Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

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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.

Explore Air 2 Overview

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.

What can the Explore Air 2 do?

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.

What We Liked About the Explore Air 2

  • The 210 grams cutting power of this machine is really good. While it may not compare with some other cutting machines in the market, it can manage cutting depths of up to 1.5mm with the standard blade and 2mm with the deep cut blade.
  • It is equipped with Bluetooth technology which allows for wireless printing and complements the machine’s compatibility with smart devices.
  • The grip of the cutting mat is one of the best we have used, and it does not move around when the machine is being used.
  • The Explore Air 2 is quite affordable and easy to use and as such anyone, regardless of their skill level can be able to use it.
  • As previously mentioned, the Explore Air 2 is pretty fast, with double the cutting speeds of the predecessor cutting machines.

What We Did Not Like About the Explore Air 2

  • In comparison to the Explore Air, the Explore Air 2 is loud, but this is not necessarily a deal-breaker as the noise is bearable.
  • There is an Explore Air 2 design space app for iOS devices but not for android devices. We found this to be quite outrageous given that android devices are pretty much taking over the mobile industry globally.
  • Crafters cannot use third party design software despite the Design Space software being overly basic, especially for experienced crafters.

Final Thoughts

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.

Spellbinders Platinum Review

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Available in two different models, namely the 6-inch cutting width and the 8.5-inch cutting width model, The Spellbinders Platinum machine is a sturdy and sophisticated manual die cutting machine capable of cutting and embossing. , the Platinum machine is a one of a kind die-cutting machine that can handle dies as thin as wafers, as well as steel rule, dies both from Spellbinders and other companies. As previously mentioned, the spellbinder is are sturdy and heavy and brags gears that are almost impossible to break regardless of the material being used. The weight of the machine ensures it remains still and unfazed while it is in use; however, as well as steel rule, users require to input quite some effort to use this machine. This machine is ideal for crafters who have a large workspace since it occupies a large footprint which may be inconveniencing for users with smaller spaces. Nevertheless, the machine’s sides are foldable; however, which makes the Spellbinders Platinum compact and easy to store away. The Spellbinder platinum can effortlessly cut over 40 different materials including Balsa wood, leather, paper, craft metal, chipboard cotton, and many more. The “full-size” platinum is extremely flexible as it.
Nevertheless with 16 contour dies that facilitate flexibility for a user looking to achieve intricate cuts, patterns, and designs. The two platinum machines hold their own weight as they can cut paper sizes as big as their widths; however, the 8-inch platinum requires that users acquire larger cutting plates as opposed to the regular sized ones that are sold together with the machine.

What Are the Spellbinder Platinum Machines Equipped With?

Regardless of the size, both the smaller sized platinum and the full-sized platinum are equipped with the same accessories and items that users receive upon purchase. These items include: the machine itself, an embossing mat and plate, two standard 6” cutting plates, an operational manual and a cutting platform which varies depending on the size of the machine purchased.
However, users should note that they have the option of purchasing additional accessories that they like and are compatible with the machines such as the magnetic platform which is used to hold the overly thin dies and ensure that they do not move around while being cut. The crease plate and 3D embossing plate used alongside 3D embossing folders are yet another set of accessories that can be separated from the machines.

Features of the Spellbinder Platinum

The Platinum machines have a few features which we found to be great value adds such as;

Ergonomic handle: Unlike a lot of the electronic die cutting machines which have fancy buttons to operate it, the Spellbinders Platinum’s functionality is made possible through its ergonomic handle that connects with the machine’s roller bearings and turned manually to complete tasks. The handle, therefore, makes it easier for tasks and projects to be completed in a matter of minutes after a few turns.

Cutting platforms: Even though each machine has a cutting platform that corresponds with its model, the Spellbinders die cutter platforms are overly generous in comparison to some of the die cut machines that we have available in the market. Users can cut dies to their satisfaction, including multiple small dies all at once. The construction of the machines is such that they can accommodate varying dies, all while being portable and user-friendly.

Contour steel rule dies: today, the number of die-cutting processes available are quite many, with each of the processes being used for different techniques and serving a different purpose. The Spellbinders use the steel rule dies, which are popularly known for facilitating the use of different types of materials such as foam, paper, cardboard, rubber, and many more all while being easily centered. The contour steel die cutting process is revered to be an economically efficient method through which users can achieve unique designs on materials that have soft sheets as well as the “exotic” ones.

Solid steel core: the strength and longevity of the Spellbinders cutter because of its full-hardened steel construction. For the mere reason that this machine is constructed from the toughest metal in the globe means that users can rely on the machine to give them great service for a long time to come.

