Brother Scan N Cut: Part 1, Paper Scanning and Cutting

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Last Spring I was a guest on Scrapbook Soup and I got an eyeful of a new digital die cutting machine- one with an integrated scanner- the Brother Scan N Cut! I was literally salivating with the possibilities! I couldn’t even hold my horses to see if they would send me a review copy- I went ahead and ordered one from Amazon!

Brother Scan N Cut Review

But first things first. Here’s how it’s described on the website:

The secret to ScanNCut’s amazing versatility lies in the 300 DPI built-in scanner, making ScanNCut the only cutting machine that can take your scanned images, photos or hand drawn sketches, and turn them into unique cutting designs, without the need or expense of a computer, software, or pricey cartridges.

ScanNCut is perfect for those who have a passion for creating one-of-a-kind crafts and projects:

  • DIY/Crafters — Easily create patterns and cut materials to use in any crafting or DIY project.
  • Scrapbookers and Paper Crafters — No longer be limited by cartridges! Cut personalized elements, like handwriting, to make projects your own.
  • Multi-Media Artists — Unlimited creative potential with the ability to cut a variety of surfaces and materials.
  • Sewers — Easily cut fabric pieces; draw in sewing guidelines and add a seam allowance.
  • Quilters — Create custom quilt blocks and cut several fabric pieces at a time. Revolutionize the way you craft and create, with ScanNCut.

So let’s get going! I made little Brother Scan N Cut unboxing video that I posted on YouTube, if you are interested in that. Make sure you subscribe to my Channel if you want to see extra videos that don’t make it here on CTD!

I got this version of the Brother ScanNCut (affiliate link)- it came with the mats and tools shown in the unboxing video. There is a “Blue” version, too- and it comes with an extra mat, pen holder and pens, and extra images.

Brother Scan N Cut

You can see the blade holder here- it’s easy to insert/adjust, just by lifting up the latch. (A huge improvement on the Cricuts, which had a screw to twist.) Brother Scan N Cut

The Scan N Cut is a stand-alone machine- no computer necessary! You’ll do all of your “work” on the LED touch-screen. They include a stylus, too. But if you lose it or can’t keep it hands a crochet hook will do!

Now, this is a VERY involved machine- as a matter of fact, I didn’t even go into hardly ANY of the fabric cutting options, or much of the scanning . So this review is really focusing on paper cutting.

I decided the ONLY way to tackle this is via video- so while this one is longer than most I do (14 minutes) it’s actually more helpful than uploading a ga-jillion photos. So here you go!

Now for a few of the detail photos:  Brother Scan N Cut

Here’s a close up of my mat- you see the black bits from cutting the black paper? I can’t figure how to clean those off. They are embedded in the blade marks- and they show up when you scan things. So either scan on top of white paper, or get an additional mat and keep it just for scanning. However, these are nice sturdy mats- much moreso than my Silhouette ones.

Brother Scan N Cut

Here are the cutting samples- cardstock, text weight paper, glossy paper, and even a single fabric applique.

Brother Scan N Cut

I tried that last demo again on glitter cardstock with a bold pattern- and I place a shape right on top of the pattern to fussy-cut it.

Brother Scan N Cut

And here’s how it turned out! Really, it cut through this glittery paper like butter. For some reason, I had the best results with the medium-weight cardstock. Which is the paper weight I use the most.

SO! There are some definite pros and cons with this machine:

PROS:

  • You can use it as a scanner to scan photos and documents and save them on a USB.
  • Scan and cut feature is exclusive- and pretty darn cool
  • No computer necessary
  • Ideal for artists and folks who want to scan in original artwork and have it cut
  • Cool welding feature I didn’t even get to yet
  • Lots of included designs for quilters-YAY!

CONS:

  • No SVG support- yet- which is very disappointing to us with cut files for our Silhouettes
  • Included artwork is unimpressive for paper crafters.
  • Pricier than other die-cutting machines ($399-$499)
  • Sticky mat is “meh”
  • Learning curve

For me, the jury is still out. Sure it’s cool, but I’m still undecided if it’s $400 worth of cool. I’m certainly going to play with the scanning feature more to become more proficient, and I’m thinking it’s time for me to pull the dust cover off of the sewing machine and try some of the quilting and applique options.

I’d love to hear YOUR questions and I’ll do my best to answer them in my follow-up videos!

