Know Your Cricut (Tools and Accessories)
A machine is defined simply as a group of devices working together to achieve a desired goal. The Cricut Maker Machine is no exception. There are a number of available tools and accessories that assist your creativity in many ways and enable efficient delivery of your machine. These tools and accessories include knife blade, a scoring wheel, calligraphy pen, fine-point blade, cutting mat, deep-point blade, washable fabric pen, fine-point pen and a rotary blade. As stated earlier, the list continues to grow because Cricut keep adding more and more tools that will expand the Cricut Maker’s capabilities and expand user’s possibilities.
Some of the accessories that will come along with the Cricut Maker machine include Rotary Blade + Drive House, Fine-Point Pen, Fine-Point Blade + Housing, USB cable, Power Adapter, materials for your first project, 50 ready to make projects + 25 sewing patterns, FabircGrip and LightGrip Mats and a welcome book.
The software that Cricut Maker uses is known as Cricut DesignStudio and is made by Provo Craft, the manufacturer of Cricut die cutting systems. This software is free with no subscription required, it is user-friendly, allows you to connect to your computer and adjust a number of things like the fonts and shapes. It was designed to be simple for beginners and with enough power for professionals and experienced crafters.
The minimum system requirement for Design Space software for Windows OS is Windows 8 or later, 4Gb RAM size, 50MB free space on the disk, available USB port or Bluetooth enabled, minimum screen display resolution of 1024px x 768px.
For Mac OS, it is required that the OS is Mac OS X10.12 or later, 183GHz CPU, 4GB RAM size, 50MB free disk space also, while the USB port, Bluetooth connection and screen display resolution remain the same as that of Windows.
For internet connection, 2-3Mbps Download and 1-2Mbps Upload is required.
For iOS devices, iOS 10 or later is required. iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone X can use the software perfectly. For iPad: iPad (4th generation), iPad mini 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 12.9” (1st generation), iPad Pro 9.7”, iPad (5th generation), iPad Pro 10.5”, and iPadPro 12.9” (2nd generation). For iPod is iPod touch (6th generation). Note that there is an offline mode for iOS devices where the memory usage varies as the device usage.
Android devices require Android 6.0 or higher to work perfectly fine but the performance depends on the manufacturer, chipset and the speed of the processor.
Devices such as Samsung: Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab A, Galaxy Tab S series; LG: G, K, or V series; and Motorola: Droid G, Z, E, Turbo or Moto series are also compatible with the software.
The Cricut DesignSpace software can work on multiple computers and mobile devices because it is cloud-based and so you can work everywhere and with any compatible device mentioned above.
You can start on one device and end on another device so long as they are connected to the cloud. Let this software kick start your creativity with thousands of images and fonts that is capable of taking you to a whole new horizon.
Note that there are OS that are not compatible with Cricut DesignSpace including Unix/Linux Computers and Chromebooks.
There are tens of thousands images in the Cricut library. These images have been optimized to cut with accuracy and speed using the Cricut maker. Three sources of image in the Cricut library are identified namely: Cricut images, Designer image and Licensed images. Cricut images refer to the original images developed by Cricut crew.
Designer images refer to images developed in partnership with other top designers and are available for purchase; and Licensed images refer to designs and characters from partner brands like Marvel, Disney and Hello Kitty.
The format of the images used by Design Space software is the standard formats including .jpg, .bmp, .gif, .png, .svg, and .dxf.
Note that visualization of these images are free but to use them for your project will require subscription. Use Cricut Access for the subscription.
Cricut Access is a membership plan that grants you access to the Cricut library. There are monthly and yearly subscriptions so, you can choose any comfortable one that meets your target. With the Cricut Access, you can play with thousands of images, fonts, projects and even the exclusive ones that are in the library. Note that one of the accessories that came with the Cricut Maker machine is a Cricut Access trial Membership which gives you limited access to the library.
Of course, there are benefits for members which you can educate yourself about them from www. cricut.com/access.
Cricut BrightPad is an amazing craft tool for illuminating the project area in order to reduce eye strain while working. It can also be used for weeding, quilting, tracing and more. This particular tool enables users of Cricut to perform their task siting on a table or even on a chair. It is light, thin and durable for comfortability of the user. Note that weeding here refers to a number of actions including lifting, removing, piercing and placing cuts while working on vinyl projects.
This is the basic tool for creating perfect fold lines in both thin and thick materials. It was designed specifically for Cricut Maker only and has the ability to exert up to 10 times more pressure than its predecessor known as Scoring Stylus. The power and drive mechanism required by Scoring Wheel was built into the Cricut Maker Adaptive Tool System only therefore, cannot be used on any other Cricut machine.
