Monday, January 25, 2010

Make your own Cricut George cartridge for free!

Most Cricuts come with the George and Basic Shapes cartridge, unfortunately mine did not.  I have no idea why, maybe because I bought my Cricut in Canada?  I quickly found out that a lot of free patterns found online are created with the George cartridge, probably because most people have it.  Since you can’t buy George, other than on eBay for a ridiculous price (around $50 and up!), I decided to make my own.
It’s really quite simple, especially for a person who crafts. ;)
I used two pieces of cardboard from a potato chip box because it makes it thicker to fit into the slot.  One inch wide by about 2 inches long.  At a forum I belong to someone said you could also use an old credit card because it’s thicker, I haven’t tried that method but it sounds good.
I then cut three pieces of tinfoil.  It doesn't matter about the size of the piece that goes across the two strips, you're only using it to connect the strips together so everything touches.  You may have to double the two tinfoil strips (or even triple it) to make them slightly thicker so they can touch the pins in the Cricut, simply fold them in half, but do not put them on the backside of the cardboard.  One strip will cover pins 2 & 3 together, and the other strip will cover pin 5.  Make sure the tinfoil for pins 2 & 3 are a tad wider than the strip for pin 5.  You can see in the picture where I've marked the pins.
Tape the two pieces of cardboard together and then glue down the tinfoil.  Tape the top tinfoil that goes across the two strips so all three pieces of tinfoil connect.  In the picture my George has been used quite a bit but is still working great. :)
George 021
This is what your George cartridge looks like when it’s in the Cricut.  Make sure it lines up correctly and it has to be facing towards you.
George Cart 008
Here you can see on the screen that George is loaded.
George Cart 011
And here’s a close-up.
George Cart 009
Print out of George.  If you click on the picture you will go to flickr.  Select “All sizes” and download the original size for a bigger image.  If you Google “George Cricut Handbook” you’ll come up with quite a few results.
George and Basic Shapes
If this worked for you please leave a comment and let others know it really works! :)
Disclaimer:  You do this at your own risk!  One person (out of hundreds) reported that her Cricut will only recognize the George cartridge, it’s possible that this problem could have happened even with the original George cartridge but I thought I’d let everyone know.
For more pictures please visit my Flickr site. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasa/
If you really don’t want to make your own, and would like a heavy duty one, James has left a comment that I thought I would share on this post.  Thank you James! :)
James has left a new comment:
My friend showed me your site and since my Wife received a Cricut Expression for Christmas (from me), and we didn't get that cartridge I thought that's a great idea!
I designed a very simple electronic board, to make it easier to use. Also should you ever have a case with a bad board inside it should fit perfectly in the case. I appreciate you sharing the idea with the world so I'm also sharing the electronic version without any charge for my time, although the service has a fee. The cost is $5.35 each with $11+ Shipping and Handling, actual shipping time was 3 weeks because they are made to order. I suggest several friends buying as a group to share the shipping and handling. I bought 1 for myself and 2 for friends for a total of $27. It doesn't have a label but this is a crafty audience who could do a better job themselves.
http://batchpcb.com/index.php/Products/27193
******************************************************************

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's all Greek to me ab

Anonymous said...

SWEET!

Anonymous said...

Genius! I will definately try this!

Anonymous said...

Necessity is the Mother of invention, watch out for the school science fair. HA

Anonymous said...

I bought my Cricut second hand and do not have the George cart. I've heard of this before buy now that I have nice pictures to really tell what to do I'm going to try it. I'll get back to you on this, probably next week. Thank you. Tammy S.

Laura said...

This really works!! I made mine over a year ago. Its totally awesome. Just follow the directions here. It's really easy to do.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this tip! I just tried it, it took only a matter of a few minutes and it WORKED!!!! After making it I put it in the slot on the machine....and there it showed cartridge installed, George and Basic Shapes. Next, I took it out and installed it in one of the slots in my jukebox....and again, it shows it is there. I am so impressed that this works and so wondering why PC would deceive everyone to think the information was on the cart instead of just letting everyone know this cartridge is built in. With the cost of the machine, we paid for it.
Thanks again for the awesome tip!!!!
Sandy

Creative Rewards said...

Yep it works, I did it too ! It's an awesome work around :)

Anonymous said...

Hi I just want to let everyone know this works great! I also made one and have it in my Jukebox. Thanks for all the the helpful information.

Anonymous said...

WOW it really works thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

I just tried it and it worked beautifully. Thanks for the tip. Can you make any other ones?

