8 Best Cutting Machines | March 2017

We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. For all your 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 computer connectivity, and are capable of creating beautiful patterns for embroidery or other artistic endeavors. Skip to the best cutting machine on Amazon.
8 Best Cutting Machines | March 2017

Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 4
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 7
Best Inexpensive
For beginners, try the Cheery Lynn Big Sister that has been primarily designed for paper crafting but still uses high-end metal internal components. It is adjustable and does not require multiple shims, and will work with dies from other brands.
The Cricut Cuttlebug V2 can cut or emboss card stock to help you create cards, decorations, or anything you can imagine. It comes with extremely good suction to keep it in place as you transfer materials such as felt, cardboard, or paper through the roller.
The Sizzix Vagabond 2 will really spice up your studio, workspace, or office with it's incredible briefcase design. Don't let the fun styling fool you, though, it is a serious cutter that works with any Sizzix component to create quality art.
The new Silhouette Cameo 3 uses AutoBlade technology that allows you to set the material type and let the cutter do the rest, while storing accessories in built-in bins. It has also been upgraded with a sliding blade holder that works far better than older clamp methods.
  • cord management for a clean desk
  • improved media guides
  • extremely loud when cutting
Brand Silhouette
Weight 12.9 pounds
The Sizzix Big Shot Pro delivers industrial-quality construction and offers a massive 13-inch wide bed for large projects, making it ideal for small businesses. It's large steel blades can cut through multiple layers of fabric at once to speed things up.
  • includes two mylar shims
  • works with 12-inch paper
  • no multipurpose platform included
Brand Sizzix
Model 656250
Weight 40 pounds
The versatile Brother ScanNCut 2 can be controlled using Brother's free cloud applications and you can send designs to it via built-in scanner, USB drive, or over WiFi with an optional accessory. It is easier to use than Silhouettes for most and will save you tons of time.
  • large easy-access touchscreen
  • design cuts based on scans
  • space-saving fold-up body
Brand Brother Sewing
Model CM250
Weight 13.5 pounds
The only downside to the Sizzix Big Shot is that most accessories need to be purchased separately, but beyond that you have what is one of the best die cutters out there. It does an incredible job embossing any material, from paper to copper.
  • comfortable rubberized crank
  • strong abs plastic exterior
  • comes with a multipurpose platform
Brand Sizzix
Model 660425
Weight 11.5 pounds
The new Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts an unbelievably diverse set of over 100 types of material. It is one of the fastest models available and allows you to make your designs and print them via your iOS device over a Bluetooth connection.
  • highly accurate scoring stylus
  • over 350 fonts included
  • can cut designs made in adobe suite
Brand Cricut
Model 2003638
Weight 17 pounds

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 a push of a button, or a 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 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 piece. A large platform cutting machine allows one to create several feet of paper with charming patterns, and 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 found in their Blue Streak II machine.

In 1995, the Eastman Company acquired the largest sailmaker in the world — North Sails Group. This spurred 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: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information