What We Like About the Spellbinders Platinum

  • Users no longer have to engage in repetitive tasks as the platinum can effortlessly cut up to 8 layers of material at once.
  • The machine is one of the most versatile machines we have come across in the market as it is capable of cutting more than forty different materials.
  • Despite its weight and size, the Spellbinders Platinum has a compact design thanks to its foldable sides, which helps users to save on space.
  • It is well-designed and durable. The construction of this machine gives it the power that it requires to manage most of the tasks thrown its way without it experiencing any difficulties.
  • Users receive a 1-year manufacturer warranty upon purchase of the machine. The warranty speaks to the quality of the machine and the manufacturer’s confidence in it.

What we did not like about the Spellbinders Platinum

  • The plates of the machine occasionally get jammed and as such users have to exercise extra caution when working with the machine.
  • Using the machine is tedious as the process is manual.
  • The Spellbinders Platinum is heavier and much larger than the typical die cut machines.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you are cutting, scoring, or embossing, the Spellbinders Platinum is the ideal machine that you could opt for. This is because not only is it functional, but it also has a user-friendly design that makes it more than ideal for most crafters regardless of their skill level. The Spellbinders Platinum scores highly in our books because it is one of those machines that can outlast you for generations to come and it provides crafters with model different options and the ability to use several die types. If you have been contemplating on a die cutter to acquire for yourself or even someone else, then this is a great choice to contemplate.

Cricut Bright Pad Review

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There are lots of questions surrounding the Cricut BrightPad. What is the Cricut BrightPad? Is the Cricut BrightPad worth its cost? Is it a must-have tool for crafting enthusiasts? Does it really make weeding vinyl much easier? Do I really need the BrightPad? If you have found yourself plagued with questions such as the one above, then you are in the right place. This is because Cricut introduced to the market their version of the light pad known as the Bright Pad. But before we review the BrightPad, we shall quickly define what a light pad is and what it is used for.

A light pad is a viewing device that is used by crafters and artists for tracing, sketching, weeding, and reviewing their artwork amongst other things. The light pad essentially helps artists and crafters elevate their artworks, and while it is not a mandatory tool, it helps town one if you can afford it.

Cricut BrightPad Overview

The Cricut BrightPad, which resembles a tablet, is one of the most innovative tracing and weeding tools in the market. The BrightPad is thin, lightweight, and brags a sleek design like most advanced tablets do. It is equipped with five settings which are used to adjust the brightness of the pad and enable artists to customize their workspace depending on what suits their needs. Upon purchase of the device, users receive a package containing a user manual, power cable, and the pad. The pad is fitted with several features to ensure that it can absorb any shock and arrive at the user’s destination in one piece. To use the BrightPad, a user simply has to plug in the power cable to a power outlet and press the power button. Users can adjust the pad’s light settings with either one of the two +/- buttons located on the side of the tablet.

Key Features of the Cricut Brightpad

High Scratch Tolerance level: the scratch tolerance level refers to the abrasion resistance levels depending on how hard a surface or material is. The scratch hardness/ tolerance typically ranges between 1 and 10, where ten is the highest level, which is categorically reserved for diamonds. The Cricut BrightPad has a 6H hardness level which cannot be said for other light pads which typically brag a 3.5H hardness/ tolerance level. A device is more scratch-resistant if its scratch hardness is high, which means that users can certainly rely on the quality of the Cricut BrightPad.

Great design: As previously mentioned, the BrightPad is an extremely lightweight device that is 0.35 inches deep and almost looks like a high-tech tablet. A quick glance at the device will reveal that its design is well-thought-out, particularly because no artist would appreciate having to uses a light pad that is extremely bulky and heavy. The Cricut BrightPad offers artists with the possibility to work in an appropriate body posture as they do not have to prop their elbows onto the desk while working or even change their posture.

Light adjustment capabilities: The light adjustment button is a pretty nifty feature that a lot of crafters can appreciate. This is because users can effortlessly adjust the LED light of the Cricut BrightPad from level 1 to level 5 by simply pressing the +/- keypad buttons on the machine. By increasing or decreasing the light, it is possible for users to work in their ideal light conditions however we think that these buttons deserve and upgrade to become touch-sensitive buttons if for nothing else other than convenience. In a matter of seconds, users can move from the lowest 400 Lumens level 1 brightness settings to the highest 4000 Lumens level 5 brightness settings. The other brightness settings offer Lumens of 1300, 2200, and 3100 for levels 2, 3 and four respectively.

Even LED Backlight: The Cricut BrightPad produces light that is even as it uses superior LED bulbs, unlike most of the cheaper light pads that use substandard halogen bulbs. The LED lighting of the BrightPad can give users service for up to 50,000 hours emitting light evenly across the pad’s surface. Additionally, the light emitted by the LED lighting is not as harsh as it falls on the cooler white side.

