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Old 07-17-2009, 06:19 AM   #1
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Default Cricut or Silhouette?

Which one do you have?

I'm trying to decide on a die cutting machine. I need one that can cut those free fonts that you get online. Or one that I can buy a SCAL for. I don't want to have to buy cartridges all the time.

Any suggestions?
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:12 AM   #2
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If you don't want to have to buy cartridges all the time then you're better off getting a Silouette/Wishblade/CraftRobo (they're all the same machine - manufactured by the same company - rebranded under the different distributors). Its a bigger initial investment, but I think its much more versatile. I've had a CraftRobo for about 2 years now and it is worth every penny I paid for it. I'm not limited by having to use premade designs or the expense of buying a cartridge for a single design I want. The newer models and higher end models of the CraftRobo can even cut through chipboard and some of the them will cut balsa wood.

Well, that's my opinion for what its worth.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:15 AM   #3
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Thank you! A valuable opinion if you ask me.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:03 AM   #4
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Yes, make sure you do your homework. I'm researching the same thing. I know I don't want to have to buy cartridges, so I threw the Cricut right out the window. The Silhouette is fabulous, the Wishblade looks like a more expensive version of the Silhouette to me, but I haven't researched that one much.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:09 AM   #5
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I would do a search on cricut on these threads. While I haven't tried it myself, I know there are ways people are cutting images without buying cartridges as well. If that is your main consideration, it might come down to what machine you can get the best deal on.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:48 AM   #6
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Default Gazelle

I have a pink Wishblade and just upgraded to a BossKut Gazelle. I loved the Wishblade, but love the Gazelle even more. I'd never buy a cricut because of the cost of the cartridges. You can download literally thousands (and I mean thousands) of free files, clipart and any font you can find on the internet. Plus, you can design your own files and/or copy any image you can find. You know all those new nesties? You can duplicate those shapes and cut them in about 5 minutes. I was mainly a stamper prior to getting the Wishblade and I can tell you I hardly ever stamp any more. I absolutely LOVE it. Here's a cutter comparison chart--the prices are MSRP, so you can probably get a better deal. (You can get the Gazelle on scrapmart.com for $429.99)

http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk/Thyme...omparison.html

There is a learning curve, and if you aren't into computers at all, these machines might prove difficult. But I'm not a techno-geek and I figured it out, so I believe the "average" user would be fine. There are tons of tutorials and yahoo groups that provide assistance. Good luck with your decision.


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Old 07-17-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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I have a Silhouette and my friend has the Cricut. We bought them about the same time, several years ago.

My friend does not regret her Cricut purchase. Part of this is because she got it before she had a laptop and it meant she could use it in her craft room, away from her computer which is upstairs. She also sometimes uses her Cricut for classes and demonstrations- she's a CTMH rep and has gotten used to the free-standing portability of the Cricut.

However, she has spent several times my initial Silhouette investment on cartridges. She also, whenever I bring over my Silhouette, or even when we talk about it, always comments on how amazing the instrument is and its dramatically greater versatility compared to her Cricut.

I purposely keep everything for my Silhouette on my laptop rather than my home computer. I take it with me to crops and cropping weekends, and the computer is a small issue due to its size.

I have more than a thousand cutting files, which have cost me so little it is ridiculous. There are many sites on the Internet to get files free, and lots of designers who sell files for very small costs.

I absolutely LOVE my Silhouette and would NEVER trade it for a Cricut. There is no comparison on what you can do with it, and the long term cost differential is significant.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:43 AM   #8
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Thank you everyone. All of this information is very helpful!
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:11 PM   #9
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I hated my mates craftrobo and so did she, poor cutting and too much messing about with the software. She sold it and replaced with an original cricut & cartridges and was over the moon. When scal came out she bought it a few minutes after trying it, I rushed out a few weeks later and bought the expressions and scal. I've never cut anything from a cartridge apart from the day I bought the machine and that was just to test it. Over a year later and I still use scal & the cricut most days for cutting aperature & shaped cards, origamic architecture, exploding boxes, nesties and on the odd occasion a word or 2. It cuts quickly & well and is easy to use I couldnt ask for anything more from it. Even my other friend who isnt too good with a pc was able to use scal straight away for simple words and shapes. It took about half an hour before she was confidently cutting out clip art and other images.
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Old 07-17-2009, 08:23 PM   #10
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I have been playing with my Silhouette this week and love it!! They now have 60 lace cardstock designs to cut. They have been releasing new images weekly! I have a subscription that allows me unlimited downloads and have been totally getting my values worth. I made a cool mini book with all Silhouette downloads. I even made the lace cardstock designs fit an A2 cards and they look great!!

