I have owned an Electronic Die Cut Machine since 2012. I was an avid Card Maker. I did all things paper. I purchased my Cricut Expressions in 2012 and since then I have used my machines to:
|Types of uses||Materials Used|
|Create Rhinestone Designs||Heat Transfer Vinyl|
|Make Rubber Stamps||Cookie Dough|
|Custom Vinyl Designs||Cotton|
I am sure, there are others I could add to the list, as I am sure I have forgotten all the different mediums I have ran through my machines.
I tell you this, because doing all those things has taught me quite a bit about cutting techniques, materials, and of course I learned some business things, as I started selling my creations right off the bat).
Here are some of the machines, manual and electronic that I have used.
I do not earn anything from any one I refer you to. It really irritates me to see all those adds when I am learning something from a blog. I vow to never do that. Not because I am better than anyone, but because at my age, I just don’t like the distractions. So know this, if I refer you to something or someone, it’s because I learned from them OR I love their products.
Cricut Cuttlebug I really don’t know when I purchased this. I know I had it in 2009 however I started card making in 2001. I know this is a manual machine, but I must tell you, when I see this little bug it makes my heart happy. It was a workhorse. To this day I still have embossing folders! I gave this little bug to my niece years ago and she is still using it. This little guy is the reason I fell in love with die cutting. There is SO MUCH you can do with a die cutter, manual or electronic!
Cricut Expressions 2010 My first introduction into Electronic Die Cutting. I purchased this so that I could save money from buying Dies. This machine had to use cartridges. This became as expensive although I could size the images!
Cricut Expressions 2. I loved this machine! I was into wall art and Vinyl by this time and I loved LOVED being able to use any font I could find on the internet to cut. Did I tell you, I loved that! Oh and did you notice that I bought the Cricut Expression 1 for paper….and now I am telling you I am only cutting vinyl? I to this day, hate to cut paper or anything other than Adhesive Vinyl or HTV on my machine…
If I am going to be cutting paper, I want my manual machines. There, I said it. The reason is, when I am cutting paper, I am cardmaking or paper crafting. It’s so relaxing to just grab scissors tape glue glitter punches dies and just use your invagination. The minute you introduce the computer, I quite enjoying that craft. I love the mess paper crafting creates. It’s so relaxing. But please don’t give me software or a computer…uh…no.
Well this machine was short lived because Cricut (ProvoCraft) shocked us all. They took away our ability to use any font or any image we could find on the internet or our computers….When that news was released, I put my machine on Ebay THAT DAY and sold it. Talk about control…
I liked the freedom I had in that machine, until Circut took it away with a update….and introduced Cricut Design Space.
I researched and researched and researched. I did not want that to happen to me again! TADA! I found the Pazzles Inspiration! Before I go farther, please pay attention to the machine itself….notice that it looks like the Cricut? Well that’s because Cricut purchased it from Pazzles.
I own a Pazzles to this day. Until this year 2021. I have been a faithful and loyal customer. That’s because Pazzles is family owned. It’s because their support is superior to anything out there. Example. I can pick up the phone or click on a link and have support immediately in all cases. I get designer support each month for one-on-one training. Oh and here is another thing. This machine outperforms the silhouette and the cricut in force along with other things. So if you are looking for an outstanding machine, this is it. No different machine to cut cookies or fondant or pie crust. I could go on and on. The software this machine was called Inspiration Pro. It was amazing. very few limitations. I also could use Make The Cut Software or Sure Cuts Alot Software. The company did not put limitations on you like Circuit did and does.
WOW what an update! Power and Easy! New Software update that was just awesome! Extremely user friendly. Would work with the Old Inspiration Pro Software along with Make the Cut and Sure Cuts Alot software. I currently have this machine. I love it. I purchased in 2014 and received one of the first shipped out.
My cutting strip wore out Christmas 2019. This machine lasted me 5 years using daily in my Etsy and Amazon Business.
