Everything You Should Know About its Benefits and Downsides
Die cutters have gotten a lot more complex these days than they ever were before – and that’s a good thing!
They can do almost everything short of making you dinner.
For an up-and-coming designer, artist or just a hobbyist and DIYer, that’s a blessing.
However, that also means that they’ve gotten progressively harder and harder to use, and some of them seem almost arcane and completely unapproachable to the average person.
Well, Brother was always a company well-known for making machines that are approachable to the common person and that’s exactly what they’ve done with their ScanNCut machine.
While that machine was not a true rival to companies like Silhouette and Cricut – their latest offering, the upgraded ScanNCut2, definitely easy.
Today I’ll tell you all you need to know about it and why it’s a machine that you need to watch out for so make sure to read my full Brother ScanNCut2 review down below!
But first, if you haven’t heard of them...
If you’re more into die cutting than other types of DIY work, you might not be familiar with Brother as a company, and that’s just fine – they’re a relatively new company in this space.
However, they’re not a fresh company overall by any means. For a bit more than a century now, they’ve been well-known for their high-quality sewing machines, and in recent years they started branching out into other industries.
While their first steps in other industries, like the printing industry, for example, have been shaky at best, they’ve proven to be good at acquiring experts in those fields to rapidly improve and adapt their product lines to fit high standards.
That’s exactly what they’ve done when it comes to die cutters, and their recent offerings in this field have been much better than the machines they entered the field with.
Today, they’re a real contender to more established names in the field, and their machines are definitely worth checking out.
Brother ScanNCut2 CM350 – Grades Sheet
If you just want to get the basic idea of what I think about this machine and don’t have the time to read a lot – here are my grades![ninja_tables id="5645"]
In case you have more time though, read my full Brother ScanNCut2 review to learn why I gave it those grades and how it will perform when you have it in your hands.
What’s in The Box?
- The Brother ScanNCut2 Cutting Machine
- One standard blade holder
- One standard blade
- Pen holder
- 2 pens
- 12-by-12-inch cutting mat
- Dimensions – 10.1 x 22.8 x 10.6 inches (25.7 x 57.9 x 26.9 cm)
- Weight – 10.36 pounds (4.7 kg)
- Maximum Cutting Width - 12 inches
- Maximum Cutting Length – 24 inches
- Maximum Cutting Depth – 1.5 mm
- Display Size – 4.85 inches
- Scanning Area – 12 by 12 inches
- Built-in Designs - 631
- Compatible Materials – Vinyl, paper, cardstock, leather, linoleum, felt, denim, plastic sheet, among others.
- Included Scanner - Yes
- Wireless Compatibility - Yes
Brother ScanNCut2 CM350 – Reviewed in Detail
I’ve done my best to test out every aspect of this Brother cutting machine and I believe I managed to do a decent job at it if I do say so myself.
Here’s everything that I was able to find out while testing it out:
The motto of this machine is ‘See it. Scan it. Cut it,’ and while it’s not exactly that simple to use Brother ScanNCut2, it’s quite close to that and that’s already an impressive feat.
Usage & Features
The way it works is fairly easy – you just need to place the design on the 12-by-12-inch scanning area and press a few buttons on the touch screen to scan it into the machine.
At that point, you can add cut lines and edit it to your liking.
It’s simple and fast and eliminates the need to use a separate scanner to do the job.
There are three scanning modes that you can use:
- outline detection for cutting around the outside of a shape
- region detection for both inside and outside lines
- line detection for cutting the lines in the design and nothing else
Both grayscale and color scanning is available, though the grayscale option usually yields slightly better results due to the lines being clearer. You can also manually select the number of colors that you want to use while scanning, for color detection.
In my eyes, the built-in scanner is definitely the standout feature of this machine and it might worth getting it just for that, especially if you’re someone who likes scrapbooking and does a lot of DIY work with your own designs.
It’s also fairly easy to do basic edits on those designs by using the large touch screen.
You can do things like add borders, manipulate fonts, rotate and mirror images, weld shapes and fonts together and so on.
One of the best new features of this machine, at least for me, was the wireless connectivity. It’s not done through Bluetooth so it’s much more consistent and it allows you to easily transfer designs back and forth from the machine to your PC or tablet.
You can also transfer the files directly to the online ScanNCut Canvas application for easier editing. It just makes things easier than ever before.