Next Friday I will be posting an introductory video in setting up your Silhouette and how to get started.
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:42 AM   #11
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I just got a Silhouette (the old version 75% off at Archivers) I chose it because of the free files and fonts it can use. I have a limited budget since I stay home with my girls so not having to spend $30-50 more each time I wanted something new was a HUGE plus.
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:39 AM   #12
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I am so glad I wandered into this thread. Thanks for starting it craftcrunchymama.

So interesting to learn that all of those machines are made by the same company; sure changes the perspective of a potential buyer. Cut balsa wood? Wow!

dkwalsh, on the link you provided, several of the machines had another name - Black Cat. Is this also made by the same company?

Will someone with (ahem) limited computer skills be able to use these machines? To say I'm no techno-geek is an undestatment, LOL! If I were to buy one, would I need a class, or would an online user group be sufficient?

When you say you can download thousands of graphics and any font - where do you acquire these (I'm assuming copyright-free) images on the net? And do you mean any line drawing you find you can use in some mystical way by copying it and saving it to your computer? Or is it an optional subscription service? What if you have a photograph that includes, say the Eiffel Tower, and would like to make a die cut of just the tower, can such a thing be done?

Oh, and for those currently researching this, where have you found to be the best resources for unbiased info.?

Wow, so many questions - and such an exciting prospect. TFS all.
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:10 AM   #13
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Quote:

Originally Posted by craftycrunchymamaView Post
Which one do you have?

I'm trying to decide on a die cutting machine. I need one that can cut those free fonts that you get online. Or one that I can buy a SCAL for. I don't want to have to buy cartridges all the time.

Any suggestions?
To me it sounds like you want the Cricut. You can use sure-cuts-a-lot which lets you cut fonts from your computer. And it's mac-compatible if that is important to you. I find the Cricut a little easier to use and the supplies easier to find (like mats). I had a Silhouette but it wasn't working for me so I ended up returning it. The Silhouette seems more finicky, and the cutting mats are expensive so I'm sticking with Cricut for now. Although I do really like the designs in the Silhouette design library, they have some beautiful shapes to cut.
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:11 AM   #14
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I didn't read what was said previously...

I've chosen the Cricut Expression for many reason

First you have to know that if you buy SCAL, you need at least one carthridge to make it work

the SCAL software is very easy to use, I heard that Silhouette and others like that are very hard to learn

with SCAL you can do everything like a Silhouette.

You will have one cathridge so that means you can bring your Cricut everywere if you want. With Silhouette you will always need a computer.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:08 AM   #15
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MellouView Post
... With Silhouette you will always need a computer.
This actually isn't true anymore. The Sil now has a new machine that will cut your predesigned files from a sd card so this new silouette is totally portable. I personally would never take a machine like this to a crop or let people I don't know use it - if someone breaks it you're pretty much sol.

The sil/wishblade/craftrobo software does take a little time to learn, but you can also use Adobe illustrator to make some amazing cutting files. As with any software, if you're not very computer adept, then you will struggle a little. Someone asked about using fonts and images off the internet. You can use any - ANY - image you can find on the internet. I have literally thousands of images and thousands of fonts I can cut. I have made all the nestability shapes and make my own embossing folders - all for the cost of my paper and time. For the SIL/WB/CR the mats can be "reconditioned". I've been using the mat that my machine came with 3 years ago and haven't had to replace it. If you're careful you can make you blade last a long time to (there is a trick to resharpen your blades) and I have the original cutting blade as well and it still cuts like new. I don't know what the consumables cost for the Cricut machines except for the mats (about $15cdn for 2 of th 12x12) which can be cut down and used in the SIL/WB/CR.

