Sizzix Eclips2 Review
With excellent precision cutting skills, True Scoring and Laser Cut Preview, the Sizzix Eclips2 is a great rival to the Silhouette Cameo and Cricut Explore One.
Our major bugbear is the incredibly basic free software. Anybody other than complete beginners will be forced to opt for the (paid) upgrade. It’s a small niggle, but an annoying one.
Hold on to your horses. We’ve found a craft cutter to rival the Silhouette Cameo and Cricut Explore Air.
The Sizzix Eclips2 electronic cutting machine (available now on Amazon) hasn’t had as much airtime as its popular rivals, but if it’s precision cutting you’re looking for, you can stop looking.
For perfect scoring, reliable cutting and the ability to handle small, intricate designs, the Eclips2 from Sizzix could be the machine for you.
Sure, it’s got a couple of faults — most notably some truly basic software — but there’s no doubt that this is a cracking budget craft cutter.
Scrapbookers, you’re gonna love it.
Let’s find out what Sizzix have in store for us…
- 1 Sizzix Eclips2: The Brand
- 2 Eclips2 vs. Eclips
- 3 Eclips 2 vs Cameo vs Explore
- 4 Specs
- 5 Sizzix Eclips2 Review
- 6 Sizzix Eclips2 Tutorials
- 7 Where to Buy the Sizzix Eclips2
Sizzix Eclips2: The Brand
Sizzix are probably best known for their much-loved Big Shot cutter — a small, crank-powered craft cutter with a cult following.
We love it for quick sticker cuts with an added arm workout. Seriously, check out these guns.
The company has actually been around for much longer than the Big Shot, working with Ellison for over 35 years in their craft-cutter manufacturing endeavours.
Crafters most likely to be down with the Sizzix brand are definitely sticker makers, card makers and scrapbookers. As far as we know, they cater to the personal cutting community and are probably not the brand to turn to for commercial cutting solutions.
While they may not quite be at the heady heights of Silhouette and Cricut, they’ve got a really supportive community behind them and some truly cracking products — particularly the Eclips2!
Also, can we just quickly talk about how similar the Eclips2 font is to the Twilight Eclipse poster art…
Moving swiftly on…
Eclips2 vs. Eclips
The Eclips2 is a significantly better machine than its predecessor, the Eclips.
For one thing, it’s been completely reworked to be a much more robust and reliable craft cutter.
All components have been stripped out and replaced with industrial grade equivalents, plus the motor has been enhanced. It’s immediately clear that this is a much stronger and just generally better machine than the original Eclips.
This strength has translated into better cutting too — always a good thing!
Combined with the 600 grams of cutting force, the Eclips2 — as one user memorably put it — cuts like butter.
Hard to argue with that.
It’s also bigger than the Eclips, doesn’t require cartridges (woohoo!) and runs quieter too. There’s also no handheld controller like we had with the original either, hence the lower price.
Just all-round better.
For a more detailed look at what’s different and what’s stayed the same between the Eclips and the Eclips2, check out this blog from SVGCuts.
Eclips 2 vs Cameo vs Explore
The Sizzix Eclips2 has a lot in common with both the Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut Explore Air die-cutting machines.
Both the Eclips2 and the Explore are excellent for precision cuts, while the Cameo has better software and design capabilities than the offerings from Sizzix and Eclips.
One way that the Eclips2 stands out is in terms of cutting speed. Check out this video to see how much faster it can get the job done:
For the same design, the Eclips2 took 9:14, the Cameo 13:49 and the Explore 18:12.
It’s worth noting that the latest releases from Silhouette and Cricut (Cameo 4 and Explore Air 2, respectively) have made improvements beyond their previous models.
Hopefully we’ll provide you with a thorough comparison between all three newest machines soon.
What comes in the box
- Sizzix Eclips2 DIY electronic cutter
- 12″ x 12″ cutting mat
- 2 cutting blades
- Blade holder
- User guide
- 6-foot USB cable
- Power supply and cord
- Authorization code for eCAL lite software download
What materials can it work with?
