how much straighter you cuts will be. Try practicing with some scrap paper.
Your cuts are clean with regular copy paper but slightly rough when cutting heavy or fibrous card stock.
This can be a product of one of two issues. First is the cutting angle. Try the tip above. Second is the blade smoothness. When your CutterPillar arrives, the stationary blade on the edge of the cutting surface may have some micro bumps on it. As you use your CutterPillar for a few days, it will wear away most of these imperfections. If you need a clean cut before the stationary blade is worn smooth, try cutting with a piece of regular paper underneath your card stock.. You should find that this creates a much cleaner cut until your blade is worn smooth. You can also use a very fine nail buffer to buff the top and side of the stationary blade. Be sure not to buff the corner, only the top and side with a nail buffer.
Battery Insertion/Battery Covers
There are two types of battery covers: Type 1 for trimmers sold previously to 2019. Type 2 for trimmers sold after late 2019. Note: The battery cover mechanism can be stiffer than expected the first time it is opened. It will be less stiff after this first time opening.
4 double AA batteries are inserted flat side towards the spring. New batteries are recommended.
Battery Cover Type 1
Battery Cover Type 2
Flickering LED Light Solutions
Watch this 4 minute video to troubleshoot flickering light issues.
Difficulty Seeing the Ruler.
Some of our customers have expressed concern over their difficulty seeing the numbers and lines on the ruler. To accommodate those who prefer darker contrast on their rulers, we have created a couple of solutions.
1. An instructional video that shows how to (toll) paint into the relief numbers and lines.
2. Down-loadable rulers that can be printed onto adhesive paper or stickers to adhere to the top of the existing ruler. To find the rulers please click HERE
Note: Neither method is needed to enjoy the funtionality of the CutterPillar. These were made as a courtesy to the few customers who asked us how they could see their rulers better.
Ruler Darkening Video
Blade Changing Videos
If you have damaged your flat or rotating blades, you can purchase a new blade pack on our parts page: PARTS
After you receive your blade pack, to change the round blade cartridge, just unscrew each end of the bar, slide off the old cartridge and slide on the new one. Easy!
To change the stationary blade (the flat metal piece the rotary blade slides against), to change it just remove the four screws. Save the screws to use to replace the piece. There is only one way the piece will fit. Replace and use the screws to hold it in place. Tighten the screws but be careful not to over tighten. If they are too tight the blade may end up crooked.
See the below videos for more detail.
Replacing the Round Blade Cartridge
Replacing the Flat Blade
Your blade carriage is not moving smoothly across the bar--it catches as you slide it.
If your blade carriage is not sliding smoothly along the bar, this means the gears are not lined up properly or that something is jamming them. First check that nothing is in between the gears. There may be a scrap of paper or some adhesive preventing them from turning freely. You can remove the screws holding the front of the gear carriage on to remove any scraps of paper, or use a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol to carefully rub off any adhesive. NOTE: We do not recommend cutting adhesive stock and it will void your warranty.
If nothing is impeding the gears, be sure the gears and gear bar are properly aligned. The bar can be rotated slightly in either direction. Gently turning it will allow the gears to line up properly on the track. Try rotating the bar a small amount in one direction while sliding the blade carriage up and down the bar and see if this loosens up the gear carriage. If not, try turning it the other way. Once you get the gears properly aligned, the blade carriage should slide smoothly across the bar.
Finally, check that there are no nicks, snags, or grooves in your rotating or stationary blades. These generally occur over time and are either the result of trying to cut too much paper, trying to cut inappropriate mediums, running into something metal such as a staple, or can occur during transportation of the Cutterpillar. If either blade hits a groove or nick as it cuts, it will produce a hitch instead of gliding easily. In this case, you will need to file any cratches or grooves out of the stationary blade edge (see video below) or possibly order new blades by contacting us at email@example.com or 866-553-8886.
Filing Stationary Blade Video
This is extremely uncommon with the new Pro ABS and Crop models as we have taken great pains to insure that the design does not allow misalignment. However, in a few rare cases it has been discovered that inferior screws in the stationary blade may actually push one end of the blade farther or closer to the green work surface, creating a crooked cut. In this case, you can usually fix the issue simply by changing the screws around. Move the middle two screws to the top and bottom positions THEN move the top and bottom screws to the middle. If a bad screw is at fault, having the top and bottom ends secured with good screws will keep the blade in correct position. We can also send you replacement screws if more than one screw is at fault.
If you have a Crop, there is a slight margin of error in the attachment of the swinging arm ruler. It can be attached with up to a 1/32" difference in placement. This is a margin of error that we are unable to resolve with the manufacturer at this time but are working to rectify it in future batches. If you notice your measurements only being off when making cuts longer than the 6.5" base (i.e. using the arm for measurement) this is likely the problem, and we're sorry to say there is no solution yet. You can make mental adjustments to compensate when cutting on the arm, or contact your retailer for exchange posibilities.