Here are some follow-up reviews, too:

Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe to our emails- you’ll get a notification in your in-box every time we post a new review or tutorial. And with CHA coming up next month, you won’t want to miss a thing!

 

About Jenny Barnett Rohrs

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.

View all posts by Jenny Barnett Rohrs

26 Responses to “Brother Scan N Cut: Part 1, Paper Scanning and Cutting”

  1. Carole Tiep Says:

    I wonder if the Scan N Cut can be set up to cut multiples? In the early fall I drew, and fussy cut 30 leaves- it was not fun, but I could not find a leaf I liked in my die cutting collection. Since I am a card maker, being able to cut multiples of drawn images would influence my decision to purchase. I own the Cricut and am not crazy about it.

  2. Sue Says:

    This will be an incentive for Cricut, etc. to upgrade their cutting capabilities also, possibly even in their “Craft Room” area. This is something like I was looking for when I bought my Cricut but it wasn’t available at the time. The idea of us being able to incorporate our own images and/or creations and not being limited to one company’s cartridges is where this crafting technique is headed. Yeah! But I’ll wait until it becomes improved and they get the thing more settled before I spend that kind of money on one.

  3. Carmen Says:

    How fortuitous – I got one of these recently and tried it last night. I don’t have any experience with the other cutting machines. I’m hoping that I started with a card stock that was just too thick. I was surprised at how non-sticky the mat seemed to be (maybe due to the weight of my paper?) It caused problems for me as the paper never really held fast and I couldn’t get more than one or two clean cuts before the paper shifted. I’ll keep trying – with lighter cardstock next time.

  4. Caryn S. (Scrapnsing) Says:

    There are some neat features on this: the way the blade inserts, and the scan and place feature (to cut the image from a specific part of the material) are impressive, and the idea of being able to scan and cut specific images from a printed sheet is really cool. IMHO it doesn’t do enough over the Silhouette to make me want one. I don’t have an issue hooking my Silhouette up to a computer since I use a portable laptop. I don’t like the idea of having to print out an image to scan when I can simply cut it direct from SDS (and I bought the Designer edition so I can cut just about any image anyway). Maybe as someone said in a previous comment the existing cutting machines will incorporate some of the better features of this machine into updated versions. But I can’t justify the cost or space needed for this (I also have a Cricut Expression and the original Cricut!).

  5. Kathryn Says:

    When you were cutting the image that you had previously scanned and saved to the machine I noticed you had to choose where the image was saved (machine or USB). Is it possible to download your images from your computer onto the USB, insert the USB into the Scan and Cut and use them? It seems as though you could pretty easily transfer your previously loved images from your Cricuit or other cartridge based machines simply by scanning them in and saving to a USB?

  6. Jenny Says:

    Kathryn- I don’t think that’s an option. They are have just released a software that will allow the ScanNCut to cut SVG files. By the way, if you have “previously loved” Cricut images, you could just scan them in and save them!

  7. Jenny Says:

    Carole- I will look into it! You can of course use the “copy” function and “paste” them down all over the mat to cut many at once.

  8. robyn josephs Says:

    The Cameo can do everything this machine does and more for half the price.
    Once you learn how to use your home computer, with Silhouette DE software or SCAL or MTC , you can import svg images, jpegs- and convert them to svgs, add cut lines to them where you want them, print and cut and sketch.
    this machine is aimed at quilters and i don’t think it is going to be around very long.

  9. Jenny Says:

    Robyn- while a agree that this machine was developed for quilters, I disagree with your comment that the Cameo “can do everything” this machine can do. I have just spent an hour stamping images that then the SNC scans in and cuts out for me with varying outlines. Can’t do that with the Cameo, and this machine is not dependent on a computer or internet connection. Definitely a plus for stampers.

  10. Jenny D Says:

    Im trying to download more images off the internet for my vinyl work.. Does anyone know if this can be done and how? I have the Brothers Scan & Cut,, thanks

  11. Jenny Says:

    Jenny- you have to use the Brother Canvas online software to convert the files.

  12. Debra morales Says:

    Can you resize images that you scan and save.? How do you do this? Also I download a PDF file scanned it, saved it, pulled it up, and cut it out but I want to resize it how can I do this and keep all the pieces rellevant? Will you be posting a vedio on how to accomplish this. Thank you so much, your videos have been helpful

  13. sally Says:

    please could you tell me what the designs are on brother scanncut machine?