The Sizzix Eclips2 can feed and cut materials up to a maximum thickness of 0.5mm.
It works with a number of materials, most commonly:
- Sticker Paper
- Iron-on heat transfer
- Fabric (when using fabric stabilizer)
While this will be enough material options for most crafters, it obviously is not in the same league as the Cameo 4 or Explore Air 2 which can both work with over 100 different materials.
It also doesn’t have any capability to engrave or emboss materials.
Something to think about if you’re a versatile crafter…
The maximum cutting width of the Eclips2 is 12 inches.
Pretty standard for hobbyist desktop machines nowadays.
The Sizzix Eclips2 comes with a free download of the eCAL Lite software, which allows you to create designs, combine multiple shapes and letters into one cut, and use a wide variety of fonts from True Type and Open Type (plus whatever you’ve already got downloaded on your computer).
eCAL is a Sure Cuts A Lot product specifically designed for Sizzix’s Eclips line.
This software is very basic.
So much so, in fact, that we’d say it’s only really going to be serviceable for complete beginners. If you want to import in your own images and SVG files, then do yourself a favor and go for the upgrade to the full eCAL2 software.
It’s available right now for $59.99 at the Craft Edge store ($79.99 at full price).
The upgrade gets you the following add-ons:
- Ability to import various file formats
- Auto tracing feature
- Print 2 Cut feature
- Ability to create rhinestone templates and lattice shapes
Sizzix Eclips2 Review
Considering its reasonably low price, the cutting power and precision of the Eclips2 is really quite something.
It’s certainly superior to the Silhouette Cameo 3 in that respect, and rivals the premium German carbide blades of the Cricut Explore Air 2 as well.
Thanks to an enhanced motor, 600 grams of cutting force and an adjustable blade that can cut sizes to the nearest 1/100th of an inch, the Eclips2 really delivers on precision. Shapes with annoying rounded edges will be a thing of the past.
It also works really well on small, detailed, intricate cuts.
We love that all the big names in craft cutting are starting to employ auto-selectors on their desktop machines.
This makes the learning curve for cutting so much easier as the machine automatically selects the blade depth and pressure depending on what material you’re using.
Great for beginners and those low on time.
For all of us gift box fans out there, the True Scoring feature of the Sizzix Eclips2 is really something to savor.
It promises clean folds every time with no perforations. We tested this religiously as it’s such a pet peeve of ours, and can confirm that it consistently gave us those clean folds that we dream about!
Laser Cut Preview — What You See is What You Get
One of the best things about the Eclips2 is that it’s predictable.
The Laser Cut Preview function allows you to have a sneak peek at your cut before it’s actually cut, so you can do any last minute necessary edits. What you see in this preview is what you get — anything that goes wrong at that point is on you!
Scrap Cut Mode — Less Wastage!
If you’re one of those responsible crafters that likes to use the whole sheet for your cutting creations, then the Scrap Cut Mode on the Eclips2 will really tickle your pickle.
It’s great for using as much of your materials as possible. God knows that it’s easy to create a lot of wastage otherwise!
eCAL2 Software Works Well
While the eCAL Lite software that comes free with the Eclips2 leaves a lot to be desired, the upgrade to eCAL2 is definitely worth it.
It allows you to upload virtually any image into the software, as well as most file types, including SVGs. You’ve also got access to the hundreds and hundreds of shapes available in the Eclips eshape store and a whole host of fonts from True Type and Open Type.
We loved that we were able to go ahead and upload our Adobe Illustrator files straight into eCAL2.
Other little things we love:
- Adjustable blade depth
- It works much faster and quieter than the Eclips
- No cartridges!
- Lots of layer options — can combine multiple shapes and letters in one cut
- Works on Mac, PC and Android
- eshape library has loads of excellent shapes and templates
eCAL Lite — at Least it’s Free!