There are two types of Scoring Wheel namely: Scoring Wheel and Double Scoring Wheel. Scoring Wheel is used mostly for uncoated light materials including acetate and light cardstock while Double Scoring Wheel is mostly used for coated and heavier materials including cardboard and poster board.
Another difference between the two is that Scoring Wheel makes a single deep score line while Double Scoring Wheel makes two parallel deep score lines.
Washable Fabric Pen
Washable Fabric pen was designed for drawing and marking patterns on materials before the Cricut Maker machine cuts them. It is mostly used for sewing projects.
The Cricut Maker draws with precisions the patterns and cuts it out in one single step. You can choose a pattern from the Design Space or upload your own image and the rest of the work will be done by the Cricut Maker. With this tool, there is no more need of tracing with hand and it is faster with flawless delivery.
The ink of Washable Fabric Pens is nontoxic, non-acidic, water-based and comes in a number of colours which is perfect for the Cricut Maker machine as well as usage in the home.
One of the main functions of the Cricut Maker machine is cutting materials and there are a number of blades it uses for this action as depicted below. These blades have the same function of cutting hundreds of materials but different applications.
It is important to have different cutting tools because there are diverse materials and one tool may not be suitable for a particular material. To solve that challenge, Cricut designed these blades to cater for different applications making the Cricut Maker a darling for crafters.
This blade comes in series and is designed to cut through a variety of thin and not too thick materials. It is ideal for cutting vinyl, posterboard, paper and iron-on.
The Knife Blade can cut balsa wood that is up to 3/32” (2.4mm) thick with ease and safety while the maximum and minimum cut size are 10.5 x23.5” and 0.75 x 0.75” respectively. It is an ideal tool for cutting moderate details in thicker woods including balsa wood, chipboard and matboard. You must ensure that all the cuts are approximately ¼” away from the edge of the wood to avoid damaging the blade. For basswood, the required thicknesses are 1/32” and 1/16”.
The Knife Blade can cut two types of leather namely: Garment leather and Tooling leather. When compared with other leathers, Garment leathers are softer, more flexible, treated with softeners and less expensive. Tooling leather, on the other hand are stiffer, often tanned to reduce the amount of work to be done on it and can be worked on to produce beautiful patterns on it.
This Knife was designed cut wide variety of materials such as canvas, fabric, paper and thin plastic. Its blade lock system allows for better control in order to deliver beautiful results and cut effortlessly. Added to these are the protective cap, a cushioned grip and anti-roll feature.
This blade was designed for cutting fabrics and other soft or delicate materials including poly blends, cotton, denim and canvas with precision. Sewing crafts from home will find this unique blade handful with it gliding and rolling action. It can cut fabrics quickly and accurately without any need of backer material. It must be used with the Rotary blade drive housing.
It is recommended that the image size to be cut should be ¾” or larger to avoid scrapping the blade. It must also be used with FabricGrip mat which can withstand the intensity of the pressure from the cutting process. This blade is only compatible with Cricut Maker and therefore, must not be forced into another Cricut machine.
This is an important accessory of Cricut Machines and its sole purpose is to hold the material to be worked on. It is a reusable adhesive material that interfaces between the machine and your material.
There are different sizes and types of mats depending on the material you desire to work with. It is recommended that you use the appropriate mat for a particular material requirement for your project. You can purchase a mat bundle along with your machine.
The types of Cricut mats include StandardGrip, StrongGrip, LightGrip, FabricGrip, Image mat and Cake mat.
The last two have been discontinued and are no longer on sale. StandarGrip is perfect for patterned paper, iron-on, vinyl, and cardstock. StrongGrip mat is ideal for heavyweight materials including glitter cardstock, chipboard, fabric with stiffner and specialty cardstock. LightGrip is perfect for common office paper, vellum and light cardstock. FabricGrip is ideal for wide varieties of fabric and its selling point is that it combines increase in strength, density and quality with light adhesive to deliver beautiful cuts.
There are four sizes available for the Cricut mats namely: 6 x12”, 8.5 x 12”, 12 x 12” and finally 12 x 24”. Only StandardGrip mat has all the four sizes while the rest have two: 12 x12” and 12 x 24”.
Adaptive Tool System for Cutting Varieties of materials
This particular tool is at the heart of the Cricut Maker. The Adaptive Tool System working with drive housing interlock of the Cricut Maker are responsible for controlling intelligently the direction of the blade and pressure of the cut. This is done by interlocking the Adaptive Tool Systems’ gear and that of the drive housing. With the adaptive Tool System taking decisions, every cut is delivered with accuracy and precision which is perfect. This unique cutting technology is only available in the Cricut Maker machine line and it is responsible for controlling the cut pressure on each material.