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dmmetler

Talk to me about cutting machines

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DH has some bonus points from work that have to be spent in a specific online portal, and one of the things that is of interest for me (there is nothing he really is interested in) is some sort of cutting machine, since the local teacher’s store no longer has the work room with the die cut machine. I suspect DD will want to cut vinyl and make t-shirts (we have several moms who make t-shirts and tanks for her cheer team for every occasion), but I’m thinking more about being able to make folder games and manipulatives for my tutoring students, so I’d like to be able to cut card stock, felt, fun foam, etc. There are three Sillouette ones (portrait, curio, and cameo), a CriCut, and a Brother Scan and Cut available. I’d prefer a smaller footprint, and I would need to be able to plug it into a computer on a USB port, because my PC is not currently set up to do wireless (and I don’t know if it can), or it would need to work with an iPad. I currently have a Windows 8 system, but am seriously considering getting a Mac at my next upgrade. 

 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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The smallest footprint is the Silhouette Portrait 2, and the primary difference between that and the Silhouette Cameo 3 is that the Cameo will accommodate larger paper. The Cameo is also a lot more expensive and is a whole lot larger than the Portrait. I don’t think the Curio is what you want.

Which models of the Scan ‘n’ Cut and Cricut machines do they have?

I am kind of addicted to cutting machines and I have several of them, so I may be able to help you with this. 🙂

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The CriCut is the Explore Air 2 more expensive in that catalog than any of The Sillouette machines, even though it seems to be a similar price point on Amazon. The Scan and Cut is the 350, I think, and is priced lower than the CriCut or the Cameo (even though it is significantly more on Amazon) which makes me a little skeptical-but maybe Brother has a special deal with them? I’m concerned that the bundle on Amazon has the “Online activation card” which I don’t see listed on the bonus site. 

 

I’m concerned about the depth on the portrait since I’d like to be able to make felt boards, etc, but hate to pay extra for size, which seems to be the big selling point for the Cameo. No one seems to have the Curio or know anything about it. 

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I haven't looked at them in ages, but I'll tell you the biggest reasons I went with a die cutting machine instead (albeit a one that plugs in, lol). 

ime software for hobby and craft purposes, whether it be scrapbooking or sewing or whatever, is notoriously a pain in the butt - buggy and not easy to use. It has been years since I looked at cutting machines so that may have improved. They sell a lot of them so it's not quite as much of a niche market as it used to be. 

The specialty materials for decals and t-shirts and such are rather expensive. I know myself, and I'd be in an agony of indecision every time I debated whether to make something, lol. And if I'm not going to make those items, there's much less reason to have the machine. 

The biggest reason: some people seem to struggle endlessly with the process, and I would almost certainly be one of those people 😂

Mechanical and electronic devices tend to not like me, and I'm not naturally handy. If you have a good eye and are naturally handy, you will probably have no problems. My friend finds her cutting machine an exercise in frustration, so much so that she thought something might be wrong with it, but then her daughter came home from college and was a complete natural from her first efforts. Basically, people who have a talent for stuff like sewing or building things tend to be good with cutting machines. 

 

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I've looked at these idly, thinking about t-shirt/sweatshirt you're applications. @Catwoman, as a self-reported addict, can you tell me what types of things you use them for? And how do they work??

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I got a cameo3 for Christmas.  It does have a big footprint.  I do like that once I have designs in my library I don’t need internet to use it.  So far I have made a few shirts, vinyl stickers to decorate various things, and some things out of cardstock.  I order my vinyl online and find it not too expensive.  I can post pics later of my creations later if interested.  

Eta: I don’t think the cameo3 works with iPad.  I’m not sure if any Silhouette products do.  They do plug in to usb though.  

Edited by Beaniemom

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1 hour ago, Beaniemom said:

I got a cameo3 for Christmas.  It does have a big footprint.  I do like that once I have designs in my library I don’t need internet to use it.  So far I have made a few shirts, vinyl stickers to decorate various things, and some things out of cardstock.  I order my vinyl online and find it not too expensive.  I can post pics later of my creations later if interested.  

Eta: I don’t think the cameo3 works with iPad.  I’m not sure if any Silhouette products do.  They do plug in to usb though.  

 

There is a Silhouette app... but it’s pretty terrible. The regular Silhouette software is good, though!

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3 hours ago, SusanC said:

I've looked at these idly, thinking about t-shirt/sweatshirt you're applications. @Catwoman, as a self-reported addict, can you tell me what types of things you use them for? And how do they work??

 

I’m on my phone so I don’t have any links for you, but if you go on YouTube and search for any of the cutting machines by name, you will find about a bazillion tutorials and project ideas. 

I think all of the machines are good. It really all comes down to personal preference and which software seems most user-friendly to you. They all have their pros and cons. 

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I love my Silhouette Cameo.  I had the Portrait and after a year upgraded to the Cameo as I really wanted the option to have a 12 inch cutting width.  I'm on several Facebook groups and I hear time and time again that the Silhouette software is much easier to use then the Cricut.   Personally I find it very easy to use.   

