I dare you to go on Etsy for longer than 30 seconds without coming across something made on a Cricut machine. Makers all over the world love these machines, and with good reason. It's never been easier to go from designing to actually creating something at home, and this tech has enabled tens of thousands to do extremely clever things all by themselves. Today Cricut is announcing new versions of its popular Explore and Maker series of machines, with the primary reason to consider upgrading being the ability to create bigger ideas faster.
The new Cricut Explore 3 brings over some of the more interesting features from the smaller, newer Cricut Joy model by supporting Smart Materials. Unlike the standard vinyl material you can buy in most stores for your Cricut, Smart Materials are rolls designed to provide more precise information to the cutting machine for how deep the blade needs to go in order to cut accurately instead of relying on a special mat to protect your Cricut. In other words, these special rolls of vinyl and iron-on material don't require the firm cutting board most things need when being inserted into these machines, but at a slightly increased cost. This new model supports jobs of up to 12 feet long through the use of Smart Materials, where the previous iteration of the Explore line only supported jobs of up to 2 feet long.
This increase only applies to projects done with Smart Materials, but the ability to work on multiple projects in a single roll should make it significantly easier for home creators to spin out multiple projects simultaneously. The Explore 3 will also cut Smart Materials twice as fast as standard materials, so those larger projects will also get done faster. For home creators running stores where volume is important, being able to make large batches of anything is likely to be a welcome feature.
The more feature-rich Cricut Maker 3 offers the same Smart Materials support with twice the cutting speed and support for up to 12 feet in a single project, but also supports the more expansive list of tools. Both the Explore and the Maker series now offer a roll holder to help feed vinyl and other materials into the Cricut a little more easily, so there's less mess and fewer opportunities for jamming.
The Maker series has always offered creators a little more flexibility, but now supports over 300 different materials you can feed into the machine and 13 different tools you can add on to expand your capabilities.
These new machines come just two months after Cricut faced blowback from its customers when it announced a change to the Cricut subscription model. The criticism cause the company to quickly retract the announced changes and continue its focus on Smart Materials.
Cricut is releasing the Explore 3 for $299 and the Maker 3 for $399, available from Cricut, Amazon, Target and other retailers starting June 10, with an expanded rollout to everywhere you normally see Cricut machines for sale starting June 27.