This ‘smart’ $400 cutting machine can cut hundreds of material seamlessly — and it turned me into a regular DIY-er
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The Cricut Maker is here to help you discover the creativity you may not have even known you have.
Whether you’re a practiced DIY-er or a first time crafter, the Maker is everything you need to create just about any project for any occasion.
With its expandable suite of tools, digital sewing pattern library, and ability to cut hundreds (seriously) of materials seamlessly, your imagination is quite literally the limit when it comes to crafting with the Maker.
The machine itself will cost you $400, but once you start crafting, you may never want another store-bought knickknack again.
It would be kind to say that I am not the craftiest of individuals. There is almost never a situation in which I would rather make a greeting card than buy one from the local drug store, and the idea of designing (much less making) a stitched leather wallet is almost laughable. That is, until I was introduced to the Cricut Maker.
While it would be overly ambitious to say that the Maker has turned me into a regular DIY-er, I will say that creating my own personalized wine glasses and seeing the ease with which I could make a unique pillow, custom coffee sleeve, and honestly, just about anything else I might find at my tchotchke store of choice has turned me into something of a believer. Not only in myself and my budding crafting abilities, but in the Cricut Maker as well.
Simply put, the Cricut Maker is exactly what it claims to be — a smart cutting machine. But what exactly does that mean, and more importantly, what does it mean for you?
The key to all Cricut machines (there are four in total), is the ability to design patterns on a variety of materials and cut them out. That could mean creating cake toppers out of paper or plastic, or an iron-on monogram for your bachelorette party bathrobes. With the Cricut machines, you can either freehand a design, or if you’re not quite ready to be so daring, simply select one of the thousands of ready-t0-make projects (that’s where the smart component comes in).
In order to actually begin the design process, you’ll leverage Design Space, a free design layout application that is cloud-based, which means you can design on a computer, mobile device, or as I did, a tablet. And because you can save your progress, you can start a design on your smartphone when inspiration strikes, then work out the details on your desktop, before grabbing your iPad and beginning the cutting process.
When I made my wine glasses, I chose a quote that I could then adhere to a tumbler — I simply selected a font, typed out the letters, and sat back to watch the Maker begin to make.
Ah, and how satisfying the process really is. There’s actually very little work involved on your end once the design is done — all you have to do is select a material, place it on a mat, load it into the machine, and press Go. From there, your Maker will do the rest. Then, all that’s left to do is assemble the final pieces. Sometimes that means sticking a quote onto your wine glass, or for the more advanced among us, stitching together your leather wallet. It can also mean ironing letters onto a jacket, gluing together the different components of customized place cards, or just coming away with a newly cut piece of balsa wood.
The great thing about the Maker in particular is that it is uniquely situated to cut a wide range of materials with ease, precision, and most importantly, safety.
Whether you need it to slice through tissue paper, vinyl, chipboard, or heavy leather, the Maker won’t balk at the task. This is thanks to the machine’s extensive toolset, which includes two new blades — there’s the Rotary Blade, whose gliding and rolling action helps cut fabric as though it were butter. And there’s the Knife Blade that helps the Maker cut through thick materials (up to 2.4 mm) quickly and safely. But aside from its tools, the Maker itself brings quite a bit of power to the table — 4 kg of cutting force, to be exact — and adjusts this power based on the material, guaranteeing that you always get a nice, clean cut.
Moreover, Cricut has an extensive collection of digital sewing patterns in its library, so you no longer need to worry about marking and then cutting fabric for your various crafts. Rather, the Cricut Maker can immediately begin creating and producing hundreds of sewing patterns, which means that supplying your own wardrobe just got a lot easier.
All in all, there seems to be quite little that the Cricut Maker can’t do.
In some sense, I might liken it to a more flexible 3D printer — the machine extrudes a predetermined design, which you can then further assemble or simply take at face value (though with the Maker, you’ll likely be doing a little bit more assembly).
While it may be difficult at first to imagine what you might do with a DIY crafting machine, suffice it to say that once you’re sitting in front of one of these smart cutters, you’ll realize exactly how broad your horizons really are.
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