Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine
- Cuts the widest variety of materials (50+)
- Upload and cut your own designs FREE - including SVG files
- No cartridges required (but cartridge compatible)
- Free and easy software - no paid upgrades required
- $100 Value of Images and Projects included
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The Cricut Explore is an electronic cutting system that blends with Cricut Design Space, the free online design software, to help you make polished DIY projects. Create by using the hundreds of ready-to-make projects, the 50,000+ images from the Cricut library or by uploading your own images for free.Cricut’s precision cutting technology allows you to cut up to 50+ materials- from velum to paper to leather, more than any other electronic cutting machine. The Print then Cut feature allows you to print full color images with Cricut Design Space and your printer, then cut them out flawlessly with your Cricut Explore machine.
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Now comes the Explore. I had some idea of what this machine could do. But let me just say that I am completely blown away. The Explore does things I had never imagined one machine could do. I have no need of either of my old beloved machines anymore. This machine does everything that the other two did and more. Much much more.
First, it is sleek and clean and beautiful to look at from the outside. They really took in to account the aesthetics in the design. Then once you open it up, there are two compartments where you can store your blades in - one on a magnetic strip and your tools in another. Brilliant!! I had never thought of that. No more wondering where my tools are. They are with my machine. This just shows that they really thought of everything.
Once you begin to use the Explore machine you will see that attention to detail continues. This machine is quiet. Something that I am so happy about. I can actually listen to the TV while it is cutting. Love it. And it can cut very small fine details. Something the Expression could never do. At least I didn't think so. But this one can do it no problem. It is so quick and precise. The cut setting dial is great. There are many options from paper to poster board and from what I have tried so far, they are correct. No need for second guessing.
Next is the Cricut Design Space. This is the online website that you connect to your machine. It is simple and easy to get around. There are so many new things it can do, so I do suggest watching the tutorial video before beginning. Without watching the tutorial or reading the manual, you will be missing out on some great features. I am still learning about all it can do and loving every second of it. It is easy to select images and size them how you would like. Once you are ready for that, you hit the "go" button and the magic happens! The machine divides each layer into a "mat" according to how many layers or really how many colors of paper you will need to cut that image. It does the work for you! It is amazing. If you want to change the quantity, it is very simple and it will automatically change that and adjust the mats for you too. I hope I am explaining this properly. Trust me, it is genius.
The Explore also cuts any fonts that you have on your computer. This is fantastic and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. In addition to that, you can now cut SVG files. And it is EASY to import them. I have done this with my other machine and it was kind of a pain. The Explore does it in just a few clicks of the buttons and even guides you along. No guess work. I also love that you can cut and write at the same time. You can design an image to cut and then design words or images that the pen can draw inside that cut image. They then work at the same time. I see lots of invitations in my future with this new feature.
One of my other favorite things is you can change what your "canvas" is. Normally you are designing on a grid from the mat. Now you can select a "canvas" and put your design on the canvas so you can see how it will really look. For example, if you are cutting iron-on vinyl for a shirt for you child: On the grid mat you would have to measure the shirt and then hope you have it correct on the mat preview, hoping will come out how you want it to. Now, you can select "shirt" as your canvas. This then turns the background on your computer into the image of a shirt and not the grid of the mat. Then it give you options to choose adult or child. It will then scale the background to look and be the size of a child shirt. You can even select the size S,M,L for a child shirt. Now you can design your image and place it where you would want it to go and see if it will work. It takes the guess work out if you have the image correctly sized and designed before you cut it out. You now know how it will look on a shirt. There are lots of canvas like shoes, banners, bags, etc for any project you can think of. This concept had never even entered my mind and I use a die cut machine at least 4/5 times a week. I thought I had thought of everything the perfect machine would have. They made it even better.
I cannot say enough about all the fantastic features this machine has. I have only gotten started on it and with each new thing I make, I am more and more impressed. I think I am going to sell my other machines. This machine does everything they do and more! I really could not be more impressed with it. I am a very experienced crafter with my own Etsy shop and 10 years of crafting experience. I will recommend the Explore machine to everyone I know. Even if they already have a die cut machine. This is the future of die cutting and where you want to be. If you are on the fence about buying it, don't be.
I am so excited about the new "Print Then Cut" feature that was just released for the Cricut Explore. Again, they've perfected another feature! As I stated in the earlier part of my review, I have a Silhouette Cameo. I have tried to use their print/cut feature a few times. I never once got a single image to cut even close to how it was supposed to cut. I followed all the directions closely, but I was unsuccessful and gave up - but not before ruining a lot of paper and wasting a lot of time. I figured it was a feature I would not miss, and never thought twice about it again.
Then Cricut comes out with their new "Print Then Cut" feature. All I can say is: I had no idea how amazing this could be. First of all, it is available for FREE to everyone who has the Explore. Next, any, and I mean any, image that you have can be made into a "Print Then Cut" image with ONE click. All you have to do is select the "flatten" button on the edit section of the image. You can even change the colors of the image before you "flatten" it, allowing you to completely customize your image to whatever colors you want - with only a few clicks! The Silhouette could never do that with the basic features. I believe if you pay for the upgrade, you can change an image to a print/cut image and possibly change the colors, but not with the ease or simplicity of the Explore. And no paid upgrade is needed on the Cricut. And who doesn't love that?!
The first project I made was a banner for my daughter's birthday out of simple white cardstock. I was up late, crafting - as usual - when I decided to give it a try. Even at 1:30 in the morning, it was easy to do. I had no problems picking a shape for my banner, adding text, customizing my colors and then making my new image a printable one. Next thing I knew, I had a darling banner in a matter of minutes! Love it!
Once you have created your first "Print Then Cut" image, you will need to calibrate your printer. The prompts for this are easy to follow, and only need to be done once. Then you are on your way to crafting bliss. If you run into any problems - like with your printer for example - you can easily reprint your project with out having to start from the beginning again. As usual, they have thought of everything to make it so easy.
There are new mediums that add to the fun of the "Print Then Cut" too: Printable vinyl and printable sticker paper that offer so many new options! Labels, name tags, stickers, etc. The sky is the limit.
So, as if you need any more reasons to buy the best crafting machine ever, the "Print Then Cut" feature will put you over the top. Enjoy all the new possibilities that are out there and have fun.
UPDATE: Check out my review on the new Explore Air machine
As for the online software: it can be a little tricky, and it has its limitations but it is SO EASY TO USE that you can figure it out in just a few minutes. I spent all day the first day I set it up testing it out and tweaking all of my design files so that the Cricut software would cut the shapes the way I wanted. I use Adobe Illustrator and PRO TIP: Convert all of your outlines into shapes! The software does not like outlines, especially if you're planning on re-sizing your designs at all. I used to use outlines and stroke weight for a lot of my design elements, but I've had to convert all of them to shapes in order for the Cricut software to cut them properly. It's a pretty quick fix if you have both Illustrator and Photoshop.
Anyways, if you have a creative small business or hobby YOU WILL LOVE THIS MACHINE.