A die cutting machine is a useful thing that gives crafters, designers, and artisans an opportunity to create fantastic cutouts, decorations, and other unique products. This is a must-have for people who enjoy card making, quilting, and scrapbooking. This device offers lots of benefits in creating masterpieces and gives numerous ideas for paper crafts.
With hundreds of models and brands on the market, it is not easy to choose a quality unit that meets your requirements. This review of the top die cutters describes the best cutting machinery with the highest ratings among users.
Best Electronic Cutting Machines
Cricut Explore Air 2: Best for Design Projects
This electronic machine is user-friendly and can be a good option for beginners. It adjusts the depth, pressure, and blade speed automatically. You just open the box and start working without wasting your material and time.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 features two carriage heads that allow you to write, score, and cut images. Its Smart Set Dial is able “to sense” the substance and to work with various materials like vinyl, cardstock, cork, and others. The blades are very durable and can cut materials that are 24 inches long.
The unit uses the Cricut Design Space software, which is free online, but you can import more files from other sources. To start operation, the device requires an Internet connection. It can also be connected to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth in order to transfer images. With the Cricut’s library of amazing templates, you can easily make your own designs.
The machine starter kit includes a 12’’ x 12’’ cutting mat, power adapter, USB cable, fine-point blade with a housing, a black pen, Design Space software, free trial membership to Cricut Access, some materials for practicing, 50 ready to print projects, and 100 free images.
- The carbide blades are made in Germany
- Wireless communication via Bluetooth
- Modern design
- Easy to operate
- Includes a wire of 140’’ long
- Works very fast
- Available in assorted colors
- Affordable price tag
- Solid and durable construction
- Ensures professional cutting
- Compatible with Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows
- Works with various materials
- A bit loud
- The application has more restricted opportunities than professional software
- Cannot emboss the material
- Has limited cutting size
- Requires an Internet connection to operate
Silhouette Cameo 4 Cutting Machine
The Cameo 4 is an updated version of the Cameo 3 with improved quality and cutting power. It cuts straight-line materials 3 times faster and curved designs twice faster. The unit comes with a 3 mm clearance and is able to get through various thick materials like fabric, felt, leather, and cardstock.
The machine is quite compact and fits easily into a smaller space. It has an elegant design and is available in various colors.
The device is equipped with an AutoBlade that can be programed and needs no adjustments. This machine is for advanced crafters, but starters can easily handle it thanks to the customizable interface. The device includes software that is easy to learn, and its integrated roll feeder helps users load and cut materials. The machine has Bluetooth connectivity for wireless cutting.
- Very powerful
- A user-friendly touch interface
- Comes with a convenient roll feeder
- Fast operation
- The cuts are precise
- Works with a number of materials
- Has a retractable lid
- Windows and Mac compatible
- Lacks a convenient drawer for storing tools like in previous models
- More expensive than previous models
- Requires a learning curve from users
- The manufacturer removed the USB input
Cricut Maker Machine (Champagne): Great for Clothing
This is a newly launched electric cutter that is a step up from the previous models released by Cricut. Indeed, this unit is very futuristic and attracts users with a number of impressive features.
It is very compact and stylish, but not very portable. Its sewing cutter is able to handle various materials from fabric to leather and balsa wood. The device features a Rotary Blade that easily cuts through fabrics. To process heavier materials which are 2.4 mm thick, use an advanced Knife Blade. It should be purchased separately.
The machine works with your phone or computer via wireless connection. Its Design Space software offers users thousands of custom sewing patterns and designs.
The Cricut Maker comes with a 12’’ mat, but it can also be used with a 24’’ mat. It works very fast and ensures a precise cutting for sewing patterns. It is even equipped with a washable pen cartridge for tracing pattern lines on the fabric.
The machine is very smart and can calibrate the correct cutting force automatically.
- Provides fast and efficient cutting
- Works with 100+ materials
- Suitable for cutting sewing patterns
- Calculates the cutting force automatically
- Has wireless connection
- Not portable
- Cannot emboss the material
Perfect for Leather: Gemini GEMJR-M-USA
The GEMJR-M-USA from Gemini is a twin-function machine that is able to emboss and die cut. The device has a small footprint and is a perfect variant if you have limited space. It is lightweight and can be easily taken to craft classes.
Despite its small size, this machine is more powerful than other similar models and works with metal dies. This allows users to get better cuts on the chosen designs. It easily works with heavyweight materials such as foil, leather, vinyl, cardstock, multiple fabric layers, etc.
The Gemini Junior comes with several shims – magnetic, metal, and rubber.
- Compact and portable
- Quiet operation mode
- Provides higher pressure for better cutting
- Works very fast
- Elegant design
- Easy to operate for beginners
- The plates tend to warp after repeated use
- The replacement shims are not cheap
- The power button may not illuminate
Silhouette Portrait 2: Nice for Cardstock
The Portrait 2 is a remarkable cutting machine because of its budget price of less than $200. Its cutting power is a little limited, and it can only work with thin materials such as craft foam and vinyl. Its auto-adjusting AutoBlade cannot handle heavy-duty materials like balsa wood and leather.
This is a good option for beginners and hobbyists who are planning to make some crafts from the comfort of their home.
The machine features the PixScan technology, which allows you to take pictures using your phone and have them printed. It comes with Studio Designer software, which is very fast at creating your designs. This cutting tool connects to your computer, and you can download millions of designs from an online store of Silhouette.
The device is portable and small so that you can easily take it to crafts groups.
- Works well with light materials
- Has free access to the Studio Designer software
- Off-line operation
- Easy to set up
- Affordable price
- Because of the limited cutting power, it cannot handle thick materials
- Cannot emboss the material
- Limited cutting size
Brother ScanNCut DX SDX125: Top for Felt
The ScanNCut DX SDX125 from Brother has been designed for crafters who are looking for a clean and efficient way to cut foam and felt without damaging the material. Its AutoBlade technology detects how thick your material is and makes precise cuts. It can cut materials that are 0.1’’ thick.
