USCutter MH Series 34in Review
For the serious hobbyist and small business signage maker, the USCutter MH 34in is a great choice of vinyl cutter. It’s cheap, easy to use, and cuts simple designs well.
Reliability issues arise for large and complex jobs, showing the machine’s limitations, but if you only use it for small-scale vinyl cutting, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Up until now, the USCutter MH Series (available now on Amazon) had almost passed us by.
Neither a commercial cutter nor a typical hobbyist machine, the MH Series vinyl cutter occupies a unique space in the craft cutting world, but is still super popular thanks to its bargain basement price.
Aside from its low price, hobbyists and small business love it because it can deliver quality cuts — as long as they’re not too large and complex.
Don’t worry: we’ll dive deep into the pros and cons later. In the meantime, we’ve documented everything you need to know about the USCutter MH 34in model and all the reasons why it’s a great product for people creating simple vinyl signage.
- 1 Who is the USCutter MH 34in for?
- 2 Specs
- 3 USCutter MH Series Review
- 4 USCutter MH vs Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Cricut Explore Air 2
- 5 USCutter MH Tutorials
- 6 Where to Buy the USCutter MH 34in
Who is the USCutter MH 34in for?
This is a pretty big cutter. It’s able to cut to around 31 inches wide and a huge 8 feet long — this is not your desktop entry level craft cutter! Make sure that you have the space to stably house it before you buy.
The likely audience for the USCutter MH 34in will be a mix of serious vinyl cutting hobbyists up to small signage businesses.
One of the best things about this vinyl cutter is the fact that it’s so cheap in comparison to other semi-commercial cutters, so definitely consider this machine if you’re looking for a bargain.
If you’re a light hobbyist or more interested in small scale paper designs, we think you’d be much better suited to a desktop craft cutter like the Cricut Explore Air or the Silhouette Cameo 3. They might be similar in price to the MH Series, but there’s little point in getting a large-scale cutter if it doesn’t suit your needs.
What Comes In The Box
- US Cutter MH 34in
- USB Cable
- Power Cable
- Floor stand
- Blade holder
- 3 x 45 ° blades
- Pen adapter
What Materials Can it Work With?
It’s primarily intended for vinyl cutting and signage purposes, so the number of materials the USCutter plotter can work with is pretty minimal. This was quite a shock after testing the entry-level (that can cut 100+ materials) Cricut Explore Air last week.
Here’s the official list of what it can cut:
- Standard vinyl
- Heat transfer vinyl
- Craft paper
- Paint mask
And the materials it cannot cut:
- Sand blast resist,
- Low-intensity and high-intensity reflective
- Un-backed or un-linered media without using a carrier sheet
USCutter have made this pretty old school, low-resolution video on exactly what you can expect in your box and how to set up your brand new vinyl cutter:
If you prefer to read written instructions for set-up and installation, you can check out the craft cutter’s manual here.
Some buyers have complained that the setup was a little fiddly and difficult but we actually didn’t find it much of a problem when we followed the instructions closely. Yes, it’s a little more work than a more expensive model but, you know, you get what you pay for!
The 34in can cut a maximum width of 30.63 inches and a maximum length of 8 feet. That’s a lot of craft cutting for a machine at such a low price point!
It works at 39 in/s speed at a force of 350 grams.
The USCutter MH Series comes equipped with the VinylMaster Cut (Basic Edition) software. It’s strong>only compatible with PC (argh!) and comes on a blast-from-the-past CD disk.
Did someone say old-school?
After fishing out an old laptop PC from the dark recesses of our basement, we found that VinylMaster Cut is actually pretty good and certainly adequate for basic vinyl cutting design.
It allows you to produce lettering, logos and pinstriping, and comes with a variety of tools for text, curves and objects. It’s basic but, in fairness, this is the basic edition.
It also has built-in vectorization tools that work with all major image formats, while the image trace feature works well to convert any image into a ready-to-cut file.
One of the best things about the software for the MH Series vinyl cutter is the fact that it’s licensed for unlimited users, which is great for collaboration and remote teams working on a single project.
If you want to get into the weeds about what exactly the included software offers, check out this PDF comparison chart that compares it against the more advanced version of VinylMaster Cut. The one we’ve got is abbreviated to VMC in the chart.
Thankfully, you’ve got the option to use a host of other software with this USCutter plotter instead if you so desire, through standard vinyl cutter PNC1000 drivers.
We used it with Sure Cuts Alot, which worked great, while Flexi, SignBlaser and SignCut Productivity Pro can be used too.
USCutter MH Series Review
Bigger Unit Means Bigger (and Better!) Cuts
With a maximum cutting width of around 31 inches and a length of around 8 foot, you can certainly do a lot with this vinyl cutter. If you’re looking for a machine that can deliver simple signage, it would be hard to go wrong with the USCutter MH Series.
For more intricate cuts, or particularly large and complex jobs, you may find it a little unreliable, however — don’t worry, we’ll come back to that!
The cuts themselves are also high quality, with the adjustable pinch rollers of the plotter allowing for precision cutting that you can customize at your will. The machine works best when put to task on small runs at a time.
It’s a Cheap Vinyl Cutter!
You’ll usually find the MH 34in priced cheap or included in generous bundle deals with various vinyl supplies and tools.
It comes with 3 blades so you won’t need to run out for replacements too soon either.
