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Old 05-18-2017, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default What design and cut machine do I need?

Hi, currently I am doing handmade tags and labels for my boss to decorate our boxes of chocolates. We find that the handmade touch sells well. We currently use punches and my Big Shot to cut out the circles and scalloped circles or tag and label shapes. This can be time prohibitive and we would like to get a something like a Circuit that would cut these things but would need to be able to size of set up out own design parameters. She has a Mac Pro computer system.
It looks like the Circuit Explore 2 might do what we need, but I am uncertain. Can someone help?
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:10 AM   #2
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I am not that familiar with the Cricuit Explore but from the things I have read, it will do what you want. I have a Brother Scan N Cut and it will certainly do what you are looking for. It will be much faster than dies and punches because you can cut a whole page in one pass and size them to meet your needs. I have a Cricuit Expression, a Cameo and the Scan N Cut--love the Scan N Cut and never use the other two.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:09 PM   #3
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I am not a fan of Cricut. I like the Scan N Cut. It has all you would need. Draw something (or find something you like and trace it) then scan it into the machine and then cut it out. Or go to their site and find free patterns.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:06 AM   #4
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The silhouette cameo or portrait could also be something to look at. If you use A4 sized materials the less-expensive Portrait model would do.
There is a lot of free info about how to do things on the silhouette school blog. Melissa there has produced a little book that covers how to do print and cut stickers. (She uses a
Mac herself. ) Silhouette Planner Stickers ebook. I haven't got it myself but I have one of her other books and she explains everything well.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:14 PM   #5
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Provocraft isn't my favorite company, but the Cricut Air is liked by many. It's web based and that's definitely a downfall for many. The Silhouette Cameo is a good choice unless you want to cut heavier material. There are powerful machines that can even cut thick acrylic or 1/8" wood, like the KNK Force. For a low learning curve, no internet required, and a more powerful machine than either a Circut or Cameo, I'm with Southgirl, you can't go wrong with a Brother Scan N Cut. Check them all out, and buy the one you feel you'll be happy with.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:12 PM   #6
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I have a Cricut Explore Air, and I love it! Today I cut a stencil on mine out of stencil plastic. I've cut a lot of stencils, as well as many other projects with my Cricut machines.
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Old 11-07-2018, 12:51 PM   #7
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I have been hiding in the shadows for a while now always a tad timid to ask and or display my total lack of knowledge. However, necessity has forced me into asking about electronic cutting machines.
Yesterday when I watched some comparison videos on the Scan NCut, Silhouette Cameo and The Cricuit Explore they showed the Cricuit to be a better machine, maybe not in speed but in cleanness of cut over different fabrics and when scaling down a cut in print N cut. I am finding it difficult to find videos online on what I specifically want to do with this machine, which is alphabet-based using stencils. Has anyone got any suggestions of directions which they can point me in as usually I can research things but for some reason, I am not coming up with options.


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Old 11-07-2018, 07:39 PM   #8
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A word of warning for devices that require an internet connection or account to use: if the company ever decides it's no longer financially in their interest to keep hosting, you may well end up with a bricked machine. The same thing happens with online video games that need servers. I would strongly suggest picking a machine that can work 100% offline and with standard .SVG files (or some other vector format). Those that need dedicated software running on a computer are also a potential legacy issue, as the parent company may not update the software for new OS versions.

Also consider the consumable parts, mostly blades. Can you get third-party after market replacement blades? If not, the machine could end up useless if they're discontinued. The cost of the blades and how long they last should also be factored into your purchase decision.
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:44 AM   #9
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Operating system support and computer obsolescence is not so much of a problem as it used to be. For example Windows 10 will be supported until 2025, according to the vendor.
I agree that if you are going to create a lot of content that takes significant effort, doing it in a format that is not locked up to one vendor is important. But if you are just cutting out a few shapes it might not matter.

Simple Susan, I think you can make stencils with any of the machines, although some can handle thicker materials than others. I have cut mylar stencil material with my Portrait (not the new version 2 one) - the thin type they sell on ebay for making cake icing stencils.
When watching videos you need to check how old they are as there are several models of the main brands eg Silhouette cameo is now version 3 so an old video comparing version 2 with something else might be misleading.
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:58 PM   #10
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If you decide on the ScanNCut I would stay away from the new DX models til they get the bugs worked out.

That being said, the ScanNCut 2 or the Dealer model 650 are both wonderful machines. I have ScanNCut 2 and love it. I use Sure Cuts a Lot 4 for designing. There is a learning curve with all the machines so be aware of that!