You can scan an image or create your own one and then edit it on a 5’’ LCD touch screen. This can be done wirelessly by pairing your phone or computer with the cutter. With an Internet connection, you can access and use the CanvasWorkspace for creating designs virtually.
The device provides a 1/4’’ seam allowance which is helpful for assembling fabrics for clothing or quilts.
The machine doesn’t produce much noise and can be used in offices. It comes with numerous preloaded images, ready-made designs, and patterns. The unit has a convenient built-in storage to keep blades, pens, and other tools.
- The AutoBlade system adjusts the depth of the blade before cutting
- Opportunity of on-screen editing
- Gives an increment seam allowance
- Has wireless connection
- Quiet operation
- Powerful scanner
- The ScanNCut mat is poorly designed and doesn’t load properly
- Rather expensive
- Optional accessories for drawing and embossing have to be purchased separately
Good for Beginners: Cricut Explore Air
The Cricut Explore Air is an automatic die cutter, but it has an affordable price tag and is easy to use. It features a dual carriage that allows users to write and cut or to cut and score at the same time.
The machine has a Smart Set dial that allows you to specify which material you insert. The unit adjusts this setting automatically and performs a perfect cut. It can handle leather, vinyl, paper, wood, poster board, vellum, and other thick materials.
The Explore Air uses cartridges from other types of Cricut machines. Thanks to the Cricut Design Space online software, you can find free premade templates. The device is Bluetooth compatible and allows you to send designs wirelessly from your phone.
This die cutter is lightweight and has built-in compartments to store accessories.
- Dual carriage for doing several operations in one step
- Smart Set dial
- Free download of images
- Cuts more than 60 types of materials
- Wireless connection
- Not portable
- Android gadgets don’t support the companion application
Silhouette Curio: Quality Option for Paper
The Curio die machine developed by Silhouette features more functions than the Cameo. It is able to draw, stipple, cut, emboss, and etch. The device has a cutting clearance of 5 mm, which allows processing thicker materials like wood, soft metals, vinyl, vellum, cardstock, leather, fabrics, etc. Its dual carriage and adjustable base platform help users perform several operations simultaneously.
This machine comes with the Silhouette Studio software. It is PC, USB, and Mac compatible. The device also supports PixScan technology.
The Curio includes a number of tools and accessories – several sheets of transfer paper and premium vinyl, two embossing mats, two cutting tools, several blades, and various tools for stippling, etching, and embossing. It is a good choice for entry-level DIYers.
- Works with various materials
- Thanks to a cutting clearance, it can process thick materials
- Fast operation
- Performs a lot of functions
- Includes a large number of accessories for crafting
- Comes with 50 downloadable designs
- Easy to use
- The instruction manual is difficult to understand
- The materials can shift on the cutting surface and cause uneven cuts
Best Manual Die Cutting Machines
Sizzix Big Shot Machine Only, 660425: Best for Creative Pursuits
The Big Shot from Sizzix is a very popular manual die cut machine. It is very stylish and can also be used for embossing. Its roller-type construction is very simple and includes an extended platform and two cutting pads.
The platform is thinner than in regular manual machines, and this makes the unit very compact and portable. The platform has helpful diagrams for easy guidelines when you insert “a sandwich” into the machine. Its rollers are made from steel and have durable gears. The platform is multipurpose and can accommodate dies from other manufacturers, and this feature makes it universal. It accepts dies that are 6 inches wide.
The device is able to handle paper, fabric, foam, felt, and other crafting materials that can be tackled by scissors.
The Big Shot can be used for quilting, making invitations, and decorating scrapbook pages.
- Simple to operate
- Works with dies from other companies
- Acceptable price
- Can handle a variety of materials
- Lightweight and durable
- Sleek design
- Limited working capacity
- The screw for the crank is weak
Xyron Create-A-Sticker Max, 0501-05-10A: Great for Scrapbooking
This sticker maker from Xyron is a fantastic device that requires neither plug nor batteries to make amazing stickers. Its operation is manual and very simple. You just feed paper into the slot and rotate a crank knob. The machine adds an adhesive layer and covers it with a sheet of back paper that will be peeled afterwards.
With a few turns of the knob, it makes stickers of decent quality. If you want to use them outside, cover the stickers with a waterproof spray or laminate them. The higher quality medium you choose, the better the stickers you get (for example, use photo paper).
The machine comes with ten feet of preloaded adhesive. If it runs out, replace it with a new refill that is sold separately.
The machine is user-friendly. It is inexpensive, and making stickers on your own with the Create-a-Sticker Max is cheaper than buying them in the store.
- The glue is non-toxic and acid-free
- Doesn’t require electricity or batteries
- Makes good and durable stickers
- Easy to operate even for kids
- This bigger model accommodates several rows of stickers on one paper sheet
- Affordable price
- Each sticker comes with a large amount of sticky residue which has to be removed
- Some models don’t include a cutter to cut ready-made products
- Has no function to laminate stickers
Cool for School: Xyron Creative Station, 624632
The Xyron Creative Station is a redesigned model that is an inevitable machine for any crafter. It allows you to laminate your projects and add adhesives and magnets to your creations. This is a wonderful device for making quality labels, stickers, greeting cards, wedding invitations, and other interesting things for your hobby.
This manual device works with two cartridges of 5’’ and 9’’ depending on the size of your project. This helps minimize adhesive waste. The unit comes with preloaded 25 feet of adhesive.
The Station applies the adhesive evenly and leaves no residue and mess. It guarantees professional-looking results.
- Multipurpose machine
- Includes two cartridges to fit both small and big projects
- Uses non-toxic, acid-free adhesive
- Gives professional results
- Requires no heat and electricity
- Simple operation
- Rather lightweight and compact
- The crank handle is a bit flimsy
- The unit is not steady
- Using laminator requires some experience, otherwise, it may leave bubbles or wrinkles on your creation
Sizzix Big Shot Plus Machine Only, 660340: Top for Small Business
The Big Shot Plus is similar to its previous model, the Big Shot. In this machine, the manufacturer provides users with a larger cutting space – 9 instead of 6 inches. This is also a popular device that combines embossing and die cutting functions. It works with different types of material like fabric, cork, vellum, paper, foam, chipboard, and many others. It is able to accommodate multiple dies at a time, which helps to save time.
