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The ScanNCut Cutting Machine: Tips and Ideas

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The Brother ScanNCut line of cutting machines is great for home use.

The Brother ScanNCut line of cutting machines is great for home use.

ScanNCut Basics

The Brother ScanNCut line of cutting machines provide interesting and impressive options. It is an electronic cutting machine for home use and allows you to cut materials like paper, fabric and vinyl into shapes and designs.

It also has a scanner so you can scan images for use in creating cutting files. In conjunction with the free downloadable software, you can also design your own patterns and shapes to be cut on the machine.

Unlike other electronic cutting machines, ScanNCut has over 680 built-in designs and patterns. One hundred of these are quilt designs. There are nine letter fonts built into the system. There are also 76 SVG files as part of the package, providing inspiration for Valentine's Day greetings, birthday messages, flowers, cards, and other gift ideas

The 5-inch LCD touchscreen serves as your control panel for editing designs quickly and easily. With the user-friendly touch panel, you are in full command. The intuitive nature of the screen means that you can get up to speed quickly even if you are a new user.

Internet connectivity is available so that you can utilize Brother CanvasWorkspace for flexible remote work through any PC, laptop, mobile device, or tablet. The standalone device can work by itself without requiring a PC, laptop, or smart device. You can start crafting highly personalized creations out of the box without connecting another computer since the machine is a highly capable standalone device.

Another awesome feature is the silent work mode. Even while working at full swing, you can barely hear a whisper from the machine

Note: Sometimes people refer to the ScanNCut as the ‘Scan and Cut’ or ‘Scan-n-Cut’ but its official title is ScanNCut.

General ScanNCut Tips

  • Register your machine to be automatically notified when there are free software updates.
  • Use Direct-Cut mode to cut out printables, scrapbooking projects, and designs that you've created yourself.
scan-n-cut-tips-and-ideas

Benefits of Using the ScanNCut

There are many reasons to choose the ScanNCut over other machines:

  1. You save a lot of money not buying dies. Manual die cutting machines need dies that have to be purchased. You may spend a great deal of money just on dies. While some of these machines are cheaper than the ScanNCut, you make up for that with the amount of dies you will purchase.
  2. No die storage. Since you will not be using dies, there is no additional space needed.
  3. With the ScanNCut, there are hundreds of in-built patterns to play with, plus you can make your design your own using Canvas Workspace. You can also convert free SVGs to cutting files.
  4. You can create your design in any size you may want or need. With a manual die cutting machine the size of the die is your only option.
  5. Rather than cutting a single design at a time, you can cut multiple designs in one ass of the ScanNCut.The ScanNCut has plenty of free cutting files that are included within the machine itself. It will depend on which model you purchase but you will get anywhere between 250 and 1300 cutting files. You get hundreds of built-in designs.
  6. You can design your own cutting files. Brother provides free software that allows you not only to edit patterns but design your own from scratch. You can also import SVGs and convert them to cutting files.

What Materials Does the ScanNCut Cut?

There are so many materials that you can cut with this electronic cutting machine. The following is just a sample of what is possible.

printer paper

tracing paper

cork

scrapbooking paper

flannel

vinyl

cardstock

cotton fabric

leather

vellum

acetate

felt

bonded fabric

poster board

denim

magnet

sticker sheets

foam sheets

plastic sheets

stencil plastic

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How Does the ScanNCut Work?

The ScanNCut works to create shapes and designs. The desired material is placed on a mat that is loaded into the machine.

You then choose the shape(s) you want to cut. There are hundreds of free shapes included in your machine, or you can load your own shapes from a USB or via WiFi (note that the wifi function is not available on some of the earlier models).

Once you have chosen your shape, you can resize it, choose how many you want to cut, and make other edits if needed.

When you are ready, you simply press a button and it will cut out the shape(s) on the mat ready for you to use.

ScanNcut Model Options

What you will find in these machines is that the difference in price is related to the number of drawings and designs built into the machine, as well as the size of the touch screen display.

