by Karen Jones
Crafting is satisfying when you possess the best or most effective cutting machine. It makes it easy to clean designs from different materials such as leather, wood, vinyl, and denim. In this article, we will look at three popular brands of cutting machines to help you make an informed decision if you are thinking of purchasing one or get a good understanding of each.
We will look at some of the factors: the software, the machines’ speed, their cutting force, prerequisites, the thickness of their cuts, and the pressure involved in the cutting process. Before you start cutting your material, you need to understand the kind of design you need to avoid misusing your resources. The software comes in handy because it can give you perfect ideas to implement in your project, especially if you are not an artistic person.
The three brands are Cricut Maker, Silhouette, and Brother.
Cricut uses cloud-based software called Design Space. That ensures that as a crafter, you can access your designs using any compatible device and at the time of your choosing. The software, a design app, is available on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. However, it does not apply to Unix or Linux operating systems. They are dynamic. The offline function is available for iOS devices only. The app for the offline function is called Design Space. You can use Bluetooth to connect it to your machine. Smartphones and tablets can, therefore, only use the app when the devices are online.
This software allows you to upload your designs and customize them till you get the design you want. You could also use the techniques provided by Cricut. However, if you wish to access their unlimited library of images and fonts, you could consider their premium offer, which is the Cricut Access. The software is more user-friendly than the other brands, making it easier for beginners to create their projects.
The brand being in the market for so long has been able to fix so many bugs, ensuring users have smooth experiences each time they interact with the software. The downside of the software is that it needs a strong internet connection. Another limitation is that you lack the freedom to use other kinds of software in creating your projects.
Your products’ precision depends significantly on the kind of blade your machine has and its cutting force. In comparison to the other two brands, the Cricut is relatively robust with a 4kgf cutting force. That means that it can comfortably cut thick fabric materials such as fabric and balsa. The maximum thickness of material it can handle is 2.4mm. To cut that thickness, you require the knife blade. Combining the force with the software makes the Cricut very powerful in comparison to the rest.
The Cricut Maker has a tool known as the adaptive tool system. It adjusts the machine blades’ pressure and direction according to the material in use in each project. That gives it a higher cutting force in comparison to all the other machines in the Cricut family.
You require a mat to cut your materials. There are four types of mats: the light blue grip, the firm grip, the blue—the pink fabric grip, and the standard grip, which is green. The mats come in two sizes: 12 by 24 inches and 12 by 12 inches. It has various types of blades. The fine point blade cuts medium and light materials such as printer paper and vinyl—the deep pointcuts thick materials such as foam sheets and chipboard. The bonded fabric blade cuts fabric with backing material. The quick swap wavy edge makes it possible to make wavy cuts. It is available on the Cricut Maker. Other tools include scoring wheel, debossing and engraving tip, perforation, and rotary blade.
Their software is known as Silhouette Studio. You can use this software both offline and online. It is effective where your internet connection is weak. The Silhouette allows you to use third-party software to develop different designs, fonts, or images for your projects. That means that you have more flexibility in comparison to Cricut. It offers a large variety of images, designs, and fonts. You get advanced capabilities to edit the designs, photos, and fonts.
The downside of this software is that it takes time to learn and use effectively. It may not seem as user-friendly as Cricut’s software in the beginning. It is mainly suited for designers with experience. Another limitation is that importing a .svg file requires you to pay some money. For the other brands, that feature is free.
It has the highest cutting force of 5kgf. That means that it is the fastest in terms of speed. The maximum thickness of material it can cut is 3mm. That means that it can easily cut the heavy materials. It is a powerful machine.
You can decide to make use of the PixScan technology with this machine. You place your image on the mat, the PixScan scans it, then you can import it to the Silhouette software. After that, you can begin to cut your material. This feature comes in handy when you cannot find the design you want online or on the Silhouette Studio.
The auto blade sensor makes it possible to cut rolled materials. That means that you do not have to cut your fabrics into tiny pieces to fit the mat then reassemble them once done with each. Just like the Cricut, the Silhouette has a blade known as the auto blade that adjusts itself according to the materials on your mat.
The silhouette brand has the backward compatibility feature, meaning that the latest cutting machines they come up with can still work well with the older versions. That will help you save money, especially where you decide to upgrade only specific tools or parts.
Having a mat is optional for this machine. That comes in handy when you want to make a swift cut. It is advisable to use a mat if you wish to clean projects. Some models have storage for items such as blades or pens. It makes it easier to have an organized workspace.
The brand’s software is known as CanvasWorkspace. You can use the application both online and offline. The CanvasWorkspace allows you to edit existing patterns, draw new ones or even customize patterns from other design software. You get advanced editing abilities with CanvasWorkspace. However, there are fewer designs, images, and fonts to choose from than the other brands. The good thing about that is that they are all free. You do not have to pay for subscription fees.
A downside of the software is that once you import images, they shrink. You lose the original size of the photos. The interface is also relatively technical and, therefore, not the best for beginners.
It has the lowest cutting force of 1.26kgf and can cut material with a maximum of 3mm. The machine is therefore unsuitable for cutting thick materials. It can, however, cut materials such as chipboard, fabric, and balsa.
The machine has an in-built scanner as well as a screen. That means that you do not need a desktop or tablet to get your designs or patterns. You can draw them on the screen. You can also foil, emboss or cat the image you scan with the LCD stylus and screen. The Wi-Fi connectivity feature makes it possible to create without connecting to a desktop. You only need an internet connection if you want to get ideas from the internet and not have a desktop or tablet.
The auto blade sensor makes it possible for you to cut rolled materials. That works very well for vinyl. It would be best if you were careful with the blades because there have been cases where the blade cuts through the mat. For this machine, you must have a mat before cutting.
The Cricut has the most features meaning it is more expensive than the rest. That also means that it is mighty. The Cricut has many models which work well for different things. For example, the Cricut maker has a blade that makes it possible to make wavy cuts while the rest make straight cuts. The software interface is also user-friendly. That is a beautiful deal for a beginner in crafting. Where money is not a constraint, this would be the best choice.
However, if money is a significant consideration, the Silhouette is a good alternative. It is more affordable than the Cricut. It also has advanced features similar to those of the Cricut.
The Brother brand is a good option where money is a constraint, and you do not have access to laptops or computers. I believe now you can make an informed decision and get on to creating!
About Karen Jones
For the last decade, Karen Jones has worked as a freelance writer and social media marketing consulant. As an gourmand and avid traveler, she publishes cutting-edge articles about traveling that really attracting readers into her wonderful journeys. If you can't find Ms. Jones around her friends and family, she's definitely busy in her home office refining her writing composition and printing press.