The unit features a roller-style mechanism and has a comfortable grip handle. The machine is small and can be easily transported.
The appliance comes in elegant grey and white. Thanks to a sturdy design, wider platform, and a smooth feed, the machine is a good variant for small business. It is considered to be a heavy-duty and versatile device. Users can control speed, alignment, and precision of each operation.
- Sturdy and durable construction
- Comfortable handle
- Easy to use
- Sleek new design
- Compact, portable, and lightweight
- Smooth and precise operation
- The crank mechanism is very powerful to cut thick materials
- Limited capabilities
- After several uses, the plates may deform
Good Fabric Cutting System: Accuquilt Ready. Set. GO!
This die cutter is a dream for any crafter thanks to its fast operation speed. This tool is great for people with hand issues who have to cut several layers of fabric because it has minimal strain on user’s hands. This machine is capable of processing up to six layers of material at a time.
It is very powerful and easy to use for any beginner. When closed up, it is very compact and portable.
The unit makes uniform pieces for quilting that fit together perfectly. Its starter kit comes with 70 free patterns. The machine is user-friendly and comes with helpful instructions for various projects.
- Easy to operate
- Compact and portable
- Cuts through various materials
- Modern design
- Makes accurate cuts
- Fast operation
- Despite being compact, it is heavy
- The dies of additional shapes and sizes should be purchased separately
- A little expensive
Spellbinders PL-001 Platinum: Nice for Wool
The exterior of the PL-001 is made from plastic, but its interior is manufactured from steel and is very solid. The appliance has an elegant appearance. The machine features a wider platform (8.5’’), which is helpful for making full-size boxes, bags, and dimensional crafts.
Its construction is very strong, but it makes the machine heavy and less portable. However, additional weight brings the machine additional cutting and embossing force. It makes precise cuts even through eight layers and works with various materials like wool, balsa wood, leather, chipboard, and heavier ones.
The device accommodates different types of dies including those from other brands.
This model from Spellbinders is simple to operate and is not expensive. This is a good alternative for beginners.
- Solid steel construction
- Sleek and durable design
- Very powerful
- Able to handle more than 40 types of material
- Has a larger cutting area
- Folds up for compact storage
- Not lightweight and a little bulky
- A wider platform cannot accommodate standard 6’’ plates
Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine by We R Memory Keepers
The Evolution Advanced from We R Memory Keepers is a universal machine that can be used as an embosser, die cutter, and as a lettering machine. It is ideal for making invitations, decorations, and for letter pressing.
The device is lightweight and portable. It features a detachable handle that can be stored in a separate compartment inside the machine. There is also a built-in storage for dies. Its platform is magnetic and guarantees that your template or die will not move during operation.
The device is equipped with a pressure dial so that a user can adjust suction pressure. You can also make this machine automatic by connecting to a removable motor that is purchased separately.
The Evolution Advanced includes a special gear system for height adjustment. It doesn’t allow users to confuse mat combinations and adjusts to fit any project material.
- Integrated storage for the handle and dies
- Magnetic platform for easy cutting
- Pressure dial
- Modern look
- Easy to carry and travel
- Can turn into an automatic machine
- Not able to process thick materials
- Can make uneven cuts
Perfect Strength: Spellbinders PE-100 Platinum 6.0
The PE-100 Platinum 6.0 from Spellbinders is similar to the model PL-001 Platinum and uses an identical technology. The machine is the same strength and durability. The size of its cutting platform is 6 instead of 8.5 inches. The machine has a modern design and looks very stylish. It is very compact and lightweight; it features a detachable handle and has a small footprint.
The unit works with various materials like fabric, metal, leather, balsa wood, and more than 40 other types. The device is very powerful and can cut through eight layers in one pass.
- Folds up for storage
- Can process several layers of materials
- Compact due to a smaller platform
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Works with various materials
- Affordable price
- The plates are easy to scratch
- The cutting plates may warp
Best Electric Die Cutter Machines
Gemini by Crafter’s Companion CCM GEM-M-USA
This versatile unit combines the functions of a die cutting and embossing machine. The device has a sleek design made in white and houses a powerful engine that works smoothly and without noise. It is able to cut through foil, cardstock, metal, vinyl, rubber, plastic, several layers of fabric, and other materials.
The Gemini is very fast at operation and forceful at cutting intricate dies. The machine accepts dies and embossing folders from other manufacturers.
On the top panel, it features three buttons to pause, resume, and reverse the cutting operation. The unit accommodates a large platform that is able to hold wider materials.
- Works fast
- Silent operation
- Powerful engine
- Accommodates dies of other brands
- Performs both embossing and die cutting
- The platform size is large
- Convenient operation buttons
- The plates may warp
- The unit is large, and its big plates require extra room to load the material
Sizzix Vagabond 2 Machine Only inspired by Tim Holtz, 660855
The Vagabond 2 from Sizzix is also a multifunctional device that performs both die cutting and embossing. It looks like a suitcase that also serves as a storage box. It features a convenient handle for easy transportation.
The machine contains metal gears and a powerful motor that provides strong cutting operations. It is strong enough to handle various thick materials. Thanks to a built-in mechanism, the device is less prone to overload and breakage.
The machine works very smoothly and has a special protection against overload to avoid motor jams.
- Unique vintage appearance
- Sturdy and durable construction
- Ensures professional cutting results
- Works with thick materials
- Portable design
- Strong engine
- The cutting plate is small for big projects
- Both magnet and extended plates have to be purchased separately
- The performance is not very fast
Evolution Advanced Removable Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine Motor by We R Memory Keepers
The Evolution Advanced is an embossing and die cutting machine that can be used as both manual and automatic. It features a detachable motor that is sold separately. It is easily attached to the device and provides faster and more precise cutting results. If you work outdoors and have no plug nearby, reapply its manual crank. The set includes an AC power cord.