Anti-Slip Base: the chances of the BrightPad slipping from a user’s hands or surface are very low as the pad is fitted with an anti-slip coating intended to minimize the occurrence of accidents. This ensures that users have steady work and that they will not move about while they are working.

What I Appreciated About the Brightpad

  • Firstly, I really liked that the BrightPad came with a manufacturer’s warranty that was valid for a year from the date of the pad’s purchase. This, in my opinion, spoke a lot into the fact that the manufacturer could be trusted with the quality of the device they were producing.
  • The highly responsive light adjustment settings are what sold me on this device as I could customize the light pad to my preference.
  • The device is extremely durable and ideal for use in the long-term.
  • The device’s working surface was generously wide, which made it easy to work with.

What I Did Not Like About the Brightpad

  • I felt that it was somewhat expensive.
  • Its 6-foot power cable was, in my opinion, limiting, and it would do better with a rechargeable battery.

Conclusion

The Cricut BrightPad is a premium-grade multipurpose light pad that goes a long way in unhinging a user’s creativity and artistic limits. From detailed crafting, weeding, tracing and handling glitter iron-on users will enjoy using this as long as they are familiar with how to work with it. We personally liked that it could be used by anyone regardless of their crafting experiences and abilities. Its polycarbonate surface ensures that you will be using it for quite a while as it is durable, practical, and most importantly, functional. If you were considering acquiring the Cricut Brightpad, we hope that this review has removed any doubts that you may have had and shed some light onto what the BrightPad is and how it can help you meet your needs.

Cricut Easy Press 2 Review

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HTV is a fun and exciting way for one to introduce themselves into the world of crafting. You are probably familiar with heat pressing because you have seen a few breathe taking designs done on different surfaces and garments and wondered how they were able to achieve it. Well if heat transfer vinyl and heat pressing are your cup of tea, then the Easy Press 2 is the kind of machine that you should be considering if you haven’t already. The Cricut Easy Press 2 takes over from its predecessor the original Easy press to give its users a wonderful experience crafting with HTV. The original Easy Press was a beast, but the Easy Press 2 is a much bigger and better machine as our research quickly revealed. It is equipped with new features that we shall discuss shortly together with the benefits and disbenefits that it offers you as a user so you can make an informed decision as to whether is a machine that you should purchase to meet your crafting needs.

Product Overview

Like its predecessor, the Easy Press 2 is a machine that enables users to easily and effectively transfer their HTV (heat transfer vinyl) and iron-on designs onto a surface of their choice. The HTV and iron-on are a type of materials that require heating to facilitate their successful transfer onto surfaces. The Easy Press 2 facilitates this transfer by providing the ideal temperature and time required for proper transfer onto the surface. This machine is available one color (raspberry) and in three different sizes specifically 6 x 7 inches, 9 x 9 inches and 12 x 10 inches. The varying sizes give users the flexibility to choose the size of machine that fits their craft. Unlike its predecessor, this Cricut heat press is capable of heating up to 400°F with a +/- 5°F variance that makes it more reliable and easier to use on a variety of materials.

Features of the Easy Press 2

Heating Time: the heating time of the Cricut Easy Press 2 is truly impressive given that it takes just a minute for the 6 x 6 press to heat up, two minutes for the 9 x 9 press and 3 minutes for the jumbo 12 x 10 heat press. Not a lot of heat press machines available in the market can be able to achieve such fast heating times. The heat-up time is 25% quicker than the original Easy Press.

Safety base: the Easy Press 2 provides crafters with a streamlined safety base on which they can place the machine when it is not in use. And in line matters concerning safety, the Easy Press 2 has an auto shut-off feature that automatically shuts off the press after ten minutes of inactivity. The safety base of this machine is slightly raised in comparison to other heat press machines, and this makes crafting all the more safe without taking away the fun of it.

Firmware: rarely do people talk about firmware when discussing crafting tools but I had to throw this in because I appreciated that the Easy Press 2 like with other Cricut machines updates itself when necessary to ensure that your machine is free of errors and is functioning efficiently.

Thicker heat plate: heat plates are usually there to ensure that the heat in the machine is distributed evenly. If the temperature is even the likelihood that a user is going to have a successful and professional looking outcome is quite high. The thicker heat plate on the Easy Press 2 ensures that the heat distribution is uniform and that the temperature variant is better managed. It’s this very feature that gives the Easy Press 2 a higher standing that is almost at par with traditional heat presses.

Easy Press 2 Pros & Cons

Thus far, the Easy Press 2 has proven to be a really cool crafting tool to have in your corner. But to paint a clearer picture before you make your final decision, we take a look at the machine’s pros and cons after which we believe you will be fully informed on what decision to make.

