Diecutters...Which one?

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Diecutters...Which one?

I have been stuck on which diecutter to choose. I don't really have any room on my desk, but I guess I could work around that. I want the best diecutter that doesn't cost a fortune to maintain/upgrade/update. A close friend of mine is purchasing it for me, so this long, long-awaited gift is finally going to be a reality, and I'm confused. Was kind of focusing on the Personal Cricut Expressions but the drawback seems to be the cost of the cartridges.

Does anyone have a diecutter? Would you recommend it? I'd appreciate any info.! Thank you! smiley

I love the Slice by Making Memories....it doesn't take up a ton of room, but there are some disadvantages, for example, if you want to cut anything really big, the Slice isn't for you.

I also have the Cricut and Sizzix, I tend to use the Cricut more, but often times I use the Sizzix to do borders.

Not sure if I have helped you at all!!! LOL!

You are correct that the Expressions cartridges are very expensive, but you can find good deals fairly often.

I adore my Cricut. The cartridges do start to add up but you can often get them for dirt cheap and I got a lot of mine for gifts. I know they have a small one, the mini? And they have the "baby" that only does 6 inches wide paper but my favorite is my expression that does 12in paper. They also have the craft room but I haven't dabbled with that yet.

I have the Sizzix, but do not use it ofter.
I also have the Cricut. The personal that thaks up to 6 inches wide and the Print and Cut. Which I do love to print a design and cut it.
A few hints:
If you have a Hobby Lobby in your area I have picked up cartridges on clearance and less than half the price. Walmart Occasionaly has them on sale. You can also find cartridges for good prices on the web and from Ebay.
But I have also gotten designs on the web. You can purchase them or even find a lot for free. If you use Inkscape a free download and a vector graphic program you can convert designs to the Cricut format. You use the Design Studio and link your Cricut to your computer. A great way of creating your layout, saving it, than just hooking up and cutting.

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your great advice and experiences, and the info. of getting deals on the cartridges helps a lot! Thank you very much!

Ok, I know I'm going to ruffle some feathers here, but.... I would stay away from Cricut. From all that I have read and heard, their customer service is really lacking and their products don't work or last very long. I've been a happy owner of a CraftRobo for over 5 years now and I'm sad that they don't make this machine in a "crafter's" size any more. Silhouette America bought out the distribution rights for the machines from Graphtec and discontinued it and brought out the Cameo. If you're looking for something that will take 12" cardstock and cut a variety of materials (fairly light materials), the Cameo is probably your best bet. If you don't need a 12" wide bed, Silhouette also has the Portrait, which (like my CraftRobo) take letter size paper. I've been saving for quite a while and the machine I've decided on after months of research and reading reviews will be the new Zing by KlicNKut. It has the highest cutting force, laser eye for accurate print & cut, and has a 14" wide bed (so it will cut true 12" wide papers - most other cutters will accept 12" paper, but can't cut to the edge so they only cut about 11 3/4"). The Zing will also cut balsa wood, so I know I won't have problems getting through any card stock. smiley The best part about electronic cutters that aren't Provocraft is that you aren't tied to their designs or software. You can cut any image you can find. You can use any font on your computer or download, and there are literally thousands upon thousands of free files. In over 5 years, I've only paid for a handful of files and that was just out of sheer laziness because I didn't want to search on the internet and I needed to make something quick. Paperthreads.com has a lot of information on all the different "craft" cutters on the market. You might want to check them out. Some of them are quite expensive with various features all with different software and learning curves. You may also want to consider how computer literate you are. Some of them have quite a steep learning curve on their software. The most popular machines right now are Cameo, Portrait, Zing, Gazelle, Pazzles, Cougar.... There are a lot of choices, so in my opinion, I would steer away from Provo Craft

Cat, no feathers ruffled or anything but my friends and I have had the complete opposite situation with Provo Craft and the Cricut. My friend's Cricut was having problems and they sent her a brand new one! I have owned two, my personal cutter and now the expression and have loved both and both work like a charm. I understand to each their own and not everything works for everyone but I just wanted to say I have had nothing but great experience with Cricut and Provo Craft after about 10 years of use.

I do both what Judy and Cat say:
1) I have a Cricut Imagine (print & cut, & does up to 12"x24" sizes) with tons of Cartridges (cut only, because all of the old cartridges work in it, you just can't print them since only the imagine cartridges have printing capabilities) I've never paid over $20 for a cartridge & many I paid less than $10 for. I either get them through Yard Sales/CraigsList (people getting rid of theirs everyday), Ebay or at Thanksgiving/Christmas sales. I got my Cricut at Thanksgiving (Black Friday) a couple years ago for $185 plus tax.