ScanNCut SDX85M

  • CUTS UP TO 3 MM (0.1 in) THICKNESS: The Brother ScanNCut DX SDX85 effortlessly cuts materials up to 3mm thick such as paper, vinyl, fabric, balsa wood, chipboard, foam and felt
  • Free Canvas Workspace Software
  • 258 drawings and designs
  • 3.47" touchscreen
  • Auto Blade
  • Built in acanner

In the Box:

  • ScanNCut Machine
  • Auto Blade and holder
  • Spatula
  • Stylus
  • Accessory Bag

SDX85S

  • 251 drawing and projects
  • 3.47 LCD Touchscreen display
  • Auto Blade
  • Cut up to 3mm thick materials
  • Built in scanner

SDX125egy

  • 682 Drawing & Cutting Designs
  • 5" LCD Touchscreen Display
  • Auto Blade
  • Cuts up to 3mm thick materials
  • Built In Scanner

ScanNcut SDX125e

[Priced at about $399]

  • 682 drawings and designs built in
  • 5" touchscreen display
  • Autoblade
  • Built in scanner
  • Cuts up to 3 mm thick materials
  • 600dpi built-in scanner with on screen editing

ScanNCut 2

  • Cuts up to 2 millimeter thickness: The Brother Home Electronic Cutting Machine effortlessly cuts materials up to 2 millimeter thick such as paper, vinyl, fabric and foam

In the Box:

  • ScanNCut machine
  • 12 "x12" standard tack mat
  • Standard blade and holder
  • Black and red pens and holder
  • Touch pen
  • Spatula
  • Accessory pouch
  • Online activation card
scan-n-cut-tips-and-ideas

Canvas Workspace

Canvas Workspace is the free to use design program that works with all of the Brother ScanNCut models. It is an easy form that you fill out to register for this free program. To register for Canvas Workspace you will need the model of your ScanNCut, the type of computer you are using, as well as your operating system.

You can work with the Canvas Workspace on or offline.

More Workspace Ideas

The ScanNCut  blades are designed to give you the best cut every project

The ScanNCut blades are designed to give you the best cut every project

ScanNCut Blades

The Blade Sensor Technology is a fabulous feature. Since this high-tech feature automatically senses material thickness and type, you do not have to adjust the blade height, nor do you have to select the material. The machine will do that for you automatically.

You may find a combo package of the blade holder and blade. But generally, they are sold separately.

Standard Cut Blade

The ScanNCut Standard Cut Blade can be used to cut a wide range of both fabric and paper. This is an essential consumable product for your ScanNCut or Design NCut.

Deep Cut Blade

The Deep Cut Blade cuts thicker materials up to 1.5m thick like foam and balsa wood. It cuts things like denim, leather and felt.

  • For use with Brother ScanNCut2, ScanNCut DX, and DesignNCut machines.
  • Deep Cut Blade Holder required (not included, sold separately).
  • Blade adjustment required.
  • For installation instructions, please refer to your machine’s user manual.
  • Material compatibility may vary. Always perform a trial/test cut to confirm a successful cut

Vinyl Auto Blade

This new vinyl auto blade does a fantastic job of cutting intricate, fine details on both self-adhesive vinyl AND heat transfer vinyl.

  • This kit includes an activation card for 21 designs, weeding function and tiling function.
  • The tiling function gives you the ability to make extra-large designs
  • The weeding function makes weeding easier
  • Please refer to the Brother ScanNCut DX Vinyl Auto
  • Compatible with the SDX125e, SDX125egy, SDX85M, SDX85S

Thin Fabric Blade

  • Cuts fabric with and without backing
  • Requires the fabric blade holder (generally sold separately)

ScanNCut Blade Tips

  • If you do a lot of cutting, try to have a couple of extra blades on hand at any one time. If a cut is going badly, then you can swap it out with a new blade to see if that is the issue.
  • If you are cutting both paper and fabric, then it is worth having one blade for paper and another for fabric.

Standard Blade Holder

The blade holder holds your blade. This blade holder adjusts with a dial to 12 different settings for a wide range of material thicknesses. Easily adjust speed and pressure settings on your ScanNCut machine's screen for the best cut. Always perform a trial/test cut to ensure a successful cut.