  14. Jenny Says:

    Sally- there are a number of designs pre-loaded onto the machine including some of the ones you see on the video. There are also a bunch of quilting shapes and blocks loaded in. I found this video that shares some of the designs: http://www.brother-usa.com/scanncut/#.Uu-m1_ldWSo

  15. Esther Says:

    Hello! I would like to know if I can scan a piece of pattern paper and cut out the design on the pattern paper. Per Say I input a pattern paper with a huge flower can I cut that flower out?

    Been looking everywhere for the answer and can not seem top find it. Thanks in advance!

  16. Jenny Says:

    I covered that briefly in the video….but the answer is…maybe? There has to be enough contrast for the SNC to “see” the image. Motifs on a light background with a bold outline scan the best! Remember that it was really developed to scan and cut applique images out of fabric!

  17. jody Says:

    Hi!
    I’m a glass artist, and was had a few questions for you:
    A) i use a lot of outline stickers–either to mask for acid-resist techniques, or for paintin stencils. Can the machine make stickers?
    B) my designs are for jewelery, so tend to be in the neighborhood of 1inch square or so. Can it do intricate cuts at this size?

    Thanks!

  18. Jenny Says:

    Jody- it will absolutely cut vinyl for stickers. I’ll have to see how accurately it cuts under an inch. Great question!!

  19. Jody Says:

    Thanks! Will be interesting to see how small she can go!

  20. Beth Says:

    I’m looking for something to cut thin baked polymer clay – the sizzix big shot/kick sort of cuts, but they don’t have the basic shapes in the bigz or originals dies – just fancy stuff. I have ruined several of the complicated dies with clay getting caught. I”m wondering if the scan n cut or cameo would be able to cut it. I don’t use other media so hate to invest a lot of money for something that would sit on a shelf if it didn’t work. Ideas? Suggestions?

  21. Jenny Says:

    Beth- lucky for you, I have post on how to do just that! I’ve used the Cricut to cut polymer clay. I haven’t used my Scan N Cut for this- frankly, I’m being careful of that optical lens- but you can use the Cricut to do so. Maybe use the Mini, since it’s under $100 USD? Or better yet, get an older Baby Bug on Ebay. Of course, we didn’t discuss what kind of shapes you want to cut, and how you *get* the cut files will depend on which version you’ll want (digital files or cartridges.) But I hope this link helps you out! http://www.crafttestdummies.com/craft-projects-2/how-to-cut-polymer-clay-with-the-cricut/

  22. Beth Says:

    Thanks so much Jenny, I had actually read that post with great interest along with the others on polymer clay. In researching at various times over the last few months, I have found that people either love or hate the cricut so was hesitant to go that route. Basically I know nothing about any of them. Cindy Lietz had recommended the Big Shot in one of her tutorials so I got it, but I’m looking for more flexibility along with plain stuff like a square that can be sized or to come up with a funky shape that isn’t anything. Ideally, I’d like to get away from dies or cartridges, but maybe the Cricut Craft Room will take care of what I need. Thanks again, I’ll go reread all of your research and quit dithering.

  23. sandra schiebel Says:

    hello can you help I purchased scan cut two months back hardly been used and my ,mats are not sticky any more cleaned and still not working ,do I need to buy new ones ,as feel this is quite expensive machine if I have to purchase in a short time of using mats

  24. Jenny Says:

    Sandra- I’d suggest you contact the company. If you want a quick fix you can use repositionable basting spray.

  25. Barb Says:

    Hi Jenny, I bought my Scan n Cut in January and after a few attempts, I put it away in frustration. I dug it back out again today, determined to overcome the learning curve. Not so much! I used a new mat and a new blade and cut one sheet of regular scrapbook paper, everything worked pretty well for the most part, a few scrunched up spots. So, I put in a second sheet to cut more of the same, keeping everything the same and don’t ya know it tore the paper and made lots of scrunched paper places. I watched your video and you didn’t seem to have this problem. I had the same problem back in January as well. I tried making various adjustments, but to no avail. HELP!! Thanks :)

  26. Jenny Says:

    Barb- I’m thinking that you need more pressure and a slower speed. The downfall of the SNC is that it doesn’t have “presets” and you have to experiment with the cutting speeds and pressures depending on what you are cutting. Also, add some extra spray-baste (repositionable spray adhesive) to see if that doesn’t help a little, too. Good luck and report back! :)

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