2) Before I bought the Cricut (Because no matter what anyone says, it is WAY easier to use) than my CraftRobo (mine's actually called a WishBlade, same company overseas) It cost me a few pennies shy of $500 back then and it does take a little more work to cut a simple file. The learning curve to use the software's required to do everything Cat mentions can be frustrating at first and I'm fairly computer savvy and have a hubby that is a Systems Admin for 20 years. If you wanted something comparable it would be the silhouette now, as Cat mentioned they bought up all the production rights, but it's still made overseas from my understanding.

My Wishblade is a tad smaller and lighter, but not by too much. I store mine on my desk on a white wooden shoe rack from Walmart that was like $20. smiley I use the bottom shelf for paper & supplies and still have my desk surface on the bottom. smiley

That's my honest breakdown on die cutters. Note: I wouldn't give up either one!!! for different reasons. So, it's really preference and what you want it to do.

I have Silhouette Cameo, for two reasons: One is that this is the only one that offers customer service in Brazil (ouch) and second is that I need to be able to cut things coming from my computer (or even printed in a graphic), as my husband uses it comercially.

The native software is Silhouette Studio, which I think is a great one, but he finds too much limited. So he bought a SCAL 3, and, with it, he can make the images on Corel Draw (His program of choice for almost everything) and export in a easy way to cut.

In my opinion, the only problem is that the cutting mat don´t last for long. But we found on the web a way to restore the glue to old mats and make handmade cutting mats which don´t work perfectly, but are so far so good. Some people also complain because id don´t cut very hard materials, but I haven´t even tried it.

On an overall: I like it, and think that, depending on what you intend to do with it, its better than Cricut.

Thank you for sharing your experience, and I will definitely check out the website, Paperthreads.com. Thank you! Do you have any opinion of the Boss...or something like that? It seems VERY expensive.

Heather, why would you need/want both the Cricut and Provo Craft? Is one lacking in something the other has? Thanks!

I'm still confused. This has been driving me crazy for literally years now. But now I can actually go and get one (generous friend), but I'm just not sure. I want to be able to cut shapes for scrapbooking and card-making, and I'd also like to create some of the wall-art I've seen...like a special saying that you cut maybe from vinyl to place on the wall. Maybe to create subway art or wall deco. I don't know what else it can do. I like that it does not have to be connected to my pc (space problem), but I also would like the ability to dl files from the internet for free and use in my diecutter. I don't know all of the things a diecutter can do, but I've seen shows on something like hsn.com, and I love what they seem to be able to create. Does that narrow the possibilities down at all?

Thanks everyone!

P.S. I might also want to emboss, distress, and punch in the future, or sooner!

Also, does anyone know if the Cricut V1 Limited Edition can be used with SCAL (Sure Cuts A Lot)? I know it is not compatible with the newer version, Cricut Expression 2.

None of the Cricut machines will work with any other software - at all. Long story - they're bullies and took a small independent company to court over the software and threatened another small company. Now their machines don't work with any 3rd party software unless you have an older machine that didn't have the firmware updated. So you're stuck with what Cricut dishes out for designs on their cartridges or the Cricut Craft Room. (Can you tell I don't like ProvoCraft?). Any of the electronic die cutting machines we mentioned before will do what you want as far as scrapbooking, card making, & vinyl wall decals. Not many of the machines will emboss unless you get one of the higher end machines with higher cutting force. I know that they tout that they can, but I have seen youtube videos and pictures and the results are unimpressive to say the least. If you want a good deep impression from embossing, your better off with a Big Shot and embossing folder. I think there is one still on the market that will take 12" wide sheets, but I cant' remember the name of it right now. As for distressing - a kitchen butter knife or a nail file will do that. Once you get your cutter you won't need any more punches, but I'm sure you'll still WANT some. smiley

Cindy, Provo Craft makes the Cricut, that is their die cutting machine. I adore my Cricuts for the simplicity of the cutting. I'm not certain about the what the current situation with outside companies like SCAL being able to be used on the older Cricuts (which are still out there) but I do know they were ticked that someone tried to bully them by making their cartridges "obsolete" because who wouldn't want to buy one $50 program rather than multiple for $30. Unlike Cat, I don't begrudge Cricut for protecting their life blood and wanting to keep it all exclusive. However, I don't begrudge people for wanting that type of set up either. But I think it is a little harsh to criticize a whole company and their products for protecting their livelihood.

