Brother ScanNCut Review

The Brother ScanNCut is a unique electronic die cutting machine that has a built-in 300 DPI scanner. With the Brother ScanNCut, one is able to scan virtually anything into the scanner to have the machine automatically create cut lines. You can scan stamped images, hand drawn designs, magazine cutouts, or photos. Once these designs are created, they can be saved to the Brother’s internal memory, or saved to an external USB drive. The Brother ScanNCut comes with a built-in touch screen to manipulate and move images, and works without a computer or cartridges. With such features as a scanner, we found this Brother ScanNCut review to be fun and unique.

*Note: Be sure to also check out the newer Brother ScanNCut2!

Brother ScanNCut Review

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Design and Features

  • Built-in 300 DPI Scanner can be used to scan and cut designs, create custom shapes, or save .JPG files.
  • USB Drive input allows for saving files or downloading new designs.
  • Internal memory stores custom designs and comes preloaded with basic shapes, borders, and fonts.
  • Full-color LCD touch screen to manipulate designs.
  • Built specifically with fabric in mind to create seam allowances and sewing guidelines
  • Cut and draw using the 12″ x 12″ or 12″ x 24″ cutting mat.

Using the Brother ScanNCut

The Brother ScanNCut is a stand-alone machine, meaning it doesn’t require a computer to operate. In fact, there is no way to connect it to a computer. There is still software you can use with it, however (more on that below). The machine is also cartridge free, in the sense it doesn’t use cartridges. I will mention that Brother does sell USB drives that contain images, but these USB drives are not required to operate the machine.

This machine is a fairly straightforward machine to use, and there isn’t too much of a learning curve compared to other machines. The Brother ScanNCut manual is easy to understand.

Cutting Mats

Anytime you scan, cut, or draw, you’ll want to use the cutting mat. The cutting mat comes in two sizes, 12″ x 12″ and 12″ x 24″, and two different types, a regular version, and the low tack adhesion version, which is used for more delicate materials.

One downside of the Brother ScanNCut are the mats. The mats aren’t sticky enough. One has the option of taping the edges of the material to the mat, to prevent the material from moving around.


The Brother ScanNCut comes with a built-in 300 DPI scanner. Images can be scanned into the machine from a variety of places. This includes hand-drawn designs and fonts. Once the material is scanned, the Brother detects the scanned pattern and automatically creates cut lines. The machine can then proceed to start cutting the traced designs, or the designs can be saved to internal memory, where they can be cut on different materials.

What’s neat about the Brother ScanNCut is that scanned images can be saved to a USB drive as a .JPG file, where it can be kept as a backup or altered further using 3rd party software.

Scanning works best with darker lines. For example, if you had a design that was light pink, the machine may not detect the design. One trick is to outline the design lightly with a pencil. After scanning, the pencil can be erased.


Once an image is selected, either from the USB drive, internal memory, or from a scanned image, it can be cut in 3 ways:

Outline detection: The outline of the design is cut. Cut lines inside the design are ignored.

Region detection: The outside of the design is cut, as well as any inside designs.

Line detection: Only the inside lines are cut.

Brother ScanNCut Cut Modes
Brother ScanNCut Cut Modes

The Brother ScanNcut also comes with 2 different blades, a regular blade and a deep cut blade for thicker materials. The blade holders are color coated to tell the difference between them.


In addition to scanning and cutting, the Brother ScanNCut can also draw. You can even draw hand-drawn designs or phrases.

To draw, you’ll need to purchase both the pen holder and pens. The pen set is somewhat limited when it comes to color.

Cutting and using fabric

The Brother ScanNCut was designed with quilters in mind. Cutting fabric does require a few extra steps to prepare compared to paper materials.

Here’s how to cut fabric with the Brother ScanNCut:

  1. If possible, starch and iron your fabric to make it flat
  2. Next, apply the fabric sheet to the standard mat
  3. Then, apply your fabric to the mat.
  4. Use the spatula and press it against the fabric to make sure there are no air pockets
  5. Start cutting!

It’s always good to do a test cut on a smaller piece of material to test the blade depth and blade speed.

Check out the video demonstration of cutting leather:

The Brother allows you to add seam allowances to the fabric in 1/4″ increments, which is perfect for quilters.

With the erasable pen set, one can draw seam allowances or other temporary lines on fabric. The ink in the blue pen can be washed out with water, while the ink in the purple pen is designed to disappear after a few days.

Brother ScanNCut Canvas Software

The Brother ScanNCut doesn’t connect to a computer, but there is still software for the machine. The software is called ScanNCut Canvas, and it’s a free cloud-based program.

The software comes with some designs and fonts ready to use, but you can import other file formats such as .JPG  and .SVG. These file formats can then be converted to .FCM, where they can be downloaded to a USB drive and uploaded to the Brother machine.

