Cri­cut Ex­plore

Pa­per­craft­ing with your Mac

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - £250 Man­u­fac­turer Cri­cut, cri­

Max­i­mum size 12x12-inches Re­quires Mac OS X 10.6 or later; 1.83GHz or faster; Fire­fox 17, Google Chrome 20 or Sa­fari 5.1 or later; Adobe Flash; broad­band

This might look like a printer, but it’s ac­tu­ally quite dif­fer­ent: it cuts de­signs out of paper, vinyl, fab­ric, iron-on ma­te­rial and more. It works by feed­ing the ma­te­rial back and forth while a blade mounted on a shaft moves left and right. It might sound old-fash­ioned – like a plot­ter – but it’s ac­tu­ally highly pre­cise and able to cut out very de­tailed shapes.

Setup takes min­utes. It con­nects us­ing USB, and its soft­ware ac­tu­ally runs in a web browser (though you have to in­stall a plug-in). De­spite this, it’s pow­er­ful and quite easy to use. You can buy de­signs from Cri­cut (or sub­scribe to ac­cess the en­tire li­brary at once), plug in ex­ist­ing Cri­cut car­tridges, or upload your own im­ages. It likes vec­tor im­ages (in SVG for­mat), but can also vec­torise bit­map im­ages. The process can re­quire a bit of de­sign savvy, but you can’t re­ally blame the Ex­plore for that.

Be­side the blade (there’s an op­tional ‘deep cut’ blade for deal­ing with tougher ma­te­ri­als), a holder for pens is in­cluded so you can draw de­signs at the same time. There’s also a £37 Blue­tooth adapter com­ing that will let you print wire­lessly from both Mac and iPad.

We could dock a star for it not be­ing wire­less out of the box, for the soft­ware be­ing web-based, or for be­ing £250. But most will be happy with USB. The web-based soft­ware could be an is­sue if your in­ter­net con­nec­tion drops, but we think it’s a rea­son­able de­ci­sion by Cri­cut, and the price doesn’t strike us as ex­tor­tion­ate. Christo­pher Phin

A lux­ury, of course (un­less you run or start a busi­ness that uses it), but it per­forms its func­tion ad­mirably.

Cuts a wide range of ma­te­ri­als

Easy to set up and use

Ex­cel­lent re­sults

Not over­priced

The cre­ative pos­si­bil­i­ties are al­most end­less with the Ex­plore Ma­chine – t-shirts, cus­tom vinyl de­cals, greet­ing cards…

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