Cricut Maker 3 Review – The Ultimate Upgrade From Maker 2

The Maker 3 lets you tackle anything, from vinyl plotting to cutting. With thirteen machine tools and so many options, there’s no project too big or small.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few ideas of what you can make with Cricut Maker 3: jigsaw puzzles, calligraphy scrolls, wood carvings, wall decals, thank-you notes, glassware decorations, and so much more!

Now, the benefit of this option is that it can be done without overwhelming yourself. This way, you can purchase the tool for engraving materials separately when you are ready. It’s all very paced to what crafting level would suit your needs best.

From novice to professional, everyone can use the Cricut Maker 3. This machine provides a unique range of features, making it accessible for nearly all users. With new tools & designs now on display with this machine, you’ll develop your ideas in seconds- not hours.

If you’re willing to compromise with minor issues, the design possibilities will offer something for everyone.

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What is in the box?

  • The Cricut Maker machine
  • Power Cord
  • Start box (A quick start guide, safety instructions, warranty card, USB cable, test cutting material, and bonus materials).
Cricut maker 3 box

Design

This Cricut Maker 3 is a lot more streamlined than previous models. It has a split tool cup to help distribute any tools you might need when closed. It also has a USB port and power outlet on the rear.

After unboxing, the first thing revealed is the buttons and rollers of the Maker 3. Along with those, the user will see its material guides and additional parts like an accessory clamp. The groove at the top will accommodate a tablet for easy use.

The Maker 3 is available in a pale blue robin’s egg color and is just as beautiful as ever. You’ll still find some things to enjoy about the unit while also finding new features to appreciate. Moreover, it is easier to clean.

Cricut maker 3 design

Specifications

The Cricut Maker 3 shares many of the same features and specifications as the original Cricut Maker, including its 22.6 x 7.09 x 6.22-inch frame and its USB connection for design transfer. However, there are some improvements.

First, the Maker 3 uses new Cricut Smart Materials, cutting much faster. Even if you have used a regular old Maker before, you will notice that it cuts faster now with Cricut Smart Materials when compared to older cutters.

Moreover, the Maker 3 can cut harder materials with ten times the force as compared to a Cricut Explore Air 2. This feature is important in helping you cut into harder materials & make your project perfect.

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Difference Between Cricut Maker 2 and 3

When looking at the differences between the Maker 3 and Cricut Maker, the benefits of Smart Materials come out to play. The first difference is that the Maker 3 has updated its operating buttons. This update affects the load/unload button and allows you to store your projects in digital form.

The note is really helpful because I didn’t see the changes they made until I clicked the Cricut logo, and that led me to think the company may be changing its design without much connection. This is an important thing to point out.

Previously, you had to work with either a 12” x 12” or a 12” x 24” mat if you were using Cricut, and now, it’s easier than ever because Smart Materials come in pre-cut sizes. This results in less waste and improved efficiency.

While the Maker 3 still has some mats, they can cut a length of up to 12’ without using one. If you have less than 6” leftover, it’s necessary to use a material mat to make it into a regular cutter.

difference between cricut maker 2 and 3

Cricut Smart Materials

Cricut Smart Materials allow for materials ready to cut from the packaging. Load the material on top of a left guide, then slide it under the guides aligning with the loading cord before pressing the “load” button. You can now cut back on the number of mats you use because they lose their stickiness over time, making them less expensive to use.

Regardless of whether you’re using a cross-section or flat paper, make sure to leave plenty of space behind the Cricut for material sheet and measurement.

Smart Materials can cause unwelcome issues sometimes, such as bunching or distortion. To resolve these problems, you will need to reload the material quickly.

After you’re done with a project, a built-in trimmer makes it easy to cut paper or plastic materials.

Cricut maker 3 smart materials

Design space

Design Space is easy to use and allows you to start a creative project with step-by-step guidance. You can choose to look at projects made by Cricut users that are actively displaying their Cricut coordinate cut files for other users to use. Similarly, you could choose to look at projects created by a specific machine version.

Cricut Access will let you unlock exclusive content, benefits, and savings from your Cricut Maker 3. You’ll also be able to update the firmware and activate it for new users or use a trial period so that you can try it out first. If you want to opt into the most expensive version, the Cricut Access Standard package is $9.99 a month or a yearly subscription for $99.99.

For people already familiar with Photoshop or Illustrator, the Cricut design space is a very simple & intuitive process. It’s not so much about what you have to do but more about the task of finishing & bringing your project to life.

For some users, Canvas is a great toolset to use. Some of the lesser slower behaviors can be a problem and may have you looking to the other software in your arsenal to fix the problem. The Force Reload option is also an option that might come in handy when you’re having troubles with canvas.

Cricut design space

Calibration

There are specific types of projects that require calibration. Maker 3 provides a feature that lets you calibrate. It has a few options that include calibration modes for rotary tools, knife blades, or cutting lines in the print and then cut option. They are best used to make this process accurate. For testing, I primarily stuck with the premium fine-point blade focusing on using the print then Cut option instead.