Pros

  • Given the amount of time the Easy Press 2 takes to achieve results pressing with this machine helps users save on valuable time that they could be spending elsewhere.
  • The machine gives users control and flexibility over their crafts as they can select the settings/ mode that works best with the material they are using.
  • Cricut, in general, offers such amazing customer service such that if a user was stranded, it helps to know that they are not alone as they try to figure out the solution.
  • The size of the machine makes it easily portable and ideal for people working in small craft spaces.
  • While the Easy Press 2 may not be ideal for mass production, it can still work for commercial projects delivering professional results in under 3 minutes depending on the size of machine you own.

Cons

  • I felt that the small Easy Press 2 was pointless as I did not really see the value it brought given its price tag.
  • It still does not compare to some of the professional heat presses in the market, especially if you need to work with temperatures higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Some crafters may find the Easy Press 2 to be rather expensive given that it costs more than some of the inexpensive, lower-end heat presses that are available in the market.

Final Thoughts

I am a big fan of the Easy Press 2 because it delivers value for me and my crafting. We rarely come across products that fully deliver on the promises made, and this cannot be said about the easy press given that you get professional results in under 3 minutes just as it promises. This machine is honestly the best compromise one can make if faced with the decision of choosing between heat pressing with a regular iron or a traditional heat press. Afterall what more could one want if they are getting long-lasting and effective results on a machine that’s efficient and easy to use.

The 6 Best Die Cutting Machines for Fabric in 2019

A day in the life of crafters and DIYers typically involves cutting, scoring, creating intricate designs from fabric and materials of all kinds, and putting them together to produce breathtaking artworks and crafts. Working with fabric demands that the best equipment capable of handling the delicacy of the material is used. A die cut machine is one such equipment that can be used to cut and manage the fabric. There are different kinds of die cut machines namely manual die cut and digital die cut machine so how does one go about picking the best in a market that is overly saturated with various brands and models of die cut machines? It is often said that a craftsman is only as good as their tools and to help you make the decision on which die cut machine you should invest in if you are working solely with fabric, we have created a comprehensive list of what we consider to be the best of the best in the market.

 

Cricut Explore Air

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Intro

The Explore air is a digital cutting machine capable of cutting over sixty different materials with a hold capacity of between 1-1/4 to 11-½ inches. This machine which brags embedded Bluetooth technology and a dual carriage is extremely easy to use. It also allows users to upload their images for customized designs. With this machine, cutting fabric is quite straight forward and precise thanks to the Cut smart precision cutting and the cut smart technology which lets users set the exacts mode they would like to use.

Pros

  • Users can easily integrate the Cricut Explore Air with their smart devices.
  • It is a beast in its own right given the different technological advances that it is equipped with such as Bluetooth, cut smart technology amongst others.
  • Fabric cuts are incredibly spot on thanks to the cut smart technology that eliminates guesswork.
  • It has a dual carriage which allows users to undertake two tasks without having to stop and switch out tools
  • There are integrated storage compartments on the side of the machine.

Cons

  • It is somewhat expensive in comparison to other die cut machines available in the market.

AccuQuilt GO Fabric Cutter

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Intro

Users looking for a tool that is fast and precise when cutting fabric should look no further than the AccuQuilt Go cutting system. This system which allows them to cut fabrics 90-times faster than if they were using a pair of scissors or rotary blade. Weighing at 15 pounds, this die cutting machine is easy to use and offers performance unlike no other. It brags foldable sides that make it highly portable and easy to store. A quick look at the design of the machine reveals that it was created with crafters in mind as users do not have to strain their arms while working. Additionally, it can accommodate dies up to 10-inch x 24-inch.

Pros

  • The machine is very portable, which can be attributed to its lightweight, and foldable sides.
  • Users looking to cut their fabric in layers will appreciate that the AccQuilt Go can cut up to 6 layers of fabric.

Cons

  • The die choices of the machine are pretty limited.
  • It is expensive.

Sizzix Big Shot Pro

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Intro

The Sizzix Big shot is a manual die cut machine that not only cuts but also embosses fabric. Weight at 44 pounds, it is impossible to ignore the Big Shot Pro with its generous 24 1/4 by 15 by 7 ½ inch dimensions. It is the ideal tool for the crafter who wants it all as it features a 13″ opening that facilitates the uses of Pro and Plus-sized dies. Upon purchasing the machine, users receive one big shot pro machine, a premium crease pad, a regular sliding tray, two mylar shims, one standard adapter pad, a regular cutting pad, and a die pick. I personally like this machine because it does not move around when working, which is a challenge I experienced when using lightweight machines.

