When we've talked about cutting tools here on Sew4Home, we've mentioned things like scissors, shears, snips, and rotary cutters. All of these are essential to your sewing tool kit. But there's another kind of cutting tool we haven't talked about. One that's so advanced you might think we borrowed it from the Jetsons. It's called a digital cutter, and the one we're talking about specifically is the Edge Digital Cutter from Artistic. It's no exaggeration to say this device will open up whole new areas for you in sewing, quilting, paper crafts, stenciling, and more. When you learn what it can do, your own creative ideas are going to explode. So read on, then tell us what you'd make with an Edge Digital Cutter, and you could win one!
THIS GREAT GIVEAWAY CLOSED 1/16/15. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED.
Don't get the wrong idea when we call it advanced. Yes, the technology is advanced with things like laser guided alignment and a comprehensive software package. But it's easy to use. If you have enough common sense to use a pair of scissors, you can use the Artistic Edge. (And that includes not running with the digital cutter.)
How it works
The Digital Cutter
It's roughly the size and shape of a desktop inkjet printer and works on a similar principle. A printer moves the print head (with the ink in it) back and forth while it feeds the paper through. Controlled by your computer, the printer's motion is so precise you can print off pictures that look like they were done at the local Photomat.
The Edge also moves a head side to side while your material (fabric, vinyl, magnetic sheet, paper, etc.) is fed through. But instead of applying little dots of ink, it uses tiny industrial blades to cut out your desired shape with amazing accuracy, even when operating at its maximum cutting speed of 600mm/second!
To hold your material in place during cutting, your fabric, paper or plastic is gently adhered to one of the special cutting mats. There's a stickier high tack mat for thicker material and a low tack mat for delicate material. The mat, and its adhered material, is then moved under the cutting blades.
The blade head on the Edge can cut all the way across the bed in about half a second. And it can cut out the tiniest of details with impressive accuracy. Yep, it cut out the delicate butterfly wings shown below. You'll want to visit the Artistic Edge YouTube channel to see more demonstrations of the intricate detail achieved.
The SimpleCut Software
The Edge connects to your PC via a USB cable. To create your design layouts and control the cutter, you use the included SimpleCut software (a $399 retail value that is free with the purchase of the Edge).
Again, we're going to use the word "advanced" because what this software allows you to do is amazing. But we want to stress again how easy it is to use. In fact, SimpleCut is the first Artistic software that puts all this creative potential in the hands of people without any experience with embroidery programs.
If you just want to create and then cut out a big letter A for your Scarlet Letter costume, it's about as easy as creating a big A in your word processing program and printing it out.
But if you want to do something more sophisticated, such as creating a lettered appliqué, you have a whole set of powerful tools that automate much of the work. For type styles, SimpleCut allows you to use all the fonts on your PC. If you don't have the exact one you want, you can download thousands more for little or no cost from online font sites.
Once you have your letters arranged on your computer screen, you can choose from 200 satin stitches to use for your appliquéing. With your selection made, you then have all kinds of options for size, density, and orientation. Preview it all on screen as you try different looks and colors.
When you've finished your design plan, the software will create an embroidery file for your embroidery machine and then tell the Edge to cut out your letters. You need only an entry level embroidery machine to stitch out the design, and the SimpleCut Software saves in all the most popular embroidery file formats.
But remember, you don't have to own an embroidery machine! There are so many things you can do with the Edge Digital Cutter and SimpleCut Software on their own.
A huge number of choices
SimpleCut comes loaded with 3,500 built-in designs. But it's easy to import just about any graphic file (e.g. JPEG, GIF, PNG, etc.) and convert it to a vector file that can be enlarged without losing resolution. So you can take a little flower and turn it into a big appliqué.
One of the cool things the software allows you to do is to select just one item in an image. For example, you import a photo of a herd of horses but only want to appliqué a single horse. You use the the outline tool to trace around the horse you want. And you don't have to trace it perfectly; you can go back and make fine adjustments on your initial rough outline. The software creates a file made of just that outline shape. Then you output your embroidery file for your sewing machine and have the Edge cut out your appliqué.
