I get asked all the time by crafters “Which electronic die cutter should I buy?” And currently my advice has been to go with a Silhouette or an Eclips. When my school Parent teacher Group asked me to research and choose a die cutter for the school (and train the teachers with said machine) I chose the Sizzix Eclips . I already own a Sizzix Big Shot manual die cutter and a slew of their dies and embossing folders and I have yet to be dissapointed by any of their products. I am so glad the school went with an Eclips! Here’s why. The Eclips will work with Sure Cuts a Lot software. In fact I had it out of the box and cutting with ECAL in minutes, I expected some trial and error but the design I cut with colored typing paper scraps was so pretty that I turned it into a project! The owl is from the Owl Party Doodlebat set from Lettering Delights, the plaque shape is in included in ECAL software. The letters, book and pencil were on the cartridge that came with the machine, how cute and useful!
So the fact that Eclips worked with ECAL was the most important factor, I can help teachers over the phone if I know what software they are using and I already know it is easy because I’ve been using SCAL2 with my Cricut for years. I actually told the PTG that whatever you do DO NOT buy a Cricut because it no longer works with SCAL.
The other bonus to the Eclipse is that the hand-held controller and cartridges are very easy to use too. Also I like that the Regular retail for MOST of their cartridges are $40 and they are on sale all the time online for about $25. I know some people are going to just want to use the cartridge and not mess with the computer so I wanted that option and the school can buy a full cartridge full of images for less than the cost on one commercial die for their manual machine. Thanks for not jacking up your cartridge prices Sizzix!!! 🙂
The other selling point for the machine was the price of mats and blades. I have been using the Eclips mats in my Cricut machine for a while, they are fabulous and cheaper than the Cricut brand. We bought a 2-pack of eclips blades for $5 vs one silhouette blade that is $15. I wanted the machine to be affordable for the teachers in the long run. Cheaper blades and mats, cheaper cartridges if you want them or you can just cut free font and SVG files using ECAL software, choosing the Eclips was a no-brainer…did I mention it cuts really well too!
Don’t get me wrong! I think the Silhouette would be a good machine too, I think that because the blade is so pricey it probably would cut really fine, intricate patterns (it better for $15!) but a school teacher is more likely to need 100 identical shapes for a classroom project (The Auto Fill feature on the Eclips is da bomb!) or bulletin board rather than one really pretty doily. Even as a crafter who likes to cut little pretty things I’d go with the eclipse because I’ve been playing with it and it surpassed my expectations. Also crafters, if you like Tim Holtz they have cartridges of his designs so you can stamp it then cut it. Wow. I will warn you the TH carts are more expensive.
The machine has an alignment lazar so you can print and cut in SCAL, I have not tried that yet (I don’t know if I should, I am falling in love with this machine a little too much as it is!) but I plan to before I have to take it to the elementary school..sniff…sniff 😦
I think that Sizzix did it right! They thought of everything. Easy to cut. Buy inexpensive cartridges OR cut your fonts and SVG designs, easy to use right out of the box OR you can get fancy with advanced techniques (there is a great long instruction DVD showcasing all the bells and whistles!) and the machine is less expensive that a lot of the machines on the market! We found the best price ($300) on the Eclips at Oh My Crafts online, they often have their blades and mats on sale too! Right now the blades are $5 for a 2 pack and the mats are $8 for a 2 pack of 12″x12″ or 1 12″x24″. Note: I am not affiliated with Oh My Crafts, but I have shopped with them from time to time and they usually have the best price and good customer service.
Sizzix, you done good!