There are numerous websites, youtube videos, etc.  A good one is Silhouette School, and you can even download the software and start learning it before you get your machine.  I don't consider my Cameo very big, but you can also just put it up in a closet when you aren't using it.  I'm happy to answer any questions along with Catwoman.  I've probably had mine for about 5 years and use it just for myself and to make things for friends.  WAAAAY too many folks think they are going to make money with it 🙂    

 

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2 hours ago, ZiMom said:

I love my Silhouette Cameo.  I had the Portrait and after a year upgraded to the Cameo as I really wanted the option to have a 12 inch cutting width.  I'm on several Facebook groups and I hear time and time again that the Silhouette software is much easier to use then the Cricut.   Personally I find it very easy to use.   

There are numerous websites, youtube videos, etc.  A good one is Silhouette School, and you can even download the software and start learning it before you get your machine.  I don't consider my Cameo very big, but you can also just put it up in a closet when you aren't using it.  I'm happy to answer any questions along with Catwoman.  I've probably had mine for about 5 years and use it just for myself and to make things for friends.  WAAAAY too many folks think they are going to make money with it 🙂    

 

Realistically, I probably spend more on stuff I make and give away than I’d spend buying something to give them (I am currently making mouse ear headbands with bows and bag tags for IASC at Disney World next month-I suspect that it might have been cheaper to give each kid a Disney gift card....). And I’m sure I end up spending about as much making games and activities for my students as I would buying something. 

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Piggybacking--Does anyone here have experience with those machines that take an image and make large peelable sticky backed vinyl stencils with it?

I had a chance to use these at a craft making shop and really enjoyed the results.  What I liked about it most is that you could take a word and have it come out with the letters all in a row, pre-spaced, so you did not have to place them individually.  So you would print this out, position it, mark up how it sat, peel off the backing and stick it down, and then sponge over the stencils to get your design.  Because the stencils were sticky, it was pretty easy to avoid leakage underneath them.  I used acrylic paints and was very happy with the results.  I would love to know what it takes to do this.  I can imagine making things for gifts and maybe even for sale.

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44 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Piggybacking--Does anyone here have experience with those machines that take an image and make large peelable sticky backed vinyl stencils with it?

I had a chance to use these at a craft making shop and really enjoyed the results.  What I liked about it most is that you could take a word and have it come out with the letters all in a row, pre-spaced, so you did not have to place them individually.  So you would print this out, position it, mark up how it sat, peel off the backing and stick it down, and then sponge over the stencils to get your design.  Because the stencils were sticky, it was pretty easy to avoid leakage underneath them.  I used acrylic paints and was very happy with the results.  I would love to know what it takes to do this.  I can imagine making things for gifts and maybe even for sale.

 

All of the machines mentioned in this thread will do that for you. Definitely watch some YouTube videos to see which machine appeals to you the most. I know you can buy a vinyl roll feeder attachment for the Silhouette Cameo 3 machine so you can cut longer pieces of vinyl, so that’s something to check on if you want to make very large stencils. 

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8 hours ago, SusanC said:

I've looked at these idly, thinking about t-shirt/sweatshirt you're applications. @Catwoman, as a self-reported addict, can you tell me what types of things you use them for? And how do they work??

 

Depending on the machine you choose, you can cut lots of different materials. The machine that can cut the thickest materials is the Cricut Maker, but it’s also more expensive than the other machines listed on this thread, so if you don’t want to cut things like thin basswood, or super-thick leather or foam sheets, you probably don’t need it. 

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer has a lot of great videos about how to use a Scan ‘n’ Cut 2, but the downside to that machine is that the wireless card is optional and it costs around $50.00. I got mine as part of a package deal on HSN when I bought my machine, but I would have hated to have to buy it separately because I feel like it should be included with the machine. (Yes, I’m cheap!)

If you search online for any of the Cricut or ScanNCut machines and add “HSN” to your search, you should find a lot of the on-air presentations for the machines, and they usually do a nice job of showing all of the features, as well as demonstrating how the machines work and what materials you can cut with them. One thing to note about all of the machines, though, is that just because they can cut something like thin chipboard doesn’t mean they can cut it with one pass of the blade. It can take multiple passes and take a LONG time for certain materials! Also, the machines aren’t crazy loud, but they’re not exactly silent, either, so if you’re cutting something thick and/or detailed, the noise can get kind of annoying.

 

Honestly, my favorite machine is the Silhouette Cameo 3, but my little Portrait 2 is so compact and cute that I can leave it out on my regular desk so I don’t even have to to walk over to my craft tables when I want to use it. The Portrait 2 is also cheaper, and can be a good way to see if you like using a cutter without breaking the bank. It won’t allow you to cut larger paper sizes, though, so if you are a scrapbooker it could be a problem for you. 

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Thank you, @Catwoman!  I wouldn't have thought about HSN, great idea. Now i just need to get around me self-imposed "no new appliances" ban. I think that might have been just for the kitchen.... 😊

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44 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Thank you, @Catwoman!  I wouldn't have thought about HSN, great idea. Now i just need to get around me self-imposed "no new appliances" ban. I think that might have been just for the kitchen.... 😊

 

It’s not an appliance. It’s an “efficiency tool.” 😉

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I’ve seen reviews online that says that the CriCut software stops working after a month unless you buy a subscription. Is that true? I’ve downloaded the shillouette software and am playing with it. 