Pros

  • The Big Shot is capable of accommodating material up to 13 inches.
  • Other than the Sizzix dies, it is accommodative of other dies such as the Ellison die.
  • It can be used to emboss and cut simultaneously

Cons

  • Users must purchase the multipurpose platform individually since it is not included in the package.
  • Due to its bulkiness, it is not easily portable.

Cricut Cuttlebug

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Intro

The Cricut Cuttlebug is a sought-after die-cutting and embossing machine. Its popularity has to do with its ingenious build. Both the side handle and the sides of the machine can be easily dismantled and reassembled when necessary, which make it easy to port. The Cuttlebug is capable of cutting more than just fabric as it can handle other materials such as chipboard, foam, felt cardstock, and even tissue paper. The package of the Cricut Cuttlebug includes 6 x 8 A plate, a 6 x 8 rubber embossing mat, and two 6 x 8 B plates.

Pros

  • The Cuttlebug is easily portable.
  • Users can enjoy cutting a variety of fabric
  • It is possible to use multiple dies with the Cuttlebug. However, one will have to purchase a C plate separately.
  • Users receive a one-year warranty from the date of purchase.
  • It can be used together with leading brands of cutting dies and embossing folders.

Cons

  • Users intending to work with A2, and 5 x 7 fabrics will be limited by the 6-inch opening of the Cuttlebug.
  • It is lightweight and may occasionally move around when it is being used.
  • The C plate has to be purchased individually.

Cricut Maker

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Intro

The Cricut Maker is a revered digital die cutting machine that allows users to not only use but upload their personal fonts and images for free. The Maker is equipped with an advanced rotary blade technology that facilitates precise cuts by making the gliding and rolling action of the machine perfect. This machine is awe-inspiring because of its feature set, as well as the projects, patterns, and designs that users have access to thanks to the design software that accompanies it. When working with the machine, users can choose to connect to it via USB connection or Bluetooth when they want to work remotely.

Pros

  • The maker brags a variety of designs and patterns that users can access at no cost. Users can additionally download supplementary design projects for free.
  • Connecting to a smart device with the Cricut Maker is quite easy and straightforward.
  • It has a useful mobile docking slot that users can use to hold their smart devices when they are preoccupied.
  • Its suite of tools is completely expandable, but this is all dependent on the user.

Cons

  • It does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Silhouette Cameo

Silhouette Cameo

Intro

The Cameo is one of the sleekest electronic die cutting machines on the market capable of cutting several materials, including fabric, paper, vinyl, and many more. This machine is one of the best as it can manage fabric up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long. It is equipped with a bunch of handy features such as a handy on-unit cross cutter, an inbuilt accessory compartment, and a responsive touchscreen. It includes a 12” cutting mat, 100 preloaded designs and a cutting blade which cuts precisely around images and designs.

Pros

  • The cameo comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty.
  • It has tools that allow it to emboss on fabric as well as other materials.
  • It is easy to control and use as users can easily program precisely what they need to cut.

Cons

  • The cutter moves about when it is being used because of it’s lightweight.
  • It requires quite a bit of time to learn how to use it, which means users need to watch several videos and thoroughly read the user manual to get the most out of it.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a die cut machine that you can use with fabric, several variables come into play. Some of these variables include;

The type of machine, i.e., digital or manual which is dependent on a user’s preference.

The size and portability are also crucial variables that go hand in hand simply because you do not want to opt for a small die cut machine if you know you will be working on large projects and vice versa. Also depending on if you would prefer to work remotely, you must get a machine that facilitates this preference.

Accessories play a significant role when purchasing a die cut machine as some machines are equipped with some accessories that others lack. Everyone should consider beginning with a machine that has a starter kit so they can have all the essentials to get to work.

There are several other crucial variables such as ease of use, cost, and versatility, which may vary depending on a crafters experience or ability. We hope that you found something from the list of die cut machines mentioned above or that the list at least gave you an idea of where to start looking when choosing a die cut machine.

The 4 Best Cricut Machines in 2019 (Different Sizes, Applications and Packages)

If you’re a scrapbooker or a crafter, a Cricut machine is a must-have for you. Cricut machines mean you don’t have to rely on hand cutting shapes that can be a bit exhausting, they enable you to make stunning shapes and decorations by utilizing cartridges that come with pre-downloaded designs.

When thinking about buying a Cricut machine, there are various factors that you need to consider before choosing one. For starters, the ability to cut through different types of materials, wireless capability, software, ease of setup and use, cutting speed, choosing graphics and fonts as well as compactness. If these are not considered, you might end up with Cricut machine that doesn’t get the job done.
That said, we’ve gone through some of the best Cricut machines that you can purchase in the market today. Read on to find your pick!