The Cricuts are web based and required internet service the ScanNCut does not
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:08 PM   #11
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Tanks you so much for all the replies. My friends Mom has a CM550 machine not sure how old it is, which she got for patchwork and she has offered to lend it to me. I need this for some stencils I need to make and can foresee that I will need my own machine in the future. I use Photoshop heaps now doing graphics so I have that ability to transfer over into these stencils. I must say I have no idea where brother would be without forums like this.
Thank you again
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Old 11-11-2018, 12:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Embri View Post
A word of warning for devices that require an internet connection or account to use: if the company ever decides it's no longer financially in their interest to keep hosting, you may well end up with a bricked machine. The same thing happens with online video games that need servers. I would strongly suggest picking a machine that can work 100% offline and with standard .SVG files (or some other vector format). Those that need dedicated software running on a computer are also a potential legacy issue, as the parent company may not update the software for new OS versions.


Also consider the consumable parts, mostly blades. Can you get third-party after market replacement blades? If not, the machine could end up useless if they're discontinued. The cost of the blades and how long they last should also be factored into your purchase decision.
This is such a good advice.

Most of you girls know I have all three machines. A few of you know I just posted at a different forum my Cricut Customer Service fiasco. I am not going over that again, lol. I had to buy another Cricut again. The only reason I bought another one is I got it for $40. My Cameo is on her last her legs. I had two machines conk out on me in one week. One due to old age and the other due to a mfg. mishap.

Cricut is a good machine. The pro's are after market blades that are high quality, nice quality mats that can be used on other machines and can cut heavier materials with ease. Con's- Always online. You can use an Ipad with limited offline connectivity. Industry rumor has it they are working on offline software. I do know some prefer a cloud based application so this could be a very big pro for some. This industry rumor is a real one. Cricut sent out surveys and was looking for feedback this Summer/Fall about offline software.

Silhouette Portrait and Cameo- Pro's- Nice well made machine that has a long life span. Can use it on a variety of Operating Systems from Linux to Mac.

Con's- It cuts heavy material but it is limited. You will need to do multiple passes. This is not a very big issue but can be an issue for some. I do want to list this as a con to be fair.

This is another hesitant con- No after market blades. You can get the CB09 blade holder and buy after market blades. Miss Kate's Cuttables has her own blade holder too. I don't know a lot about it but worth researching if you are looking to buy a cutter.

I have used the CB09 blade holder for many years and buy after market blades that are excellent quality for a very frugal price. Last time I bought blades I purchases 5/$10. Cricut after market you can purchase 5/$6 and under. I have never had any issues.

I absolutely loathe Silhouette's blades for the only fact that if you want to replace the blade you have to replace the whole blade holder. This green girl just faints at all that waste. That's the big reason I bought my CB09 blade holder to replace blades only. Also because I tend to work with heavier materials.

Last one, I promise. ScannCut. I love, love, love, love my ScanNCut. Did I say how much I love it? This is my favorite cutter. I do think it is a specialty cutter.

Pro's- Both offline and cloud software. Score for those looking for options. Of course scan and cut. I have already saved so much money with this option. It is just not you know the obvious reason for most of us over here- mats for our stamps. I have made my own version of expensive scrapbook embellishments, I hardly buy punches since I can scan my scraps in and cut out my images.

Con's- The blades are expensive and no after market blades. I spent two years on the fence about this before my DH got mad and got me the machine for our anniversary. Ten dollars for a blade! Have they lost their minds? To be fair I have had my machine for almost a year. I use it almost daily, like power use it. I am still on the same blade. I do take good care of my blade and maintain it.

Last con- The mats are flimsy and expensive. They are almost $30 for one mat now. I have been blessed and my mat is fine. I think that is years of expertise using die cutters. Girls on YouTube are cutting their mats clean through and then taping them with Duck Tape. That is what your thirty dollars is going to get you when you are learning a new cutter. We all have done something to our mats no matter our level of expertise. This is a huge buyer beware issue.

Most frugal cutter of all three is the Silhouette line. You may pay a few dollars more to make it a frugal cutter but in the end it will start paying you because you can use different programs to cut with, it lasts through different OS upgrades, you can use other mats and different blade holders.

I know this is long. I know Black Friday is coming up so people are looking for info. I do hope it helps some. I do know there are other con's for the machines. I don't want to add them because I have not had issues. I didn't think it would be fair since I have a higher level of cutting experience. If anybody has any updated information please add like you know cutting mat tips, after market blades. Let's share and be kind. No cutting wars. They are all lovely cutters.
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:31 AM   #13
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I cut stencils on my Cricut Explore Air frequently, and they turn out great. You can't tell the difference between those and the ones I've bought.
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Old 11-13-2018, 11:28 AM   #14
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I am very happy with my Scan n Cut 2 and I am not super tech savvy. I found the learning curve not very difficult at all.
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:52 AM   #15
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If you decide on the ScanNCut I would stay away from the new DX models til they get the bugs worked out.

