Cutting Machine Reviews
Picking the best option for your money…
Picking the best option for your money…
Need to find the best Cricut, Sillouhette or other cutting machine? You’ve come to the right place. We provide a full and deep dive into the best cutting machines on the market today, so you can make the correct choice, at the right price, for your craft and DIY needs.
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Any crafter or DIYers will agree with me when I say that Cricut has single-handedly changed the way crafts are done, and it is by far the best crafting tool. Most people contemplating whether to purchase a Cricut machine often find themselves torn between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2 as these two machines are quite similar. Nevertheless, they have several significant differences with the most notable ones being the machines adaptable tool system and their cutting force.
In this article, we cover both machines in-depth, beginning with an overview of the machines, their similarities as well as their differences so you can make an informed decision as you decide which of the two you should acquire to meet your needs
This smart cutting machine is a crafter’s ultimate tool. The Cricut Maker brags an expandable suite of tools and advanced X-ACTO knife and rotary blades that facilitate practically any DIY and crafts project. Both the blades are operated using the machines adaptive tools system which manages the direction and the amount of pressure that is applied on materials. The Cricut maker does not have a smart dial as this was replaced with the adaptive tool system. Like with most Cricut machines, the Cricut maker has the ability to cut through several materials such as paper, leather, fabric, matboard amongst others. The Cricut Makers knife blade can handle cutting materials that are up to 2.4mm thick.
Utilizing a cut smart technology, the Explore Air 2 uses Bluetooth for wireless cutting, and users can connect the machine to their smartphones, computers, or tablets which they can then use to create on the go. With the capability to cut over 100 materials from leather to cardstock, this machine is extremely precise and can achieve intricate details, including those that involve cutting the same material repeatedly. The Explore Air 2 is part of the explore range of Cricut machines, and it is the best of all three machines in the Explore range. The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a small dial on its side that facilitates the cutting process allowing users to set the material and pressure they want to use. Users can easily perform two different activities with the Explore Air 2 as they no longer have to stop working in order to swap out the tools being used for the activities. The dual carriages allow crafters to draw and cut without having to stop to swap out the tools.
The raging debate of which is the better machine between the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2 is one that is not about to come to an end. Anyone who enjoys sewing and making things out of fabric, is likely to lean towards the Cricut Maker as their ideal tool; however, those who are primarily paper crafters will find that the Explore Air 2 suits their needs in a much better way. So, depending on what it is that you, as the user wants to get done, you can make a decision on which one of the two machines works best for you. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the Cricut maker is generally the better of the two machines as it is more handy.
The Cricut Air 2 is a die cutting machine that a lot of crafters will admit being a life-saver for those who love to craft and are in the market for a reliable machine that can meet their needs. This is one of Cricut’s bestselling machines, given that it is simple in design but very effective in its execution. Given that you probably found yourself here reading this article because you were trying to decide on whether the Explore Air 2 is a machine worth investing in we shall take an in-depth look into the machine reviewing most if not all of the details of this machine so we can assist you in making an informed decision.
The minimalistic, laid back design of the Explore Air 2, is often confuses a lot of individuals who end up dismissing the machine without giving it a second thought. However, an in-depth look at the, reveals a different narrative of why this is one of the best home cutting machines for crafters.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 which was launched in 2015 excels where other machines have failed as it is two times faster than its predecessors and offers crafters two modes namely the “fast mode” and the “normal use mode” that they can choose to work with. This device is compatible with smart devices meaning users can use their phones, tablets, and computers to create customized designs on the go allowing them a certain level of flexibility to work when they have some free time to spare. This machine brags dimensions of 12 “wide and 14” long which leaves users with a respectable working space capacity of 11.5” by13.5”. It is this kind of features that makes the Explore Air 2 so good that it can be used for lightweight commercial purposes.
It has some incredible features such as the premium German carbide blade, dual tool storage compartment, cartridge slot, Bluetooth technology, Grip cutting mat, and its internet-based Design Space software. Users will also value the fact that the machine is available in three different colors and so they’ll pick the one that best matches their aesthetic.
Cutting machines are often designed to simplify the life of crafters, and this advanced machine is no exception. Some of the things that the Explore Air 2 can do include:
Cutting intricate details: from snowflake designs to lace stationery designs and even flowers, this machine is capable of delivering detailed, elaborate designs that were previously not achievable. Anyone looking to achieve intricate designs should look no further.