The machine has a cute design and has a convenient handle.
- Comes with a detachable motor
- Can work with and without electricity (as a manual variant)
- Good price for an innovation
- Works a little slower than other automatic machines
- The plates may warp
Best Professional Die Cut Machine
|USCutter 28-inch Titan 2 Vinyl Cutter/Plotter||28’’ cutting platform||Works with vinyl, window film, sandblast stencil, paper board, laminate, cardstock, etc.|
USCutter 28-inch Titan 2 Vinyl Cutter/Plotter
The Titan 2 vinyl cutter is an excellent variant of an industrial machine that guarantees professional results. It is a 28’’ device that works at variable cutting force and speed. These parameters can be adjusted on a large LCD display.
The machine can handle a variety of materials like vinyl, hard paperboard, oracal, and others. The unit comes with a basket to catch the material, a floor stand, three Titan blades and a blade holder, USB cable, pen holder, and others.
It includes vector graphics and supports a professional design software, VinylMaster Cut (V4.0, basic version). The machine has a strong and durable construction. All its moving parts are metal and can withstand repeated use.
- Good price for a professional type of machine
- Noiseless operation
- Servomotor ensures precise cutting
- Quality construction
- Able to cut thick materials
- Has a learning curve
- There are some things that the basic version of this software cannot do
- The software is not Mac compatible
Silhouette CAMEO 3: Ideal for Vinyl
If you need an electric cutter not for commercial but for home purposes, consider buying the Silhouette CAMEO 3. It is not as strong as the previous machine, but it works great with paper and vinyl. The unit uses the PixScan algorithm that allows you to take pictures with a smartphone and upload them to the computer for the Cameo 3 to cut. Thanks to the AutoBlade system, the Cameo 3 understands the correct depth of the blade for cutting out your project. It is able to cut intricate images of 12’’ wide.
The device doesn’t use cartridges and requires less effort to set it up. Users can operate it without a computer and use images from a USB drive. It uses Bluetooth and can be tablet or computer controlled.
The machine holds two carriages that are able to draw and cut at the same time. The starter kit includes the Silhouette Studio software, 12’’ cutting mat, metallic sketch pens, USB cable, vinyl CrossCutter, power cable, and other extras.
- Portable construction
- The Bluetooth communication helps transfer your cut jobs
- Features an AutoBlade for precise cutting
- Two carriages for simultaneous cutting and drawing
- Comes with a built-in storage to hold spare blades
- Not powerful enough to work with thick materials
- Cannot emboss the material
- The instruction guide is difficult to understand
Suitable for Home Use: Brother ScanNCut CM350
This machine from Brother can work as both a cutter and scanner, and it gives users endless design possibilities. Its integrated 300 DPI scanner allows you to use and scan designs from other sources like family photos or drawings made by your child.
You can connect it wirelessly to your tablet and use a cloud-based ScanNCut Canvas software to make your design. You can use its touch screen without using a cartridge or computer and save the information into a USB drive or its internal memory.
This crafting equipment features a 4.85’’ full-color LCD touch screen which allows you to resize and rotate your designs.
The ScanNCut CM350 can also be used for quilting fabrics. It is able to cut various materials and comes with 631 design templates and 100 patterns for quilting. The device includes a 12’’ cutting mat, but you can upgrade it to a larger size.
- Allows you to transfer designs wirelessly
- Amazing scanning capability
- Has a large touch screen display
- Able to cut materials up to 24’’ wide
- Solid construction
- The cutting mat is sticky and not durable
- Requires a learning curve to operate
Brother DesignNCut DC200: Cool for Plastic Board
The DesignNCut DC200 is a very fast automatic die cutter. Its maximum speed reaches 112 mm per second. The machine uses a German carbide blade able to cut through materials of 1.5 mm thick. This blade is also able to perforate, which is a necessary feature for creating envelopes, boxes, or 3D projects.
With this multifunctional device, you can draw, cut, emboss/deboss, and create numerous templates. The range of materials for use varies from fabric and paper to plastic, felt, iron-on, foam, leather, and poster board.
The machine can be used wirelessly from your mobile device. With an Internet connection, you can access hundreds of ready-made projects, fonts, and logos from the official website. Neither subscription nor fee is required. The cutter uses DesignNCut Manager software.
The machine has an amazing CaptureMat function. You can take a picture of any image you like, convert it into an image file, and send it to the machine for further editing.
- German cutting blades
- Fast operation speed
- Array of functions (perforation also)
- Wireless connection
- CaptureMat function
- Convenient interface for editing your projects
- Compatible with a number of operating systems
- Requires some knowledge to understand the machine functioning
- The Wi-Fi connection of the device is poor
Sizzix BIGkick Machine, 657850: Most Stylish Design
The BIGkick from Sizzix is a versatile machine for DIY creations. It can be used for embossing, monogramming, texturizing your material, and for making home décor. It is able to handle metal, fabrics, cardstock, and many other materials that can be included in your design career.
If you need spare parts for this machine, they can be purchased from other brands. The unit is compatible with the parts, accessories, embossing tools, and dies from other manufacturers.
The device includes an extended multipurpose platform and two cutting pads.
- The spare parts are compatible with those from other brands
- Handles a variety of materials
- Has a multipurpose platform
- Stylish appeal in periwinkle
- Good price
- The cutting pressure is not strong enough
- The hand crank is prone to breakage
- The cutting plates may warp
Cricut Cuttlebug Machine: Great Work with Tissue Paper
This little die cut machine from Cricut has been very popular for many years. It remains an ideal device for newbies at a very affordable price tag. The machine is very small and lightweight, but it houses a powerful mechanism able to emboss and cut various shapes. It features a manual rolling system, which means that the unit is human-powered.
The Cuttlebug is able to work with different crafts materials – foil, leather, tissue paper, ribbon, etc. In addition, this unit can work with dies and embossing folders from other manufacturers.