CutterPillar Pro Versions 1,2,3
Our most commonly reported problem is feathered edges or rough cuts. This can occur through extended use, abuse, or can occasionally be the result of a bad blade. If you've had your CutterPillar for a while, you may have worn down the rotating blade or the edge of the stationary blade. Check the stationary blade (metal cutting edge) for a sharp 90 degree angle. Without this, the two blades will not slice through the paper correctly. If your stationary blade no longer has this sharp 90 degree angle, it will need to be replaced. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to troubleshoot your issues. As of 20014 we no longer manufacturer these Versions of the Pro. We are happy to help you try to fix any issues you have.
Your cuts are crooked or not square from top to bottom. (The cuts are more of a wedge shape than a rectangle).
This occurs when your ruler has become loose or mis-aligned. In the Version 1, 2, and 3 Pros, the metal ruler can get out of alignment. Sometimes this occurs during shipping, but it can also happen later, after using your cutter for a while or from moving it around frequently. Fortunately, this is easily fixed. You will need a rubber mallet or hammer. The ruler is attached with screws underneath the battery compartment, not glued down, so it can be moved by tapping it with a mallet or hammer with a buffer (to avoid denting the ruler). Simply tap the ruler with a few firm whacks on the side that will push the ruler the correct direction. If you are using a hammer, we recommend a shim (small piece of wood) to hammer against. You could also use something soft, such as a washcloth or hot pad. You will need to tap firmly. This should push your ruler 1/16" or less, which is generally enough to move the ruler back into place. Once your ruler is exactly perpendicular to the metal cutting edge, your cuts will be square again. Check it against the grid line closest to the ruler to make sure the space between them is even all the way across. Then use some scrap paper to test the cuts.
Fix Crooked Ruler Video (Gen 1 & 2 models)
On rare occasions, the metal cutting edge, called the stationary blade, could have been installed incorrectly and is crooked. Or the grid itself could be applied wrong. If either of these are the case, please contact customer service for further help.
With Version 2 Pros, the second possible issue that can happen is that the brackets that hold the rod perfectly straight can come loose in shipping. If this happens, the rod--and the rotary blade that rides on it--will not sit exactly parallel to the stationary blade. When the rotary blade and stationary blade don't contact each other at the proper angle, they allow a rough cut. You may see feathered cuts rather than clean if this is the case, even if you've given your blade time to wear in. To fix this, turn your CutterPillar upside down. Look at the two metal brackets that hold the rod. They should be parallel to the CutterPillar base. If one or the other side of either bracket is raised higher than the other, your brackets are out of alignment. You can loosen the screws holding that bracket to the base, make the bracket perfectly parallel (it may stick up slightly above the green lip it is screwed to, but should be parallel to it), and retighten them. This should allow your rod to carry the blade at the proper angle. If this doesn't work, try shifting both brackets forward (away from the cutting surface) and tighten them down. The key to a clean cut is the rotary blade contacting the stationary blade at exactly the right angle. You may need to play around with it, but once the angle is correct and the rod is perfectly parallel to the cutting edge, your cuts will suddenly be perfect! See video below:
Brackets Fix Video (Gen 1 & 2 models)
Round Blade is Jumping Up onto Metal Cutting Edge
If your rotating blade has jumped up onto the metal cutting edge (stationary blade) it is likely that you have a Version 2 Pro. For some reason with this model, the brackets (the flat metal pieces that hold up the gear rod) can wiggle loose. This will allow the rotating blade to get out of alignment so severely that it can actually jump up onto the stationary blade. It can also happen from trying to cut too many pieces of paper at once, trying to cut fabric or other non-approved mediums, or cutting chipboard thicker than 40pt. ALL OF THESE ARE NOT RECOMMENDED AND WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY. To address this issue, first make sure you're only cutting no more than 3 pieces of approved stock at a time. Secondly, it is likely that both the rotating and stationary bladeshave been damaged. Please inspect both parts for damage such as grooves, nicks, or scratches. If you see these, you may need to order new ones. Please contact us at email@example.com or 866-553-8886.
To get your brackets back in alignment and prevent future jumping of the blade, turn your CutterPillar upside down. Look at the bottoms of the two metal brackets that hold up the gear rod. They should be parallel to the CutterPillar base. If one or the other side of either bracket dips lower than the other, your brackets are out of alignment. You can loosen the screws holding that bracket to the base, make the bracket perfectly parallel (it may stick up slightly above the green lip it is screwed to, but should be parallel to it), and retighten them. This should allow your rod to carry the blade at the proper angle. If this doesn't work, try shifting both brackets forward (away from the cutting surface) and tighten them down. The key to a clean cut is the rotary blade contacting the stationary blade at exactly the right angle. You may need to play around with it, but once the angle is correct and the rod is perfectly parallel to the cutting edge, your cuts will suddenly be perfect! (See video above)
Please contact customer service if your issue is not addressed here or if you're still having trouble getting a perfectly clean, straight cut.
We want you to love your CutterPillar!