I’m thinking of getting rid of my vinyl cutter. It’s a 24” Roland GX-24 and it works fine, I just don’t have room for it anymore. I’d like to replace it with something with a smaller footprint, probably either a Silhouette or Cricut. But I know nothing about the current crop of vinyl cutters, and am looking for advice from you all, since I know quite a few of you do have them.
Besides the smaller footprint, I’m interested in something that I can upload my own designs to, without paying a subscription. I don’t care if it’s WiFi connected. I am interested in print-and-cut, and something that can cut a variety of materials, thick and thin.
What say you, folks? I’d love to hear your suggestions as well as any watch outs. Thanks!
Silhouette the whole way. I have the 4 Plus (15") currently and have had 2 previous models. I also have a US Cutter 34", but it hasn’t even been looked at in years.
I started with cricut – they have a subscription model, but it’s not necessary. Sort of like pro with glowforge.
Never used a silhouette, but the cricut did everything I needed pre-laser.
I have one of the early Bluetooth Cricuts. Probably around 2015? Works just fine. I use it almost as much as my GF. No subscription. I do my art in Inkscape or Gimp and just upload it.
I picked up a couple of spare blades when I spotted them on clearance over the years, but have never needed to change them. I cut really thick carbon-fiber effect vinyl quite a bit, but regular vinyl and paper as well (same blade.) Also “shelf paper” - my daughter does car shows and one every year is halloween themed, so I cut huge decals (I have some of the larger mats) based on her theme of the year.
Any specific model recommendations?
Keep em coming!
I’m hesitant to recommend anything without a variety of experience, but I have a Silhouette Cameo 3 and it’s fine. I would assume the new models are more fine.
You do kind of have to pay for the software (I think it’s one time, not a subscription) because they conveniently leave out importing any kind of vector formats from the free edition.
My wife has a Silhouette Cameo 4 that I occasionally borrow. You pay one-time for the Business Edition of their software to be able to work with SVG files. It’s $99, but sometimes they run sales and it’s $49. No subscription. We both have it installed on our computers with just one license. I still do my design work mostly in Inkscape, and just open it with Silhouette Studio to send to the cutter.
If you want a lot of flexibility with what you can do, I’d probably go with the Cricut Maker. However, many people prefer Silhouette Cameo (I just haven’t used one before, so don’t have an opinion about it).
I never paid for any software, and the Cricut Design Space lets me upload SVG files. I made a US flag sticker for my daughter last week (SVG from Inkscape)…
Not saying it’s better than Silhouette at all.
My model is no longer current. I got it on clearance/sale, I think Michaels (which never happens…) FWIW, it’s an “Air 592B Bluetooth”
I have the Cricut Maker and love it, I haven’t tried other kinds. I exclusively upload my own designs.
Pros: it cuts a variety of materials beautifully, including hard-to-cut fabrics like spandex as well as thick materials like magnetic sheets.
Cons: the print-and-cut area is smaller than I’d prefer (9.25" x 6.75").
You MUST be online to start up the design program.
The knife blade is excruciatingly slow, especially on curved surfaces (though with the Glowforge, I never need to use the knife any more.)
Odd. Cricut Design Space works just fine and connects to my machine with my wifi disabled (I just tried it…)
I only see my most recent designs, which I assume are since the last update.
Hmm, my version of Design Space won’t let me load it unless I’m connected to the Internet. I will definitely look into different versions, I would love to have that limitation go away!
Mine is 22.214.171.124.
OK, it won’t let me upload new designs, only cut recent projects that are already there.
The latest Silhouettes have much more cutting power than cricut at 5000grams downforce.
Have never been a fan of their studio software, but the Ilustrator plug in is great and very cheap.
Have had silhouettes since before cricut let you upload your own artwork. They’re solid workhorses with some quirks.
I like silhouette. Nothing needs to be connected to the internet to work. I paid for the business edition of the software, so I have no issue using my SVGs I created in Inkscape on the software. This is especially helpful since I use multiple machines for the things I make.
For example, I cut a shape to size in the GF, but I create a custom sticker or sublimation piece that fits that shape exactly in the silhouette.
Since I don’t cut a lot of vinyl or anything large at all, I’m perfectly satisfied with my Silhouette Curio. I think there is a smaller one now, but I like my Curio. It’s about 17 inches wide and 6.5" deep. The only bad thing about it is the need for cutting mats/trays. But it fits right above my head on a shelf. I don’t have to move it at all when I’m cutting something.
As others have said and I forgot to mention… My non-starter for cricut was the need to be online with it. It’s very much like the glowforge in that regard. Silhouette is stand-alone. No need to be online at all. Their design software is far better than GF premium and as someone else has said you can find it for the price of a single month of premium during sales and it’s a one time fee. I do not know how well cricut print and cut works but I know that the silhouette print and cut works VERY well.
I have the Cricut Maker but have only used it for vinyl since getting the GF, however, i do use it occasionally. They were looking to make it work offline but not sure if that happened as i’ve not kept up. I also had a Silhouette but prefer the Cricut.
My vinyl cutter is a KNK 24". It’s old enough now that nothing they sell seems to have the same DNA. New models seem to have cameras for print-and-cut… Mine you have to use a laser and pip registration dots. It’s served me well though and I would check out KNK’s wares today if I needed a replacement.
The Black Cat / Silver Bullet cutters used to be the ones to beat. I don’t know about now. Silhouette and Cricut have eclipsed them for market share but, I don’t know if that means they are better. I set up one of their older models for someone years ago and, it was a lot better than the KNK machine I had at the time. They might be worth looking into if the price range doesn’t put you off.
I am still using my Bosskut Gazelle, which has been a great machine, has remained open, was inexpensive and is, of course, no longer made.
I have a Cricut Maker and it does the job. I have uploaded inkscape files with no issue. I think the newer Cricuts can now use some material without the sheet you have to fix the material, too. That might be worth considering.