Deep Cut Blade Holder

Cut up to 2mm thick: This blade holder adjusts with a dial to 12 different settings for a wide range of material thicknesses up to 2mm. Easily adjust speed and pressure settings on your ScanNCut machine's screen for the best cut. Always perform a trial or test cut to ensure a successful cut

Compatible with CM100DM, CM250, CM350, CM350H, CM350R, CM550DX, CM650W, CM650WX, DC200, DC200ULE

Deep Blade Holder Tips

  • Blade depth is the most important part of making a cut. This is the actual length of the blade as it comes out of the blade holder. On a ScanNCut CM machine, the blade holder itself has numbers that indicate the depth of the blade, and you manually adjust the blade depth by twisting the cap.
  • On a DX machine, there are no numbers because you don’t need to manually change the blade depth, the machine does it for you.

The Embedded Scanner

The standalone device can work by itself without requiring a PC, laptop or smart device. You can start crafting highly personalized creations out of the box without connecting another computer since the machine is a highly capable standalone device.

The 300dpi built in scanner allows you to scan your drawing to convert it to a one-of-a-kind cut file, directly cut printed stickers, and precisely place designs without counting blocks

Bear in mind that there may be some limitations to what images can be scanned. The printed images that you scan through the machine need to have well-defined edges for the ScaNCut to be able to recognize them.

ScanNCut Scanner Tip

  • Save most of your cut files to a USB drive instead of your machine to improve the performance of your scans.

ScanNCut Accessories

These are optional, but may be useful.

Color Pens

Pens are available in packages of 6. These are permanent ink pens. Need to be used with the pen holder which is sold separately.

Rhinestone Design Collection

Activation card for 25 rhinestones designs. Compatible with SDX125e. SDX125egy, SDX85M. SDX85S

Rhinestone Starter Kit

  • 100 template patterns

Embossing Starter Kit

Includes embossing mat, two tools, tool holder, silver metal sheet, brass metal sheet, a template sheet and support sheet.

  • Design one-of-a-kind embossing projects
  • Compatible with CM100DM, CM250, CM350, CM350H, CM350R, CM550DX, CM650W, CM650WX, DC200, DC200ULE, SDX85, SDX85C, SDX85M, SDX85S, SDX125, SDX125E, SDX125EGY, SDX325 and SDX330D

Foil Transfer Starter Kit

  • Glue pen holder
  • Glue pen 1.3 mL (0.04 fl oz)
  • Pressing tool
  • Foil transfer sheets 3.9”x7.8” (100mmx200mm), 1 gold color and 1 silver color
  • Protective sheet 8.6”x12” (220mmx305mm)
  • Dust removal sheet with storage sheet 1.9”x2.9” (50mmx75mm)
  • 1 Activation Card to unlock function in CanvasWorkspace

Compatible with: SDX125, SDX125E, SDX225

Stamping Kit

Unlock your ScanNCut's potential and start creating your own stamps with this starter kit from Brother. This kit comes witha guide for use, an essential acrylic block to use your new stamps with (see below), a blank ink pad for you to try out your new stamp designs, and the stamp sheets to ScanNCut your designs onto.

To use, simply affix the stamp sheets to your adhesive mat and cut out your chosen designs. To use your finished stamps, simply press the smooth side of your stamp onto the acrylic block, lay it on a hard surface until it clings, then cover the raised edge.

Includes 1 x ScanNCut Starter Kit 3 x Stamp Sheets (7.75" x 5.75" each) 1 x Black Ink Pad 1 x Acrylic Block (10cm x 7.5cm) 1 x Activation Code for Stamp Function 1 x Guide

Stamping Kit Tips

  • Stamps cut with the ScanNCut Stamp Starter Kit are completely reversible.
  • Pigment inks work better than dye-based inks when stamping with the silicone material included in the Stamp Starter Kit.
  • Be sure to remove one side of the protective plastic covering before cutting when using the ScanNCut stamp material. Leave the other side on to limit the amount of stretching. Place it on the mat, uncovered side down.
ScanNCut mats make creative design come to life

ScanNCut mats make creative design come to life

ScanNCut Mats

There are several mats to choose from with your ScanNCut projects. Using the right mat for your specific material makes all the difference.

