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!
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!
This machine is very large- and heavy (twenty-three pounds of muscle, to be exact.) But it’s also built like a tank!
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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 system. Here 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?
- 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:
Disclosure: sample provided for review. All opinions are unsolicited and my own.