- Miniature and cute design
- Portable, fold-n-store construction
- Comfortable pop-up handle
- Performs quality cutting and embossing
- Not pricey
- Works with various materials
- Easy to use
- Limited capacity
- The device features suction which keeps it stable, but it doesn’t work properly
Graphtec CE6000-60 Plus: Best Value for Money and Quality
This professional cutter is a follow-up of the CE5000 series. It is designed for professional crafters who need high reliability and precision.
The machine features a 24’’ cutting platform and can accommodate wide materials. The unit comes with a set of accessories and includes two floor stands, two rolls of oracal (black and white), blades and a blade holder, pen adapter, vinyl trimmer, USB connector, roll feeder, and many others. The machine even comes in three boxes (for the unit, stand, and accessories). The device has a reliable servomotor for more accurate cuts. It integrates the Automatic Registration Mark Sensor (ARMS) and features special monitoring for blade wear.
The CE6000-60 Plus uses a plug-in software, Cutting Master 4. It sends data to the plotter and performs a variety of functions, such as preview, tool condition, cut job settings, etc. This software allows you to control various settings from the computer and improve operating efficiency.
- Lifetime support of the product
- Comes with a variety of accessories
- All-round professional device
- Cuts thick materials
- Works fast and quiet
- Requires time to learn how to use it
Easy to Use: Graphtec FC8600-60
The FC8600-60 from Graphtec is designed for high-performance and professional cutting. This industry leader is a dream of all graphic artists, sign makers, and other related users who need a lot of cutting done very fast and well. Its maximum cutting area is 164’’ long and 24’’ wide. The device is very powerful, but it is rather expensive.
It features a 3’’ LCD control panel and is Ethernet capable (ability to run various machines from one location). It has an option for extra push rollers including three tension settings. The machine features ARMS system of the 5th generation, which adjusts color variations to provide more accurate circuits of printed images.
The machine comes with floor stands and a catch basket for dust-free job operations. It has the Graphtec studio and Cutting Master 3 software.
- Has the best cutting technology available
- Fast operation
- LCD control panel
- Sleek design
- New ARMS system
- Bulky equipment
Worthy of Your Attention
|Brother ScanNCut |
|Electronic||11.7’’||Works with paper, fabric,
|Cricut Explore One||Electronic||11.5’’||Works with paper, cardstock,
iron-on, vinyl, fabric, poster board, etc.
|Janome Artistic Edge |
|Electronic||15’’||Works with leather, faux leather,
fabric, paper, vinyl, magnets, etc.
|Pazzles Inspiration Vue||Electronic||12’’||Works with vinyl, iron-on,
thin plastic, magnet paper,
sticker paper, chipboard,
stiffened fabric, etc.
|Sizzix Eclips2 DIY |
|Electronic||12’’||Works with cardstock, chipboard, vinyl, cork, craft metal, foam, felt, magnet, leather, plastic, vellum, rubber, etc.|
|USCutter Vinyl Cutter |
MH 34in Bundle
|Electronic||34’’||Works with standard and heat transfer vinyl, craft paper, cardstock, paint mask, etc.|
|Sizzix Sidekick |
|Manual||2.5’’||Works with paper,
|Bira Craft Die |
Cutting & Embossing
|Manual||3 1/8’’||Works with paper,
2mm foam, etc.
|Bira Craft Die |
Cutting & Embossing
|Manual||6 1/4’’||Works with paper,
|Fellibay Die Cutting |
|Manual||3’’||Works with foil, acetate
ribbon, tissue paper, thin leather, etc.
|Patgoal Small |
|Manual||5.5’’||Works with paper, cardstock, etc.|
|Quilled Creations Flutter||Manual||2 1/2’’||Works with paper and other
|Sizzix Big Shot Pro ||Manual||13’’||Works with fabric,
|Spellbinders JD-031 |
by Jane Davenport
|Manual||-||Works with paper, metal,
cotton, balsa wood, etc.
|We R Memory Keepers||Manual||3’’||Works with paper,
|Spellbinders GC-200 |
|Manual||8 1/8’’||Works with paper,
What Are Die Cutting Machines?
A die cutter is a device especially designed to cut various materials to a particular shape. This has become an art to create designs on metal, fabric, paper, or vinyl with one fell swoop. The use of dies eradicates the need of scissors because die cut machines operate faster and provide professional results. These shapes can be used in scrapbooking, in decoration of cards and clothes, and in other projects.
With a die cutter at home, your opportunities to create unique things become limitless.
Types of Die Cut Machines
There are three types of die cut machines:
- computerized (digital).
They are all different regarding their usage and cost. It is up to your taste which device you prefer. Some crafters may enjoy the ease of using electrical units and technology that comes with them where a laser is involved. Other users prefer working by hand and opt for cheaper appliances.
Some machines are excellent at certain tasks, while others can produce average results. It is easier to choose a machine when you know all the options. Let’s determine the main properties of each type.
Manual machines are equipped with a crank system. They are labor intensive and require turning its handle to operate it. You place an image or die and a sheet of paper between plastic plates, make “a sandwich,” and insert it into the machine’s slot. Then, you turn the crank feeding the image through the rollers, which press the die into your material. As this device involves handwork, it cannot be suitable for people with hand issues (arthritis, etc.).
These units require no electricity, and they are great for places where it is not supplied. Usually, they are compact, lightweight, and portable.
Manual cutters can be a perfect addition to digital machines because they are able to perform embossing. Only a few computerized cut machines include this function. Manual appliances are easy to operate, but they may have certain drawbacks. For example, improper die settings may result in an error.
These machines work similar to manual ones. The difference is that they don’t require physical work and use a motor instead of a crank system. You plug the device into an electrical outlet and push the button. It pulls a die with your material automatically and applies pressure for cutting out the design. If the appliance is more complicated, it uses a cartridge instead of dies, which is able to store numerous images.