I always have a brand-new machine, so I just opened it up. Could not order a strip…and I had purchased my “new backup in August of 2016. So, when I called for help Pazzles said hey you have two open the new one! It was Christmas time, and I was getting 70+ orders a day so, heck yes, I opened the new on and sometime after Christmas boxed up the old one. There it sat until my cousin visited from out of state. I sent it home with her November of 2020 along with a new cutting strip and she promptly opened her Etsy shop and is still using it today.
Now I only had one machine so I ordered my third machine November of 2018. My “new” 2016 machine mother board went bad Christmas of 2020 (yes notice how stuff breaks at Christmas time…) So I opened up my 2018 machine and I am using it now. I still have not put in the new mother board for my spare, just don’t have time.
So back to machines. The Pazzles machines are superior in quality, Force, Support and Training…..until now, sad to say. The last update they had in this marvelous new software was to many years ago to remember. The support they have for the machine and software is still awsome. Getting parts and pieces from the store is iffy. So I am sad to say, if I ever have to purchase another machine, it will not be a Pazzles. I will have to research at that time before buying. But as of today, I would not recommend a Pazzles purchase to anyone.
Now let me tell you something if you are purchasing a machine. I want you to think about software. Notice I went through 3 electronic machines and 3 different software packages.
If I could hold your chin and look in your eyes, I would want, you to understand this.
Learn one design software. The best software. The INDUSTRY STANDARD SOFTWARE, if you are designing your own designs. Why, you might ask? I learned my software inside and out. All three of them. What a waste of time energy and effort. Thats not counting Make the Cut and Sure Cuts Alot.
I now use Adobe Illustrator. This is the industry standard to create SVG files. It has been around since March 19th 1987. Yes that is NOT a typo, 1987!
Hours of learning cutting software could have been reduced to learning only one. All you need cutting software for it to import and cut. No need to learn all the quirkiness of priority software that the company and slowly quite updating.
If you are just a hobbyist, then don’t worry. However, if you find you are designing your own. STOP and pay attention. What you are learning won’t be there in a few years…but Adobe will.
As far as machines…the Cricut is almost identical to the Pazzles machines for obvious reasons. The Cricut Software is quirky but useable. The Silhouette Software is much better than Circuits Design Software. If you use one, you can use them all. They are so similar. Kinda like you can have a Jaguar or a Volkswagon. Most of us don’t own the Jaguar die cutting machines they are in the league of Silver Bullet Cutters, Black Cat Lynx/Cougar Graphtec are a few of the commercial lines. We are usually using the volkswagons Pazzles, Cricut, Sillhouete, Brother…I am sure I am missing some.
Are you getting the idea? You can spend a few bucks and buy used all the way up to about 4 grand….one thing is for certain….we all cut!
Spellbinders Grand Calibur I still own this machine. It’s an awesome addition to my Sizzix because of the large plates. The spellbinder was around when the Cuttlebug came about and the Sizzix. Sizzix was the one everyone owned at the time. It could take a 8 1/5 X 11 piece of cardstock! It also could use the cuttlebug and Sizzix dies! So this was a no brainer for me. I still have and use this machine!
Sizzix Big Shot This beauty came in 2013 to me. I loved being able to use thick dies. I moved to the Sizzix because of the thick dies. The thick dies allowed me to cut fabric and chipboard. Chipboard is not the same thing as cardboard. It’s very thick paper but not hollow like cardboard. (Chipboard is even used to make dynamite) Perfect for making box’s and all kinds of embellishments for cardmaking. I use to save cereral box’s for a thinner version of chipboard. Of course our Electronic Machines can cut chipboard….. I still use my Big Shot today anytime I want a die cut from paper, my goto is a manual die cut machine and this one is a beauty. I cut my burlap best with my BigShot. I love to make burlap roses and although I have run burlap through my Electronic Die cut machine, my manual machine does a better job.