Low Tack Mat

The low tack mat is used for materials like thin paper, tissue paper, vellum, thin patterned paper, vinyl, and computer paper. It comes in a 12" by 12" size as well as 12" by 24" size.

Standard Mat

This mat is made for use with thicker materials. Think of materials such as painted canvas, chipboard, cardboard, denim, leather, heavy and regular cardstock, glitter cardstock and more.

It also comes in a 12" by 24" size for larger projects.

Photo Scanning Mat

This is a mat that is designed to scan materials up to 1mm thick. The scanning mat assures you of a quality scan. It is not intended for cutting. It is a 12" by12" size with a scanning area of 11.6'' x 11.7''

It also comes in a 12" by 24" size.

Fabric Support Sheet

There is also available a fabric support sheet. A fabric support sheet to helps make sure the fabric is secured during the cutting process — that can be used multiple times, removed, and re-applied to your mat.

More Mat Tips

  • Don't cover the small dots at the ends of your mat. They are used by ScanNCut as registration marks.
  • Always use two hands to feed in your mats, making sure both corners are touching the rollers. Click the Feed button and return your hand to the mat. Feeding the mat evenly will keep jams to a minimum and prevent your mat from bending at the corners.
  • Make sure the outside edges of your fabric are completely within the sticky area of the mat. If you leave any fabric hanging on the outside edge of the sticky mat grid, the fabric may lift off.'
  • When removing paper from a mat, gently bend it to help the paper’s edge lift right off and make it easy to grab.
  • Use the spatula to help smooth paper down to your mat. You can also use a credit card or hotel room card.
  • Use a brayer to firmly adhere paper or fabric to the mat.
  • If you accidentally cut through your mat, do not throw it away. Repair the rip with duct tape or clear packing tape. You can still get lots more use from that ripped mat.
You can clean any of your ScanNCut mats with baby wipes. Really scrub the mess away with the baby wipes and your mat will be good to use again

You can clean any of your ScanNCut mats with baby wipes. Really scrub the mess away with the baby wipes and your mat will be good to use again

Online Resources for the Scan N Cut

Blade Setting and Mat Guide

A starter guide for your projects

A starter guide for your projects

ScanNCut Blade Settings and Pressure

Blade settings may be suggested, and you can follow those suggestions as a starting point. But you need to remember that blade settings can vary from model to model.

The quality of your blade can also affect how good your cut is. Depending on how much you use your blade, it will dull over a period of time. It is helpful to have an extra blade or two on hand so that if you have to swap your blade, you have one handy. If you are cutting different surfaces like paper, material and vinyl, it is wise to have a blade for each different types of materials.

If you are using vinyl to cut designs, you will find that most manufacturers will supply a vinyl guide for your machine. These guides will help you get a starting point to cut their type of vinyl. Even the same type of can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. So, look for those guides whenever you are purchasing vinyl products

No matter what guidance there is available, you should always use a test cut to adjust the setting for your specific material. If the test cut cuts too deep, reduce the blade depth. If it does not cut deep enough, increase the blade depth.

More Blade Setting Tips

  1. Always use the test feature to try out different fabrics, mats, and blade variables. Keep track of your results in a cut journal.
  2. Start with a lower blade depth than suggested and work up from there.
  3. When you try to cut through thicker materials and it doesn't cut out all the way, just insert your mat back into the machine and cut it out again. It should pop right out.
  4. If you're having trouble cutting through something, don't automatically increase the blade depth. Consider adjusting the pressure (how hard the blade is pushing into the material) for a clean and accurate cut.
  5. Use a standard blade depth of 2 for tissue paper and cellophane. Always perform a test cut first.
  6. When cutting a very intricate design, slow your speed to a 1 for a smooth cut.
  7. After inserting a new blade, screw in the holder so that the blade is all the way extended (past 12) and then turn back to your desired setting to ensure proper seating.

Blade Depth

Blade depth is the most important part of making a cut. This is the actual length of the blade as it comes out of the blade holder. On a ScanNCut CM machine, the blade holder itself has numbers that indicate the depth of the blade, and you manually adjust the blade depth by twisting the cap.

On a CM series machine, the higher the number you set the blade, the greater the depth.

On a DX machine, there are no numbers because you don’t need to manually change the blade depth, the machine does it for you.

