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Can any one offer advice on Cutting Machines?

(12 Posts)
BabyDubsEverywhere Sun 03-Jan-16 14:38:42

I need help! A cutting machine will be a fairly large purchase for me so I don't want to get in wrong, I also only have around £300 to spend... but I am so confused looking at the reviews of seemingly limitless options!

I want to be able to cut my own designs, ideally upload PNGs I have already created. I was looking at the Cricut Explore Air (as they are in hobby craft down the road!) but looking at the reviews it seems I would have to pay for every cut I do of my own image - is that right? or have I got it wrong?

I have a simple cartoon image that I would like to cut out on various material (paper, photo paper, card, and material up to vinyl for using on tshirts/hoodies/cushions etc) and also word arts that I create - I use a basic Paint program - would I ever be able to upload these and print them, or would I have to start from scratch and do them on the system supplied...

I will be dreaming of the silver bullet machine but that is so far out of my price range that it will always be a dream sad

I think I need to do a 'Cutting machine degree' to work out which I need! Any advice?

ModenaMan Sun 03-Jan-16 17:52:33

I'm looking at getting a Silhouette Porttrat. Have you looked at the Cameo.
There are some good reviews of the Cameo v Cricut on YouTube.

Babieseverywhere Mon 04-Jan-16 02:53:25

Just reminding myself to post here tomorrow. smile

Babieseverywhere Mon 04-Jan-16 11:16:04


I have had a vinyl cutter for years and even made my card wedding invitations on it.

Just recently getting back into using it and started using vinyl with it too...having so much fun.

Anyway to your question. The older models of Cricut needed you to buy a cartridge for every shape you needed. But the newer ones allow you to upload your own shapes to its package and print/cut these at no cost. I don't know much about these machines but the feedback online is fair.

The other very popular hobby level cutter is Silhouette. I have an old version but the current available are Silhouette Portrait, Silhouette Cameo 1 and Silhouette Cameo 2. This seems a very popular choice certainly I love mine.

The portrait has a cutting platform of A4
The Cameos both have a 12' by 12' cutting platform.
Cameo 1 has buttons on the machine to control it.
Cameo 2 has a touchscreen on the machine to control it.

All these and the older models like mine run off the same Silhouette software and is relatively easy to use. I upload png files to mine (check you might have to have the full software package to upload all formats but the additional upgrade to the designer edition software is only £20, worth doing imo)

I cut card and paper in the past. These days I am etching glass using vinyl masks and printing bags and t-shirts. Today's task is to label all the kids school clothes and socks with HTV, hope it works smile

ps. (Don't get Silhouette Curio or Silhouette Mint, they are specialised add ons machines not stand alone systems)


ModenaMan Mon 04-Jan-16 12:41:14

Thanks for the info, sorry for the hijack but I want to cut plastic sheet upto .02" for plastic model scratch building and paint masks.
The thing I find confusing is you can cut an image direct to the cutter, but also send the image to a printer with reg marks and then cut that.
Is that only if you are cutting printer weigt paper ? Rather than card, as I can't see the advantage over direct cutting.

Babieseverywhere Mon 04-Jan-16 14:25:21

If you send a image to the cutter, it only cuts it..I. E. Silhouette. If you send it to a printer can print multi colour images on card, sticker paper or printable vinyl. It will also print extra registration marks on the corners of the page.

Then put the printed media into the cutter...which looks for the registration marks and therefore knows where the printed image is, then the cutting can be done.

Babieseverywhere Mon 04-Jan-16 14:27:21

So printing first allows for more complicated or multicolour images.

You can cut and layer vinyl for a similar result..but too much layering results in a top being stiffer (unless layers are cut out etc)

ModenaMan Mon 04-Jan-16 16:36:17

Thanks for the explanation.
One more thinggrin
Is it possible to cut transfer paper as I think that might be useful as a masking medium.
Say for the canopy of a plane or windows of a car model.

Babieseverywhere Mon 04-Jan-16 17:44:48

Often vinyl is cut to use as a masking layer for paint, sand blaster/etching cream.

Transfer tape is used to move several vinyl letters and/or shapes together and to line up on their final surface.

When I was a student I use to work at a sign factory and this is how we a fixed bespoke signs to big vans and on one memorable day placing a massive number of the top of an imported ex American police car !

ModenaMan Mon 04-Jan-16 19:23:34

Thanks winecake

BabyDubsEverywhere Tue 05-Jan-16 17:39:00

Wow, thank you for the info, this has really helped me! Its sounds like it will be a lot to get to grips with whatever model I choose. Off to look at the Silhouette, and still dreaming of the silver bullet :D

BendydickCuminsnatch Wed 06-Jan-16 14:42:46

I got a cricut explore air for Xmas! Am finding it hard to get to grips with the Design Space software, but I'm not v g or patient with that kind of stuff. The machine itself is awesome and cuts so many different things, you can work it from your phone wirelessly etc. But I'm a novice so not necessarily recommending that machine!

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