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If you’re anything like us, you’ll have spent yesterday trying to tune into the Facebook Live announcement that Cricut have been teasing all week.
A brand new product…
*Heart racing, breathing quickens*
The Cricut Maker.
This is the ultimate smart cutting machine.
UPDATE: the Cricut Maker is finally here! You can buy it direct from the Cricut website now. It’s also available on Amazon! We’ll be updating our review once we’ve had a few days to thoroughly test and review it.
It can do everything that the Explore Air 2 can do and more. And if you’re a keen fabric cutter, you’re going to be in heaven.
Let’s find out everything we know so far about this brand new Cricut machine.
Cricut Maker: The Announcement
At Cricut’s Make Something You Love Conference on Tuesday 1 August, CEO Ashish Arora broadcast his keynote speech on Facebook Live.
For those of us that tuned in from home, it was a nerve wracking and often frustrating event as the broadcast was continually interrupted as so many Cricut fans were tuning in.
Ashish introduced three new products:
- Cricut BrightPad
- Cricut Easy Press
- Cricut Maker
You can see the full announcement here:
The introduction to the Cricut Maker itself starts at 22:23.
As you can imagine, Facebook reactions to the new product were split into two camps.
OHMIGOSH A NEW MACHINE! CAN’T WAIT SO EXCITED LOVE IT
And the second:
UGH I JUST BOUGHT THE CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2. WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME. LIFE IS TERRIBLE.
Actually, there was a third group as well:
What’s going on? The feed has frozen. What is it? SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON.
We’re definitely in the first camp (and a little in the third as well). While we know that it can be frustrating to buy a new machine only for the company to bring out a brand new one a few months later, we never want to halt the progress of companies like Cricut.
This is a revolutionary machine that’s different from anything else on the market right now.
We can’t wait to get our hands on it.
Cricut Maker: What Can it Do?
Firstly, take a look at this video that takes a tour around the machine:
And let’s go through it’s most exciting features.
One thing that’s clear from the announcement is that the Cricut Maker is going to be the go-to cutting machine for fabric cutting.
While the Explore Air 2 was reasonably adept at fabric cutting, we always preferred to use a separate fabric cutter to do large scale serious projects.
But the new Maker is set to change all that.
The brand new Rotary Blade has been designed to cut through virtually any fabric. It’s equipped with a gliding and rolling action that makes cutting fabric as easy as cutting through butter, and allows you complete control over — regardless of what direction it’s going in.
Cricut are saying that the blade is so sophisticated, it can take on anything from the lightest silk and chiffon to thick denim and canvas. No more hand cutting!
We’ve got (yet another!) video here showing the Maker going to town on some fabric:
Sewing Pattern Library
One of the most revolutionary aspects of the Cricut Maker is the sewing pattern library.
We love sewing almost as much as we love die cutting, so this is a major win for us.
Cutting sewing patterns is one of the most tedious and occasionally difficult parts of the sewing experience.
In case you don’t have much experience in this area, here’s a quick run-down:
A sewing pattern is essentially a template for the item you’re going to sew. They’re usually made of paper and allow you to trace the pattern on to the fabric you’re going to use for the project. The pattern is made up of the different parts of the item that you’ll need to cut and sew.
The sewing pattern for a tote bag, for instance, will be made up of two center panels, 2 side panels and a strap.
You’ll have to cut these patterns out before tracing them onto your fabric, pinning your fabric, cutting your fabric out, before finally sewing the pieces. Dull and time consuming.
But the sewing pattern library is going to change all that.
It holds hundreds of patterns for you to choose from directly from within Design Space, that will cut the pattern for you automatically, with total accuracy and efficiency.
This is such a simple idea but will be of huge benefit to sewists everywhere. It seems so obvious that we can’t believe it hasn’t been done before.
For a little perspective at how much time this will save you, Cricut compared how long it would take to hand cut and mark a pattern for a 12 inch doll compared to the Cricut Maker doing it for you.
Here’s the results:
And aside from the time savings, imagine how much more accurate the Maker is going to be compared to your human hand!
Cricut are partnering with Simplicity and Riley Blake Designs to enhance the library — two awesome companies that promise to bring some incredible patterns to the table. If you’re a quilter, you’re going to love what Riley Blake have on offer.