Electrical cutters are costlier than manual units. These machines are perfect for teachers and hobbyists and very helpful for big projects. If you plan using a unit once in a while, it will be a little expensive.
There are models that include additional functions. If you insert a pen instead of a cutting blade, the machine will draw images. In addition, these devices feature a software which has a learning curve. It is great if you have a friend who has bought a similar machine and can teach you. Some customers keep it on the shelf even without taking it out of the box because using it is an ordeal.
Computerized (or digital) die cutting devices are similar to printing and scanning machines. The design can be transferred to this machine in a few ways. You can use designs preloaded from the cartridge or use images drawn by the computer software, or download them from the Internet. These machines can replicate any illustration, font, and shape stored on your computer.
These appliances are faster and more versatile. They work on electricity and require computer knowledge. They are heavier, larger, and more expensive than the two types described above. With these units, you don’t need to buy other cartridges and simply get new ones from online libraries. The speed of these machines is unsurpassed, and they can cut a wide range of materials. They ensure exceptional precision and involve no physical work at all.
Cartridge vs. Software Based Die Cut Machines
The cartridge-based cut machines were the first devices that became available for home use. As the name suggests, they include cartridges that allow users to cut various shapes and letters. Earlier, when computers were rare and the Internet was limited, these die cutting machines seemed to be very convenient. They provided limited choices and were inflexible; however, they were considered to be very progressive. If users wanted to incorporate a new element into some design, they had to buy a separate cartridge. That was rather costly.
Software-based machines are more complex and require some level of knowledge, but they offer countless possibilities. With an array of choices, you can import various files and make unique shapes. You can also download images from external storage or use special programs supported by software-based cutters. Some brands design machines that are compatible with printers and scanners so that crafters can print and cut their images in A3, A4, or other paper shapes.
There are also hybrid systems on the market that merge software and cartridges and offer the advantages of both machine types. With these devices, you can use the cartridges and download your design from the Internet or computer. These machines are portable, efficient, and versatile, but they are more expensive.
Advantages of Using These Machines
With the help of die cutting machines, you can make numerous adorable things like unique business cards or decorations. These creations will help draw new customers or will just make your friends happy. Here are the main benefits of these machines:
- Make unique things. Not all business cards are rectangular. People are used to getting them standard-shaped. If you make your own design (for example, heart-shaped), this will draw more attention and help attract more customers and partners. This is the key that will make people remember your name and company. These non-traditional products always catch attention at open fairs and shows. The same is true with your friends: an exclusive gift box and unique greeting card will make your gift remarkable.
- Grab somebody’s attention. A lot of customers buy products because of their nice cover. They tend to judge by an appearance. If you make an exceptional book cover, it will draw people’s attention. The die cutting machines are a cheap way to create a competing product.
- Have fun with your creations. Non-standard things are a smart and good way of marketing your business. The same example with business cards will help explain this. If your card has a unique shape/hidden illustration/unusual effect, this will entertain your client. These positive emotions are a bonus that will differentiate your business card from others.
- Offer good cutting results. These devices can guarantee precision with every cut. Users have no worries about possible mistakes that may occur using regular templates and scissors.
- Provide less material waste. Die cut machines are the best at organizing designs and shapes. This helps avoid material waste.
- Work at high speed. Designs and images are made by machines in a short time. No matter if you buy a digital or manual device, you will finish your project faster than using traditional cutting tools.
Use your imagination and your die cutting machine will help you be above your competitors.
How an Embossing Machine Can Save You Money
Having a die cutting machine at home is not only an opportunity to create unique designs but also a way to save money and avoid wasteful spending.
Imagine that you have to cut out images for Christmas greeting cards (or any other holiday) from fabric or paper. You will attract several employees to cut them with scissors. That will be a long process, and some improperly cut images will be thrown to the trash. With a special machine, the cuts will be accomplished quickly and easily with no material wastage and extra payment to the recruited employees.
If you want to create exclusive cards for an anniversary or wedding parties, you have to pay a designer who will work out a unique design. If you are planning to order these cards from a stationery company, it will charge you a high price. The individual textured patterns and embossing are very expensive. Die cutters help do the same thing at home for a penny. Just choose a charming pattern, download a template, and the machine will do all the work for you.
As a result, you will get stand out and symmetrically cut products for a dollar cost.
There is also a common practice to attach gift tags to presents during the holiday season. The options offered by supermarkets are limited to only snowflakes and Santa images. With a die cut device, you can create hundreds of non-standard gift tags. The gift recipient will be happy if you attach his/her portrait or use some effects. These unique tags and cards will also be at a fraction of the cost.
How to Use a Craft Machine Properly?
A die cutting machine can be used for a number of crafts activities. If you are interested in sewing, needlework, or paper craft, no doubt, this tool is for you.
Manual machines are very simple to use, some of them don’t even come with a manual, while digital units require a learning curve and computer knowledge to master this art.
Die cutters are versatile and can work with various types of material such as metal, paper, foam, plastic, iron-on, fabric, and others. This depends on the model of a unit. As a rule, inexpensive manual devices can handle only thin and soft materials.
Read the user guide carefully before you start working. The use of improper and thick materials may cause jamming and damage the components of the cutter. These units work with dies and templates which can also be purchased separately.
Digital models are more complex. They can easily process hard materials and make intricate cuts. They don’t require dies and use a special software to draw and cut images.
Most models can perform many functions other than die cutting. They are able to pierce, engrave, emboss, draw, etc. With careful maintenance and regular cleanup, your die cutter will work for years.
Helpful Tips for Beginners
Some people find it difficult to use a die cut machine. This is true that these devices are complicated, but with patience and time, you will know the basics and acquire skills in this crafts activity. Here are a few tips to start with:
- If you are a newbie, begin with a manual machine. It is not difficult to handle. After you acquire certain skills, you can opt for an electronic one.
- Each device comes with a user manual. Study the specifications given by the manufacturer thoroughly. As a rule, they are easy to understand and cover all the key points.
- Watch tutorials on the Internet on how to operate the machine. A lot of people share their knowledge and experience about the same model.
