Craft Product Review: Fuse Creativity System by Fiskars

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Just when you think there are no more innovations to manual die cut machines (Bigger sizes? Check. Electric Motors? Check.) Fiskars comes out with the Fuse Creativity System- which is able to die cut and letterpress in one pass. WHOA, NELLY!

Image taken from the Fiskars website.

So there is a LOT of ground to cover here- and I warn ya, you might want grab a cuppa joe. There are a lot of photos in this post AND a 15-minute video, so settle in. : ) First, let’s see how it’s described on the website:

The Fuse Creativity System® is so much more than another die-cutting machine. It’s the only system on the market that can cut a shape, press a textured pattern and ink the pattern all in one pass through the machine. The perfectly die-cut and letterpressed embellishments are great for accenting homemade cards, scrapbook pages or just about any other paper craft project. Plus, the Fuse Creativity System® features a simplified plating system that makes it easy — you won’t waste any paper due to mistakes with confusing envelopes and sandwiches. Create a wide range of results by using different crafting materials and inks with just one Design Set, and add additional Design Sets and coordinating Expansion Pack letterpress plates for virtually unlimited creative possibilities. We even offer an adapter kit (sold separately) so you can use your existing dies and embossing folders from other systems with our machine.

Now let’s take a closer look!

In the starter kit, you get the machine, one scalloped die, 2 letterpress plates, one base, one cutting plate and a stamp pad. Also instructions that include the “recipes” for cutting with different competitor’s dies.

This machine is very large- and heavy (twenty-three pounds of muscle, to be exact.)  But it’s also built like a tank!

Closed, it stands 12.5 inches high.

It measures about 15.25 inches across on the outside diameter, and is about 6.5 inches across when it’s closed up.

The opening – or cutting area- is 12 inches across- HUGE- and there are some larger-sized dies coming soon. What this means to most of us is that you will get a comparable cutting area as the Sizzix Big Shot Pro- but then you also have the option of closing it up so you can move it around or just tuck it out of the way when it’s not in use.

Handles fold up and out of the way when folded up. You release them by pressing the orange buttons.

Open and ready to roll! (I love the table-like platform. It’s almost a bonus work area!

Under that table is a storage area that will hold your basic tools- stamp pad, cutting plates, and the die set that comes with the starter kit.

Here’s a look at the dies and platforms that come with the Starter Kit- and their relative sizes. that die is called a “medium,” but to me it’s pretty substantial.

OK…no might be a good time to show you the video I made. You’ll see me demo the machine, talk about the adaptations for other machines/dies, and show you some samples! (And if the video won’t load, I’ve still included all of the videos in this post for you! You can use these three components in a number of ways. You can place the Letterpress Plate (uninked) on the base, and you’ll get an embossed image on your sheet of paper, like this:

Embossing only.

Or, you can use the steel-rule dies on their own. Since they are so deep, you can cut a myriad of materials- even fabric and craft foam.

Keep a cotton swab- or my fave, an allen wrench- to push the material out of the die if it gets stuck. (As it seems to do when NOT using the Letterpress plates.)

Or you can pop in the Letterpress Plate and pass it through to get an embossed, cut out shape….or ink up the plate FIRST, then pass it through to get the Letterpress effect. Here’s a comparison: Want to see some of the things you can cut with the Fuse? (You didn’t think I’d forget the swatch test, did you?

From top: text weight paper, watercolor paper, kraft cardstock, craft foam, glitter cardstock.

From top: recycled candy-box liner, craft metal, cork paper, balsa wood, bass wood.

NOW…I know this is a burning question for many of you- Will the Fuse accept competitor’s dies?? YES!You are best off making the additional investment and purchasing the adapter kit so you can easily shim and use the products (dies and embossing folders) from other companies. And there is a “recipe” guide for all the adaptations you need.

The adapter set is pricey, but well worth it for the longer platforms and all of the “recipes” for using competitor’s dies and embossing folders.