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23 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

I’ve seen reviews online that says that the CriCut software stops working after a month unless you buy a subscription. Is that true? I’ve downloaded the shillouette software and am playing with it. 

It isn’t true. I don’t have a subscription and it still works for me after a year. 

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Ok, good-I'm playing with the software, and I'm finding the CriCut software far easier and more intuitive (and much easier to pull graphics into). And it seems to work on my iPad about equally well.

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21 hours ago, dmmetler said:

Does anyone have experience with the CriCut Explore One? 

I have a CriCut Explore Air 2, which I have so much fun with. I made these this weekend to commemorate my dd’s three middle school musicals. (Into the Woods, Pirates of Penzance, and Mary Poppins) I cut a stencil of freezer paper using my CriCut, painted on fabric, and then stretched over canvases that were on sale at Michaels this morning. I think my DD is about the same age as yours (14), and she uses it all the time. She monograms everything! 

9A9D19F6-0960-46C0-AE29-68A36A236A8D.jpeg

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Well, as it turns out, DH’s company made the decision (DH gets bonus points for certain projects that have to be spent in a specific online “store”-my theory is that they have deals with some of their customers to stock it). when we actually went in to select, the only two options actually in stock were the Silhouette Portrait 2 and the CriCut Maker. The budget allowed the Silhouette :). We’re getting a bundle that includes some of the starter sets and tools. I’m especially excited about the PixScan, since if it will cut out pieces for printed folder games, etc for me, that could save me a lot of time and effort-and probably be a lot more accurate than I can be for things like pattern block pieces. 

DD has lots of ideas in mind :). I think most of them involve t-shirts. 

 

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I received the Cricut Maker for Christmas. So far all I've done is make a quilted wall hanging but it performed well and I love it. It was nice to put the iron on stabilizer on the fabric and let the machine do the work. The only downside and I suspect all cutters work the same way, is the footprint. It's physical footprint isn't large but you need to make sure you have plenty of room in front and back for the cutting mats to move in and out.

Here is the wall hanging with it's recipient: 

51996390_10213629132223871_6027035535262875648_n.jpg

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I recommend watching videos from silhouette school blog.  That has really helped me learn how to use both the machine and the software.  

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If you are planning on making a lot of t-shirts, look into the Cricut Easy Press.  It is a big step up from using just an iron, but takes up much less room than an actual heat press.  Maybe one is available on your DH's 'points' store too?   

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Is it worth it to buy the upgraded software for the Sillouette? I'm finding a lot of SVG files, and DD can create them on photoshop, but it sounds like you have to have the upgraded software to use them?

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15 hours ago, dmmetler said:

Is it worth it to buy the upgraded software for the Sillouette? I'm finding a lot of SVG files, and DD can create them on photoshop, but it sounds like you have to have the upgraded software to use them?

 

Honestly, I just can't remember what the different software versions do.  Just start playing around with the software and then see if you feel you are missing anything.  I have the top level version, I think it is called Business.  I do remember that it is generally cheapest to buy it through Swing Designs and I have it on more than one computer.  I also invested in a CB09 (again, this is memory so I might not be calling that the exact right thing) blade.  A little learning curve but the blade cuts so much nicer.  I actually have three, one set to the vinyl for t-shirts, one for vinyl for decals so I never have to change them again, and then the third which I can adjust for other material.  My silhouette is the one thing I use for 'me' time so I do splurge a good bit :)   

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Yu have to upgrade to Design at least to import svg files.  I only upgraded to Design and able to do all I need to do.  Like pp said Swing designs typically has the cheapest upgrades. 

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You can also check eBay for the software upgrades, because sometimes people buy a new machine bundle that’s includes the Design or Business software, but they already own the software so they resell the code from the bundle at a huge discount. Also, sometimes Silhouette and SwingDesign run half-price sales on the software, so you might get lucky!  🙂

I have the business software because it came as part of a Black Friday bundle when I bought my Cameo 3. 

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Well, so far i managed to get the blade installed incorrectly and sliced the mat pretty badly, but it seems to be working now :). I'm just playing with paper so far, since it's cheap.

 

 

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The first time I used my Cricut I practically had the blade cutting off the mat. I'm still struggling to learn all the ins and outs. They really aren't that intuitive or at least they aren't to 50+yo women. 😂

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Can you use heat on a nylon string backpack, or would adhesive vinyl be better? DD wants to decorate bags as part of a gift for her cheer big/little sis for competition. I figure it’s a good project to play with, since the backpacks are $1 each at Dollar Tree. 🙂

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On 2/20/2019 at 4:50 PM, dmmetler said:

Well, so far i managed to get the blade installed incorrectly and sliced the mat pretty badly, but it seems to be working now :). I'm just playing with paper so far, since it's cheap.

 

 

 

I don’t know if you upgraded your software yet, but I just found out that Silhouette is offering 40% off all of their software until February 28 if you use the code BEMINE.  You will also get an extra 10% off if you sign up for a free trial of Club Silhouette.  🙂

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