Cat, are you recommending I get one of the diecutters mentioned previously and purchasing a Big Shot and embossing folder in order to emboss? The Big Shot is not a diecutter? Just want to be sure before I go and purchase. I had the same impression as you re: Cricut machines...seems like a monopoly...I see that the other machines work with other company's products, all except Cricut.

Thanks for your input, Heather! Yeah, I felt kind of dumb as I was searching the internet and finally realized Provo Craft is the company that makes the Cricut! SCAL seemed to make a BIG difference in what you could do with Cricut, now it's incompatible. That's a bummer, because I really wanted the combo. Ho, hum. Think I'm coming to a decision...that would be nice! smiley

Cat, must the Cameo and Zing by KlicNKut be hooked up to the computer? Thanks!

Checked out paperthreads...soooo much info. there!

Just checked out a couple of sites that carry the Zing...one offers an Embossing tool...do you recommend this or just getting the Big Shot? One site...comes with Make the Cut...that sounds like a good deal. Strange, no sites offer a special...all are $399.

The KNK Zing Embossing Tool has two ball-shaped ends. Use these tools to emboss paper and thin cardstock, as well as for scoring fold-up designs.

The Cameo can be used without the computer, however, you have to have the software to design or download the Silhouette files (which is free). You can get free studio (silhouette studio) files on the internet (lots of them), but Silhouette won't allow anyone to sell studio files. You need to upgrade to the designer edition (about $50) to be able to import .svg files (which is what most cutters use now). The new Silhouette studio software is still limited in that you can't export your designs as a .svg file, but if you can find an older version - 1.9 or 2.0 - then there was a bug and it will allow you to save your designs as .svg. I'm not certain if the Cameo will cut svg files straight from the sd card, but I kind of doubt it.

The Zing has to be hooked up to the computer in order to cut. It does come with the embossing tools and they are just like the embossing stylus you can get for paper parchment crafts. I honestly haven't really been impressed with the embossing the machines do on paper, but they do nicely on craft metal just because the metal shows the relief better than paper. The Zing comes with upgraded software (Make The Cut) and you will be able to use just about any file type you want (except for studio files since that is a proprietary file type). It will even import SCAL files. If you want to do embossing like I did on this card:

I suggest you get a Big Shot and some embossing folders. Right now, the embossing folder only go as big as 5x7 (unless something new has come on the market since I last looked), but IMHO they give a much nicer impression than what can be achieved with the cutting machines.

So you're suggesting that if I get the Zing, I should also get the Big Shot for embossing? Just want to be clear on all of this. How come there are no sales on the Zing...is it because it's new? They list the Cricut Expression for $599.99, but it's in my local stores for $400.00, but frequently it is on sale for $200.00.

I have a Cricut Expression and just bought (aboiut a month ago) the Sizzix Eclips. I will probably never use my Cricut again because I can use ECal (Craftedge.com) with my Eclips. I can use both with my computer (the old Expression still uses SCAL V 2) but the Eclips cuts soooooo much better and it has a print to cut option so you can print out what you want before cutting it. I researched electronic die cutters for months before I made my purchase and couldn't be happier with the Eclips. The Eclips originally was just a cartridge based system, but they teamed up with Craftedge and SVGCuts and you don't have to use cartridges at all. You can get a really good deal on the cutter and the software package at SVGcuts.com. It's still 359.99 with free shipping. Since Cricut won't allow any third party software to be used with their machines since their big lawsuit I will not be buying anymore Cricut products, or Provocraft for that matter. I think they are kind of shooting themselves in the foot by doing that, but it is what it is and I'm sure there are a lot of still faithful Cricut users out there. I just don't like the idea of having to buy cartridges and still not get the exact designs that I want.

The beauty of the Eclips and other computer software based cutters is you can design your own elements and cut them. There is a free program called Inkscape that is very similar to Adobe Illustrator that will allow you to create your own SVG files and import them into your cutting program. You can also design elements directly in the SCAL and ECAL programs, import JPG, BMP, and PDF files, and cut any font that you have on your computer (True type).

I also have the Big Kick manual die cutter and a couple of hundred Sizzix dies that I bought when I first started out in scrapping, but I haven't used a die in years. The only think I use my Big Kick for now is embossing.

Hope I haven't confused the issue and good luck finding the cutter that works best for you. I personally don't know what I'd do without my Eclips. smiley

Cindy, you should be able to get the expression even cheaper than $200 if you look around. I am certain it is a less expensive machine because the company doesn't need to make all their money on the machine but they make it on the cartridges too. Not how I would do business but I think it's their right to do so, kwim? The other machines need to keep their value high because that's the company's only way to make money on that product. Another machine that I have heard a lot of great things about is Pazzle. I don't think, at the end of the day, you can really go wrong with any. They all are great machines and really do about the same thing with a little different tweak.

