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Brother ScanNCut offers many options to crafters

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Many hobbyists take on projects that require multiples of a particular shape in a particular size. To meet this need, a whole industry has sprung up, providing precut shapes in a variety of sizes and materials. Fancy-bladed scissors allow for decorative cuts.

More recently, custom cutting machines joined the parade. The initial purchase price of these machines soon climbed as cartridges or files for particular shapes and fonts became available. Some devices required a connection to a computer to access templates, while others depended on the insertion of cartridges to expand available shapes. Now Brother introduces the next step in cutting machines.

Scan any image desired into the ScanNCut
Scan any image desired into the ScanNCut Mary Beth Magee

Scan any image desired into the ScanNCut

Brother has introduced ScanNCut, a machine only a little larger than a box of saltine crackers that operates in a stand-alone mode. While the machine comes with a set of basic shapes, fonts and phrases pre-loaded, it also includes a scanning feature. Crafters can scan any image and have the machine cut that shape from a variety of materials.

Touch screen facilitates fine tuning of images
Touch screen facilitates fine tuning of images Mary Beth Magee

Touch screen facilitates fine tuning of images

Feed the desired image in using “scan” mode. Once the scan is completed, save it to the machine’s memory through the touch screen and manipulate it as desired. Make it larger or smaller, copy and repeat it on the template, position it on the page and clean up the image if necessary. The sensitive scanner captures excellent detail of the image, but may also capture specks the human eye didn't notice so the ability to remove any spots comes in handy.

Set the blade to the desired depth
Set the blade to the desired depth Mary Beth Magee

Set the blade to the desired depth

Once the template is compete, set the cutting blade. The machine comes with two interchangeable blades in a spectrum of settings that allow crafters to cut nearly anything from sheer fabric to plastic or leather. Literature with the machine explains which blade and which setting to use for the desired medium.

ScanNCut at work
ScanNCut at work Mary Beth Magee

ScanNCut at work

The blades cut only the shapes identified on the template and begin at the shape rather at the edge of the paper, resulting in two potential resources: the cut design and the silhouette of the design left in the base material. 

No waste with the ScanNCut
No waste with the ScanNCut Mary Beth Magee

No waste with the ScanNCut

That silhouette can be used for another project or aspect of this one. Nothing is wasted. This versatile machine handles materials up to 12” square. Here you can see both the cut stars and the cutouts left in the paper.

Touch screen controls on ScanNCut
Touch screen controls on ScanNCut Mary Beth Magee

Touch screen controls on ScanNCut

ScanNCut can work from any image scanned into it: a hand drawn shape, an image captured from a picture or software or the installed templates. It even includes a USB connection to allow users to move scanned images to other storage, if desired. 

ScanNCut handles variety of thicknesses and textures
ScanNCut handles variety of thicknesses and textures Mary Beth Magee

ScanNCut handles variety of thicknesses and textures

The star sample images used in this test were captured from a desktop publishing program and printed on plain printer paper. The paper used to cut them was a heavy decorative craft paper. This tool makes a worthy addition to any crafter’s collection or school resource center. With no cartridges to purchase and no computer connection required, crafter’s can create anything they can imagine, within the size limitation.

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