Cut several materials: the technology applied to the Explore Air 2 allows for it to cut well over 40 different materials. From the overly thick and hardy materials like leather to the really thin ones such as paper and vellum, the Explore Air 2 can most likely cut it and do so with great precision. This is because the machine has a nifty inbuilt Smart Set dial that crafters can conveniently use to adjust the settings and change them accordingly based on which one meets their needs. Typically, there is a list of materials that one can cut, and a crafter simply has to set the dial to the right mode. Additionally, you will receive access to the machine’s Design Space that allows you to use a wider variety of material selection settings.
Design customized items: yes, you read that right. This machine just doesn’t cut. You can also create handwritten cards, clothing items amongst others that you can customize to your liking. This is possible because the Explore Air 2 comes with washable fabric pens that can be used to draw in any of the over 350 fonts available. Creating your customized item is a simple as loading your font of choice and letting the machine work its magic on the material you are working with.
Score materials: The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a nifty scoring stylus that can be used to create beautifully designed boxes, envelopes, 3D paper crafts, acetate pinwheels, and so much more. The scoring stylus enables users to create seamless fold lines on the materials being used. This stylus is a great tool for developing your crafting skills.
The Explore Air 2 is, in our opinion, a perfectly great machine, given the list of characteristics and features, we have discussed above. Beginner crafters and hobbyist would certainly enjoy using this machine as it offers a wide variety of uses and unbelievable precision. We would certainly recommend this machine for anyone looking to give crafting a go.
If you are looking for a die cut machine that is handy and overly dependable, then look no further than with the award-winning Sizzix Big shot. There are two types of Sizzix Big Shot machines, i.e., the foldaway and the die cutting machine. For this review, we shall be discussing the die cutting Sizzix Bigshot. This machine lives up to its name, and DIYers and crafters are certainly going to enjoy using this machine that has the ability to not only cut but emboss on several different materials. With the Sizzix Big Shot, it is possible to create unique one-of-a-kind cards, scrapbook pages, invitations, fashion, home decor, quilting, altered art, and much more. If you have been considering acquiring the Sizzix Big shot, then you are in the right place as we take an in-depth look at the Big Shot and various elements about it to help you in making a decision on whether it is the ideal machine for your crafting needs. The Big Shot is a stable machine featuring a 6-inch wide opening that can be used to emboss or die cut with an appropriate crafting area that facilitates the creation of larger projects. Users can create stencils and cutouts that are much bigger than normal without having to worry that the machine will break down. Weighing 7.5lbs, the Big Shot is a rather bulky machine that is not easily portable
In order to ensure that it functions at its optimum, the Big Shot brags the following features;
Steel core; at its core, the Big Shot has steel bearings and roller that enable users to work with materials that are often challenging for other machines in the market. The bearing and roller can easily cut through materials that are not only thick but also tough without wearing out easily.
Its exterior is aesthetically pleasing; with the Sizzix Big Shot, users can create beautiful art on a machine that matches the user’s elegant taste. The machine is available in several different colors, and as such a user can pick whichever, they feel tickles their fancy and resembles the art they create.
Extended multipurpose platform; the extended crafts area that is 14 1/8? long is another feature that the Big Shot brags. The crafts are is constructed from a combination of durable plastic and steel, which give it the ability to handle any pressure thrown its way. The platform is capable of handling bigger dies, creating larger cutouts, and embossing a user’s favorite patterns on pieces of material that are much larger than usual. The crafts area has tabs that offer users beneficial information about cutting and embossing as well as the folders and dies they can use, therefore ensuring that they can start working as soon as they acquire the machine.
Rubber Feet: The Big Shot is fitted with rubber feet that ensure the machine stays in place and does not move while it is being used.
Using the Big Shot is pretty simple and straightforward. All one needs one to do is place whatever material that they want to cut between the machine’s cutting plates, and thereafter following the directions indicated on the multipurpose platform. This will ensure that the correct thickness of the material is selected before it is sent through the machine. Once this is completed, you simply turn the handle, and the cutting or embossing process begins. Because the embossing and cutting process is manual, users may have to exert a little more pressure when using tougher materials and less pressure when using lighter materials. The Sizzix Big shot can work with a wide variety of materials including chipboard, metallic foil, vellum, foam, magnet, leather, craft aluminum, felt, fabric, cardstock and many more.
The Sizzix Big Shot is one of my favorite machines simply because there are no limits to a user’s creativity. Because it is a manual die cutting and embossing tool, users can effortlessly and effectively add texture and cut shapes from many different materials using a single device, namely the Big Shot. It’s also extremely easy to use, and everyone, including beginners, can immediately dive into the crafting world if they are using the Big Shot. Overall it is an excellent machine, and if you are an avid and adventurous DIYer, it is certainly a machine that you should consider purchasing. However, do bear in mind that it is not compact and will require quite a bit of space when using it. Conclusively, despite this not being the largest die cutting machine we have come across, it is sufficient for you to get the job done without and difficulties.