1. Cricut Maker

Intro

The Cricut Maker is by far one of the best Cricut machines that you can get in the market. This Cricut maker is powerful, dependable as well as wireless-enabled.

Pros

  • Has a double tool holder
  • Enjoy a fast cutting speed
  • Comes with a rotary blade that has a gliding and rolling feature that helps do an amazing job of cutting through different types of fabric
  • Has an additional knife blade for cutting through thick materials
  • The machine boasts of a cutting pressure of 4kg making it even more powerful
  • Ideal for both beginners and professionals
  • Well-priced making it affordable for most people
  • Has a rich sewing library
  • Its designed with a turbocharged engine
  • Automated technology that easily detects the type of blade you are using and whether it is the right one

Cons

  • Still makes use of the web-based Design Space software
  • Has a limited cutting space

2. Cricut Explore Air 2

Intro

If you are looking for a machine to use for your light-duty commercial jobs, then the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the perfect choice for you. This machine has been highly ranked as the fastest Cricut machine available in the market and boasts of amazing power.

Pros

  • Ranked as one of the fastest Cricut machines on sale
  • Has a double tool holder making it able to cut, score and write all at the same time
  • Send designs from SmartPhone to Machine easily with Bluetooth.
  • Boasts of great writing and cutting speed given that the machine has two operation modes – a normal mode for usual pace cutting and a fast mode that allows you to cut with twice the speed
  • The Cut Smart 2 technology does an amazing job of enhancing the quality of your cuts
  • Has powerful cutting blades
  • Ability to modify your own designs
  • Available in four different colors comes in a compact design
  • Easy-storage compartments available with the design
  • Ability to operate this machine using the Design Space software
  • Comes with more than 3,000 ready-made projects

Cons

  • Doesn’t have an android app available at the moment
  • A bit louder than most Cricut machines
  • The Design Space software cannot be accessed without the internet

3. Cricut Easypress 2

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Intro

The Cricut EasyPress 2 is a perfect choice for those looking to make customized crafts using iron-ons. This machine is not only easy to transport and use, but it’s also easy to store.

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Comes in three different sizes
  • The 12 by 10 size is perfect for making large t-shirts, blankets, banners, and sweatshirts
  • Customize your crafts in 60 seconds or less using the iron-ons
  • Simple to use
  • The design comes with an advanced heat plate coupled with a ceramic coated surface
  • Has a slim design

Cons

  • Some users have reported that it loses heat when in use hence needing multiple presses to achieve a professional look
  • The instructions contained in the model can be better
  • Smaller size means your design space is limited

4. Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine

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Intro

This machine is different from most of the other machines in our review as it can be used without power or a computer and can also be used offline.

Pros

  • Ability to be used offline, without power or a computer makes it more attractive
  • Because it doesn’t use software, you don’t have to worry about software crashes
  • Lightweight making it very portable
  • Quite affordable
  • Perfect Cricut machine for embossing paper and cards
  • Has a simple design and interface

Cons

  • Isn’t capable of cutting through different types of materials
  • Has a small cutting surface
  • Lack of freedom to create your own designs
  • Only able to use manual dies which tend to be costly

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, a Cricut machine is an essential equipment for a crafter or a scrapbooker. When looking to purchase one, it’s important to consider things such as the cutting speed. Cutting speed is especially important as not all machines have a similar cutting speed. Some are fast while some are average. Besides, the faster machines also tend to be more costly.

Another factor to consider is the pressure adjustment and automatic depth. This is essentially important given that you will be cutting different types of materials and paper. While some machines have an automatic adjuster and can ensure that you are using the right blade for your cutting, some don’t, and you will have to do it yourself manually.

If a wireless machine is important for you, consider choosing one that has wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth to allow for easy transfer of designs from your phone to your machine. Also, decide whether you want your machine to have writing and scoring features as machines with these features tend to come at a higher price. At the end of the day, find something that works perfectly for you.

As a final thought, if you are using cricut print-and-cut, you should consider some of these best printers for Cricut.

Cricut Maker vs. Silhouette – Which One to Choose?

Most DIY users require cutting machines that are loaded with special features and various functions as this will enable them to make their projects quite easy to handle. Besides, cutting machines also help save money as they reduce cutting and designing errors as well as several trips to an establishment with one.

However, given the high demand for cutting machines, there are plenty of brands out there that continue to make cutting machines with distinctive features and higher specs. While there are loads of cutting machines out there, the Cricut Maker and the Silhouette Cameo 3 are two cutting machines that are favored by a lot of arts and craft makers.

In order to help you decide between the two, let’s look at some of the qualities that each machine boasts of and what makes them loveable.