As for the big shot, it can emboss and can also die cut but the you can only use ridged type plates. You know like the old school die cuts where you get one size and shape per plate. The bigshot also can emboss with embossing folders and they give very beautiful deep embossed images. You will not currently get that from any electronic machine. There are also many other companies that ofter Bigshot type rolling thing. If money is an issue, I do like the cuttle bug for the price. It is about half as much as the Bigshot. But if you are only embossing with it, works pretty well for that. However, it is a little more tippy but it's easier to store because it doesn't have as big of a base. I know that Spellbinders and Tim Holtz also make die cutters similar to the Bigshot.

Not to make things more confusing but I like my pazzles. They have a promotion that runs all the time that if you sign up for their craft club for 2 years @ $20 a month you can buy the machine for $99. Kind of like getting to buy it interest free. With the craft club you get access to a huge library of cutting files, training videos and live project classes. For an additional cost you can buy add on tools that will allow you to draw,emboss, engrave, distress, pierce and do the cake/ pastry thing. It cuts through all kinds of materials and thicknesses. It doesn't print but they teach you how to do print and cut projects. To me the software is very similar to photoshop if you want to draw your own things or make changes to an existing file. I think it's a great deal.

It's a big decision and I'm sure whichever one you chose will work. For instance my mom has a cricut and that works best for her because she just has to put her cartridge in say what size and push the button. There's a little more involved with my pazzle but I like to make my own stuff and get all the free fonts I want off the internet .

Good Luck! And have fun cutting!

So you're suggesting that if I get the Zing, I should also get the Big Shot for embossing? Just want to be clear on all of this. How come there are no sales on the Zing...is it because it's new? They list the Cricut Expression for $599.99, but it's in my local stores for $400.00, but frequently it is on sale for $200.00.

You don't "need" a big shot, but if you want to emboss, its the machine that will do the job. You will "need" one regardless of what electronic cutter you decide to purchase. I think there aren't many/any sales on the Zing because its a machine that will hold its value. Its made by Klick N Kut, which is a large company that manufacture industrial cutting machines and has been around for quite a number of years. The Zing is their crafter's model.

Thank you again, to all of you, for your very helpful responses! I couldn't do this without you! smiley

@Cindy, let us know what you decide and why. I like to hear what others' rational for things are.

Okay, Heather, I will do. I'm kind of a little confused with everyone loving their own (different) choice. I have to compare all of these answers and go ahead and decide! Not so easy!

As far as embossing papers goes, is there a machine like Big Shot that will emboss up to 12"x12" papers?

The only machine that I know of that will take 12" wide paper is the Creatopia by Xyron. It doesn't have a lot of choice as far as embossing patterns go and I don't know how well it works since I have never seen one in person. From the videos I watched, the embossing is done by rolling the paper between patterned wheels. Works on the same principle as the paper crimpers (which really didn't work that well with the one's I had).

@Cindy, most people seem to not really need a 12X12 embossing machine, for the most part, because much of the embossing is an accent rather than something use as a back ground or something. However, it is really to each their own.

As far as machines go I think they are all similar in that they pretty much do the same thing. The are all probably similar in price in that you'll pay it on the front end with the machine itself or the back end with software. I'd google "die cutting machine review" or "die cutting machine compare" to see what you come up with. With a quick search, I found http://die-cutting-machines-review.toptenreviews.com/ and http://die-cutting-machines-review.toptenreviews.com/ but there are a few more too.

I like the cuttlebug because you can use the sizzix, cuttlebug, sizzlets, quickutz and more dies... it's less expensive then most and I use it the most. And I think I have owned most of them at one time or another smiley

Ditto to Denise and Heather's responses! I use a cuttlebug because I can use ANY brand of embossing folder, sleeve, or sheet (even spellbinders) in it! And to Heather that I too... don't use full 12x12 embossed sheets that often unless I buy on very rare occasion 12x12 for a special project or layout. Usually picky with glittered 12x12 too, I like the kind that doesn't shed everywhere... smiley I forget the brand right now (maybe DCWV) but it's kind of cooked into the page. Otherwise I make my own with stickles or my xyron and regular glitters from Martha Stewart or the like for smaller diecuts, words, etc after I run the cardstock through my Cricut or Wishblade. smiley

I asked this question awhile ago on another forum and based on all the answers I got decided the Silhouette was the one I liked the best. I haven't purchased it yet as the cost is not justifiable for how often/little I would use it, but I liked I could make my own svg files to import and no cartridges were necessary.