That being said, the ScanNCut 2 or the Dealer model 650 are both wonderful machines. I have ScanNCut 2 and love it. I use Sure Cuts a Lot 4 for designing. There is a learning curve with all the machines so be aware of that!

The Cricuts are web based and required internet service the ScanNCut does not
Great to see another who loves their SNC. Not sure what bugs others have had, but my DX125 has worked perfectly from day one. I’ve used it a lot and on a variety of materials. I’m extremely pleased with mine. I’ve multiple machines, but I stand by my SNC machines. I’ve had every version from day one and they’re all still going strong. IMHO I’d rather have a SNC over any other machine on the market.
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Old 11-16-2018, 11:21 PM   #16
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OK, can I ask one more question, please.
If you were just starting out again and unsure where this will lead, would you buy a DX model or buy something second hand? and because I only want this machine to make stencils not applique do I need to buy a machine designed to applique?

Kindest regards and thanking you all in advance
Susan
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:54 PM   #17
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Great to see another who loves their SNC. Not sure what bugs others have had, but my DX125 has worked perfectly from day one. I’ve used it a lot and on a variety of materials. I’m extremely pleased with mine. I’ve multiple machines, but I stand by my SNC machines. I’ve had every version from day one and they’re all still going strong. IMHO I’d rather have a SNC over any other machine on the market.


I’ve heard on some Facebook groups I’m in that there has been mat loading problems. Supposedly fixed by the last update. The right side would catch fine but the left side would slip. So the mat would load crooked. I had the DX 225 demoed for me on Thursday by a dealer, boy is it quiet. I’ve had my 350 for a couple of years. I do love it, but If I wear it out I’ll be getting the new DX
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:52 AM   #18
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OK, can I ask one more question, please.
If you were just starting out again and unsure where this will lead, would you buy a DX model or buy something second hand? and because I only want this machine to make stencils not applique do I need to buy a machine designed to applique?

Kindest regards and thanking you all in advance
Susan
Absolutely not, any of the SNC models cut stencils and applique perfectly. My friend is still using my old first released SNC model and my granddaughter is getting my SNC2. These machines are workhorses that are made to last. I think it all depends on ones finances when deciding between purchasing the newest release verses an older model. I’ve never considered purchasing their higher priced versions of the same release because their cheapest version does everything the more expensive models do with the exception of not reading embroidery file formats or using their 24” mat. Almost forgot, the new DX can cut thicker materials. Their higher priced machines come with more cutting files too, but I either make my own or purchase from other sources. Plus my machine embroidery programs read SVG and other embroidery file formats so I don’t need this capability.


I do like the auto blade on the DX model, but it’s not something I need. I see it as a great benefit for anyone new. Bottom line purchase what you can afford, I’d opt for the latest release but the cheapest model if it’s in your budget, but I’ve no doubt you’d be happy with a SNC2 as well. Hope this answers your question.
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:58 PM   #19
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OK, can I ask one more question, please.
If you were just starting out again and unsure where this will lead, would you buy a DX model or buy something second hand? and because I only want this machine to make stencils not applique do I need to buy a machine designed to applique?

Kindest regards and thanking you all in advance

Susan
No you don't need a DX. That is marketed for specialized users. That's one of the loveliest things about Brother as a company- they make machines for everyone.

An older second hand machine will be just perfect. Brother has good support and lots of help. Second hand will be just as good as a new machine.
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Old 11-19-2018, 06:18 AM   #20
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Let me chime in that I love my Scan N Cut DX125. I had a Cricut for 10 years and it was still going strong when I decided to sell it and upgrade to the DX125......However be aware that the DX125 needs special mats and blades. You can't use the old Brother mats or blades in this machine. And this brings me what makes me mad about this machine. I am having problems with the mat that came with the machine.....A machine that was launched 2 months ago on HSN on Sept 11, 2018 by a well known craft blogger... When I called Brother Customer Service last week to inquire about where to purchase the mats I was told the mats are not available and there is no time frame known on when they will be available. How do you launch and push a product and not have consumables available to purchase? The company had 2 months to get their act together. So I sit with my machine that I can't use waiting for mats that are not available.
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Old 11-20-2018, 02:46 AM   #21
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I was thinking about purchasing a Scan n Cut and was hoping there would be good black Friday deals. Has anyone seen any ads with an excellent deal?? Not sure if online or big box store will be the better deal or if I should wait until Cyber Monday. I just figured if I am going to get one, better to get it during the Holiday sales if not I can wait until later.
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