Now… the OTHER burning question is- Can I use FUSE Dies and Letterpress plates in my other machines?? The answer is.. YES! Mostly.  (With the right adapter plate, of course. The Grand Calibur won’t accept large steel-rule dies, so that just won’t work at all. But I was successful in getting my Vagabond (a Sizzix Machine) and the Cuttlebug BOTH to cut and Letterpress using the Fuse components. NOTE: the Cuttlebug Cutting Plate C was the key!  Here’s a photo collage demonstrating some of the ability of the Fuse to play well with others: Whew! This is a monster of a review. SO much to cover! Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed using the fiskars fuse creativity systemHere are some of the reasons why:

  • Nice smooth cranking action. Lots of power in each revolution, and even my 7 year old could crank it easily. The best cranking motion I’ve tried.
  • SUPER heavy-duty! The metal components make it heavy, but it’s more like an industrial rolling mill. It’s made to withstand heavy use.
  • Love the wide throat and platform. With a little jimmying I could even use my Grand Nestibilities Spellbinders dies. (Which I addressed in the above video.) And the platform is almost like having an extra work surface.
  • Great integrated storage for basic tools.
  • LOVE that it folds up and tucks out of the way. That offsets it’s large footprint.
  • LOVE that the dies have “Expansion Packs” with extra Letterpress plates. What an ingenious way to get more bang for your buck once you buy the dies you like.
  • I like the artwork in the LetterPress plates and I really think some of the die shapes are adorable. Of course, this is purely subjective- but having a choice of attractive designs is important, you know?
Some concerns about this tool (or at least things to keep into consideration:
  • Large footprint might be an issue for small spaces, as would be the storage of the large steel-rule dies.
  • Price point is not necessarily for the “casual crafter” – it’s an investment.
  • Priced comparably to digital/electric die cutting machines (but of course, they cannot emboss or letterpress.)

The price is in the ball park, too- the Starter kit has an MSRP of $299 USD but that also include the starter die & 2 letterpress plates.  (However, I have seen some deals online for $285.00 and it’s been on HSN, too.) The Basic Dies start at $34.99 (which again, give you the die and TWO Letterpress Plates) and the Expansion Packs start at $19.99 for FOUR additional plates. I’m gonna be honest here: this machine will probably replace the Vagabond on my crafting table. It does all that it does (minus the motor) and I really like the dies and artwork I’m seeing. Now if Fiskars would just come out with those large dies (and a Large Platform Adapter Kit) my die-cutting needs would all be met!

UPDATE: the NEW large size dies (as well as additional smaller mini-dies) have arrived. See the new die packs and sizes here: 

http://www.crafttestdummies.com/craft-product-reviews/update-on-the-fiskars-fuse-creativity-system-new-dies-new-sizes/

Disclosure: sample provided for review. All opinions are unsolicited and my own. 

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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

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63 Responses to “Craft Product Review: Fuse Creativity System by Fiskars”

  1. jengd Says:

    Great review- thank you!!

  2. Laura G. Says:

    Great review! Had many questions about this machine—you answered them all. thanks

  3. debb Says:

    What a fantastic review- Thank you. It looks like a super machine- I want one but it is out of my price range. May I come to your house to play?

  4. thezenofmaking Says:

    Wow, that thing looks fantastic! And the fact that you can fold it up to move and store? Brilliant.

  5. cazzy Says:

    Interesting review, I never heard of this die cutter until now. I have just pre-ordered an eBosser after my third Vagabond broke, so will be interested in the dies and components to use with that.

  6. Becca Says:

    I love this! I want this. One thing I’d like you to include is the prices of things.

  7. Jenny Says:

    Becca- The prices of the Fuse machine & accessories is right there in the post. Last paragraph.

  8. Brenda B. Says:

    Jenny, this is a fantastic review. Fiskars recently had a contest and this machine was the prize. I am one of the lucky winners so this review is very timely. I was wondering about the results with various papers and you very clearly showed that with your samples. I loved that you even tried it with cork paper and balsa. I am wondering if the Fuse will cut lightweight fabric or felt?

  9. Sandy L Says:

    You have a great engaging style that‘s perfect for video presentation! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this one, and now I know all about the awesome new Fiskar’s Fuse machine. Thanks very much!!