Of course, you do have to have a wireless connection in order to use this feature, and while I recognize that’s almost never a problem where I live, there are countries where Wi-Fi is far spottier, and this feature might not work as good as it did for me.
Small Note: You also need an online activation card to start making use of these features, which can be quite a pain.
Even if you don’t have access to the internet though, the machine has a lot of built-in designs of its own that you can play with and edit on the touch screen.
There’s a total of 631 designs here which includes 100 quilt patterns and 7 lettering fonts – more than enough for any prospective designer to get started.
The software included here is quite basic though, and it’s definitely a feature that Brother needs to keep working on. It doesn’t offer even half of the options that something like Silhouette Studio 4 does, and it’s quite basic.
It’s not compatible with a lot of other design software either, so you’ll probably have some trouble importing designs into it.
Despite how basic it is, it’s also a bit too difficult to use, and the user interface is quite cluttered, making it more difficult to do what you want than it needs to be.
The largest upside to it is that it’s completely free, unlike the software of its rivals, but it’s easy to see why that’s the case – it’s just not worth paying for.
After a disappointment from the software, it’s time for some good news.
I’m happy to report that ScanNCut2 can easily make some clean, crisp cuts and it can do so in a wide variety of materials – it definitely has more than enough strength for that, and the German carbide blade definitely holds up.
It can cut through a wide variety of materials, and it is able to make clean cuts even on materials like denim, vinyl, and leather. I’ve never noticed it chugging or struggling with cutting, and it didn’t fray the edges, even on more intricate designs.
Noise, Cutting Depth, and the Size of the Cutting Area
It also works fairly quietly, which is a nice change of pace since machines of this size usually make a lot of noise. And it is a large machine, to be fair – it takes up a lot of space.
The cutting depth is not too great though, and it’s only 1.5 mm with the special deep cut blade, while it’s just 0.8 mm when using a regular blade. If you want to work with thicker materials, this is not quite the machine that you need to use.
The cutting area is also a bit more limited than I thought it would be, considering the size of the machine. The cutting width is good and rather standard – 12 inches. The cutting length, though, is quite short – it’s double the width, 24 inches.
Considering a lot of other machines can just cut up to 10 feet of material at once, with ease, this can be quite a downgrade if you’re used to doing some larger projects and it might extend the time you need to do by quite a lot.
This machine does well with thinner materials as I mentioned, and even after a lot of use with those it still holds up rather well. I’ve not seen any noticeable deterioration in the cutting quality or the overall machine.
It’s definitely well-built, and the core is mostly metal, so it holds up. I thought the touch screen might not last for too long, but it also held up better than I thought and I’ve not seen it glitching out or being unresponsive – it works as well as ever.
With all said and done, I had a good time with this machine. Using the scanning feature has been incredibly fun, and it allowed me to print and cut a lot of designs much easier than I ever could.
Even the PixScan feature of Silhouette machines can’t compare to the scanner here - it works extremely well.
That alone justifies the price of this machine for me, and the price is quite high so you will have to think about if the good features of this machine outweigh some of the flaws and if you think it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
If you just want the scoop on all the basic pros and cons that this machine has – here they are. For more details, read my thorough review above.
- A large LCD touch screen that’s easy to use
- A large cutting surface
- Wireless support for multiple devices
- Precise and reliable cutting
- Completely free software
- The built-in scanner is incredibly useful
- Durable construction
- Works relatively noiselessly
- Limited cutting length
- More expensive than similar machines
- The included software is fairly basic
Brother ScanNCut2 Review - My Final Thoughts
The scanning feature of this machine really impressed me and, for me, the machine is worth getting just for that. However, if you don’t find the feature too useful, that’s a different story.
Still, there are other huge upsides to this die cutter, including the outstanding wireless connectivity, free software, and the fact that it does such good work with cutting.
While it is a large improvement over the original ScanNCut, there are still some things that Brother needs to work out here, including making the cutting area a bit larger and improving the software.
Still, this is a huge leap forward, and it’s quite a unique machine as well – great for people who are into DIY work and like experimenting with a lot of different designs.
I hope I managed to help you out here and if you want to say or ask something, just pop down into the comments and feel free to do so!
Until I see you next time, have fun with your crafts and good luck with your work!