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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thoughts on Die Cutting Machines & Embossers



Just a quick note to say, I revisited one of my blogs about most used Cricut Cartridges and making the most of them.

Well, I decided it needed pictures of the cartridges so it would give you an idea on how many images you get in one cartridge AND these images do not show all the different functions which add a different image...In adding pictures (they say a picture is worth a thousand words) you can see what images come with my cartridges...you can find them here Most Used Cricut Cartridges


All in all, I think Cricut has a wonderful selection of images, words and fonts BUT what I am picking up reading some comments in forums (while I search out information on the Ecraft & Silhouette Cameo, ya, I've got the darn bug!!) it seems most people that are upset with Cricut is due to not being able to use SVG files from other companies.

I understand the frustration of being limited to using only Cricut designs on Cricut Machines, but honestly, I do understand the reasoning behind it. ...take for instance in hair products, professional hair products. When you are dealing with hair products like hair coloring, tints, you DO NOT mix brands, you cannot take a bottle of Clairol Professional color and mix it with parts of Redkin or another brand. Why? Because companies have different 'recipes' for their brand and mixing with another brand can cause a chemical reaction that would be very damaging to both the client, the company's name and product not to mention what your client would think of you!! and your professional skills.

I can hear you saying, well, of course, your dealing with chemicals...it makes sense...why? Why do the hair product companies make sure that you have to use their entire line of chemicals (tints, perms, straighteners...)and not being able to mix brands?... because business wise it makes sense. It is one way to 'predict' a satisfied customer. The outcome has been tested and the results have been proven to work. It's profitable, safe in the hands of knowledgeable, trained people.

 It also guarantees the company that all their work and efforts at putting out a product, the cost of testing and marketing will be rewarded...both financially and their reputation is intact...along with yours!

 Lets say you can download and cut others SVG files, what happens if the Cricut doesn't cut it out properly? Whose at fault? Your Cricut or the SVG file? How do you know? and yes, I also have trouble sometimes getting the settings just right for some cuts, but I really don't think that there is a machine out there that is 100% right on for all cuts.

The simplicity of just popping in a cartridge and choosing an image, sounds pretty good to me, but then again I have 7 cartridges!! So I don't need to spend a lot of time going through them to find an image I want to use.

Also there is the fact that I am not the best at working on the computer...so IF and When I do decide to purchase another electronic die cutting machine, I'll have to take that into consideration...like how long will it take me to be able to pick an image, manipulate it to the size and placement before I get it right? lol
This thought alone scares me ;)   but not enough to actually stay away from looking at other options.

Just my thoughts on the Cricut...guess it's kind of like which vehicle you drive...I've been a Ford person, mostly because of my dad and brother...but that doesn't mean that I didn't purchase other models and makes...I do recall an awesome RX7 and I don't believe that was a Ford!! lol more like a Mazda!! boy that car was fun and it gave me no trouble...well, other than spinning out on a wet road!! but that was my fault, not the cars.

I have to be honest though, these days I have been looking a lot at the Silhouette Cameo. Why? mostly because the idea of being able to design your own svg files kind of intrigues me, perhaps it's the hairstylist in me that likes to be creative and be able to do my own thing??  I'm sure that my hubby would be 'thrilled' at me purchasing anything that would have me attempting to work with my computer!! lol He is forever telling me not to press 'buttons' and we won't get into my knowledge or lack of knowledge on downloading stuff...oh my! This could be very interesting indeed. Food for thought!! How much do I want to 'press his buttons' with that one ;)


Silhouette Online Store You can find images that you can purchase individual instead of cartridges, it will give you an idea of what it would cost to purchase the number of images that you would get on a Cricut Cartridge which you can find here Cricut Machines, Cartridges & Downloads or perhaps the Ecraft Machine & Cartridges    

Although, I do like the idea of purchasing just one image at a time as it allows you to make your library to your own liking...specially when a new 'favorite' image, or shape is brought out and you just have to have it...something else to think of.
When you spend the amount of money to purchase any die cutting machine, naturally we all look to see what additional costs we will end up paying out. I certainly can see why the Silhouette Cameo or the Ecraft machine is enticing.  With the Ecraft, the fact that one doesn't have any sticky mats to contend with is a plus, although I keep asking if you can use your scraps in the Ecraft, so far all I've seen is full sheets being fed into the machine. What happens if you only need a small cut out...like eyes? or wheels? Something small that you just need to cut out? Do you have to use a full sheet of cardstock or paper? or can you use a full sheet of cardstock as a matt and place the different color piece of scrap to cut out? I don't know and I can't seem to find anywhere online if you can do this. If you have an Ecraft, please let me know!!

Cricut Expression 2 also has me wondering, but I would still have the same machine as I have now, just with a few more features, still using cartridges...still leaning towards the Silhouette Cameo, something different but I doubt I would ever give up my little Cricut...

With the Silhouette Cameo, I like the idea of creating on your own computer and being able to send it to your printer, printing it out and then cutting out the images...what a wonderful idea for embellishments...but then again the cost of color for your printer plays into the picture...and if your printer will print on cardstock or would you have to purchase another printer?? Oh my!!


I recently purchased the Big Kick, which I have only used to emboss larger surfaces and have not tried to cut anything with it as of yet. I cringe when I look at the price of the die cuts for this machine, only because I'm kind of spoiled with buying my Cricut Cartridges with soooo many images on the one cartridge AND the fact that I was able to purchase them for great prices... on the other hand, if you were picky in your purchases, I'm sure you could buy some that would be great for card making or scrapbooking pages that would be easy to use and handy if you only have a few...no hassles of going through several images...maybe! I do love it for the larger embossing folders but I always go to my little Sizzix Texture Boutique for embossing smaller pieces.
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My baby Cricut was the first item to enter my scrapbooking world and it was a gift from my daughter and her husband. I loved it!! What a wonderful gift. Next came the Sizzix Texture Boutique and this little beauty has been used on so many projects. I love, love, love this little machine. Such a nice size, wonderful for card making and so many different embossing folders to play with. Naturally I always purchase any folders when they are on sale.

All in all, this was long winded, but when you are looking at spending the amount of money we crafters put out, it's nice to hear what is out there for us, what other peoples thoughts are on the products and it's always nice to feel like we are making a wise choice in the products we purchase.

We craft for enjoyment, working with die cutting machines can be tricky enough without having to deal with the frustration of a contrary machine! Embossing is the easy part, it's the cutting out that's the challenge!

Phew, guess that's it for today, hope I didn't bore you silly with my ramblings. If you have any of these machines, by all means, please leave a comment and let us know what is your favorite one and why.

Thanks again for stopping by, coffee is long gone, time for a refill! Hope your having a great day.

Nanny Donna saying chow for now and take care.