  10. Desiree Says:

    Hi there!

    Thank you so much for this great review! I am also wondering if this will cut fabric. I have the Accuquilt and it looks like the Fiskars Fuse System can be adapted to use the Accuquilt dies. With that said, I would love to be able to use some of the other dies out there to cut fabric for appliques and whatnot. One device to do almost everything would be wonderful!

    Thanks,
    Desiree

  11. Anna Says:

    Would you recommend this tools for kids 9 and 11?
    I am considering this as a Christmas present but it won’t get used if they get frustrated.

    Joann’s is having a sale on these starting Nov 8.

    Thank you.

  12. Jenny Says:

    The Fiskars Fuse could absolutely be used by those ages. (My 7-year old could work it!) Sounds like a great gift!

  13. Sarah Says:

    I’ve been wondering about this machine, I think for this review is extremely helpful!! However it is slightly out of my size and price range for now. However, I was also looking at the cuttlebug and big shot for now and I like that I can most likely use those cuts in the fuse when I do get around to getting one. I currently live in a 1 bedroom apartment and don’t want to spend a fortune on punches nor do I have room to store the Fuse. I’m a stamper and scrapbooker (purely as a hobby). For now would you suggest getting a cuttlebug or a big shot until I am in a better position to get the Fuse.

  14. Jenny Says:

    Sarah- if you have plans to move up eventually, I’d buy the Cuttlebug. It’s the least expensive as well as being the smallest. And any dies/embossing folders you purchase for the Cuttlebug you’ll be able to use with the Fuse. Best, Jenny

  15. Sarah Says:

    Thanks Jenny, that’s the one I was leaning towards. Once I get a more permanent residence, I will have to get the fuse, but for now I’m sure a cuttlebug will get me thru. Thanks for the great review and the quick response!

  16. Andrea Says:

    Can this cut the sizzix pro dies. I tried to use other inks and was having trouble. Is their a trick to getting the ink for letter press. Thanks.

  17. Jill York Says:

    Video was great. Can this machine die cut chip board and cardboard?

  18. Jenny Says:

    Jill- I didn’t have chipboard on hand, but I did show a sample of cereal-box cardboard. It also cut the balsa wood, so I think it’s safe to assume that chipboard is a “Go.”-Jenny

  19. Jenny Says:

    Andrea- the Fuse will cut Sizzx dies, so as long at it fits through the opening you’ll be OK. You might have to run it through twice, though, because they haven’t come up with extra-large adapter plates yet.

    As for the inks, I used both pigment ink and the dye-based Distress inks. Not sure what you tried or the results- more information would be needed to help you on that one.

    Best, -Jenny

  20. Barb Reilly Says:

    Really enjoyed your video. I have some questions. I’ve been thinking about buying a die cutting machine. I saw an add for the Cricut Personal Cutter in Jo-Ann’s flier. Then I saw the Fiskars Fuse. I was not aware there are so many different machines, untill you mentioned some in the video. What is the difference in the two machines? And if you were buying your first machine, whichi one would you buy? I guess if I’m gonna spend the money, I’d rather spend it once. Thanks!

  21. Jenny Says:

    Barb- the main difference is that the Cricut is an electric die-cutter that uses digital images that you need to buy on cartridges. (Think like a game system.) The base machine will cost upwards of $200, and each cartridge retails for $35-$90 each. I have a review of the Cricut if you’d like more information on that: http://www.crafttestdummies.com/craft-product-reviews/craft-product-review-cricut-expression-2-e2-by-provocraft/ Good luck! -Jenny

  22. amanda Says:

    Do you know if this machine will work with the L Letterpress from Quickuts?

  23. Jenny Says:

    Amanda- I’ll look into it!

  24. Ballookey Says:

    Price, size, and utility all seem awesome, but is there any possibility of getting custom dies or press plates made of our own artwork? Having worked in the print industry, I know I could get such plates made for a real letterpress or die-cut press, and that the price is from $50 an on up depending on size, but a machine like this would be a lot easier to use in the home. The dealbreaker is if it’s only for making stock designs.