As you can tell, I really love my CraftRobo. I think they're the best craft machine every invented. My personal pick would be a SIL/WB/CR over a Cricut any time.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:49 AM   #16
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Thank you everyone. This is very helpful!
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:16 PM   #17
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will the craftroo work with the QK software?
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:40 PM   #18
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Love, love, love my Cricut Expression!!! I have made a bunch of videos on my blog showing how to use it. This might help you make your decision, too.
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:04 PM   #19
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Quote:

Originally Posted by K_McBurnettView Post
will the craftroo work with the QK software?
I don't know if it will or not. I only use the Robomaster software that came with my CraftRobo. If it will save files in either dxf or gsd format, then it will work.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:21 PM   #20
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this is a great thread- I am starting to consider a Cricut and these other machines are new. I do not want to have to use the computer though- but do have a question on this:

What is the SCal? And how do you use it with the Cricut- will it work with the Cricut Create (which is the one I am leaning towards due to size)
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:05 AM   #21
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ScraphappilyView Post

What is the SCal? And how do you use it with the Cricut- will it work with the Cricut Create (which is the one I am leaning towards due to size)

SureCutsALot is an amazing programme that's totally unauthorised. Put basically it lets your cricut cut .svg files like a craft robo or use any ttf font or basic shape on a wysiwyg format.

If you go to www.craftedge.com and download the trial it gives you 2 weeks to play about and see how you get on with it. No need to hook it up to a cricut to try as it's just to get the feel of the programme. Once you've played about welding and shadowing letters and basic shapes just go to cutter/preview and you'll see exactly how it's going to cut. That's great on it's own but the fun really starts when you get a free programme called Inkscape (www.inkscape.org)

If you open any image in inkscape (works best if it's block coloured black & white) you do the following.

Click on the image
Click path then tracebitmap from the drop down menu OR press alt shift and B
Click ok on the new pop up box then close it.
Save the file.

Now you open SCAL and click file/ import svg. The picture will come up on your onscreen cricut mat, just drag to the size you want then click the scissor icon to get it to start cutting.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:17 AM   #22
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Quote:

Originally Posted by robynstampsView Post
Love, love, love my Cricut Expression!!! I have made a bunch of videos on my blog showing how to use it. This might help you make your decision, too.
Wow! You have some great videos on your blog. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:03 PM   #23
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I love my cricut, but we also go to Disney a lot so I really only get the disney cartridges and right now Provocraft is licensed to carry those.

However, if it wasn't for the above reason, I would have the Sil. You can use all true type fonts and you only have to buy images you want.

Plus right now, you can get a free image cd when you purchase it as Archivers, which has their exclusives on it.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:22 PM   #24
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is that just the sd version? I just picked up the old one there and didn't get a cd
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:56 PM   #25
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I've been thinking about getting a machine and was leaning toward the Silhouette, but then I saw tonight that Quickutz is being sued for unpaid debts. Makes me a little nervous now.
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:56 AM   #26
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I have a Cricut and a Wishblade. I honestly like my Wishblade more even though we tend to argue a lot. I do a lot of Print & Cut so that is the main reason.

I was one of the "Cricut Originals" when the machine first came out. I bought the Expression when it was first released too. I absolutely adored the machine. ProvoCraft has gotten huge lately. I am really happy for their success. They are releasing cartridges at an incredible rate. Gypsy will be coming out soon. Then you have the Cricut Jukeboxes, inks, blades, etc. etc. etc... The machine is becoming a little too pricey for me. I will still use it. I have become picky. Price is a huge factor with the Cricut. You do get sucked into buying carts, especially if you read the large enabling Cricut board, ROFL.

SCAL makes the Cricut a powerful machine. You can use many of the Pazzle blades with it. If Print & Cut is not something you need then I would go for a Cricut Expressions.

If Print & Cut is something you need definitely go for a CraftRobo, WB or Silhouette. Plus, Silhouette has the wonderful SD function now so you can take it to crops.

I tend to design my own files. The WB works better for me. I am pretty proficient with SCAL too. I like the stability of WB's software over SCAL.

My Cricut is just a wonderful tool to have in my art arsenal. I love it for specific cuts like Disney & Hello Kitty.

