I did go for the most expensive machine, the Cricut Maker, primarily as a future-proof decision. Right now, stickers and such could be cut by the more entry-level machines, but the Maker will allow me to do more in the future as I experiment with the capabilities. The biggest reason is the amount of cutting force, the Maker has 4000 grams vs 400 grams of the other machines. That is an impressive amount of force.
So the machine comes with some basic getting started tools:
- Premium fine point blade
- Rotary blade with drive housing
- Fine point pen
- A LightGrip mat
- A FabricGrip mat
- Some sample materials
That's a good start, but there are some accessories that I think you need to add as a minimum that I ended up ordering from Amazon after the fact:
- Cricut Basic Tool set (has weeding tools, scrapers, etc)
- Material you want to be using (such as printable vinyl, stickable vinyl, etc.)
- Additional mats (StrongGrip and StandardGrip, for example)
- Vinyl transfer tape
- Replacement blades (for backup)
- Other types of blades that you may want (I picked up the Knife Blade and the Engraving Tip, both with their housings)
So, what's the good stuff so far?
- Huge range of cutting materials
- Setup is super easy
- Design Space is available on everything
- Device can be connected by USB and Bluetooth
- Lots and lots of resources
- Design Space has a very weird limit of 6.75" x 9.25" limit to print and cut which I cannot even remotely fathom, The Cricut itself does not share this limit and neither do any printers I am aware of. Anyways, I'm working out a way around the limit, but it means not printing from the application.
- Design Space is a little counter-intuitive to start, but you do figure it out reasonably quickly. I found on my iPad, switching between Canvas and Make using the buttons at the top didn't cause the Make view to update, I had to click the "Make It" button at the bottom to do that.
I've been fussing around trying to get better than 6.75" x 9.25" without any success, but along the way I also discovered that you can also only print to 8.5" x 11" stock. Say what?! In the short term, I may resort to the cutting guides approach using card stock on the cutting mat, but these restrictions are ridiculous and arbitrary. To be frank, they take the polish off what is otherwise an excellent product.