  25. Jenny Says:

    Ballookey- I don’t imagine that Fiskars is getting into that biz, but perhaps a 3rd party would make plates for you to use. This machine is meant for home crafty hobbyist more than professional artists. If you find a resource for custom letterpress plates, let me know!

  26. debbie Says:

    jenny – i’m thinking about getting the big shot, but i saw this machine and now after your review, i’m thinking about this. the fact that you would consider replacing your vagabond is HUGE for me! but the big shot is def. less in price. will the FUSE take sizzix framelits? i’m guessing yes. what would you do?

  27. Agda Says:

    Hi Jenny!
    I was thinking about buying the Accuquilt Go machine… than I saw the Fuse machine. Could you tell me if the Fuse machine cuts accuquilt dies? Have you already tried it?
    Thanks!

  28. Jenny Says:

    Not yet, Agda- but I just got one so I’ll report back soon!

  29. karen Says:

    hi jenny,
    im thinking of having a home business card/invitations i have a room for the business just confused on machines i would like to do some on the computer with ready made templetes and some handmade ones as well what machine would you recommend and which one can i use for saling the products thanks

  30. Jenny Says:

    Karen- you’ll have to do research to find which machine system has artwork that A) you like and B) can resell without paying licensing fees. Good luck!

  31. Nicole Says:

    Hi Jenny,

    I am also wondering about compatibility with Sizzix Framelits. Have you tried it yet? And if so, what is the shim recipe used? Just wondering because the Fiskars steel die blade faces up on the fuse and framelits blade faces down on a Sizzix machine. Thanks!

  32. Jenny Says:

    Nicole- the round fleur-de-li die is a Sizzix Framelet. It worked just fine. The recipe came with the shims & the “flipping” of the die face-up makes no difference at all. : )

  33. Mother Rosie Says:

    Jo-ann’s has the Fuse machine for $179.00 online with a free shipping coupon. Using my state income tax return, it is a must have for me.

  34. Amanda Says:

    Hi Jenny, have you had the chance to look up whether or not this works with the L Letterpress items?
    Thank you for your time, this is a wonderful machine.

  35. Heather Says:

    Found out about this when looking at Kaisercraft’s website. Thank you for the effort you put into detailing so much with your ‘road’ test. I have now saved you as a favourite!!
    Thanks

  36. Claret Says:

    Just received notice that I won this machine. Thank you so much and cannot wait to begin to play! Thanks for all the awesome information on our favorite “toys”.

  37. Jenny Says:

    Clare–I’m glad to hear your got that email…but you cannot be confirmed as the winner until I get your shipping address!!!

  38. Soraya Says:

    Great tutorial!!! I appreciated that you mentioned the bigger dies from spellbinder. Thanks for all the wonderful job you did and all the work you put into this very informative tutorial!

  39. Sandy Says:

    I got my Fuse in December of 2012 and have had nothing but a ball ever since. I have made all kinds of projects and fun things with it and I am so glad I got it instead of one of the other systems out there. It handles all kinds of brands of dies and there are so many things that can be done with it. It cuts just about any kind of media.

  40. Jessica Says:

    Hi Jenny,

    I’m really intrigued with the Fuse as it looks far more sturdy then the Big Shot. While I loved my Big Shot it seemed to move on me and this one seems to be a lot heavier so it won’t when you turn the crank. :)

    I plan on purchasing the Fuse if it works with the L Letterpress.

    I know Amanda had asked you if it works … have you found out yet? I’m looking everywhere and haven’t found an answer.

    Thanks in advance for your help and great review.

  41. Jenny Says:

    Jessica- I have an old version of the L letterpress and dies that seemed to have a cracking issue when used with other machines. So I will run it through the Fuse and tell you what I see. I spoke to the folks at Lifestyle Crafts at CHA a number of times, but they are unwilling to send us new product to test. Hold tight, and I’ll work on that mid-June.

  42. Carol N Says:

    I have the Big Shot and have been trying to figure out how to make the Butterfly Design Set work in it. I did get it to cut but the fit going through worried me with how tight it was. Have you tried these in the Big Shot? I also have the 2nd generation Wizard (purple one) and will be trying these in it, too. Thanks!

