The 8 Best Cutting Machines

Updated March 21, 2018 by Tina Morna Freitas

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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. For all you crafty people out there, you can die, cut and emboss to your heart's delight with one of these cutting machines. Much more than a simple guillotine, these models offer creativity and/or computer connectivity, and are capable of delivering beautiful patterns for embroidery, paper crafting, home decor and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cutting machine on Amazon.

8. Spellbinders Platinum 6.0

7. Sizzix Big Shot Pro

6. Cheery Lynn Big Sister

5. Cricut Cuttlebug

4. Sizzix Big Shot

3. Brother ScanNCut 2

2. Cricut Explore Air 2

1. Silhouette Cameo 3

How To Choose The Right Machine

Cutting machines make the work of dedicated scrapbookers and card makers simple. Most models can complete die cutting, regular cutting, and embossing. Older cutting machines are manual and require the operator to turn a knob or push a lever to send the knife and die across the materials. Newer models activate with the push of a button, or via touchscreen.

If you need to add tougher materials to a project, like fabric, rubber, or foam, an industrial-quality cutting machine can be useful. These can slice through almost any material, and their blades won’t snag or deteriorate during difficult projects. If you create products that are larger than standard printing paper, look for a cutting machine with an extended platform.

For more advanced designs or high volume demand, find a computer-connectable model. These offer unlimited design options; one can take any image found online (copyrights considered) and transfer it onto the material. These machines are usually compatible with printers, meaning that if you print a design out on standard paper, your machine can detect it and accurately cut around it. Because these advanced machines need to be connected to a computer during operation, they don't offer the portability of manual models. If you require versatility, use a cutting machine that can connect to a computer, but that also allows you to manually insert and move a die across your fabric.

How A Cutting Machine Can Save You Money

For important events, like weddings or anniversary parties, most people want to have invitations that stand out. While making wedding invitations used to be a practice reserved for the extremely wealthy, today, couples of all means are expected to send out elaborate invitations. Ordering them from a stationary company can be costly – designs with embossing or textured patterns can cost up to $5 per invitation – but these can be made at home for pennies. A large-platform cutting machine allows one to create several feet of paper with charming patterns, and to cut those into perfectly symmetrical cards.

Wedding goodie boxes are always a nice touch, but a container store will charge a high price for each box. Fortunately, you can make your own. Download a template with the exact cutting dimensions for a box. With a cutting machine that can slice through thick paper or cardboard, you can produce your own boxes, and just fold them up according to the template instructions.

During the holiday season, it is common practice to attach dozens of gift tags to presents, and the cost can quickly add up. The design options in stores are limited, typically just displaying Santa Claus or snowflakes. With a cutting machine, it is possible to make hundreds of gift tags for a fraction of the cost of store-bought versions, and have unlimited design options. To personalize the tags, one can include portraits of the gift recipient or images of their favorite hobbies. Everybody appreciates a homemade birthday card, too. Use your machine to create pop-up words and scenery, and make the card into a unique shape like a cupcake.

The History Of The Cutting Machine

The first cutting machine was designed to cut fabric. In 1888, a Canadian inventor named George Eastman made the first fractional motor that was mounted on a cutting base. The motor attached to a reciprocating knife mechanism. Eastman’s invention made tedious, manual cloth cutting in garment factories a thing of the past. He then went on to found the Eastman Company in 1898 with the help of an investor by the name of Charles Stevenson. Stevenson eventually acquired full ownership of the company and passed it down through generations of his family who made adjustments to the machines.

In 1908 Charles Stevenson passed away and his son, Wade Stevenson, inherited the business. Between 1920 and 1965, the Eastman Company introduced motors that were more powerful and weighed less than the original model. They also expanded the range of cutting machines to make their product more appealing to markets outside of the apparel industry. One improvement that remains popular today is the automatic sharpener for the cutting knife, which allows for precise edges, and makes the machine safer for hobbyists.

After Wade Stevenson passed away, his son Chuck Stevenson took on the company and eventually passed it onto Robert and Wade Stevenson, Jr. The Stevenson brothers introduced user-friendly features to their product like hand-held rotary shears, heavy duty manual cutters, advanced material handling solutions, and their patented oiling system.

In 1995, the Eastman Company acquired the largest sailmaker in the world — North Sails Group. This spurred on the creation of computer-controlled cutting machines. North Sails had previously worked with niche markets in aerospace, carpet, insulation, vinyl cutting and automotive applications. This helped Eastman expand their reach into a range of new industries.


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Last updated on March 21, 2018 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and two cats. She enjoys making and sipping margaritas and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.


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