Cricut Maker FAQs
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Well, it’s been one month since the Cricut Maker was announced, and two weeks since it launched in retailers. I’ve noticed the same questions being asked over and over again, which I termed the “Cricut Maker FAQs”. Today, I’m going to answer those questions for you.
If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you likely know that I was one of the lucky ones who attended the Make Something You Love event in Salt Lake Cit. This is where the Maker was presented for the first time, and I have had several weeks to play with mine. I love (like all of the hearty eyed emojis love) mine. You guys, this Cricut Maker is not just an amazing feat of engineering, but isn’t it visually stunning as well?
In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed so many users and Cricut fans have the same questions. So today, I’m here to answer those questions and share more about the Cricut Maker. Ready to get the answers to all of those questions? Let’s go!
1. What is the Cricut Maker?
The Cricut Maker is a new, revolutionary cutting machine for makers and creators of all types. Due to it’s new Adaptive Tool Technology, it can cleanly cut a broad spectrum of materials precisely. It builds upon the success of the Cricut Explore line, which allows you cut without cartridges and with a durable german carbide blade that withstands a ton of use. (I have shared my absolute love for this blade in the past – here and here.) Here’s a quick video introducing you to the Cricut Maker:
2. How is the Cricut Maker different than the Cricut Explore line?
As mentioned above, the Maker builds on the success that the Explore built with regards to a sleek cutting machine that cuts detailed and intricate designs perfectly. A cutting machine that doesn’t use cartridges. One with a durable blade that withstand wear and tear and stay sharp much longer than the competition. So how are these machines different?
Adaptive Tool Technology
One big difference is the Cricut Maker‘s Adaptive Tool Technology. In the video above, you will notice that the maker comes with the ability to use two new cutting blades. In addition to the Explore’s carbide blade, the Maker comes with a rotary tool and a deep cut knife blade will be available next month (imagine an exacto knife for your Cricut)! These blades come with a drive housing that is equipped with a gear at the top. This allows the machine to turn and rotate the new blades to make sure your cuts are flawless and precise. It also gives the Cricut engineers an opening to develop even more tools for the machine.
2.2 Cutting Fabric with the Maker
The Cricut Explore gave us the option to cut fabric, but that fabric had to be bonded so that it didn’t get snagged and pulled off the mat as the blade cut through them. With the rotary blade, there is no longer a need to bond your fabric. The blade glides effortlessly over your fabric, which prevents lifting and snagging. (It also cuts other delicate fabrics like tissue paper and crepe paper!) The knife blade gives users the option to cut materials up to 3/32″ thick – think woods, leathers, and more. With these two tools, along with the option for a much higher pressure (the Maker has a capability of 4kg of pressure, which is 10x that of the Maker!), the options are endless.
3. What can the Cricut Maker cut?
Since the Cricut Maker is still new, the engineering team is constantly experimenting with new materials and adapting the cutting guidelines and pressures. However, so far, the list of what can be cut with the Maker is impressively large. Are you ready for this? The Cricut Maker can cut…
- fabric (everything from jersey to fleece to lace! Cricut also released their own gorgeous line of fabric! )
- crepe paper and tissue paper
- iron on/heat transfer vinyl
- vinyl/adhesive foil
- duct tape
- corrugated cardboard
- craft foam
- leather/faux leather
…and I could go on and on. Seriously – the list so far is huge. That doesn’t even include materials that can be cut with the knife blade, which will debut next month. (You can view the full list of cuttable materials here.)
4. What comes with the Cricut Maker?
When you purchase the Cricut Maker, the box will also come with:
- two mats (a new pink fabric mat and a blue light grip mat)
- fine tip blade
- rotary blade
- some sample materials to create a test project
- power cord
- USB cord (to connect to your computer if you don’t set up wireless)
- fine point black pen
- welcome book with ideas and tips
- warranty info
5. Is the Cricut Explore being discontinued?
No! This has been one of the biggest concerns that I have heard from users. They love their Explore, it suits all of their needs, they aren’t ready to upgrade, and they are concerned about their machines becoming obsolete. But think of the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore like two seperate families of products. The iPad has the iPad Mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. All have different capabilities and serve different segments of iPad users. The Cricut Maker and Explore models are much the same. Some people don’t need, or want, as much machine as the Maker is capable of, and others want to know their limits are endless. And that’s ok! Cricut will still continue to support both products lines and make their customers experience the best it can be.
6. Are the tools and blades interchangable for the Maker and Explore?
Kind of. Explore blades can be used in the Maker, but the Maker tools cannot be used in the Explore. This is because the Maker has the functionality of the Explore (plus more), but the Explore does not have the functionality of a Maker. It doesn’t have the drive gears that control the rotary blade and knife, for starters, and the pressure required to operate these tools are simply not present in the Explore.
Here’s one frustration I have heard often: “I wish they updated the Explore software so I could benefit from these new tools as well, because I can’t buy a new machine right now.” First of all, let’s put aside the issue that technology is ever changing and companies need to release new products to remain competitive and innovative. The issue isn’t with software. It’s a hardware issue. When the Explore was released, this hardware technology didn’t exist. It took years to perfect the Maker, and unfortunately, it isn’t possible to just “update the Explore software”. It would require a whole new hardware addition for every Explore user, and that’s just not possible or realistic. (Still confused? It’s the same as me wishing Apple would “update” my iPhone 6 to have the amazing new camera capabilities of the 7+.)
7. What is the new pink mat and how should I use it?
The pink mat is used for cutting fabrics and other delicate materials such as crepe paper. It is a strong mat (speaking in terms of durability) that withstands the huge pressure needed to cut thin materials such as these. Why does the mat need to be so strong if the material is so thin? It takes a huge amount of pressure to cut delicate materials, because they need to stay flat on the mat and resist the urge to shift.
That said, the adhesive can be easily broken down with cleaners or oils from our hands. So while it may be hard to refrain from pulling off the loose threads left behind by fabric cuts, don’t do it! The Maker has no problem slicing right through those leftover fibers.
8. Does the Cricut Maker use the same software as the Cricut Explore?
Yes! Cricut Design Space is used by both the Explore and the Maker, and all Explore projects can be cut on the Maker. Some Maker projects can be cut on the Explore as well, as long as they don’t involve using the rotary blade or knife blade.
9. Where can I buy the Cricut Maker and/or supplies?
The Cricut Maker can be purchased anywhere you buy Cricut supplies – but here are a few of my favorite places (affiliated links):
10. Where can I find support, tips, and inspiration for the Cricut Maker?
There are so many places to find inspiration. First of all, the Cricut website itself is always a great place to start. The make it now projects are so beautiful and simple to create. (Cricut released 50 free Make It Now projects to coordinate with the launch of the Maker. To find these projects, visit the Free for Cricut Maker section of Make it Now.) Also, there’s always Pinterest – you can follow me (@becomingmartha) for ideas, and also check out Cricut’s blogger board. Lastly, check out facebook groups dedicated to the Cricut Maker and cut files in general. I’m launching my own group, which I would love to have you join – Create with Cricut, but I also love the Official Cricut Maker and Creative Cut Files and Printables groups.
Did I answer all of your questions? If you have more, feel free to leave them down below. I will do my best to answer them. The Cricut maker is a huge game changer, and I think once you learn more about it, you will think so as well!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.