Cut Pressure

The ‘cut pressure’, as the name suggests, is the amount of pressure placed on the blade as it cuts. To change the Blade Pressure you need to go to the SETTINGS section of the machine.

Cut Speed

The Cut Speed is the speed at which the machine will cut. It’s not often that we change the Cut Speed, but it can help in certain situations, particularly for intricate cuts. In this case, we will usually slow down the speed.

More Blade Settings Guidance and Tips

Using the ScanNCut With Paper

Many crafters love this cutting machine for its ability to cut paper.

Whatever paper you are planning to cut, it is a good idea to do a test cut ahead of doing a project. Even the same weight of paper in different brands may cut differently. It is smart to create a reference sheet for yourself on cutting guidelines as you work through different papers. Include the type of paper, the brand of paper, the weight of the paper, and the cutting settings. You can keep a little notebook with your settings near the machine.

Doing a Test Cut

  1. Start with a smaller blade depth and working your way up.
  2. Your standard machine setting should work fine, but you can adjust as needed. If your paper is thin, start with your Standard Blade at a setting of 1-2.
  3. If you are using cardstock or heavier patterned paper, you may want to start with a blade depth of 4.
  4. For glittered cardstock, you may want to start with a blade depth of 6. For specialty papers you will want to measure your blade to your paper and see what depth will work and not be too deep.
ScanNCut is one of the best options for cutting fabric with an electronic cutting machine

ScanNCut is one of the best options for cutting fabric with an electronic cutting machine

ScanNCut Fabric Tips

One of the favorite uses for this electronic cutting machine is to cut fabric. There are a few things to know before you get started.

Doing a Fabric Test Cut

It is always wise before you start a project to do a test cut. That way you will have the exact cut settings you need for your project. Taking the time to do a test cut will save time and frustration when you actually start on your project.

Start with a blade-depth setting of 6 on the cartridge and the default settings for cut speed of 3 and cut pressure of 0 using the Tools function. Use the test mode to cut a square of about 1". Work your way up through blade depths until you find what will work for you.

You might want to record the settings that you used that were successful in a notebook.

Getting Started Cutting Fabric

  • Before you get started, it is recommended that you starch and iron your fabric.
  • Apply a fabric support sheet to your standard mat.
  • Take your fabric and gently lay it across your mat within the grid area.
  • Take the backside of your spatula handle and run it across your fabric to press the fabric securely to your mat as well as to smooth out any air pockets.
  • Make sure your fabric support sheet is flat with no creases. For best results, use a clean or brand-new standard mat to ensure there is full contact between the mat and the sheet. Then, position the sheet, glossy side down, on the top of the standard mat. Slowly place the sheet onto the mat working from top to bottom, smoothing out any air bubbles along the way.
  • Always perform a test cut to ensure that your fabric and blade depth work together. e fabric securely to your mat as well as to smooth out any air pockets.
  • Start with a smaller blade depth and work your way up to what you need in order to avoid cutting too deep and through your mat.
  • When cutting fabrics and quilting pieces, prepare and organize all of your fabrics prior to placing the adhesive support sheet onto your standard mat.
  • Once your fabric is secure and at your desired blade depth, cut your design. If the blade is still not working, experiment with Cut Pressure and Cut Speed in the Tools menu.
scan-n-cut-tips-and-ideas

Cutting Vinyl Tips

  • Use a Low Tack Mat or a well-used Standard Tack Mat.
  • Use the Half-Cut Function.
  • Do a Test Cut.
  • Adjust the Half-Cut Pressure until the cut is just as you want it!
  • If you don’t have the roller accessory for your ScanNCut DX. Both the adhesive vinyl and the transfer paper are easy to use and come with full instructions. You can reuse the transfer paper so be sure to place it back onto the backing sheet that you peeled it off.
  • The roll of clear Transfer Paper also comes with some bonus sheets of adhesive vinyl. One thing we really like is that the sheets measure 12″ x 12″ which means they are ideal for use in your Brother ScanNCut. This is great if you don’t have the roller accessory for your ScanNCut DX.

More Vinyl Cutting Ideas for the ScanNCut

ScanNCut Projects

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Linda F Correa