Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cricut Explore One vs Silhouette Cameo 2

Hello everyone!

Recently I received a Silhouette Cameo 2.  Naturally, I wanted to put it to the test with my Cricut Explore One.   You may remember my story from this post, if not please feel free to click the link and check out my review of the Cricut Explore vs Cameo 1.  Basically, I was a Cricut Girl, Turned Silhouette Girl and with the Release of the Cricut Explore line of machines I have made the switch back to Cricut.

I should note that I am well versed in both the Silhouette and Cricut machines and software.  I'm certified in Adobe Photoshop and I also am quite efficient in Illustrator, Scal, Ecal, etc.  I know digital cutters/software and I know how to use them.   The results I'm about to show you are my opinion based on hands on experience.  The photos have not been altered in any way.

This is part 1 of a 2 part review.  In this review we will be focusing strictly on cutting.  When purchasing a digital die cutting machine the #1 thing I'm looking for is precise, detailed cuts as well as the ability to cut a variety of materials.  In part 2 we will compare the software of Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design Space.

Allow me to show you my results.   If you prefer to see the video version click here or watch the video at the end of this post.

First I started with the American Crafts white textured cardstock.  This cardstock is known for cutting quite well in almost all die cutting machines.
I used the preset cardstock settings on both the Silhouette and the Cricut.  Clearly the Silhouette lost a  lot of detail and a few of the small pieces were not all the way cut out.  Notice the detail in the center of the doily as well as the scallops.  I should note the doily is cut at 2" so it's pretty small.

Next up, I tried watercolor paper.
To be completely honest here (and I always will be), both machines cut the watercolor paper very cleanly.  The Silhouette did lose some detail.  I found that the Silhouette consistently "chunks" up the designs rather than cut them in fine detail.  The corners are all a little rounder and the cut lines a little wider.  The Cricut cut the file as it appears in the SVG.  The Cricut Explore one provided a more detailed cut.  I used the watercolor preset on the Cricut and Cardstock setting (with the blade on 4) for the Silhouette.

DCWV Smooth Glitter Cardstock:
 Much like the results of the watercolor paper, both were nice clean cuts.  However, the Silhouette once again lost some detail and made much softer rounded edges.  The Cricut provided much more detail.  I used the preset glitter paper settings on both machines.

Craft Foam
Next I tried to cut craft fun foam.  The Cricut Explore One cut the craft foam on the craft foam preset without problem.  You do have to sort of peel the cut away from the negative on both the Explore Cut and the Silhouette Cut.  The problem with the Silhouette cut, and I tried it two different times, is on the double cut, the second cut did not cut in the same place as the first.  I watched the foam to make sure it wasn't shifting.  The Silhouette simply did not retrace in the same place twice. 

.30 Chipboard
This is a very thick chipboard from the back of a nice legal pad.  Not the normal back of a notebook chipboard.   I have a caliper and measured the chipboard to be .30.  Simply put, the Silhouette could not cut it with it's blade set at 10, double cut and 33 pressure.  The Silhouette did cut out a few of the letters, but the remaining letters are not cut all the way through.  The Cricut Explore had no problem cutting the chipboard using it's Heavy Chipboard setting.  I will say at this setting the Cricut double cut and it really didn't need to.  Some of the letters were popping up before the second pass so I had to remove them as it was cutting.  I did use the deep blade for the Cricut, which is not an option with the Cameo 2.  The letters were cut at 1.0" high.

Grafix .007 Acetate/Acrylic
The Silhouette could not cut all the way through the Grafix with the machine set at double cut, blade at 8, pressure 33.   I have cut the Grafix with the Cameo 1 in simple shapes, but as you can see in my previous review, it cannot cut any detailed cuts.  The Cricut cut very well.  This is a 3 x 4 template.

Bazzill .20 Acrylic
This is a very thick Acrylic plastic.  I used the Bazzill .20 preset on the Cricut Explore and it cut the butterfly nicely.  I did have to sort of "wiggle" the acrylic back and forth to release the butterfly.  It did not just pop out of the negative.    The Silhouette did not cut all the way through.  I did try to "wiggle" it and actually cracked the acrylic.  Once the acrylic cracked I could see that it did cut partially, but for the most part the Butterfly was still intact and could not be moved from the negative.  I did use 6 passes on the Silhouette (3 times at double cut), blade set at 10 and pressure at 33.

Lastly, print then cut:
I used a Lori Whitock png file for this cut.  I traced the Silhouette version using the Silhouette Studio software.  You can see the results are not acceptable.  The cut is shifted too far left and low.   This has been a consistent problem with both of my Cameos.  The Cameo 2 is actually worse than my Original Cameo.   The Cricut Explore One is dead on.  Perfect Print Then Cut. 

I would like to add that all the files were cut using SVG files (with the exception of the print then cut).  Silhouette Studio requires an additional purchase of the Design Version of the software in order to use SVG files.

In summary, the Cricut Explore quite clearly out cuts the Silhouette Cameo, especially on the thick materials.  My experience with the Cameos is that they are just inconsistent from machine to machine and cut to cut.  I can use the exact same settings with a brand new blade and brand new mat as a friend who has the same machine and hers will cut, mine won't.  My Cameo 1 and Cameo 2 cut totally different from one another.  I used the suggested presets when available.  Paper cuts were clean, but they were not as detailed as the Explore One.  
view sourceprint? 01 09 10