Any questions don't be afraid to ask.
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:01 AM   #27
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DeeAnn, thak you for that information. I do have a question, what does Print & Cut mean?
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:36 AM   #28
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Print and cut designs are those that you print, then place into the Silhouette which reads the registration marks and cuts them. I think. The Serendipity blog just did a lot about P&C which may help you. http://kerribradford.typepad.com/just_me/

Tracy - I saw that too, and it makes me pause a bit as well. I really hope they work it out. I'm assuming the company suing them is their manufacturer in China? That would be very bad for them.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:41 AM   #29
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I have a silhouette and love it. I cut shapes and fonts, but don't do a lot of creating anything myself. It works perfect for what I want.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:49 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by cat_womanView Post
For the SIL/WB/CR the mats can be "reconditioned". I've been using the mat that my machine came with 3 years ago and haven't had to replace it. If you're careful you can make you blade last a long time to (there is a trick to resharpen your blades) and I have the original cutting blade as well and it still cuts like new. I don't know what the consumables cost for the Cricut machines except for the mats (about $15cdn for 2 of th 12x12) which can be cut down and used in the SIL/WB/CR.
Would you mind sharing your reconditioning secrets?? I'd love to save money on the mats and blades when I buy one!!
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:59 AM   #31
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Would you mind sharing your reconditioning secrets?? I'd love to save money on the mats and blades when I buy one!!
I use nailpolish remover and cotton makeup pads and wipe down my mat. It takes all the crud off (like little paper bits, dirt, etc). When it gets really bad, I'll wipe it down and then I use a xyron repositional adhesive cartridge and apply to the mat. As for the blades, you can use some heavy tinfoil (like the reynolds bbq tin foil), put down like its paper and cut a bunch of circles, squares, lines, all kinds of shapes. That should sharpen your blade.

For mats you can also cut down the cricut mats and use those in your WB/SIL/CR. Quilters plastic with repo adhesive also works. Just remember to tape off the sides after putting repo adhesive so the rollers don't get all gummed up.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:21 AM   #32
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I have a KNKMaxx 24" and a Cricut Expression. They're both great, but if I had to choose one, I'd stick with the KNK.

The Cricut is very simple to use and very portable, especially if you stick to cartridges (so you don't need the computer). I'm waiting to hear more about the Gyspy, a new product for the Cricut that's a portable version of Cricut's Design Studio. The tiny screen sounds like it'd drive me nuts, but the fact that it'll hold all the image information from cartridges you install (meaning carts you've already bought) does sound very handy.

I take the Cricut to school and let the kids cut paper for holiday party crafts. It's that simple to use and we've never harmed the machine yet. The kids love it.

The cartridges are expensive, but unless you get addicted to the licensed images, you really can do a lot with just a handful of carts. If you get SCAL, you don't need to buy any font carts, and you can get all the shapes you need by installing dingfonts. Dingfonts are True Type Fonts, the same font file used on your computer, but they have a different shape for each letter. There are zillions of free dingfonts on the web, so finding the shape you need shouldn't be a problem.

SCAL does tie you to a computer, though, which detracts a bit from the portability. However, with laptops and netbooks now, you're still pretty portable even with SCAL.


The Klik-n-Kut is in a whole different league. It'll cut balsa wood, mounting board, and all sorts of other materials. The machine is a beast. The program is very versatile, but there is definitely a learning curve. However, you do everything in the KNK program; no need for a second or third program to convert images. If you have the time to learn the program, you'll be thrilled with what you can do. You can also buy (or find on the web) .knk cut files.


For cutting mats (both brands), I clean them with GooGone and use Krylon's Easy-Tack to make them tacky again. I rarely buy new mats. I buy blades on eBay. The 60 degree Roland blades work in the Cricut green housing and cut deeper than the regular blades.

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Old 07-22-2009, 08:28 PM   #33
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I am so glad I wandered into this thread. Thanks for starting it craftcrunchymama.

So interesting to learn that all of those machines are made by the same company; sure changes the perspective of a potential buyer. Cut balsa wood? Wow!

dkwalsh, on the link you provided, several of the machines had another name - Black Cat. Is this also made by the same company?

Will someone with (ahem) limited computer skills be able to use these machines? To say I'm no techno-geek is an undestatment, LOL! If I were to buy one, would I need a class, or would an online user group be sufficient?

When you say you can download thousands of graphics and any font - where do you acquire these (I'm assuming copyright-free) images on the net? And do you mean any line drawing you find you can use in some mystical way by copying it and saving it to your computer? Or is it an optional subscription service? What if you have a photograph that includes, say the Eiffel Tower, and would like to make a die cut of just the tower, can such a thing be done?