Tracing JPGs can be more complicated than shown in the video below, but there are tutorials you can find online.

Overall Review

The Brother ScanNCut has some features that no die cutting machine on the market has. The scanner is quite useful, and so is the ability to draw seam allowances and create sewing guides. Even though it’s stand-alone, it comes with the free online Canvas software and the ability to work with USB drives.

One of the cheapest places to purchase the machine is from Amazon, as it comes with free shipping. Click below to check the price!

Amazon Price

30 thoughts on “Brother ScanNCut Review”

  1. I just recieved the Brother Scan n Cut 2 (350something) and I LOVE IT!!! It’s perfect for the crafter with endless ideas and you don’t have to buy anything like cartridges or stencils to create what you have in your head. It is seriously a must have. I’m glad I waited and never bought a cutter (due to the expensive designs/images) and waited till I found out about this cutting machine.

      • It’s a fun machine but you should note that there are two kinds of machines, the 350 and the 650. I think the price difference is $299 to $499…? You have to get the 650 at a Brother dealer. The Brother site compares the two re features.

  2. I just bought the scan n cut 2 , the manual is very hard to understand, as you read one page on how to do something, it refers you either forward several pages of back pages.. I cannot figure out how to do a font using my computer & saving to disk and sending to my scan n cut.. I have the file saved as JPEG and when the machine recognizes it, and I send to cut, it does not cut out the letters as it is written.. what do I need to do to get a font to work properly

    • We are having similar issues (See comment below). Try working with regional detection settings, page 68 in our manual. Our issue has to do with importing JPEGs into canvas, we can not find access to set detection mode for this tool.

    • I’ve barely read the manual but it’s so easy and intuitive I don’t need to. Any tough questions I’ve wondered about are solved by going to YouTube and watching their excellent videos by artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Next to Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Co., she’s the most clear instructor online.

  3. We are importing a .jpg file into Canvas and are unable to detect internal cut-lines, our pattern has several “holes” internally, (region detection). Is there a setting to allow detection on Canvas to detect these lines?

    • It’s totally fun. You buy a kit that enables the software and adds in those features, plus they give you rhinestones and some cute patterns.

  4. Do you have to adjust the cuttin depth on this machine? One selling point on the Cameo 3 is an auto blade, I’m worried about having to adjust a blade.

  5. hi I have been really keen to buy this machine but am curious as to whether it will cut plastic to make plastic stencils and if so what thickness would be the best. I was also interested in how many stencils it would cut before the blades were to get blunt. cheers

  6. If there is anyone out there that can help me, it would be greatly appreciated. I make a lot of crafts out of plastic canvas, and I am just wondering if there is a machine out there that would cut my plastic canvas patterns out. With aging hands, it is getting tough to use scissors to cut the canvas out. Another question is would the Brother Scan N Cut be able to cut out plastic canvas, this machine is very interesting and thinking it may be a purchase in the near future.

  7. I am using self adhesive vinyl and cutting small pieces, but I find my circles are very badly cut. On a 1cm circle the blade will start the cut outside the circle, leaving a small scrath in the finished item. even worse is the imperfect circle it cuts…more like a wobbly blob than a precise circle. The original desings are made very accurately on Autocad, printed then scanned onto my ScannCut, but the finished article is nowhere near as precise as the original drawing lines. Any ideas on what i am doing wrong? Thanks folks.

  8. What am I doing wrong? I stamped an image and scanned it but when it cuts its cutting all the lines inside and out I only wanted it to cut the outside. What am I doing wrong. Sometimes it won’ even pick up the full image it only picks up certain parts of the image and cuts that out

  9. Hi… I am trying to find a smart way of making fibre gaskets for small bits of machinery but wanted to check whether the scan and cut with a deep cutting head could work the material I use. It’s called Novus™ 30 which is a 0.5mm compressed fibre sheet material (manufactured based on a blend of aramid and inorganic fibres with a nitrile rubber binder system). I am unsure if this is too thick given the specs say 0.2mm for vinyl and 0.75mm for denim.

    Is the cutting head is able to run multiple times over the same cutting outline?

    Any help much appreciated.

  10. I have wanted this machine for a long time, Particularly as I make my own cards and often need to cut windows and swing elements after they have been printed. I purchased the Scan N Cut DX in June but just got a chance to try it.
    I am sure that if I were able to make the appropriate connections to workspace I might be able to achieve my goals — although the reverse of the card I was working on left an imprint on my mat, but after trying for several hours I have not been able to get the complete program installed either on the machine or my computer. They keep asking for numbers , but not explaining where to get these.
    When I go to help sites– the machine used does not have the same icons as mine does.
    Also, I cannot download the supposedly free patterns that came with my package.
    I do hope that you can give me some advice so that I can get my full value out of this machine.

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