Cricut Maker

FYI, for more varieties of the Cricut, you can check our full breakdown of the Best Cricut Machines…

Pros

The Cricut Maker is a great cutting machine that enables users to cut different kinds of materials with a lot of agility and accuracy. It doesn’t matter whether you are handling a paper, leather, balsa or even vinyl material. All that matters is that your Cricut Maker is able to handle more than 100 different types of material hence giving you the ability to achieve whatever it is that you desire with your craft and designs.

This Cricut Maker machine saves on space especially for those who don’t have the luxury of large empty spaces that can be utilized and is also portable. Because it is space-saving, your work table won’t have to look messy as you can also work on your designs wirelessly and send them to your machine via the Bluetooth wireless technology.

Having the Bluetooth wireless technology feature means you get to enjoy creating your own loved designs from your smartphone or tablet and then easily pairing your machine up with your device and you are ready to cut. In addition, the machine has the Cricut Design Space software which lets you upload your preferred images and fonts and is available for all Android, iOS, Mac and Windows users.
This Cricut Maker machine also happens to have a slot for your smartphone or tablet which makes it really convenient for when you’re using designs from your mobile devices. Besides, you can also make use of the USB port available to charge your device, so you don’t have to move around the room looking for a power source constantly.

Cons

While all these shiny features give it an enormous advantage, it doesn’t come without its own flaws. This Cricut Maker isn’t suitable for arts and craft makers who make long designs given that it has a maximum cutting size of 11.5 by 23.5-inches. Users who make long designs can, therefore, struggle in achieving what they want and are better off finding a machine with a larger cutting space as this is geared towards artists who make compact designs.

Besides the cutting size, the cut sizes for this machine are also limited especially when using the Print and Cut function. For those using Google Chrome as their web browser, 5.5-inches is the maximum width and 8-inches maximum height. For Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox users, maximum width and height in inches is 6 by 8.5 respectively while iOS app users get 6.5-inches as the maximum width and 9-inches as the maximum height.

Silhouette Cameo 3

Pros

What we love about the Silhouette machine is that it is your best bet when it comes to a DIY machine. With this, you are able to cut more than 100 different types of materials like fabrics, vinyl, cardstock paper and more with a width of 12-inches and 10 feet long. This is, therefore, a good machine for those looking to create longer designs like signages.

In addition, you also get to use your own designs just like the Cricut Maker allows you to, given that the Silhouette Cameo 3 also comes with the wireless Bluetooth technology and the Silhouette Studio design software. Whatever device you are using, you can be rest assured that your designs will come to life just as you want them using this machine.

The Silhouette Cameo 3 is also compatible with Print and Cut technology as well as PixScan. Wondering what that means to your craftsmanship? Well, it means that you can easily capture your desired image using your scanner or smartphone, import it and then turn the image into a cut life. Another feature that makes this machine loveable even for beginners is that it comes with a guide.

The guide is meant to help you avoid mistakes whether you are a beginner or a professional as it has a touchscreen menu that comes integrated with speakers and auto blade setting hence you don’t have to be troubled about how to use the machine’s function. The machine has a matless cutting capability. This is to say that you won’t need to utilize a cutting mat for vinyl cutting and heat transfer. It also has a 2mm clearance that helps you create deep cuts even when you are cutting through thicker materials.

Cons

Just like the Cricut Maker, the Silhouette Cameo 3 also has its own flaws. To start with, the Silhouette Cameo 3 is very slow and not as accurate as you’d want it especially when you are using the dual carriage feature. The dual carriage’s cutting is somewhat weak limiting you from cutting complex designs unlike with the Cricut Maker.

Secondly, because it’s only available in white, you have no color designs to pick from when it comes to this cutting machine. However, this is a non-issue given it has a compact and sleek design that is simple and will work for just anyone that isn’t picky about the color choice.

Another downfall is that the Silhouette Studio software is quite difficult to use for beginners because it has a steep learning curve that is suitable for advanced artists.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to both machines, you get to enjoy the use of wireless Bluetooth technology as well as their own individual software system. Also, they are both portable and easy to use which makes your job much easier when you are using both machines. With both machine, you also enjoy the ability to cut through different kinds of materials and have a small design that is space-saving.

That said, if you want a machine with exceptional accuracy, fast performance, and a lot more convenience, then the Cricut Maker is the best cutting machine for you. If on the other end, you’re more keen on creating large designs, then the Silhouette Cameo 3 should be what you get. In the end, the choice is yours.

The 4 Best Vinyl Cutting Machines in 2019 (Vertsatile and Afforable)

Finding a top-quality vinyl cutting machine can be a hard task. The task is even more arduous for first-time buyers. However, it’s not a hopeless case even though there are hundreds of vinyl cutters readily available in the market. Choosing the wrong vinyl cutter will not only set you back a hundred couple dollars and cause you grief afterward, but it can also be frustrating especially if it is for a business venture.

