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Comparing Fabric Cutting Machines

Comparing Fabric Cutting Machines

Which is the best fabric  cutting machine?  AccuQuilt, Big Shot? Brother ScanNCut? Silhouette? It depends on your needs. I liked rotary cutting until I lopped off the corner of my finger and had stitches. Machine cutters are much safer. I researched machines for weeks before purchasing. Here is what I learned.Note: I’m blogging as a quilter not a scrapbooker here.(Cricut is not included as it not geared for fabric.)

die_fabric_cutters


Sizzix Big Shot

sizzix_dresden

What I like about Sizzix Big Shot:

  • Quick and Easy. Make a sandwich with the pads, turn the handle, done!
  • Over 141 quilting dies from Sizzix (as of spring 2014)
  • Uses many AccuQuilt Go Baby and other company dies. (requires shim, i.e mylar or cardboard piece)
  • No electricity needed
  • Cuts 8 layers of fabric at one time
  • Easy to crank
  • Small enough to travel. (Carrying case available)
  • Great for cutting strips.
  • Includes a pair of Standard Cutting Pads
  • It’s pretty. Soft blue, turquoise and pink.
  • You can get another version in black with pink trim. 
  • Three-year limited warranty.


What I don’t like about Sizzix Big Shot:

  • Limited to 6″ width (eliminated by moving to the Big Shot Pro below)
  • You have to buy dies. They range from $12 to $60 (look on Amazon for discounts, swap with friends)
  • Starter Kit is geared to scrapbookers, they should make one for quilters.

Sizzix Big Shot Pro

Machine Price: Retail  $389 at Amazon $299

What I like about Sizzix Big Shot Pro:

  • All the reasons listed above for Big Shot
  • Can use up to 12 inch dies
  • High Volume Die Cutting
  • Over 160 quilting dies and works with every Sizzix and Ellison design ever made
  • Also can use AccuQuilt Studio dies and many other dies
  • You can use strip die to make other shapes (see video above)
  • 13-inch wide opening for all of you materials: paper, cardstock, foam, cork, and  more
  • Contains one machine, one standard cutting pad and one premium crease pad.
  • Includes two 0.10 millimeter mylar shims, and an adapter pad
  • Custom dies available
  •  3 year limited warranty

What I don’t like about Sizzix Big Shot Pro

  • It big 40lbs, requires a dedicated space. (I don’t mind)
  • It’s on my wish list and not on my quilting table.

AccuQuilt Go Baby

What I like about AccuQuilt Go Baby

  • Quick and Easy. Make a sandwich with the pads, turn the handle, done!
  • Cute
  • Portable, built-in carry case
  • One year warranty



What I do not  like about AccuQuilt Go Baby

  • Limited size
  • Only cuts 5 or 6 layers
  • You have to buy dies. They range from $20 to $80
  • Only 65 dies
  • Will not take other dies.

Accuquilt Go

Machine Price: Retail $349 Amazon $219 or $209
Starter Kit Price:
 Retail $581, Amazon $359

What I like about AccuQuilt Go!

  • Quick and Easy. Make a sandwich with the pads, turn the handle, done!
  • New version rolls better than older version.
  • 165 dies availble
  • Portable (15 lbs)
  • Created for quilters
  • No electricity required
  • Built in carrying case
  • Cuts 8 layers of fabric at a time

What I  do not like about AccuQuilt Go!

  • You have to buy dies. They range from $20 to $80
  • Will not take other dies.

Accuquilt Studio

Machine Price: $595
Starter Kit Price:
 Retail $1,075

What I like about Accuquilt Studio:

  • All the reasons I like Accuquilt above.
  • For power users.  You can make and sell kits.
  • Cuts like a hot knife through butter
  • Easiest to crank
  • Cut up to 10 layers of fabric
  • Life-time warranty
  • 15″ wide
  • Over 400 Dies
  • Will use Sizzix and Ellison dies with adapter.

What I  did not like about Accuquilt Studio:

  • Required dedicated 4′ x  2′ table space. 34 pounds
  • High price. Starter set over $1000 , only my wish list if I get a quilt shop or quilt business.
  • Dies only available through Accucut. ($30 to $120)

Computerized Cutting Machines

What about the computerized machines?   Brother ScanNCut? Silhouette? It depends on your needs.

  • If you piece quilt and need layers or strips and shapes you should consider a die cut machine above
  • If you do a lot of appliqué  and only need to cut one layer, look at ScannCut and Silhouette.
  • If you do both, look at both.

brother scanncut vs accuquiltBrother ScanNCut

Retail Price: Amazon $399

I purchased the Brother Scanncut and returned in three days. I purchased it for the reasons I liked it below. And returned for the reasons listed I did not like below.  If I had a bigger budget I would have kept it and worked harder on the learning curve. I just kept thinking how many dies and much fabric I could purchase for $400.

What I liked about the ScannCut:

  • The computer was very easy to use
  • No dies or  design cartridges needed!
  • Perfect accurate cuts
  • Ability to resize all images
  • Do not need to hook to computer (works as stand alone)
  • Can hook to computer
  • 600 Built in Designs
  • Can draw on the 1/4 inch seam allowance (or not)
  • Built in Scanner
  • You can scan in fabric for fussy cutting
  • Easily converts .SVG files to .FCM files.
  •  LCD touch screen with on-screen editing capabilities such as rotating, welding, resizing and organizing.
  • Online community
  • Scan to USB
  • Easy  to return and get my money back

 What I did not like about the Scanncut:

  • You can only cut one layer of fabric (which is OK if you do a lot of appliqués)
  • You have to prep fabric with starch and paper mats before cutting
  • Can’t cut strips longer than 12″
  • Lousy manual
  • I felt like  the time it took to set everything up to cut you can cut it easier by hand.
  • The sticky mats were not sticky enough to hold the fabric (as fI understand it  you have to replace them often)
  • Maybe a in few years they will come up with a better machine for fabric. Some quilters love it.

I did not research nor use the Silhouette cutter. Sorry. If I do I will add to this post.

And the Winner is…

I purchased Sixxiz Big Shot. I love it! The reason I decided on Sizzix over Accuquilt is 1. cheaper to get started and 2. I can use dies from other companies.

I cut out a ton of adorable, accurate, Dresden petals this morning in a few minutes.

tanya_dresden

I also purchased the Brother Scanncut and returned in three days. Had I not purchased both I would have gone for the Big Shot Pro. But I am very happy. I would love to have a computerized cutter but….

Accuquilt_dies_fit_Big_Shot


What fabric cutter do you use? Why do you like it? What don’t you like about it? Share in the comments.

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