What can you make with it? How about what can't you make?!
The appliqué feature alone makes this a tool you'll want for all kinds of décor and accessory sewing. Any project you make can go from nice to "where did you get that!?" when you embellish it with custom appliqués. Have a friend who loves Paris? How much would he/she appreciate a simple throw pillow with the Eiffel Tower on it? The possibilities for gifts are endless.
Quilters are already crazy about the Edge. The cutting mats are big enough to do appliqués the size of a large quilt square. They also love the fact that it not only cuts out ornate shapes, but also gives their embroidery machine the exact stitches to apply it. All of this with the kind of precision you just can't get with hand cutting.
And it's great for repetitive cutting. The Edge cut multiples of one fabric shape to make the pretty flower pillows below.
Stenciling is another thing you can do on the Edge. And we mean complex, professional looking stencils! The industrial blade system is strong enough to cut through the sheets of plastic used for making stencil patterns.
Again, the software makes it easy to import graphics and add lettering to create your design. And the Edge just cuts it all out. We love how it cut filigree designs from vinyl to turn a set of inexpensive candle holders into a high end centerpiece.
You can fill in your stencil with fabric paint, fabric marking pens, even a Sharpie. The possibilities go beyond sewn projects because you can stencil anything that will hold paint: furniture, floor cloths, metal storage bins, the sidewalk, etc., etc.
Add bling to any project with crystals and rhinestones. Artistic has a whole system for applying them to fabric with an iron-on process. The crystals are easy to place and stay put even through the laundry.
The software and the cutter do the detail work of creating a design with dozens to hundreds of crystals, cutting out the template for accurately placing each one. You then simply brush them into place and affix with a hot iron.
And finally, the craft digital cutters were originally invented for paper crafts like scrapbooking. Of course, the Edge does this very well, cutting every weight of paper from tissue to thick card stock. It will even do foam core for extra dimension. With the SimpleCut software and the precision of the Edge cutter, you can do lettering and graphics with effects nearly impossible to get with scissors.
The Edge Digital Cutter: the ultimate addition to your creative workspace
Whether you want to knock-off an expensive décor item from a catalog or just see your own designs come to life, the Artistic Edge brings it all within reach. It's precise, easy to use, and can cut virtually any crafting medium from the finest fabrics to stencil plastic. Your creative options are endless.
The Artistic Edge is available from authorized Artistic retailers in either a 15" or 12" cutting width. The 15" cutting width also allows wireless connection to your PC.
Visit the Artistic Edge Website as well as their YouTube Channel for additional information, demos, and to find a dealer in your area. The 12" Edge retails for $799, but make sure to visit your authorized Artistic dealer now for debut promotional pricing as low as $399.
How to enter to win an Artistic Edge Digital Cutter
THIS GREAT GIVEAWAY CLOSED 1/16/15. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED.
1) Leave a qualifying comment that meets the criteria of the giveaway.
See the full description below under the heading "Qualifying Comments."
2) Tell us how to contact you should you win.
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After reviewing the information above, take a quick tour through the Artistic Edge website as well as their inspiring YouTube channel. Then, come back to Sew4Home and leave a short comment below, telling us what you'd like to make with your very own Artistic Edge Digital Cutter.
We will draw one person at random from everyone who posted a qualifying comment on this article as of midnight PT January 16, 2015.
No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited.
We will contact our winner by email to coordinate delivery.
NOTE: Due to complex contest legal restrictions and customs requirements that differ from country to country, for this giveaway, we are currently only able to accept entries from and send prizes to a USA postal address (cannot be a P.O. Box). We know this is a disappointment to some of our loyal visitors outside of the USA, and we appreciate your understanding. Our true focus is on providing the best sewing tutorials, tips and inspiration we can to everyone.
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