It is never too late to learn something new. When you understand the basic things, you can begin your first project and get more experience with the next one.
List of Materials
Usually, crafts machines are used for scrapbooking, quilting, making labels, stickers, and stamps. They are able to create delicate laces that are extremely hard to cut with scissors. With this machine, every design will be cut neatly.
Buy a die cutting machine that can handle the material you use more often. The models vary from brand to brand, and more expensive cutters are able to cut almost any kind of material.
The materials commonly used by crafters are the following:
- paper (construction, copy, foil embossed, metallic, craft, notebook, wax, rice, shimmer, wrapping, photographs, etc.);
- cardstock (flocked, flat, glitter, pearl, white core, adhesive, cereal box, etc.);
- vinyl (dry erase, adhesive, matte, stencil, printable, outdoor, holographic, etc.);
- fabrics and textiles (cotton, denim, felt, flannel, faux suede, polyester, silk, wool felt, linen, chiffon, cashmere, velvet, tweed, etc.);
- iron-on (foil, neon, glitter, printable, matte, etc.);
- foil (embossable, adhesive foil, foil acetate, etc.);
- magnet sheets;
- sheet metal (aluminum, soda can, etc.);
- wood (balsa, birch, wood veneer, etc.);
- cork board;
- stencil material.
Numerous tutorials will give you a bunch of ideas of how to use these materials with more results. Some machines can handle materials that are more than 2 mm thick. Check this information with your own unit.
Simple Project Ideas You Can Do
With a die cut machine and quality paper, you can make fantastic things at home. Let’s mention some DIY projects that you can accomplish on your own:
- Vellum cards. Vellum is a special kind of paper that is made from cotton, wood pulp, or animal skin. To add vellum means to add depth to layouts and cards. You can cut it out and attach it to cards using an adhesive. Opt for special adhesives for use with vellum and don’t apply liquid glue, which usually leaks through the material.
- Lacy cards. They are for crafters who like lace effects in design. A lot of decorative dies can be found on the Internet.
- Die cut window cards. This is a fun way of making layers in cards when you create a bottom layer and a window that shows a part of the picture without unveiling the whole image. They look great in photo albums. A simple way to make this window card is using a die cut machine.
- Spinner cards. This is a way to add a fun element to your cards. Cut out any shape using dies. Add a string and wind up them both.
- Stand-up cards. Some people like to display cards when they receive them. Stand-up cards are easier to display in your room. With the help of special paper and dies, you can make these cards with no effort.
- Partial die cuts. This technique allows you to cut your material partially. For example, you cut the face of a person and leave the other part of the image untouched. You can also incorporate various illusions and shadows.
- Gatefold cards. If you want to turn a traditional card into a fun one, create a gatefold card. It opens from the center going outwards. When a recipient receives this card, it gives him/her a feeling of an exciting discovery inside.
- Shaker cards. These interactive cards contain special sections filled with glitter or seed beads. When you shake the card, these sections jiggle.
- Die cut foil. Metallic accents have become an exciting trend, and they look very hot. People in the crafting world like to display them in their galleries. The foiled cardstock cut out with your machine will look luxurious.
- Jar fold-a-long cards. This card type includes several previous combinations. They are similar to gatefold cards and can stand on their own. Choose a standing layout and add distinctive folds.
- Flip-its. These cards look very complicated. They involve a special folding style and have an adorable appearance.
- Gift giving. With a crafts cutter, you can create gift packages, boxes, and bags. You can form them in a different shape, add a unique lid, and make other creative things.
- Die cut leaves. This theme is for people who love nature or feel sad during winter and fall. Cut out leaves and use a bright color palette. Fresh green colors will alleviate the symptoms of depression.
- Dies and stamps. These supplies are good for making stickers. You can refabricate the same design or image by changing paper, color, or texture. Cut out a shape from the dies to match the stamps. Then, you may also color the die.
Exclusive invitation cards or cards for other special events will surprise your friends, but card making is not the only activity that is done with a die cutter. If you enjoy scrapbooking, die cut machines will help you make this book very fast. This device will cut everything for you. The only thing you have to do is to select photos, themes, and fonts. You can also die cut shaped letters for making words for your classroom activities.
Another good idea is to decorate your house using the machine. Make unusual frames for your photos, fabric flowers, and creative wall hangings.
You can also cut an image or sign and make a unique T-shirt. If you are fond of vinyl decals, you can make some and stick them to your vehicle, PC, or wall.
How to Take Care of Your Machine
If you want to enjoy the things that your die cut machine creates for you and extend its lifespan, you need to take care of it. Here are some tricks arranged in the table that help maintain the device better and keep it working correctly.
|Manual die cut machines||Electronic die cut machines|
|Perform regular cleanup of the machine.||Perform regular cleanup of the machine.|
|Ensure that your dies are clean.||Supervise your kids because using the machine may be hazardous.|
|Don’t force the material through the rollers. If it gets stuck, pull it out gently.||When the machine is running, don’t remove the plates or platforms, otherwise, they may get damaged.|
|Before you switch the machine on, check that there are no objects between the plates that can cause jamming.|
|Take a break if you use the machine for too long. Let it cool and continue the session.|
|Make sure that the machine is off when you aren’t using it.|
These are the best ways to take care of your machine. Store it correctly, and the device will serve you for years.
The best die cutter is a machine that fits your needs. Before buying this device, determine the main criteria that you expect from the unit:
You may not need a complex and expensive machine if you are not a professional crafter and are not going to use it very often. A good choice for beginners is a simple, hand-operated device.
Top Rated Die Cut Machine Brands on the Market
It is up to you to decide which die cut machine you want – will you need a manual or electric device? If you have no experience, choose an appliance from reputable brands. They offer durable products and will guarantee a successful purchase. The selection from the following manufacturers will narrow down your search scope:
- KNK Zing
- Just Cutz
- and others
Most of them are leaders in the electronic industry with the name that has become a synonym of high quality. They use the latest technology, and their innovative tools offer various crafting choices. These companies deliver trustworthy equipment for your best DIY projects. Their high-grade die cutters will ease the work for all crafters.
