Cricut Explore Air
Simply a cut above the rest in the world of home craft gadgets
Papercraft and textile arts at home are a massive market. But if you thought the joy came from painstakingly drawing and cutting things manually, this gadget will change your mind. We gave top marks to the original model (see MF275), a drawing and cutting machine masquerading as a printer.
Between the different paper stocks, vinyl, poster board, iron-on materials and even fabrics, Cricut reckons the Explore Air can deal with around 60 materials. That’s simply staggering for a home tabletop device that looks like it could just about manage a few slices here and there to make a basic birthday card. The intricacy that the Cricut can handle is clear when you download a complex design from the hundreds available in Cricut Design Space. That app, and the addition of Bluetooth connectivity in this model, make the Explore a winner once again.
Explore Air performs its magic with a two-part compartment that holds a pen on one side and houses the cutting blade on the other. There’s an optional ‘deep cut’ blade for dealing with tougher materials too. For paper and card you use the supplied cutting mat, which has a sticky surface to hold your material in place. When using the iOS app to design, patterns that use multiple colours are simply divided into steps, and you’re prompted when you need to swap in different material. The Explore Air is simple to use and makes lovely looking things. Christian Hall
Hobby crafters will love it, but it could easily get anyone addicted to, well, pretty much any home craft!
The Explore Air looks like a regular printer, but it enables very different and wild creativity.