This simple method took a few iterations to get just right. You’ll print out the test page on a piece of standard copy paper, then attach it to a Cricut mat. You’ll be able to see where the cutting will happen and make any alterations you need until you’re satisfied with your settings.

I wanted to test out the program’s printing capabilities, so I decided to trial a sticker design. After noting it as a complex image, It was very easy for me to go through the design space process afterward and set it up for printing straight away. The simplicity of this task makes it ideal for beginners.

There were two barriers to the otherwise simple process. First, Design Space has a size limit of all prints & cuts. You cannot exceed the print area size of 9.25” x 6.75”. Secondly, your image can’t be bigger than 9.25” x 6.75”.

Cricut maker three may not be able to print at the maximum resolution of your printer.

Cricut maker 3 calibration

Cutting Smart Materials

Cutting stickers, decals, & iron-on designs are easier with the maker 3’s speed. Design Space was easy to use, and I got great cuts that were clean and efficient.

Controlling the design of your T-shirt, mug, or pillowcase from start to finish is made easier when you upload it to Design Space. However, Design Space doesn’t allow for any changes, but this does make things a bit simpler.

You’ll find plenty of content on Design Space that can be tweaked and customized, so this is a good option for beginners looking to experiment.

I didn’t need any of Cricut’s heat presses for this design because I used a standard iron and transferred a patchwork onto it. They are not mandatory, but there are a lot of advantages to them. If you’re new to using Cricut’s heat presses, the company’s heat guide may make the process more straightforward.

custom smart material with cricut maker

Custom Art Draw and Cut

Another function of the Maker 3 is the draw then cut feature. This allows you to load a Cricut pen into the cardstock accessory slot for drawing. I uploaded a simplistic design to test this out with a Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock.

Cricut Access has several fonts to choose from. Design Space in Cricut Access also detects any system fonts that may be installed on your computer, which made it possible for me to tweak one of the sample fonts I tried and make it an alternative color.

Creating cutting patterns has the most variables to contend with, but it’s just as easy as switching pens if you’re using Cricut Maker 3. You know when your next color is ready because they’ll guide you through the process.

Cricut maker 3 custom draw and cut

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Cricut maker 3 worth it?

CRICUT MAKER 3

Again, the answer to this question depends on what you want to make with it. If you are a beginner, then I would say that it is worth the investment. It is easy to use and has many features that will make creating projects easier.

If you are a more experienced crafter and don’t need all the bells and whistles, the answer would be no. But, if you are starting and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, it is worth it.

Does the Cricut maker 3 cut wood?

CRICUT MAKE 3 WOOD CUTTING

Yes, it can cut the wood. You have to make sure that the wood you are cutting has no knots when doing a project with your Cricut Maker. If there is, then the blade won’t go through the knot and will have to be removed before it can continue cutting.

Can you engrave with Cricut maker?

CRICUT MAKER 3 ENGRAVING

The Cricut Engraving Tool allows you to engrave with your Cricut Maker machine on various materials. You can use it on softer metals, acrylic, leather, paper & plastic to create various custom project options.

Are Cricut Maker 3 tools worth the extra money?

I would say yes. It’s worth it to have a machine with many tools that can help you that cut and engrave perfectly. It supports a lot of materials, and if you also buy the accessories, it’s worth the extra money.

What does a Cricut Maker 3 do?

Cricut Maker 3 is an electronic cutting machine that allows you to perfectly cut designs out of vinyl, paper, cardstock, and other materials.

Is the Cricut Maker 3 easy to use?

The Cricut Maker 3 is easy to use. It is easy to find and set up tools, kits, materials, and cartridges. Using the software is a little more complicated, but it is easy to run once you catch on.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in upgrading from a Maker 2 to 3, the upgrade will be seamless. The quality is also much higher on the newer models than their predecessors.

The Maker 3 probably doesn’t cost much more than the Maker currently, although Smart Materials can save you time and money with quick, mat-less cuts. Cricut also offers a bundle that will likely help you get started for newer users.

Cricut Maker 3 has a lot to offer. It’s convenient, allows the user to play around with new ideas, and can lead to some amazing creations. But whether or not you should use it depends on your personal preferences.

Cricut Maker 3 Review
  • Price
  • Portability
  • Ease of use
  • Safety
  • Supported materials
4.8

Cricut Maker 3 Review

If you are a beginner, then I would say that it is worth the investment. It is easy to use and has many features that will make creating projects easier. If you are a more experienced crafter and don’t need all the bells and whistles, the answer would be no. But, if you are starting and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, it is worth it.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Best for small batches
  • Cut paper, fabric, vinyl, or whatever you want.
  • No Cricut mat required for Cricut smart materials
  • Swap or store the tools easily.
  • Active community

Cons

  • Design space freezes sometimes
  • Decreased print resolution
  • Cut sizing restriction
  • It can be expensive if you buy all tools
  • Limited cutting space

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