We're big fans of Cricut's printers around here, whether it's for papercraft or edible materials. The new Cricut Explore does the same thing as most of their previous papercraft machines, with one twist -- the darn thing can handwrite doodles and dedications, too. Yep, it's the all-in-one scrapbooking robot for the Etsy generation.
Eliminating the need to pick up a pen to put personalized markings on your robot-cut sheets, you just insert a pen, pencil, or marker on the designated slot on the machine to have it do the writing and doodling all on its own. That way, you create the same personal feel as handmade notes or drawings, sans the chances of ruining an erstwhile beautifully-designed card with your crappy skills. Win.
Just like previous Cricut machines, the Explore uses a small carbide blade on the print head to cut designs out of any flat sheet. You can create designs from scratch then import them to the software, as well as use Cricut's design cartrdiges or download from the company's paid library of over 50,000 projects. It comes with a depth-adjustment dial that lets you specify what material you're cutting (paper, vinyl, cardstock, iron-on, and fabric), although you can set the depth manually as well. If you'd like it to write or draw, simply insert a writing instrument into the head and choose the corresponding option on the included software. Even better, it can do both the cutting and the writing at the same time.
The Cricut Explore will hit stores in March 2014, priced at $299.