Anonymous said...

it works!! really! it might take a few tweaks to get the foil and pins lined up right, but it works :)

lucylogic said...

Thank you, tried it and it worked. It really really worked. Try it and see for yoursself. Any more helpful cartridge tips?

carine_55 said...

incroyable ! merci beaucoup ! je vais essayer

Susan said...

Wowser - it worked! I am technically challenged and I did it with just a few tries on getting the strips the right width. Thank you so much!
Susan

Kris said...

I bought mine from Costco and I couldn't get it to work. Maybe it doesn't have it (:

Kris said...

I GOT IT! I forgot to put a strip across. It help when you do that ): Thanks for the great tip!

Kansas A said...

LOL, sorry Kris, I'm not laughing AT you, I'm laughing WITH you! I did the exact same thing when I first put it together and couldn't figure out just why it wouldn't work! LOL LOL Then the bells went off in my head when I realized what I didn't do. :)

Tolonda said...

Wow!!!! I just bought a Cricut Create, it did not come with a cart, so I tried this & IT WORKS!!! I used a credit card & and used super glue to adhere the foil. It is wondermos!! Thanks soooooo much. You have won a new follower! :>)

Anonymous said...

This really works! Thanks so much. I used and old credit card and zig glue for the foil. TSM!

Liz said...

This is just wrong.

Kansas A said...

Liz, wrong in what way?

Anonymous said...

It took a few trials but it worked.I was going from left to right on cardboard and it is right to left.IT REALLY WORKS..

Heather said...

Worked for me. I had brass tape from leaded glass work. Two layers was just right. I also used a redeemed giftcard for the base.

Anonymous said...

perfect,just did it!

Anonymous said...

It works...I Can't believe it! Thanks for the info - that saved a bundle!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Worked like a charm! Thanks for the tip :-)

Anonymous said...

I seem to be the only one with problems! I did everything meticuliously following details. It worked the first try, then I tried it again and it says "cartridge error". I even made another one out of cardboard (first one was gift card). The cricut screen just went blank every time I tried that one. I started w/ 1 thickness of tin foil, then thought maybe it was "smashing" thinner in the machine, but I have now added 4 or 5 layers (one at a time, trying in between each). It won't work anymore! I've been working on it for 1 1/2 hours and I'm ready to SCREAM! Did anyone else have these problems? I KNOW the cart's in there I just can't get it to work. I do love the idea...I was just pricing this cart tonite-WOW! it's expensive. Thanks for any help!

Anonymous said...

Followed the instructions. Worked great! Saved me $$$

Dora Renee' Wilkerson said...

Have I told you that I love you yet today? :)

Your the best Kanasa!!!

Kansas A said...

To the person who's having problems, did you make sure to have all three tinfoil pieces touching? I know it seems obvious but the first time I made it I forgot the top piece of tinfoil and no way I could get it to work.
You might try what someone else has done and used a couple of paper clips. Unbend them and put them in at only those certain pins, sort of like a "key", turn on your Cricut and see if it works, if it does then there's a problem with the card you made. Let me know if this helps. :)

Kathy said...

I saw this link on the MTC forum and after a few days decided to give it a try..WOW, a few minutes and now have the cart! Thank you so much for your tips and tricks!

Lisa Avolio said...

I made one similar to this last year. I used an old giftcard and pieces of paper clips, soldering them together. I wanted it to be more durable than the foil version. I bought a jukebox last month, so now I don't need the durability- it just stays in the jukebox. Foil would have been fine. :)

Anonymous said...

Kansas A...thank you! I tried this, had a bit of trouble at first. I only used 2 layers of thin aluminum foil. Then I folded it over a couple of times, giving me 6 layers of foil...it works great! Thanks for the great posting:-)

Dan said...

I have George, but thanks for the tip, it's fantastic. I now wonder if, when we upgrade our firmware when new cartridges come out, if they're ALL stored in the machine, and just need a different arrangement of strips for each one? Probably not, but I'm still wondering...
:)

Anonymous said...

If this works for George, I wonder what other carts could be rigged up to work?
I don't see this as "wrong" - just innovative!
Becky in VA

Jen Young said...

I will be trying this tonight! I've started following your blog! THanks!

James said...

My friend showed me your site and since my Wife received a Cricut Expression for Christmas (from me), and we didn't get that cartridge I thought thats a great idea!

