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
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.
- 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.
- It is somewhat expensive in comparison to other die cut machines available in the market.
AccuQuilt GO Fabric Cutter
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.
- 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.
- The die choices of the machine are pretty limited.
- It is expensive.
Sizzix Big Shot Pro
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.
- 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
- Users must purchase the multipurpose platform individually since it is not included in the package.
- Due to its bulkiness, it is not easily portable.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- It does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.