Shopping for a Die Cutting Machine {Part 3}

Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, November 8, 2012. Filed under:

So in Part One of the series, I had started out with three die cutting machines that I was looking at purchasing, and I was able to quickly able to eliminate the Craftwell eCraft due to its poor online reviews.  Which made me pretty sad due to the fact that I thought that being able to not have to cut with mats was pretty fabulous.  But as I continued to read reviews, just to make sure I had made the right decision, I realized that you still had to use a stabilizing piece of cardstock under the paper you were cutting, which is just like needing a mat anyway.  I understand that cardstock is less expensive than buying a replacement mat, but if you're using the proper blade settings on a machine, you shouldn't have that many score marks on a mat, and a can of repositionable spray adhesive to spray on the mat when it starts to lose its tackiness isn't that expensive, especially with a 40% off coupon.  Anyway, I'm stepping off of my mat soap box now.

Strike One!

In Part Two of my series, I tested out the Bosskut Gazelle.  Based on the online reviews, I really thought I would fall in love with this machine.  It got amazing online reviews; very few people had anything negative to say about it.  And I'm not disagreeing, it cut fabulously.  But for the amount I paid for it I expected a more polished, professional overall experience user experience, and I just didn't get that feeling.  The cables and software included just felt really cheap and homemade.  And like I mentioned in that post, I love homemade (I wouldn't be a crafter if I didn't) but when I'm paying that much money for a machine a homemade experience is not what I'm looking for.

Strike Two!

So I sold the Gazelle on eBay.  I lost about $20 between what I paid for it and what it sold for, but that wasn't a bad deal all in all.  I moved on and ordered the Silhouette Cameo.  I ordered it from my favorite online store.  (I'm not affiliated with them, I just like to share the Amazon love).  I have an Amazon Prime membership because I signed up for a free trial when I desperately needed a textbook sent to me ASAP for my Sociology course this semester sent to me ASAP, and I simply forgot to cancel it within 30 days of signing up.  Oh well, it'll come in handy for Christmas shopping because it extends the amount of time I have to earn Swagbucks to get Amazon gift cards to order Husband's Christmas gifts.

Swinging back to my original topic, I got my Cameo two days after ordering it since it was an Amazon Prime eligible item, and I ordered a small bundle that came with a set of metallic markers, an extra blade, and an extra mat.  I didn't want to order too many extras in case I didn't like the machine, but having some extras does tend to make an item more desirable when reselling on eBay so it worked out well since I would use these items if I did keep the Cameo.  

I'm faintly obsessed with the little green box on the front there.  I want to make it but I have no idea what I would use it for.
Opening the Cameo was a nice experience.  Everything was well and safely packed, but it wasn't totally overdone.  I wasn't looking at a sea of packaging materials at the end wondering what the heck I was going to do with everything.  Sometimes I love having all of that extra cardboard, but right now my house is so cluttered every little extra thing makes me want to take it all in to the fire pit in the back yard.

Look, there's those little styrofoam safety caps I was so missing when my Gazelle got delivered.

And some of the extras that came with my bundle.  If I remember correctly, the mat was below all of this, kind of curved around the Cameo itself.  I just laid it under the box overnight and it flattened out perfectly
It's a pretty machine, very clean and simple and blends well; it doesn't stand out and scream, "Look at me!" like the Gazelle or the more brightly colored eCrafts do.

Ooh, pretty.
The only concern I would say I had about the packaging was the mat not being laid flat, but it's a big piece, and the shipping box would have had to have been significantly larger and thus filled with much more packaging material, which I would have found to be far more frustrating.

The hookup to my computer was fast and painless, and I like the software that comes with the machine.  Perhaps as I re-immerse myself in to the crafting world I'll look at purchasing stand-alone software such as Sir Cuts-a-Lot or Make the Cut, but for now the included Silhouette Studio suits my needs perfectly.  I tested it out on some cardstock and it cut like a dream, so I decided to make the leap to vinyl.  I went to Michael's and got some Cricut vinyl (and let me tell you I will never buy rolled up vinyl again, but that's a different post for a different day) and cut that as well, and found it to be super easy to adjust the blade, cut, and weed the vinyl.  That's the other thing I love about the Studio software - you tell it what kind of material you're cutting, and it tells you exactly what to set the blade at, and then it sends the pressure and speed settings to the machine automatically - no guesswork involved.  Love it!  There's a lot in the Studio software that I haven't played around with yet, but I'm really looking forward to playing with the Print and Cut feature.  I have a project in mind for it, but it's at the bottom of my list.

My first project with vinyl, using my Cameo.  Post to follow! But the Cameo made it so easy for me, it was crazy awesome.

So for me and my die cutting machine, the third time really was the charm.  I hope my Silhouette Cameo and I will have many happy years together cutting as many different things as I can think of.

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