So, if you want to have nothing but the best and professional looking work, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best vinyl cutting machine in the market. To choose this, ensure that you consider both speed and readability. Why? Because getting a bad machine will result in a low-quality work that will leave you embittered.

With that, we have reviewed some of the best vinyl cutting machines that you can get in the market today. We’ve also added some friendly considerations when it comes to the pros and cons regarding each machine.

Read on!

1. Cricut Explore Air 2

Intro

Since its launch in 2015, the Circuit Explore Air 2 has had amazing reviews from owners thanks to the nice build as well as great cutting speeds.

Pros

  • Available in four colors – Matte Black, Mint, Cherry Blossom and Persimmon – and you can get it in two different styles as well
  • Has a fast mode ability that makes it really fast
  • Besides vinyl, the Explore Air 2 can be used to cut other types of materials such as leather, iron, cardstock among others
  • Freedom to make your designs from anywhere thanks to the Design Space software available coupled with cloud-based storage
  • It has Bluetooth connectivity that allows for wireless cutting
  • Ability to use Cricut Pens which lets you create handwritten projects
  • Create your own customized designs with the more than 370 fonts or develop your own customized font
  • Has the Smart Set Dial feature that guarantees any material that you’re using is cut to the right pressure and depth
  • If you have no time to make your own designs, you can choose pre-made designs that are available for free on the Design Space software
  • Affordable, easy to use and comes with a power cable, USB cable, blade and pen holder

Cons

  • Design Space software is web-based that requires fast internet connectivity without which you won’t be able to use it
  • Not suitable for Windows users and cutting sandblast resist

2. Cricut Maker

Intro

The Cricut Maker is another perfect vinyl cutting machine that you can find in the market. This is the best machine if you are looking for something that will give you freedom and flexibility as you work on your projects.

Pros

  • The best machine for making extra-deep cut thanks to the superior rotary cutter
  • Thanks to the rotary cutter, you are assured of an accurate and quick fabric cutting experience
  • The knife blade allows you to easily cut through heavy material such as matboard or balsa wood
  • Comes with the Design Space software that gives you a better user experience
  • iOS users can use the Design Space software which comes in handy especially when working in areas with poor internet connectivity given that the software requires a fast internet connection
  • Cloud-based storage capability so you don’t have to save your work in cartridges
  • Perfect for cutting different types of materials besides vinyl
  • Boasts of a two-tool capacity that lest you switch between tools back and forth without you having to stop your work

Cons

  • Users will need high-speed internet that is reliable to use this machine efficiently
  • The knife blade is sold separately which means additional cost
  • Slightly expensive compared to the Explore Air 2
  • Limited cutting space that measures 12 by 24 inches

3. Silhouette Cameo 3

Intro

The Silhouette Cameo 3 cutting machine comes packed with powerful tools and software to ensure that you get the best when working on your projects.

Pros

  • Comes with automated blade settings coupled with a dual carriage that lets you handle both the writing and cutting parts in one step
  • Gain instant access to a community of other crafters where you can learn and gain wisdom
  • Comes with a free Silhouette Studio design software that can be used to customize personal designs.
  • Suitable for beginners as well as small-business owners
  • Available in four different colors
  • Supports a wide range of materials such as vinyl, fabric, and paper among others
  • If you don’t have the capacity to make your own designs, you can also access the ready-made designs that are available in their store
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Has a remarkable sensitive touchscreen
  • Comes with a power cord, USB cable, and free dust cover

Cons

  • Has a weak cutting force compared to other vinyl cutting machines

4. Brother CM350 Cutting Machine

Intro

This Brother CM350 cutting machine comes with some great features that make it rank among the best vinyl cutting machines that you can get.

Pros

  • Has an inbuilt scanner that boasts of a 300 dpi that allows you to make your own cut files
  • Ability to scan just about any photos and custom-cut them to suit your project
  • You can use the machine as a stand-alone model or connect it to your PC wirelessly
  • Enjoy more than 600 built-in designs, seven different fonts and a large LCD touchscreen where you can make your own edits
  • Has a large cutting area that also doubles up as the scan area measuring 12 by 12 inches
  • Compatible with select Windows OS versions

Cons

  • Not suitable for iOS users

Final Thoughts

If you want to have a successful production line, the first step is to ensure you get nothing but the best vinyl cutting machine. A good vinyl cutting machine will make your cutting work easier only leaving you to worry about the designs that you need to custom-make. Remember, to get the best; you have to choose a machine that is practical and can let you cut a wide range of materials especially if your work isn’t limited to using just one type of material.