ScanNCut SDX1200 – Ultimate Review
The review you’ve all been waiting for is finally here! We asked the wonderful Mel Heaton to put the ScannCut SDX1200 through its paces, and share her thoughts on this incredible new die cutting machine.
New to the world of die cutting? Check out our introduction to die cutting right here!
Top of the Range Scan N Cut Machine:
As you are aware, the SDX1200 is a more expensive model than the existing Scan n Cut machines. A lot of this is down to the build quality rather than extra functionality… although there is plenty of that too.
Whilst there are die cutting machines on the market today capable of cutting more than paper, even some which are capable of cutting thin fabric, the SDX1200 takes it even further, thanks to a superior build. Strength is vital for cutting denser and thicker materials, and this latest offering in the Brother ScannCut range delivers: the SDX1200 will cut up to 3mm in depth, compared to 1.5mm depth for the existing CM series.
The SDX1200 has a much stronger motor which makes this die cutting machine capable of cutting a larger variety of materials than previous models, and quieter in operation.
Fully Automatic Blade:
We know that cutting through the mat is a very real fear for die cutters – but the SDX1200’s auto blade setting facility makes that concern a thing of the past!
This Scan n Cut machine starts by reading the mat, and then the depth of material including the mat, and subtracts one from the other so it knows the depth of the material. It then works out how many passes it needs to make, to cut through the product on the mat.
Cut amount is a new function only available to the SDX1200, and is used in conjunction with the auto blade settings to enable users to achieve a truly perfect cut.
There are 2 options:
The measurement is the depth the machine allows the blade to cut in a single pass; 0.5mm is gentler on the machine, the material and the mat than 1mm, and is very useful for being able to get a clean and precise cut.
I would recommend the customer uses the 0.5mm option for denser materials as the 1mm option can put too much force on the mat, which then twists. You also get a cleaner cut on the 0.5mm setting.
For cutting thinner, less dense materials, such as die cutting Fleurs Foam, you can use the 1mm setting, but personally I think the 0.5mm is still better, as there is less force being applied to the product, and a much cleaner cut is achieved. This blade gives you the freedom to cut foam up to 3 mm in thickness, opening up a world of crafting opportunities not possible with other die cutting machines.
The half cut function relates to cutting vinyl, and allows it to be kiss cut, which means it cuts the vinyl but leaves the backing in place, making removal of the vinyl from the backing sheet easier.
When testing the machine with vinyl that we have sold in the past, we discovered that the existing blade fits in the fabric blade holder, or the existing standard blade holder can be put in the SDX (but does not work with the Auto Setting function). This gives you two options, and enables existing customers who upgrade to use any standard blades they may already have. When cutting the Brother Vinyl, the new blade with the half cut setting applied, works perfectly.
Because of this new function, you can only load the mat in to the machine one way, as opposed to previous models which allowed the mat to be loaded in to the machine from both ends. This isn’t an issue, it’s just the way it is.
A 600dpi built-in scanner means the SDX1200 boasts much improved scanning capabilities compared to previous models, which scanned at 300dpi. I have found that it cuts closer to the edge of the image; the scanning process is faster and more precise, and the smoothing function will enable you to create even smoother edges and tighter corner cuts on scanned in images. This means a smoother finish to the cut, especially when scanning in images that have been printed from a CD ROM, or USB.
There is also a function when using Scan to Cut Data ( scanning and saving an image) which allows the customer to scan a smaller area rather than the whole mat, which in turn makes the scanning process quicker, and more efficient.
On the CM Series machines, if there are any parts of the scanned image outside of the effective area it will tell you and you will either have to delete them or move them in to the effective area. This is fine when cutting shapes, but when scanning in a detailed patterned paper to do fussy cutting, if you move the scanned images it won’t then line up to the paper! On the SDX1200, anything outside of the effective area is automatically ignored, eliminating this issue, enabling you to scan virtually any design, no matter how detailed.
As with any scanner, the SDX1200 still works on contrast, and therefore the scanned image MUST have a continual line around the outside edge and MUST provide a good, clean contrast to the background.
The full colour scanning option is built in to this machine, with no update required.
The screen on the SDX1200 is 5” in size, which is the largest screen to date, and can be set in six different positions, whereas the CM series allows a choice of three.
The front of the SDX1200 pulls down, and is built to help support the mat during cutting. This also contains two storage units to keep spare blades and other accessories close to hand. This feature provides the perfect way to keep die cutting accessories safe, and is unique to the new model.
Along with this extra feature, there is also a tray that pulls out from the back of the machine to help support the mat as it travels through the machine. This keeps the mat flatter and helps stop the material lifting from the mat during the die cutting process.
The SDX is a larger machine than the CM Series, weighing in at 6kg, and I have been told that there will be a new tote available for this machine as it won’t fit in to the existing one. The power supply and current adapter are now built in to the machine, and the chassis frame and blade carriage guide parts are now made from steel instead of aluminium.
All in all, an amazing, well-built and incredibly strong die cutting machine.
The SDX1200 has a 1.5 times faster CPU (Central Processing unit) or, as I like to call it, the ‘Brain’ of the machine, which makes it faster than previous models.
The built-in memory size has also been increased to 1.5 Mb compared to 1Mb in the CM series, which means more room to save images.
The quantity of built-in images has increased to 1302, and 17 fonts are also featured, both an improvement on the CM900, which includes 1102 images and 15 fonts.
The line readability is 900 on the SDX1200, compared to 300 on the CM300, and 600 on the CM700 and CM900. This means that the SDX is capable of cutting more detailed designs, although the same 3mm minimum shape size still remains.
As expected, the SDX is wi-fi enabled and has 12” by 24” scanning capability.
Whilst the Brother ScannCut CM900 reads PES embroidery applique files, The SDX1200 will read ALL PES files (not just applique!)
Using the Scan N Cut SDX1200:
When using the SDX1200, you’ll notice that the layout and some of the icons are different to the CM Series machines, as well as being in different locations.
I wouldn’t say it was more complicated to use than previous models, but some of the processes now feature extra options, including the auto blade settings, cut amount, and half cut functions.
Please note the CM mats DO NOT work in the new machine and the SDX mats DO NOT work in the CM machines.
Existing accessories will all work with the SDX.
The Home screen looks slightly different to that of previous models: the settings button is now part of the touch screen, and the retrieve data option, test cut function, the vinyl roll feed, and the region embossing functions are also now available from this location.
Pattern selection is the same as previous ScannCut models, although there are more designs to choose from. Various editing functions have moved position to make editing easier and quicker.
SDX1200 Review In Summary
Although the SDX1200 is a considered purchase, the build quality and strength of this machine is phenomenal.
If you are buying this die cutting machine as an upgrade, you will need to get used to the new layout of the symbols, but after this, it is very easy to use!
The auto blade settings sensor technology really help eliminate any worry about blade, speed and pressure settings, and the same blade cuts through materials from Greyboard to velum, Bubbalux to copier paper.
The SDX is a much smoother and quieter machine due to the build quality.
All in all, a fabulous addition to the ScanNCut family, which will enable you to create endless home and hobby cutting projects with a truly professional quality finish.