As we’ve mentioned above, the eCAL Lite free software with the Sizzix Eclips2 is barely serviceable, forcing all but the most beginner of crafters to invest in a pricey upgrade for the full eCAL2 software.
It would be better to have a compromise in the middle — we don’t mind paying for the opportunity to upload our own designs, but the $59.99 (discounted!) price tag seems a little steep.
Every fellow crafter we’ve spoken to using the Eclips2 has opted for the upgrade, and we’d assume this is a widespread trend too.
Considering the not-insignificant price of the machine, we’d like to see either a better, free Lite version, or a cheaper upgrade.
No Engraving or Embossing
This will either be a deal breaker for you or it won’t — you can’t do any engraving or embossing with the Eclips2.
The smaller and more basic Big Shot, however, does allow for this.
So why didn’t they include that in the more advanced machine?
It’s Quiet, but not that Quiet
While the Sizzix Eclips2 is definitely quieter than the Eclips, it’s still a relatively noisy machine (and much louder than the Cameo 3 and Cricut Explore Air).
We don’t think it should be too much of a problem, but it’s best to be aware that you’re certainly not getting a silent machine here.
Where’s the Bluetooth?
We tried the Eclips2 without the Bluetooth, but there is a newer edition of the machine doing the rounds with Bluetooth included.
We were unable to find much information at all about the connectivity, but we assume that it works in the same way as the Cricut Explore Air line, whereby you can design and cut your creations without connecting up to the cutter via a USB lead.
A couple of the few reviews we’ve read on the Bluetooth edition mentioned that the software was unable to hold the Bluetooth connection with any consistency or reliability.
We don’t know how widespread this problem is, but we’d err on the side of caution and go for the non-Bluetooth version until we hear more.
Other areas for improvement:
- The user guide could be clearer
Overall Verdict on the Sizzix Eclips2
Overall, we really like the Eclips2 — with the caveat that you need to upgrade to the eCAL2 software to really get the most from the product.
The cutting precision and strength is some of the best you can hope for in this price range, the machine is robust and of a high quality, and it consistently produces reliable and predictable cuts.
Our main issue is with the very basic Lite software, but as noted, you can easily upgrade if you’re looking for more creative freedom.
UPDATE: How Does It Fare In 2019?
We’ll be completely honest — the Eclips2 has been somewhat overtaken in recent years with its competitors like the Silhouette Cameo 4 and the Cricut Explore Air 2, both of which boast bluetooth connectivity and superior cutting.
It doesn’t even really compare to market leaders like the Cricut Maker 3 or KNK Zing Orbit.
That’s not to say that it’s not still a good machine — but we’re not convinced it’s worth buying brand new unless you can find a good deal.
Sizzix Eclips2 Tutorials
You guys know how much we love a good craft cutting tutorial.
Here’s a few of the videos we tried while testing out the Eclips2.
Sizzix Crafting Community
One of the best things about buying a Sizzix Eclips2 die cutter is that you’ll immediately become part of the huge and supportive Sizzix community.
You can follow them on Facebook, join the party on Pinterest, watch their videos on YouTube and be inspired by their creations on Instagram. They also have an active blog presence which is great for finding ideas and tutorials.
We also really recommend following the work of some of Sizzix’s artists and designers for some extra inspiration.
We particularly love Lynda Kanase Designs and The Art of Katelyn Lizardi.
Where to Buy the Sizzix Eclips2
You can often find a good deal for the Sizzix Eclips 2 on Amazon but you will be relying on independent sellers as it seems Sizzix is no longer selling this model directly. If you’d prefer to buy direct from Sizzix, you’re out of luck as they no longer stock it!
eBay is worth a look if you are happy to pick up a used machine.Check Price on Amazon
What do you think of the Sizzix Eclips2?
Want to explore other popular die cutting machines? Visit our Best Of guide for a comparison of the best machines. Also, don’t forget to visit our Reviews portal for more excellent vinyl cutters.