Cricut Maker 3 is in the House

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My Cricut Maker 3 has arrived and I am excited to share with you the latest Cricut Smart Cutter. It’s a thing of beauty and I’m anxious to give you a tour!

As soon as Cricut made the announcement that they were debuting new machines that could use Smart Vinyl, I knew I had to get one. Smart Vinyl was only available for the Cricut Joy. The new cutters break through the less-than-two-feet barrier and I was super stoked about it. You had me at “cuts up to 12 feet”, my friends.

Waiting with anticipation

I had received an email from Michael’s on June 9–the night before the official launch–saying that the machines were going on sale at 11 pm CST. So I decided to check it out when it dropped there. There weren’t any discounts being offered so I ordered it from Cricut direct. I have a Cricut Access Premium membership, so I knew I would get a good deal there: 10% off the machine, 20% off the materials, and free shipping to boot.

There was only one color option when I was ordering it late in the night: blue. I was ok with that. Maybe I’m a little extra but my Cricut ruler is blue and I loved the fact that matches. Deep purple or aqua are the only other colors I would have been interested in any way. Let’s face it, those colors likely won’t be options anytime in the future, as most of the color schemes are pastels. So I ordered the machine, the new Roll Holder, or wrangler as I like to call it, and a few rolls of Smart Vinyl to get started.

Smart Vinyl for the Cricut Explore 3 and Maker 3.
I ordered black, white, and aqua in Removable and black, white, red, and blue in Permanent Smart Vinyl. I like the boxes they come in way better than the tubes you get the Premium Permanent Vinyl in.

Unboxing the machine

I ordered just the machine and not the bundle so it came with a few samples of the new Smart materials, a Premium Fine Point Blade and housing, welcome card, the power cables, and a USB cable. I already have tools so I wasn’t worried about that.

Cricut Maker 3 and what came in the box.
The machine came with a 12×12 inch piece of Smart Cardstock in white, Smart Removable Vinyl in black, transfer tape, and a very intriguing semi-transparent Holographic Smart Iron-On sample.

The first impression I had was that it was definitely heftier than my other machine so I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to move it around too much. It seems a little taller too. I had to jockey some things around in my office to make sure I could use the new machine and my trusty Explore Air at the same time if I needed to.

Cricut Explore Air 2 compared to the Cricut Maker 3
It’s like the taller, sleeker cousin. Soooooo pretty!

Let’s look at those Cricut Maker 3 features

I like that the power buttons are hidden from prying paws (or fingers if you have children of the human variety). So what does it look like inside? I’m glad you asked. I was really impressed by the way it opens.

Smooth operator
Cricut Maker 3 roomy storage tray with magnetic holder for your blades
The storage tray is quite roomy and I like that there is a magnetic strip for keeping your blades in place.

The holder for the blade housing feels more secure than my Explore, which always seemed a bit loose to me, so I really like that. I also like how the Smart Vinyl just slides onto the tray.

Cricut Maker 3 holds the Smart Vinyl easily
The Smart Vinyl slides on easily.

There’s a Docking slot for an iPad or iPhone (or whatever flavor of tablet or phone you prefer). This is handy if you’re cutting using your mobile device. In addition, there is also a USB port on the side that took me a second to figure out. It’s a charging port for your devices so you won’t run out of juice while cutting!

USB port for charging your devices while they sit in the Docking slot
Here’s the USB port for charging your devices while they sit in the Docking slot. You can see the lovely brushed aluminum band that goes around the machine up close.

One of the great things about the machine is the extra storage on the left for your weeding tools. There’s also a place to hold your smaller burnishing tool.

Cricut Maker 3 tool holder.
This tool holder is so handy. Look at the beautiful diamond pattern on the underside of the lid and observe how well the Maker 3 matches my Cricut ruler. I will not let that go. I love it. 😉

Sure it’s beautiful but how does the Maker 3 cut?

I was anxious to see just how much faster it really does cut. I had a large enough cut to do that warranted the Smart Removable Vinyl so I gave it a try.

My first impression of the Smart Vinyl is that it was difficult to trim. I like that the backing is thicker which makes it sturdier. However, I wasn’t able to keep it from sliding on my cutting mat while using a blade and my Cricut ruler. This meant I accidentally trimmed the tip of a letter off, much to my chagrin. Black is difficult enough to trim successfully but when it’s sliding around it’s even worse.

Cutting on the 12×14 Standard Grip Mat

I’m a stickler for quality so I decided to recut the word in question on Premium Removable Vinyl. This provided the perfect opportunity for us to see how the machine cuts on a mat.

Another thing that’s a bit different is that the Smart Vinyl seems slightly more difficult to weed. I suspect it’s because of the thicker backing. You lose a little bit of that time-saving you get with the cutting on the weeding. It’s not enough of a slowdown to negate the quickness of the Smart Vinyl cutting sequence though.

Comparison of Smart and Premium Removable Vinyl
A comparison of Smart vs. Premium Removable Vinyl. You can tell the back on the Smart Vinyl is much thicker. The vinyl itself seemed nearly identical.

Looking forward to getting more cuts done

I am impressed with the overall performance of the Cricut Maker 3 and am looking forward to putting this machine through its paces. There is so much this machine can do and I have only scratched the surface for sure.

I am also looking forward to getting my Cricut Roll Cutter so I’ll do another demo once I get that. Have a great week and keep on making!

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