Advance warning: Very long blog post ahead – but if you are interested in purchasing the Brother ScanNCut and are unsure which model to pick, bear with me, and read on. 🙂
If you’re a stamper and cardmaker, you’ve probably used or seen someone use a die-cutting machine. In most cases, these machines are manual die-cutters and involve rolling a handle back and forth to apply even pressure to the dies and your material (cardstock, felt, etc).
The manual die-cutting machine that I use is a Cuttlebug by Provocraft. I LOVE my Cuttlebug – it is one of my most used tools in my craft room. The Cuttlebug is very reasonably priced for all it can do – die-cut images, dry emboss using embossing folders, and if you add an embossing mat, you can even emboss with your dies.
However…when you’re mass producing holiday cards and have stamped a bajillion images, it can get pretty tedious cranking that handle back and forth over and over again. And, some stamps don’t come with coordinating dies. Some people were born with the natural talent of fussy cutting…that isn’t me!
That’s where electronic die-cutting machines come in handy. The two main players in this field are the Silhouette Cameo (with the addition of the PixScan mat) and the Brother ScanNCut. The winner…and there IS a clear one…is the Brother ScanNCut.
The model I have, and the one I recommend if all you need is a machine to die-cut your stamped images is the Brother ScanNCut CM250 from Costco. From where? Costco! Really?! Yes, Costco!!
At the time of this post, Costco is selling this model for $159 online only at http://www.costco.com. You do NOT need to have a Costco membership – the surcharge for non-members is only $8. And what’s better? FREE SHIPPING!
Now, there are a few different models in the market and I’ll go into that in further detail if anyone is interested, but for a quick and easy product comparison chart, visit Brother’s website here: http://www.brother-usa.com/ScanNCut/Product_Comparison.aspx.
Some things to note:
1. Scanning Capability
ALL models of the ScanNCut have a scanning capability of 300 DPI. Whether you pay $600 or $160 for your machine, they will all scan at 300 DPI.
DPI refers to “dots per inch” and is a measure of the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (thank you, Google!).
What this means in simple terms…the scan quality across all the models ARE THE SAME!
2. Color Recognition
One of the features the more expensive (CM350 and CM650) models have is the scanning color recognition. A lot of people mistakenly think that this means the older models cannot scan in color, or that they cannot cut images that are colored – they can.
What this actually refers to is color contrast. The older models require a greater level of contrast between the negative space and the lines of the image, than the new models.
Is this super important? Kinda, maybe. Some questions to ask yourself: Do you usually stamp images in black ink on white cardstock? If you are using colored cardstock, do you stamp in black or dark ink? If so, regular black and white color recognition is going to be just fine for you. If you frequently stamp in light colors or do not have a lot of contrast between the paper you’re using and the ink you’re stamping with, maybe it would be worth it to look at the more expensive models. (CM350 and CM650)
3. Wireless Connectivity
The CM250 and CM100DM machines cannot connect to your computer. If you want to transfer a digital design to your machine, you will have to store the design on a USB flashdrive and connect that to your machine instead.
The newer models (CM350 and CM650) have the capability to connect directly to your computer using a USB cable or with the purchase of a wireless activation card.
Is this a dealbreaker? No – not for me. I just want to cut out stamped images and have no interest in using this machine to connect to my computer.
Furthermore, if digital paper crafting is your primary aim, I would recommend looking at the Cricut Explore series or the Silhouette Cameo instead for more advanced features at a lower cost.
4. Screen size
Ah, this is where I find myself torn. The two cheaper models (CM250 and CM100DM) have a 3.7″ color LCD screen. The two more expensive models (CM350 and CM650) have a 4.85″ screen instead.
For some, having the larger screen is a must. Personally, I can live with a smaller screen because the price point is so much lower (3x lower, to be exact). I use the touch screen on my CM250 to zoom in when I need to see things in greater detail and have not had any problems.
While it would be nice to have a larger screen, I’m just not convinced that it’s worth the extra hundreds.
Since purchasing my Brother ScanNCut, I’ve found myself buying more stamp sets because I don’t have to purchase the coordinating dies. I do still buy dies that have “stitched” details because I like the embossed effect of manual die-cutting. The ScanNCut also cuts out scripty and bold sentiments beautifully – something I’ll share in another post. Thanks for reading this far, and have a wonderful day!
***I am not affiliated with Costco or Brother. I just LOVE my new gadget and had to share with you!***