Oh, and for those currently researching this, where have you found to be the best resources for unbiased info.?

Wow, so many questions - and such an exciting prospect. TFS all.


I bought the wishblade. I am computer illiterate. I hated it. Way over my head. Used it about 4 times and it sat there for a year collecting dust. I finally sold it on Ebay, used the money to buy a Cricut Expressions and I love love love it. I use it all the time. I know that the Wishblade was supposed to be more versatile...but if ya can't figure out how to use it, it isn't much good. I buy most of my carts on Ebay and never spend over 20 bucks.
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:09 PM   #34
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I have a cricut expression and love it! I would suggest if you haven;t alraedy going to a LSS and getting a demo on the wishblade, robo craft, ect. or find a friend which is what I did. I think everyone's needs are different. Think about what you want to get out of your cutter. I wanted to make more intricut designed cuts so I went with the cricut. I do not have a lot of time to design cuts which I can do now with my cricut and design studio. With SCAL I can cut any true font. Also, replacement parts are cheaper and for me more easily to find for my cricut. I, like another poster, ONLY get cartridges on sale and Joann's will let me use a coupon for mats and blades.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:39 PM   #35
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... I wanted to make more intricut designed cuts so I went with the cricut. ... Also, replacement parts are cheaper and for me more easily to find for my cricut. ...
I think both machines will cut as intricately as you want. I often make paper lace with my CR. As for replacement blades and such... I have had my CR for 3 years and haven't yet had to replace either the mat or the blade, so I think in the long run, it has been cheaper for me, not to mention that I haven't had to buy a single cartridge or special software to use truetype fonts or make my own designs. I know I keep going on about it, but I really really like my CR and I honestly do think its a better deal than the cricut.
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:04 PM   #36
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(stuff deleted...)
I have made all the nestability shapes and make my own embossing folders - all for the cost of my paper and time.
Dear Cat_woman,
How do you make your own embossing folders?? Do you mean you do several cuts out of cardstock and stack them up to dry-emboss with a light table, or do you actually make folders to run thru your Cbug or whatever? Please do tell... I just got a Sil for my bd (lucky me!) & have had fun playing around with it today.

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Old 08-29-2009, 07:11 PM   #37
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Dear Cat_woman,
How do you make your own embossing folders?? Do you mean you do several cuts out of cardstock and stack them up to dry-emboss with a light table, or do you actually make folders to run thru your Cbug or whatever? Please do tell... I just got a Sil for my bd (lucky me!) & have had fun playing around with it today.

nina
I make folders that I run through my cuttlebug. I've made all the nestability shapes. Its fairly simple. I do have a tutorial I wrote showing how to make the embossing folders. Its quite a large file. Hopefully it uploads properly. Here's my tutorial:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Embossing folder instructions.pdf (1.04 MB, 107 views)
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Old 08-29-2009, 07:28 PM   #38
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I'll put my bid in for the Silhouette. I also didn't want to spend a fortune in cartridges and I had been using CorelDraw for years to make paper patterns I could print out and cut with scissors and Xacto knives. With a little tweaking I now use them directly in my Silhouette. I did ask for and receive for Mother's Day, Klic & Kut Studio GE which is software adjusted for the Silhouette. Love it, love it, love it. There are a ton of free files out there but the best I have come across are those of Monica Bjork. She does hers with AutoCad software and they are amazing. They cut fast and some of them are very intricate. Take a look:

http://www.fam-bjork.se/monicas-hobb...raft_robo.html

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Old 08-30-2009, 07:50 AM   #39
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I have both and they serve different purposes. I prefer the Silhouette over the Cricut because I like the images of the Silhouette online store more. But Cricut is easier to use and faster to get going since you just pop in the cartridge and go! But ultimately I think you should buy a cutter that has the images your PREFER. Their styles are very different from one another.

That said, you can resell your cartridges after while if you are bored with them, as where you can't resell your Silhouette images.

And to that one post asking if the CraftRobo will work with QK's software, the answer is NO. The QK software will only work with the Silhouette machine.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:08 AM   #40
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the cricut cuts without cartridges when you use SCAL software. I love the cricut and sold my wishblade. I wouldn't trade. I love that I can use a 12x12 cardstock to cut.
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