I designed a very simple electronic board, to make it easier to use. Also should you ever have a case with a bad board inside it should fit perfectly in the case. I appreciate you sharing the idea with the world so I'm also sharing the electronic version without any charge for my time, although the service has a fee. The cost is $5.35 each with $11+ Shipping and Handling, actual shipping time was 3 weeks because they are made to order. I suggest several friends buying as a group to share the shipping and handling. I bought 1 for myself and 2 for friends for a total of $27. It doesn't have a label but this is a crafty audience who could do a better job themselves.

http://batchpcb.com/index.php/Products/27193

James said...

I'm betting that the George Cartridge is included in the machine merely as a Factory Tester before shipping so it's easier to build it in. Also possibly for service or refurbishing. The only other cartridge I've opened clearly had a chip in it and I've read that they are actual processors not just memory chips. I doubt there are any other cartridges hidden in the pin configurations but anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

Since Design Studio has all of the carts loaded in it and we update when new carts come out has anyone tried loading up a cart they don't own into Design Studio and putting this make shift strip in the Cricuts and see if it will accept it?

In reading over the last year on other boards where geeks have figured how to override any Cricut machine itself and use a generic strip where the cart goes they are able to download any graphic or draw there own and cut with it.

It is my understanding that PC uses the GAMERs usb strip to create all it's carttridges. Many geeks have taken the cricut apart to view the and found the circuit of the usb uses a certain type which escapes me now. Have notes on it somewhere in this house. The trick to the cricuts and altering it to do what you want it to is in the usb port. Once you know what the brand name is you can easily duplicate it.

With that said I'm betting that if Design Studio was used along with this strip you probably could load up any cart in DS and put that strip in the machine and it would recognize it unless all carts aren't quite the same.

Now you all have me curious and I believe I will take one of my expressions apart and open some of my carts just to check out the circuits and how they differ if at all.

Kansas A said...

Well if you find out how to "emulate" any other cart using DS just make sure you drop me a note Anonymous! :)

Anonymous said...

It works!! It took me like 4 minutes to make. thank you so much

Joy said...

Wow!!!! Kansas.. this is awesome.. I tried it.. but couldn't quite get the foil and all to line up enough. I phoned my friend and neighbor he came over and got it going in no time.. :-) I thought all Cricut machines came w/ George.. I was very disappointed when I got my CE for Christmas and George wasn't in it. But I have it now.. Thank you TONS!!!

Cinnabon said...

I wonder if this would work with the Gypsy?? very interesting. I don't have this cart either.

Anonymous said...

Sounds dishonest and illegal. Watch out that you don't get nabbed for breaking copyright law.

Kansas A said...

To Anonymous,
I don't understand how it could be "dishonest and illegal"?
Provocraft sells cases for the Cricut machines and people think nothing of posting homemade patterns for their machines... is that dishonest and illegal too?

Cinnabon said...

well, I tried it, and it worked! I was able to link it up to my Gypsy as well!
If this information is programed into the Cricuts that we payed alot of money for....and own, I think it is ours. I'm not selling it, but using it for my own pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I did it and it works great,yeah!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. That's crazy they load a cartridge on the machine and don't give everyone access to it... I used acrylic and a piece of foil... its nice and sturdy.

Margaret said...

You've made my day KansasA!! I love your ingenuity. Many thanks

MoodyAlly said...

this worked for me! I bought the Create with me birthday money this year, but didnt have the cash for a another cartridge besides the one it came with.
Which really sucked because the main thing I was looking forward to where easy perfect circles!
Now Im happy, my daughter is happy I can make her cute cupcake toppers for her birthday, and my Hubby is happy he didnt have to spend money!
(you should have seen his face when I sat down to make it though, lol. he is suck a skeptic!)

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to let everyone know this will ABSOLUTELY work with your Gypsy. I just successfully linked my fake George to my G :)

Devon @ Cricut Expression Machine said...

I just love all of the different cartridges that Cricut makes for their machines. I have the Expression machine and just love it!

Anonymous said...

Works! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, but it WORKS.

Anonymous said...

Wowie Zowie!! I was searching on the web to PURCHASE this cart... I was willing to pay, but not over $50 because you can get it for $64 if you buy the original bug on sale. That being said, I couldn't find a place to purchase it.

Since November 2010 I have bought a Cricut Expression, a Cricut Cake, a Gypsy, and an Imagine, ... I have also purchased over 90 cartridges, plus a cuttlebug, and almost every embossing folder they have, a YourStory Photo and a YourStory full size... In short, I have spent $$$$$$$ since then. Oh, I just bought 8 Imagine carts in the last two days.

