Buying a die cutting machine should be well-researched investment, and there are several factors to consider. If you will be using a die cutting machine often, pick a machine that is reliable and easy to use.
Type of machine – Manual or Digital
The most important thing when considering a die cutting machine is the type of machine. Manual die cutting machines use a hand crank to push material through a slot, where the material is then cut or embossed. These machines are the most affordable and most portable.
Digital die cutting machines work similar to a printer to cut materials. These machines use cartridges that plug into the machine or connect to the computer. If you want to create custom designs, then you’ll want to get a digital die cutting machine that connects to the computer. Not all of these machines, however, allow for custom designs, so be sure that the software allows you to do this.
Die cutting machines can range from manual machines costing $50, to heavy duty machines that cost upwards of $1,000. One should consider their needs when shopping for a machine. If you are a professional artist or business, consider buying a quality machine. It’s worth getting a good machine for a slightly higher price than a cheaper model that may be frustrating to work with.
Other factors to consider are the cost of cartridges, accessories and tools, replacement blades, dies, and cutting mats that may need to be replaced. Professional versions of software or upgrades may also add to the cost of an investment.
Materials and Versatility
Consider the projects you will be creating with a die cutting machine and what kinds of materials you will be using. Heavy duty machines are able to cut a greater variety of materials. If you will be cutting mostly with paper-based materials, it might not make sense to invest in a heavy duty machine. Also, consider the versatility of the machine. Machines will cut materials, but you may want capabilities such as drawing and embossing.
Ease of use – Software and Support
Even if you have a quality die cutting machine, it may be frustrating to use the machine if the software has a high learning curve or you can’t get support. Research the software that comes with the machine and see what kinds of tutorials there are. Also, research the company selling the die cutting machine. Many companies have tutorials, forums, and phone and email support to help you get started in die cutting.
Size and Portability
Size and portability may be a factor. Do you have a small working area? Will you be cutting large materials that require a machine with a larger cutting width? Also, consider the weight of the machine if you will be traveling with the machine. Machines can range from 2lbs to large machines that are 40lbs.