Anyone looking for a small but versatile cutting machine that they can use for their crafts and DIYs should look no further than the Silhouette Portrait 2. An improved iteration of the original Portrait, the Portrait 2 is often referred to as the younger sibling to the Portrait 3 and shares similar features with the Cameo 3 but in a lighter smaller package.
The Portrait 2 functions almost like a printer, but as opposed to printing on the page with ink, a blade is moved around to cut images out of the material that the user has selected to use. The machine can work with several materials including cardstock, paper, fabric, vinyl amongst others. Apart from cutting, it can also be used for drawing.
We take an exhaustive look at the details surrounding the Silhouette Portrait 2 and why it is a crafter best portable cutting tool.
Introduced into the market in November 2017, the Portrait 2 is an upgraded version of the initial portrait incorporating technologies such as Bluetooth and AutoBlade to its functionalities. It’s, in our opinion, one of the best portable automated cutting machines in the market, and it is ideal for anyone who is into crafts beginners included. Its size makes it perfect for small craft studios. The package of the Portrait 2 contains the electronic cutting machine, power cable, AutoBlade, Bluetooth adapter, USB cable, 8-inch cutting mat, 50 exclusive cuttable designs, Silhouette Studio software and a one-month free subscription to Silhouette design store.
Size aside, it is very easy to mistake the Portrait 2 for the original portrait, but any doubts that one may have are quickly washed away as soon as they start using the Portrait 2. With the several new features that place it just slightly under the high-tech Cameo cutting machine, the portrait 2 is the perfect compromise. Some of the features that the machine brags include;
Bluetooth compatibility; this must be my beloved feature of the Portrait simply because it eliminates the uses of cables and as such, makes the cutting machine even more portable. By simply activating the Bluetooth, a user can send files from their computer to the machine which will print them remotely. This feature provides users with the freedom to manage their designs in the Portrait’s Silhouette Studio software as well as any design software that they may be comfortable using. Once a user has finished creating their custom design, they simply send the artwork to their device for execution with only a few swift clicks. The Bluetooth also offers the benefit of users completing the design and customization process without compromising on their comfort. Unlike in the past when one had to limit their workspace because they were using power cables.
Compatibility with PixScan; if you are confused because you have never heard of PixScan do not fret. PixScan is an innovative technology Patented by Silhouette America that has the ability to transform sketches drawn by hand into intricately cut pieces of art. This is legit one of the best ways to achieve those creative and bolder pieces such as the ones that involve digitization of a user’s stamp collection. All you need is either a camera or scanner, and you are good to go as PixScan works using three steps specifically,
Step one: putting your artwork of sketch on the mat provided.
Step two: using your scanner, camera, or a smartphone to capture the imagery of the material.
Step three: importing the captured image into the software and adding the necessary cut lines.
Auto blade: this is an intuitive feature that helps users attain the right settings regardless of the material they are using for their crafts. This feature eliminates a lot of the guesswork that occurred as users tried to determine which material to use and why. The AutoBlade which is included in the machine’s package and has played a significant role in improving the quality of cuts.
Can Accommodate Thick Materials: Unlike the Portrait 1, the Portrait punches above its weight bragging a 2mm clearance that facilitates the use of thick materials. This is a significant milestone because users are no longer limited to only using thin materials such as paper, card, or vinyl as they can effectively use materials such as craft foam and leather which were previously difficult to cut. This translates to value for money and convenience as users do not have to struggle with sturdier materials.
Cutting Power: The Silhouette has a limited cutting size, but this has not stopped it from excelling in a lot of the tasks it is required to handle. This machine offers users with the ability to cut materials up to 10 feet long despite its width having a limited 8-inch cutting capacity. However, the machines cutting force could be better in our opinion, as its 210-gram force would struggle with tougher materials such as balsa wood. We nonetheless appreciate the fact that the Portrait 2’s cutting power is accommodative of diverse kinds of blades aside from the AutoBlade that the machine is equipped with when a user purchases it. Users can order other blades such as the fabric blade, the standard blade, and the deep cut blade which they can use to achieve different outcomes depending on their needs.
The Silhouette Portrait 2 is an impressive machine that shares several unique features and benefits with some of the most powerful cutting machines in the market today. Anyone considering acquiring this machine is certainly in for a great treat.