Another aspect of the Cricut Maker that’s going to enable a huge number of extra projects for you to work on is the advanced Knife Blade.
This is really going to open up the number of materials you can work with as it’s designed to work with the heaviest and thickest materials.
Essentially, it’s like an X-ACTO knife within the machine.
It promises to slice through materials up to a whopping 2.4 mm thick.
That’s elevating the Cricut to the level of uber-sophisticated desktop cutters like those in the KNK family.
If you’re wondering why you need this blade when you could just buy an X-ACTO knife or power tool to use separately, here’s why:
- It’s much safer to use within the blade housing
- You can control the orientation of the blade at all times
- The power needed to power the blade comes from the machine, rather than from your force
- Intelligent variable pressure — pressure is optimized for each pass, ensuring the cleanest cut possible
- Blade has a longer life than normal X-ACTO blades
4kg of Pressure
Probably the most notable way that the Cricut Maker improves on the Explore family of machines is the fact that it boasts a whopping 4kg of force.
That’s ten times the power of the Cricut Explore Air 2.
That’s the same amount of force as the mighty KNK Force.
It’s offering us commercial levels of power, precision and expertise at a personal, desktop price.
You can’t say fairer that that.
Adaptive Tool System
The Adaptive Tool System is what will ensure the longevity of the Cricut Maker. And why you won’t need to keep buying new machines once you’ve got it.
Essentially it guarantees that not only does it fit with all of the tools currently for use with the machine (and the Cricut Explore tools), but that it will be compatible with all future tools made as well.
So, when Cricut come out with an engraving tool, for instance, you’ll be able to start using it with the Maker with no problem at all.
And each new tool will benefit from all of the features of the Maker’s engineering:
- Active steering of the blade
- 4 kg of force
- Intelligent variable pressure
New Washable Fabric Marker Pen
Cricut have made it clear that they’re already working on new tools for the Cricut Maker.
One of the brand new tools that they’re already offering is a washable fabric marker pen — another reason to buy for all fabric enthusiasts!
This will be used to mark all your patterns, eliminating any manual guesswork and allowing you to know precisely how your pattern pieces fit together.
Cricut Maker: The Look
OK, let’s talk about the look of this new machine.
Because, while it’s definitely still recognizable as a Cricut product, it looks a lot sleeker than the previous Explore machines. Check out that diamond-polished champagne aluminum lid!
First up… there’s no dial.
If you remember, this was one of the major selling points of the Explore Air machines. Personally, we’re not too fussed to see it go. We found that the materials on the dial weren’t necessarily the materials we used the most so as a ‘shortcut’ it wasn’t that effective.
Plus, it clutters up the workspace.
Another difference is the big ridge along the top of the machine to support your tablet or smartphone.
We love this.
It’s great to have your designs right in front of you at eye level while you’re using this machine — that is assuming that you’re using the Design Space app. If not, who’s top you from loading up Netflix or a YouTube tutorial?
And as an added bonus, there’s also a charging port! 🙌
There’s also a well-engineered storage drawer and two tool cups on the machine. Little details, but important enough to make a difference in how easy it is for you to use the machine.
The bottom of the cup is lined with rubber, so you won’t dull your blades when you drop them in either.
Where to Buy the Cricut Maker
While the price for the Maker is obviously more expensive than the Explore family machines, we actually think that’s a cracking deal considering the huge functionality of this new machine.
The only question is whether to buy it as soon as it comes out, or to wait and put it on our Christmas lists…
The purchase price includes the Rotary Blade and a Fine Point Blade but the Knife Blade will be sold separately — and won’t be available until October.
We’re already itching to get our hands on it.
Here’s the full list of what’s included in the box when you buy direct from Cricut:
- Cricut Maker Machine
- Rotary Blade and Drive Housing
- Premium Fine Point Blade and Housing
- Fine Point Pen
- FabricGrip Mat 12″ x 12″
- LightGrip Mat 12″ x 12′
- Welcome book
- USB cable
- Power adapter
- Free trial membership of Cricut Access
- 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns
- Materials for your first projects
Will you be buying the new Cricut Maker?