If you are in the market or think you may be in the market to buy a die cutting machine, you probably have some questions. A die cutting machine (sometimes called a card making machine) is a revolutionary tool for crafters. It truly changes lives.
However, because of their importance, logistics, and price, purchasing a die cutting machine can make a crafter uneasy and even hesitant. Ladies and gentlemen, cast your fears aside - we have the information you need to help you make the best choice for your new-and-improved creative arsenal.
Here are 6 must-know tips for buying a die cutting machine.
1. Think About What You Need
First and foremost, you need to have an idea of not only what you're going to be creating, but how you'd prefer to go about doing so. There are two main schools of die cutting: Manual and Electronic/Digital. Do you want to get a machine that you manually and physically put material and dies into, then turn the lever to make your cut? Or, are you computer-savvy and hoping to hook your machine up to your desktop or laptop and cut from there?
Note: Some manual die cutting machines have an electronic option. These ones are motorized (or have options for motorized accessories). Technically, they are manual - meaning you place the materials to be cut and the die into the machine and make the cut yourself. However, instead of turning the lever, you can press a button and the machine will function electronically for you. This is perfect if you have arthritis or limited mobility. Do note, however, that a manual die cutting machine with electronic/motorized functionality is not the same as an electronic digital die cutting machine, the ones you hook up to your computer.
2. Consider the Size of Your Projects
Do you plan on creating large projects, super small projects, projects weekly, or just for special occasions?
Because of the varying types of machines and their sizes, these are all important questions as to which machine might work for you!
If you want a durable, manual die cutting machine and a few dies to start, there are entire bundles created to help new die cutters or seasoned pros who are ready to upgrade.
3. Know What You Need to Cut
Are you just interested in cutting out your stamped images or are you planning on quilting an army of unique blankets? The next consideration is the material you plan to cut. If you are just planning to cut paper, a manual or electronic standard die cutting machine is fine (popular options are the Sizzix Big Shot, the Spellbinders Platinum 6, and the Gemini).
However, if you're looking to cut thick and heavy materials like multiple layers of fabric, craft metals, and more, you will want to invest in a large, heavy-duty machine such as the Sizzix Big Shot Pro.
Tip: Make sure you read the product reviews, descriptions, and watch a video if able to so you know exactly what each machine will or will not do!
4. Consider Your Space
When buying a new machine, you need to assess space. Not your head space or personal space, but your crafting storage and functional space: Do you have room for a big pro machine that is around 24" x 15" x 17"? What about a long (over a foot and a half), but skinny electric one? Or do you literally only have one 12" x 12" square foot of space left in your studio so you need to pick the smallest machine possible?
Die cutting machines come in a wide variety of sizes, and many of the smaller options can pack an impressive, unexpected punch. No matter what you plan to do with your new die cutting machine, you need to actually have a space for it to live!
5. Review the Die Cut Comparison Chart
Know the differences between machines. Just like laundry machines, toaster ovens, and bicycles, die cutting machines may all serve the same purpose, but they differ in features and functions. This handy chart will give you some of that information about the most popular die cutting machines on the market.
As you read through it, ponder all you have considered in the previous tips - what are you planning on making? What materials would you most like to use? And how much space do you actually have in your studio (be honest with yourself!).
6. Read the Reviews
Last, but never least, read the reviews. This can seem like a no-brainer, but it's vital. The information you can get from other crafters like yourself is invaluable. It's important to read both the 5-star reviews and the 1-star reviews to see exactly what people like about the machine and what critiques they may have. Most product pages have reviews near the bottom.
At the End of the Day...
At the end of the day, a die cutting machine purchase is a big one, but a life-changing one. Your crafts will forever be altered in a way that gives you more control, more creative possibilities, and more designs to add to any and all of the creations that you choose to make.
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