People who are searching for a good cutter usually have many questions related to this device and its functioning. Here are the answers to typical questions asked by newbies. They can be helpful to you, too.
How Does Die Cutting Work?
Die cuts machines are used to cut out shapes. They help crafters mass-produce identical shapes without using craft knives ? and stencils. These machines allow people to save time and get professional-looking images.
In manual machines, you have to prepare “a sandwich” ☺️ before operation. First, you place the material on the platform. Then, you place a die on the material. Position them both. Next, a cutting mat and a piece of paper are placed on the die. You turn the lever and feed this “sandwich” through the device. The hand crank is connected to a rolling base. On the way, pressure is applied on the platform, which pushes the die into the material. It cuts the shape that you want. This operation can be compared with a conveyor belt.
In automatic machines, you place the material on a sheet of adhesive paper, which keeps it stable. You choose the design that you want to be performed. The cutting blades carve the design automatically.
What Is the Difference Between Manual and Electric Models?
Electric die cutters work on electricity. They run with the help of cartridges and software. These units don’t use dies because their blades do the cutting. They look like printers ? and connect to computer via a USB port. A necessary design can be chosen on a cartridge or computer. New images can be downloaded or bought from the Internet. These machines are able to perform a variety of functions, like engraving, embossing, die cutting, etc.
Manual machines feature a lever that is hand-operated. They use dies to produce cuts on paper or other material. They are less powerful and can handle thinner materials.
What Do You Need to Get Started with Die Cutting?
Usually, die cutting appliances come with all the necessary accessories to start operation – a platform and a cutting pad. If you have a manual machine, you will need to buy new dies afterwards.
An automatic machine requires cartridges or software to get started. New cartridges and cut files can be purchased separately. You will need a cutting mat that will hold a die and paper together.
The only thing to buy is the material you are going to use – paper, vinyl, foil, etc. Numerous videos ?️ and online classes will help you master a new machine. Tutorial guides that come with the machine will explain how to set up the device and use its accessories. With your imagination and inspiration, you may let your crafting dream come true.
How Do You Make Die Cut Stickers?
To make die cut stickers ?, you need to buy a die cutter. There are no specific instructions for how to make the stickers because the process depends on the type of machine you have.
Some devices create stickers using dies, other units print and cut images that you need.
What Is the Difference Between ScanNCut and Direct Cut?
ScanNCut differs from Direct Cut by a possibility to scan an image. This can be a hand-drawn illustration or a printed image. You scan it and then cut it around. It is very helpful for crafts activities because you can cut any drawing or image you like.
What Is the Difference Between Vinyl Cutter and Plotter?
Vinyl cutters and plotters are actually similar things, but they feature different tools and are used for different purposes. Plotters have a preinstalled pen that draws on the material. Cutters use a knife to draw and cut the material.
How to Clean the Machine?
With repeated use, your machine gets dirty and gains dust. As any other appliance, a cutter requires a periodic cleanup.
Soak a paper towel or a piece of fabric in rubbing alcohol (or glass cleaner) and rub the exterior. When it evaporates, rub the device with a dry cloth. Don’t use abrasives, bleaching agents, or liquids that contain acetone to clean the unit because they may scratch the surface.
If your die contains debris stuck on it, clean it with a soft cloth, otherwise dirty parts may cause a material jam and ruin the cuts. Similar to the dies, clean the cutting plates. Check that all the parts are dry before you assemble them back.
The blades may last up to half a year depending on what you are cutting and how often you work. Follow the instructions given in the guide and open the blade housing to clean the blades. If your machine starts making a grinding noise, this means it requires greasing.
Don’t use water or any cleaning solutions to clean an automatic machine. Moisture can damage the electronics, so use only soft dry fabric to rub the device.
If the machine is not in use, close it to avoid dust settling.
What Is the Cost of a Machine?
High-quality machines are the most expensive units. They are able to perform complex and intricate designs. They have durable blades able to make precise cuts.
However, cheaper desktop machines that are priced under $300 are favorite cutters among users. Manual devices can manage with a lighter load than their pricey automatic counterparts, but they are an ideal option for home use and small business.
The Best Online Stores to Buy Embossing Machine
A good die cutter can be purchased in a crafting shop or in online stores. Instead of looking for a good craft store that may have a limited assortment of machines, you may search for a better variant on the Internet.
Large and world-known trading platforms offer various options to choose a machine for your needs. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Costco, eBay, Best Buy, and other big online retailers offer all types of die cutters. You can compare the prices and read reviews from customers who have purchased the same product. These shops usually offer a number of benefits that include free delivery, replacement, and warranty.
What Is the Best Cricut Machine to Buy?
Among quality models developed by Cricut, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is one of the most popular machines:
- it works with different kinds of material including leather and cardstock;
- you can create wirelessly away from your PC using Bluetooth;
- it may use the iPad application to work on the go;
- thanks to the Cut Smart Technology, it performs accurate cuttings;
- its blades are very durable;
- it is very quiet;
- it has a Smart Set Dial which helps set the material easily;
- its dual carriage allows you to perform writing/cutting and scoring/cutting.
It has plenty of excellent features that can be added to the list. This device has a high performance and is worthy to try.
All die cutters have their upsides and downsides. This also depends on which functions you are looking for in your machine. Some devices may offer more functions and opportunities than you expect. These machines were described in the above review by WoWPencils, so that you can select the one to your preference and taste. Share your project ideas and impressions of your die cutter!
- Vinyl Cutter – https://en.wikipedia.org/
- How to Use Die Cuts – https://www.wikihow.com/
- What Materials Can a Cricut Machine Cut? – https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/
- What Is the Difference Between a Vinyl Cutter and a Vinyl Plotter? – https://www.ehow.com/
- Spellbinders Official Website – https://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/
- Sizzix Website – https://www.sizzix.com/
- Cricut Cutting Machines – https://cricut.com/