Cricut compared to its competition: what are the advantages?
There are a few competitor models out there on the market, but as yet nothing rivals a Cricut machine. Though some people may feel the price of the Cricut is perhaps the biggest concern, you certainly get what you pay for with these models. That equals an exceptional industry favorite which can cut like no other machine can, access to hundreds of projects all from the one model, and crafting which is so much fun in the process.
The designs of Cricut machines, even offering storage solutions, are claimed to be the most streamlined and therefore practical. The software that is included as standard here is said to be the best on the market and allows more significant possibilities and choice than other models. It’s also the easier to upload and create an account for as well as allowing users to upload their very own images and designs if they prefer to.
Furthermore, these machines are sturdy and durable, serving many users for several years, hassle-free.
Features to consider before buying a Cricut machine
Before you decide on the best model for you, you may want to consider some of the standard and additional features that a Cricut machine can offer you. This can include various cutting speeds, varied material settings, additional tools, increased scoring and writing functions, multiple adjustments and settings, wireless capability, and even tool holders on the model itself.
Most Cricut machines will work at fast standard speeds, but there are newer models, such as the Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2, which offer even faster cutting times, as much as up to two times that of the standard models. However, an increased cutting speed will not alter the effects of your projects or change the results – it merely means that you can get more done in quick succession.
A faster machine will only really be beneficial to you if you need to get through a lot in one session, or if you use it on a regular basis for numerous projects, perhaps even some professional.
Materials you can work with
All Cricut machines allow you to work on a wide range of material choices. However, you if have a specific material in mind, you will need to double check the specification on your selected model to ensure it can cope with that particular type.
Compatible blades and pens
Each Cricut machine will have a selection of blades that are most compatible with your device. From premium fine points, deep points, rotary blades, knife blades, and bonded fabrics to scoring wheels, when you do buy a replacement, you will need to make sure that the model specified on the blade packaging is compatible with your model number.
The same advice applies to Cricut pens. You will need to ensure they are also compatible with your model. This is because most pens are manufactured explicitly for specific machines and therefore will not fit any others.
Take care to read the specification on your replacement pens before purchasing them.
Scoring and writing functions
The writing function of a Cricut machine will allow you to utilize the Cricut pens and produce handwritten style cards and projects. It will do this through the fonts that are on offer in the machine or by those you can access through download. You merely select the font, then sit back and watch it write! As for the scoring element, this is the part that creates those perfect fold lines, envelopes, cards, 3D paper crafts, boxes, acetate pinwheels, and much more besides.
Depth and pressure adjustment
The depth and pressure adjustment on your Cricut machine will determine how well the material that you chose is cut. It’s therefore vital to ensure you select the right setting for each material you place in the machine to get those finest of results. Therefore, if you’re cutting thicker material, the pressure and depth will be the opposite of what you would use if you were cutting card – and vice versa.
One or two tool holders
Tool holders are handy when located on the Cricut machine as they allow you to store your tools while you work. This means they are close by whenever you’re working on a project and kept safely out of harm’s way. Having a dedicated space for your tools can prevent you from losing them or misplacing them as you work, and it can also prolong their life span as they’re protected from your other equipment. Some Cricut machines offer one tool holder, some offer two. The number may be more personal preference and as to how many tools you’re looking at holding or storing as you work on your machine.
If your Cricut machine is wireless the possibilities of discovering thousands of more designs and on numerous devices is increased immensely. Some of the Cricut models may be enabled wirelessly with use of an adapter, such as the Cricut Explore One. Where others such as the Cricut Explore Air 2 have embedded Bluetooth which makes them instantly wireless without the need to purchase and make use of additional items. If you’re keen to use your Cricut through various devices around the home, a wireless model will be hugely practical for you.
Software you can use to create your designs
Cricut offers standard simple design software to all purchasers of Cricut models. This is free for all customers to access. Additionally, you can use this software on a designated app and work from your phone or install the software on many devices, from computers to tablets. The software aims to allow you to customize, edit and preview your projects. You can choose to do this both online and offline, as the new offline features allow access without an internet connection.
Recommendations on how to set up and use a Cricut machine
It really couldn’t be any easier to set up and use your Cricut machine. The first time you start your machine, you’ll be prompted to automatically register the device to your account. You do this by switching it on, connecting the Cricut to your computer, and accessing the setup link given in your instruction guide. This will lead you through a series of instructions where you will be prompted to create a Cricut ID. Here, you can then download and install the plugin required and then get straight onto that first project!
Using the machine is just as straightforward. You place the tool you need into the cartridge, slot your material selection in, and then select the cut you want. The machine then gets to work cutting for you. It really is that easy!
- Look after your cutting mat – Aim to keep it covered with the plastic shield, originally included, on it when not in use. Also, give it a wipe regularly to stop if from experiencing material residues and build up.
- Load your mat correctly before you begin cutting by double checking it. The mat needs to slip inside the rollers. If it isn’t loaded properly it will cut each time incorrectly. If it begins to lose its stick, it may be worth investing in a new one.
- Keep an eye on your blades and check for signs of ineffectiveness and dullness. If your machine isn’t cutting all the way through, lifts or pulls the vinyl off your backing sheet, or is tearing your vinyl and card, you may need to replace your blades.
- Invest in a selection of tools to use your machine to its potential – But make sure they are the right tools for the jobs you’ll likely be undertaking the most. An essential toolset will usually consist of scrapers, tweezers, weeding tools, spatulas, and scissors.
- Try to test your materials first each time you start with a new project. This way you don’t get too far into the cutting process only to realize it isn’t quite working how you originally planned. This is mainly a good idea when using materials such as felt and wood and even some specialist fabrics.
- Make use of the software included with your machine and take advantage of as many of the free images, fonts and designs as you can. These can often help with kick-starting many new projects and introducing you to aspects of the machine you may never have considered before.