At that price, it’s comparable to the desktop entry-level craft cutters from companies like Cricut, Silhouette and Sizzix. But, it’s able to work on much larger jobs and is more suitable for the serious signage hobbyist and even small business.
Sure, in some ways it falls below the standards of commercial grade vinyl plotters. But it’s the perfect compromise between functionality and price. Don’t expect miracles from it, but you should feel like you got a good deal if it meets your needs as a small-scale vinyl cutter.
Check out the Amazon reviews if you want to see a wider balance of positive and negative views on the USCutter MH Series. You’ll see that most buyers feel happy with their purchase, while even the more negative reviews acknowledge that “you get what you pay for”!
It’s Easy to Use
Another major advantage of the MH Series vinyl cutter is the fact that it’s easy to use and intuitive — a huge bonus for crafters just getting to grips with vinyl signage.
There have been some moans that it’s hard to set up and that the manual isn’t that helpful, but that wasn’t our experience at all. The manual has a number of quick fixes to common problems and — as always with craft cutting — YouTube is your friend when it comes to video tutorials.
If you choose to go with the included software, VinylMaster Cut, you should find that easy to use too. We personally prefer our old friend Sure Cuts Alot, but found it perfectly serviceable and well suited to beginners.
Other Things We Love:
- It comes with a 90 day warranty
- The dual ball-bearing media roller system allows you to simply place your material on top of the rollers rather than faffing about feeding it through the roll each time
- The spool function allows you to send multiple jobs to the queue to be sorted by color — another time saver for more complex jobs
The one major con for this USCutter is the fact that it can’t really sustain its good cutting performance on larger jobs.
We found — and other buyers have too — that it could be a little hit and miss on longer or more complex jobs, starting off well but occasionally running out of steam halfway through. Not only is this annoying in the time wasting sense, but it can also prove costly, wasting precious material.
We quickly learned that it worked fine if you kept to smaller runs and simple projects. If you want a reliable, quality cutter for anything more than that, you’re going to have to invest a little more and opt for a more professional product, we’re afraid.
This problem is reportedly because the plotter has very little memory so a complex job can confuse it, sending it into overdrive and eventually freezing the system. Not so good.
While the customer service for USCutter is great, there’s little they can really do about this problem other than recommend you work in smaller batches.
Not Compatible with Mac
Another potential dealbreaker is that the machine is only compatible with PCs and not with Mac.
A few users have managed to find an Apple workaround, but you definitely won’t be able to use the included VinylMaster Cut software on an iOS system.
While for PC users, this obviously won’t be a problem, for us it simply cemented the view that USCutter are a little behind the times. What with the CD software, old school videos and build it yourself frame, it’s clear where the company have managed to cut the costs on the USCutter MH Series.
Other Areas We’d Like to See Improvement:
- It could benefit from a material basket — we had all manner of static catching our vinyl before it was able to be fed through the machine.
Overall Verdict on USCutter MH 34in
We would definitely recommend the USCutter MH 34in, but with a few caveats.
If you’re looking to use it for relatively small-scale, simple vinyl signage and are a PC-user on a budget, then this is definitely the vinyl cutter for you.
But if you’re a larger company, or need it for large and complex cutting jobs, or want to use it for intricate paper crafts, then we would advise you to look elsewhere for something more suitable.
When the MH Series Vinyl Cutter works, it works really well. Cuts are precise and customizable, the machine is easy to use and it demonstrates great value for money. You’re only likely to get frustrated with it when you start overloading it, so if you know already that you need it for more complex work, skip it and keep looking.
UPDATE: How Does It Fare In 2019?
We feel the same way about the USCutter MH 34in in 2019 as we did all those years ago when we first reviewed it — this is a quality large vinyl cutter for an impressively low price.
Is it the best vinyl cutter on the market? Not for us, no. But we definitely appreciate why it’s so popular among hobbyists who want something a little bigger than what Silhouette and Cricut can offer.
Our major bugbear with it is still the fact that it’s not compatible with Macs, but PC users need not be concerned with this at all.
USCutter MH vs Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Cricut Explore Air 2
One of the things we get asked a lot is how the USCutter compares against the smaller desktop cutters, like the Silhouette Cameo 3 and Cricut Explore Air 2.
The major difference is that the USCutter can cut projects significantly larger than the Cameo or Explore Air can — however the latter two are better for more intricate and complex designs.
Here’s how their specs compare:
|Max Cutting Size||31" x 8'||12" x 10'||12" x 24"|
|Software||VinylMaster Cut (Basic)||Silhouette Studio||Cricut Design Space|
|Force||350 grams||221 grams||350 grams|
|Our Star Rating|
USCutter MH Tutorials
We know we’re not the only ones to enjoy a good old craft cutting tutorial, so here’s a few for your delectation.
A typically old-school one from USCutter…
This should give you a sense of how the vinyl cutter works (and how loud it is!)
You can watch a mesmerizing video of the pen-plotter at work here:
Where to Buy the USCutter MH 34in
You’ll often find some cracking prices for this product on Amazon, especially where’s it included in the various USCutter MH 34in Bundle deals.
Have you tried the USCutter MH Series yet?
Want to see the best alternatives to the MH Series? Visit our Best Vinyl Cutters Guide highlighting the most popular machines on the market. Also, be sure to visit our Reviews section where you will find other machines from USCutter, as well as all of the top die-cutting machines.