Over ten years ago, I purchased a large Ellison die cut machine. At the time, the only people using such machines were scrapbooking stores and elementary schools. It was large and bulky, weighing in at over 25 pounds. There is absolutely no way I was lugging that machine anywhere. Since then, personal die cut machines have come a long way and become a very popular tool among scrapbookers.
But what is the best kind? What are the differences between them? Which will best fit my needs? These are a few of the questions I hope to answer for you.
There are lots of different models available and it can be difficult to sift through them to find the one that's right for you. I've listed a few of the most popular ones below with some of their features.:
This machine uses steel-rule dies. It can cut a wide variety of materials. It's designed to used only with sizzix dies (sold separately). If you are interested in purchasing the dies at a good price, check out the Sizzix Outlet on eBay. In my opinion, this is kind of the old-style way of using die-cuts. With all the new electronic models this type of machine may not be around for long.
This is a computerized die cut machine that you hook to your home computer. You print the designs on a color printer and use the Wishblade to cut them out. One cool feature is that you can cut-outs of any font you have on your computer. It is on the pricey side, but people who buy them seem to think it's worth the investment.
This stand-alone cutter does not require a computer. It is an electric machine that uses cartridges for the die cuts. There are a variety of cartridges available. And although they can be somewhat expensive, they have multiple images on them. This machine is portable. There is also the new Cricut Expression which can cut dies up to 23 inches long. The nice thing about the cartridges is that eliminates storing a bunch of bulky dies. You can shop for discounted Cricut cartridges here.
This machine is compatible with all of the Quickutz dies, including their new Cookie Cutter line. They also have the Silhouette which is a digital cutting system. You can download images from the internet. It requires no cartridges or CD. It will also cut any Truetype font from your computer.
This is a brand new product being released by Making Memories in October 2008. It weighs less than two pounds. This 5 inch cordless wonder can cut anywhere on any kind of media. It uses design cards.
For more information about each of the above designs, click on the name of the machine and it will link you to the manufacturers' websites where you can get more details.
As you can see, there are a lot of different options when it comes to personal die cut machines. Even if cost is not a consideration, the most expensive model may not be the best one for your needs. Before shopping for a machine, it is a good idea to sit down and think about what features are most important to you, and make your purchase based upon your needs. Be sure to consider things such as the size of dies you want to cut, upfront costs required, and the portability of the machine.
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