The ultimate making machine
Cricut Maker 3 is an excellent digital cutter, a polished product with a premium feel and the potential to work with a wide range of materials. It is also easy to use, requires no previous skills or knowledge to work, and has a large community of creators who contribute ideas and methods to create new projects and programs. It’s fun to use this machine, which accepts a wide range of tools and materials, and its head can work with fabric, leather, wood and even aluminum sheet. If you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t take long to go from idea to finished product.
The Cricut Maker 3 is easy to operate, cutting, embossing, drawing and engraving with the push of a button. The big selling point of this machine is the ability to use Cricut Smart materials without the use of a mat, and can cut designs up to 12 feet. The Cricut Maker 3 is a bit pricey, but if you really want to get creative or want a commercial machine – then it’s perfect.
The Maker 3 looks a bit like a wide-format printer, with a width of 22 inches, a height of 5.5 inches and a depth of 6.5 inches. The slightly rounded body of the tool is primarily glossy white plastic with a silver metal cover. Lifting the cover causes the Maker 3’s front panel to fold forward, exposing the paper feeder. A small two-compartment accessory tray, located on the left side of the lid, can be used when open or closed and provides a useful space for a pen or machine tip. Lift up the door built into the feeder tray to find another tool tray. A shallow slot above the main cavity can accommodate a phone or tablet.
Under the lid, a small control panel is located on the right side of the main chamber with power, pause, start and load/unload buttons. Inside the main chamber is the production head, mounted on a metal bar with a belt drive system. The head has two tool slots with clamping levers. The slot on the left holds the pen for drawing with the machine, while the slot on the right has a gear system for driving the mechanical tool head. The second metal bar is located in front of the head bar and has gears for feeding different materials into the Maker 3.
Cricut should be commended for the ease with which it can be set up on a technically complex device. It comes fully assembled, just take it out of the box, remove some protective foam, insert it, and connect it to the software that runs the device.
The Maker 3 comes with a fine cutting tool and is pre-installed with that tool. At first glance, the Cricut may look similar to a printer, and the similarities don’t stop at the outside. Open the Cricut and you’ll find a clamping system similar to a printer cartridge holder. Inside, you’ll find two clamps – the left one turns the Maker into a drawing system, while the right one is a cutting blade. The clamps are easy to open and provide some real magic for the Maker version of the Cricut machine. You can install 13 different tools to do everything from cut fabric to carve wood.
First of all, the Cricut Maker 3 is a smart cutting tool that makes ultra-precise cuts on the softer side of the material range. However, it’s not the only thing it can do; the Maker 3 is compatible with 13 different tools, allowing users to perform a variety of operations such as writing, engraving, dimpling, and more.
Cricut’s tool heads can be easily swapped out thanks to its patented attachment system called QuickSwap. Helpfully, there are two tool clips (labeled A and B) on the Maker 3, so you can do two different things in one job, such as cutting and writing.
The price of additional tool heads tends to vary between $30 and $50. But the Cricut Maker 3 is compatible with the previous generation of machine heads, and that should save you some extra cash if you plan to upgrade.
The Maker 3 can work with more than 300 materials, from soft silks, cotton and cashmere, all the way to stronger materials such as wood, leather and denim. It can also work with materials that can’t be handled by a laser cutter, including vinyl.
Cricut has what it calls “smart” materials, which you can order for the Maker 3. These include paper, vinyl and a material the company calls Iron-On. The latter allows you to use an iron to bond the material to the fabric, an example of which is making T-shirts. According to Cricut, it comes in a variety of colors and can be used in the washing machine more than 50 times.
Cricut Smart Materials are easily fed into the machine without having to be placed on a cutting mat. With these materials, you will be able to get the higher cut lengths advertised.
The Maker 3 can cut material up to 330 mm wide and 3,600 mm long. However, in order to achieve this cutting length, you will need to purchase an optional additional reel stand.
Not surprisingly, the reel stand can accommodate rolls of material, more specifically Cricut’s own “smart” material. These materials are optimized for machines with lengths ranging from 3-22 meters, but only Smart Vinyl materials are currently available in lengths exceeding that number. Otherwise, the maximum length you can cut seems to depend on the material and the cutting mat you are using, which you will need to use if you are not using Smart Vinyl.
Design Space is the name of the free software that comes with Cricut Maker 3. The desktop version is available on Windows and Mac, while the mobile version is available for smartphones and tablets.
Users can upload their own images and designs for machine production through the Design Space software – a key feature for many. Accepted file formats are .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .svg and .dxf. This is really easy to do and fast, and you can choose different levels of detail for the items you upload.
The Cricut Maker 3 connects via USB and Bluetooth, and has a built-in docking station for tablets and smartphones that keeps the whole thing looking neat and allows you to use the software close to the machine. However, we recommend sticking with a reliable USB cable for a more stable connection – except if you have an AMD Ryzen chip in your computer. If this is the case, Cricut recommends using Bluetooth exclusively.
How is Cricut Maker 3 different from its predecessor? Smart materials. You see, with the previous generation, size was a big limitation. If you wanted to cut out a vinyl design, you also needed a cutting mat to place it on. Cricut uses the mat to locate everything in relation to the cutting tool and draw its path. But your material cannot be larger than your cutting mat.
With Smart Materials, this is not a problem. You can enter Smart Materials into the new Cricut and it will pull as much as possible to complete the design. The cutting mat is 24 inches long, while the Smart Material can be up to 12 feet long.
Have you ever seen those giant signs that people put on their porches with fancy letters and such? You can do that with the latest Cricut machines. In addition to the giant porch sign, my family has made many other projects, from an LED-lit arcade sign to a cute sign, and even my new fancy felt table runner saw some Cricut love.
Cricut Maker and Maker 3 are almost similar because they cut the same material at the same intensity and can use the same tools. The main difference between the two is that Maker 3 allows cutting without the Cricut mat and is twice as fast when using Smart Materials. With the Cricut Maker 3, you get a larger cutting area because it has sensors to measure your material to determine if there is enough material. It also keeps the material aligned while the machine is cutting.
Each Cricut unleashes a degree of creativity in its owner, but the Maker 3 is for those who want to push themselves further. the Maker line allows you to use more tools and offers more control through those tools. the QuickSwap tool system includes a gear located on the top of the housing to control the direction the tool faces. This means you can use rotary tools to cut fabric with precision, or use deep-tip blades to cut thicker materials. Unlike other Cricut machines, the Maker 3 can use many of these additional tools without the need for a safety mat, thanks to the intelligent material system used by Cricut to provide the machine with precise depth information.