  43. Jenny Says:

    Carol- I tried it with the Vagabond (also by Sizzix) and it worked fine. I don’t have a Wizard so I can’t help you there. But there is a comprehensive adaptation list on the adapter plates they sell, and you can always contact Fiskars for more information. Good luck!

  44. Em Says:

    I have the same question as Amanda: Do you know if this machine will work with the L Letterpress from Lifestyle Crafts/Quickuts?

  45. leeb Says:

    Jenny – this is great but I’m very very very interested if custom dies will work.
    Boxcarpress.com makes custom dies for the L Letterpress. if the L Letterpress plates work for the Fiskars – I would guess we could then safely assume I could get custom dies and in that case I’m home free!
    I’m a hobbyist that seems to be transitioning into something more… :)

    I have a call out to boxcarpress.com but I really need to know this weekend if possible for a project deadline I have. If you have any info can please email me or reply. thanks!

  46. Jenny Says:

    I don’t have a boxcar press die to test for you. I’d check with them. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  47. Janetta Says:

    Any news yet on compatibility with Lifestyle letterpress?

  48. Jenny Says:

    Janetta- I made contact with the Lifestyle folks at CHA, but they have not sent me one to test out. :-/

  49. Sandy Says:

    Thanks so much for the detailed review! Adapter pack seems geared towards the smaller dies… Any suggestions on how we would put through a 10″ Accuquilt or 12″ Sizzix die?

  50. Jenny Says:

    Sandy- The is now a LARGE cutting plate, used with the Xtra large dies. (See the update on these dies here:
    http://www.crafttestdummies.com/craft-product-reviews/update-on-the-fiskars-fuse-creativity-system-new-dies-new-sizes/
    These new plates should do the trick! : )

  51. cindy baker Says:

    I still have several questions. Could you give me a call please. 479-XXX-3XX1

  52. Jenny Says:

    I am happy to respond to comments, but personal calls are a bit out of my comfort zone.

  53. Tammie Allen Says:

    Hi,
    I am thinking about getting the fuse machine. I have an Sizzix Eclips and E-Cal software and a big shot machine but neither of these will cut metal thicker than thin aluminum and foil. I saw you had cut balsa and bass wood. What thickness was the wood, 1/8″ or was it thinner.
    Thanks in advance

  54. Jenny Says:

    Tammie- I used 1/8 inch wood -I think. : )

  55. Lesley Says:

    Does anyone know of a UK company/shop having any offers on these machines please, I ideally would like to see one in the flesh so to speak

  56. Sandy Walston Says:

    Great video tutorial.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Sandy

  57. cherry chua Says:

    I have interchangeable letterpress plate design set 0078, 0188 & 0084 but I do not have the base plate for cutting out the shape appreciate you could advice where can I purchase them. Can I use my sizzix framelits to cut those shapes.
    thank you

  58. Jenny Says:

    Cherry- JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores carry the dies and expansion packs (letterpress design plates.) Sadly, you will not be able to cut the shape with a sizzix die and then use the Fuse letterpress plates to emboss them. You need the Fuse die to drop the letterpress plate into for it to work properly.

  59. Pat Says:

    I am wandering also if the L Letterpress platform will work in the fuse?

  60. Tami Says:

    Hi, would the L Letterpress work on the fuse?

  61. Maria Says:

    Hi! I would like to know if is it possible to use the Big Shot Pro dies in Fiskars? If yes, what are the things I need to do that? Hope to hear from you soon.

  62. Jenny Says:

    I believe you can use the Big Shot Pros dies if you have the large adapter plates. (I’ve used the regular Sizzix dies with the medium adapter set.) Fiskars customer service should be able to help you further!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Toolbox Tuesday: Fiskars Fuse | Vicki O'Dell... The Creative GoddessVicki O'Dell... The Creative Goddess - August 20, 2013

    […] If you want to learn more about the Fiskars Fuse and see an in depth review then I would recommend this post on Craft Test Dummies: Craft Product Review: Fuse Creativity System by Fiskars. […]

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