A silhouette curio is a light-duty machine which at its core is designed for cutting purposes, but it also has the ability to perform several different tasks such as engraving, debossing, embossing, drawing, piercing, and welding. Even though this silhouette curio is marketed as an accompanying machine for other cutters, this lightweight standalone machine can carry its own weight and can be used by DIYers and crafters to achieve most if not all their projects. The machine is able to do all the previously mentioned activities on materials such as foam, rubber, leather, and wood. The machine typically weights at about 210 grams, which is quite impressive given the power and performance it exhibits.
The Curio is extremely compact resembling an everyday printer and brags a rather boring boxy design with several rounded corners. It is obvious that the manufacturer of the Curio did not put much thought into its appearance, but the machine’s clearance, cutting capacity, and overall performance reveal that thought was put into ensuring that the machine did not compromise on functionality. The design of the machine is such that it is equipped with a ratchet that is used to set the depth of the machine’s standard blade, consequently saving on much-needed space. However, the downside to this is that unlike other cutting machines, the Curio cannot be used with the AutoBlade, and therefore, a user must wholly depend on the standard blade.
The silhouette curio brags several features including:
A dual carriage: The dual carriage is a handy feature that a lot of die cutters lack. This feature allows users to use two different tools at the same time, making it an extremely significant tool that helps users save on the amount of time spent creating crafts and DIYs. Because of the dual carriage feature, crafters can, for example, sketch while cutting, pierce while embossing or even draw using two washable pens at once. This feature takes away the need to halt an ongoing process to change the tools being used if a user wants to, the function. The dual carriageway facilitates creativity amongst the silhouette curio users as they can experiment with several different designs and accomplish projects quicker.
5mm Clearance: The Silhouette Curio has a 5mm clearance that allows for users to work with thick materials. Most electronic die cutters including the Silhouette curio are usually limited in cutting space, and hence the clearance availed with the curio is extremely crucial. Thanks to the clearance, users can do several things such as sketch on the wood and draw on a canvas, which is not necessarily possible on other cutting machines.
Inbuilt storage: As previously mentioned, the focus of the Curio was placed on its functionality. Part of its functionality includes the four storage slots distributed on two different sides of the machine, thus ensuring that the machines weight is well spread out.
Silhouette Studio Design Software: Most cutting machines rely on their software to determine efficiency, working speeds, and convenience. The Silhouette Curio is no exception as it relies on its cloud-based software system to be able to conduct most of its activities. And even though the Curio’s software is cloud-based, it can be used without internet unlike other machines such as the Cricut Design space whose software requires internet for operation. The Silhouette Studio design software facilitates the importation and exportation of files in SVG format, which is the ideal format for cutting files. Users can usually subscribe to the software and use it free of charge for a month before they have to upgrade and start paying to access all the benefits of the software.
Stippling & Etching: The Silhouette Curio is quite unique because users can even use metal sheets on the machine. The stippling and etching feature allows for users to draw using many specks/dots and engrave on metal sheets.
The Silhouette Curio is not the most ideal electronic cutter, but it gets the job done and is, therefore, something worth considering. This is because it gives users the liberty and flexibility; they may need to uncover a whole new level of opportunities and let their creativity run wild. Even though the Curio can be used by itself, it functions way better as an accompanying tool for larger cutting machines that are easier to uses and are more accommodating in terms of size.
Any crafter or DIYers will agree with me when I say that Cricut has single-handedly changed the way crafts are done, and it is by far the best crafting tool. Most people contemplating whether to purchase a Cricut machine often find themselves torn between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2 as these […]
The Cricut Air 2 is a die cutting machine that a lot of crafters will admit being a life-saver for those who love to craft and are in the market for a reliable machine that can meet their needs. This is one of Cricut’s bestselling machines, given that it is simple in design but very […]
If you are looking for a die cut machine that is handy and overly dependable, then look no further than with the award-winning Sizzix Big shot. There are two types of Sizzix Big Shot machines, i.e., the foldaway and the die cutting machine. For this review, we shall be discussing the die cutting Sizzix Bigshot. […]
Anyone looking for a small but versatile cutting machine that they can use for their crafts and DIYs should look no further than the Silhouette Portrait 2. An improved iteration of the original Portrait, the Portrait 2 is often referred to as the younger sibling to the Portrait 3 and shares similar features with the […]
What is a Silhouette Curio? A silhouette curio is a light-duty machine which at its core is designed for cutting purposes, but it also has the ability to perform several different tasks such as engraving, debossing, embossing, drawing, piercing, and welding. Even though this silhouette curio is marketed as an accompanying machine for other […]