You might have seen the Cricut Maker described as “the ultimate smart cutting machine” but what does it do? Prepare to be pretty impressed. The best short description I heard was “it’s like a laser printer except with knives”.
Cricut Maker Review
The unit itself comes out of the box looking a lot like a small desktop printer. There is a friendly ‘open’ button and when you press it you get a soft close in reverse as the side and front smoothly open to reveal the insides. The front panel actually houses a couple of lidded storage trays where you can keep spare blades and other accessories. That is a nice touch. The build does seem very solid. There is no flimsy plastic here. It is all solidly put together.
Setting up the Cricut Maker
The Cricut Maker connects to a computer via Bluetooth or cable and like a printer you feed in sheets of ‘paper’ (but not just paper!) and they get cut along lines defined by the software.
The designers are clearly trying very hard to make the Cricut Maker idiot proof, which is a great approach because it allows even young crafters to use it with confidence.
What materials will the Cricut Maker work with?
It will cut paper, vinyl, iron on, light card stock, card stock, bonded fabric, poster board and a gazillion other materials. There are plenty of online tutorials showing how card and leather can be cut with the Cricut although vinyl does seem to be the most popular material to play with. If you want a unique t-shirt with your own design on it, the Cricut Maker is the crafting tool to make light work of it.
Once you have cut out the design on your machine you will still need to ‘weed’ away the design from the backing but machines can’t do everything. When using vinyl, weeding is the process of picking away the backing in the hard to reach areas of your design before transferring it to the final fabric by heat transference (or ironing as it is known to us normal people).
So far, it is very similar to any other cutter so what makes the Cricut Maker worth the extra fifty to eighty pound price tag?
The answer is the accessories that can be added. The Maker has a nice quick release universal cutting head. This holds not only your blades, but a host of other tools as well. You don’t have to use it for just cutting. You can use it to draw, you can use it to score, you can emboss, you can etch and engrave. Cricut have promised to keep developing new tools to extend the possibilities of the Maker for many years to come.
My one complaint would be that by only including one blade in the box, users might not appreciate how many uses this machine has.
The quick release tool swapping makes this a much more versatile machine than its forerunners such as the excellent and cheaper Cricut Explore Air 2. If you want to switch from cutting to embossing there is no monkeying around with screwdrivers required. A quick flick of a lever and the cutting unit can be swapped out in a matter of seconds. I think the name of this unit is well chosen as all sorts of people who class themselves as ‘makers’ will all find a good use for the Cricut Maker.
What about the results? Well take a look at these videos and you will see that you really can produce incredibly good looking results almost from day one.
The one thing that beginners may not realise is that when cutting out designs, whether on a Cricut or by hand, the most important variable is how sharp your blade is. When hand cutting vinyl I generally use a new blade for each project and Cricut Maker owners will find they will need to replace their blades fairly regularly.
That said, this really is an exceptional tool that can be used for millions of crafting challenges.
Do It Properly Verdict: Worth The Money.
Read More: Official Cricut website