So... While I was looking to PURCHASE the un-purchasable George cart... I found your site.

I really didn't want to mess up my machine... I wasn't gonna try this, but dammit! I have paid a lot of money to Provo Craft in a very short time.

I followed the directions (sort of) but didn't succeed after several unsuccessful attempts. I read the instructions... again... Dummy me, I didn't see that you need the third strip of aluminum foil across the top to complete the circuit.

TaDa!! It worked! It seems that it has not effected the machine. I can still load and cut from other carts. Yay!

I was also able after many attempts to load it to my Gypsy, through connecting it to the CE. It took several tries... Maybe 8 or 9 times but it finally worked. Thanks so much.

PS. I will Purchase George for reals when I can, but for now I'm happy I can cut simple shapes you can't get on all the other carts.

Heather R.

Tricia said...

I just told my husband about this and he made the "cartridge" for me. Works perfectly. I bought my E in December of 2008 and I don't have a lot of cartridges because I don't have the money to spend. I really appreciate this.

sis.teresa said...

OMGosh!! It really works!! Thank you!!!

sis.teresa said...

Oh in case anybody needs it here is a link for the handbook

http://www.cricut.com/res/handbooks/GeorgeandBasicShapes_cw.pdf

jordie tart said...

Thanks - got this to work on my imagine (onl only my 2nd attempt)
thank you thank you thank you !!!

jordie tart said...

wow thanks - just got this working on my cricut imagine (on only the 2nd attempt - had the foil too thick on the first go)
Thank you thank you thank you

Jennlala said...

Oh Thank Goodness!! I just ordered a refurb and evidently did not read the very fine print. No George cartridge. This is Wonderful I will try it in the morning. I presume there is no chance of blowing or burning anything on the machine??
THANK YOU!

printed circuit board said...

Nice idea i will try to do it next time with my printer cartridge. Its better to fix it yourself...

Anonymous said...

I have been searching the web for the George cartridge and did not want to get into an ebay war bid on it. I just came across these tips and am super excited that I can so easily get the cartridge I've been wanting for so long. Thanks so much for sharing! BTW, how did you figure this out, anyway?

Anonymous said...

this only took me 5min to do and worked perfectly with my cricut create. i used an old business card cut down and folded in half with some tacky glue to hold down the foil. thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Works like a CHARM! Used an old credit card (made sure not to use the magnetic stripe portion just in case) Bibbity bobbity boo!! Hello George!
Thanks!!

heatheratkinson said...

when i first did this, it wouldnt recognize the george, so i didnt think much of it. it didnt work, oh well. i must be the only person who has done this that my cricut expression now doesnt recognize any other cartridge? ive loaded 3 different ones now and it still only recognized the george. i've tried to reset it twice and it's still only pulling up the george. can anyone help me?!!?

Anonymous said...

Wow! This totally worked for me. I bought my cricut at a canadian Walmart. Thank you so much for sharing this great tip and for saving me alot of money as this is a cartridge I have been wanting for a long time

Jo said...

OMG!!!!!! Just messing with this tonight.. and it worked first time!!!!

thank you so much!!!

colleen said...

I am totally amazed! Tried it once with foil and no luck--almost gave up. Then remembered I had some metal crafting sheets and what do you know--George!! Thanks SO much!

Anonymous said...

SARAHKOP
I asked my hubby to make me one .He used an old sega game as slots were the same on the catridges, He took of strips that werent needed and shaped it to look like others .It works ,Do they sell replacements for the keypad as if they did we could print and glue to it.Thxs guys who thought of this saved me $$$$$

Carole said...

You are brilliant! Made one out of an old credit card. Works like a charm. I'm thrilled!

Unknown said...

I can't see the video loaded... Is it still posted?
Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

You are awesome! Made one from an old credit card & two sided tape (with foil). Works with my new Cricut cake mini :-)

Kansas A said...

Great to know that it works with the Cricut cake mini. It's been a long while since I've blogged and I'm glad to hear this is still working.

Anonymous said...

This is amazing! Works with the E2, and I used an old credit card to do it. Couldn't get my G to link but I figure if I have to carry this little doohickey with me it's no big deal! In fact, I think I am going to make one for home and one for travel. Great idea, great instructions...Thank you!

Tash NZ said...

omg your freaking genius it so worked and now im off to play thanks so much!