The Brother Scan And Cut 2 cutting machine – should you get one?
It’s a craft cutting machine that can do it all. One that will keep you productive AND entertained for hours. You are able to do so many many projects with it! And, it is great as a vinyl lettering, decal or monogram cutter for t-shirts.
While the ‘Brother’ name isn’t quite as fashionable in craft cutting machine circles, it certainly deserves to be with the Scan N Cut 2. It is a rather unique machine because of its added ability to scan (it’s actually the only cutter for sale with a built in scanner) – a feature that has many useful applications, as we’ll see coming up.
In this review of the Brother Scan and Cut 2, we’ll take a look at all the features, the types of projects and work you can do with it, and we’ll compare it to the Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines.
I think one of the biggest questions people have, is should you get a Cricut, a Scan and Cut, or a Silhouette? I hope this article will help you to decide!
What Comes With The Brother Scan N Cut 2?
When you purchase the Brother Scan N Cut 2 machine on Amazon, you will receive:
A standard 12 x 12 cutting mat
A standard blade holder and standard blade
A pen holder and 2 pens (this is not the same as the universal pen holder listed in the accessories section below)
A spatula for helping to safely lift your cuts off the mat
An instruction manual
A built-in scanner
But you have got to also check out the amazing Brother Scan N Cut 2 Bundles on Swing Design. There are too many different options to list here, but I’m sure there is one tailored to your craft tastes!
Please see the list of further accessories (which you can purchase separately) below. These additions will allow you to get more out of your machine, but you certainly do not need to buy anything further if it is outside of your budget.
Scan N Cut 2 Features
Here are some of the cutter’s features, we’ll delve more deeply into many of them below:
A color 4.85 inch LCD touch screen and stylus
A wireless activation card activates a wireless feature (costs extra)
600 designs and 7 fonts pre-loaded into the unit
Access to Scan N Cut Canvas – Brother’s software for this personal cutting machine
You can score lines (primarily a function for the card makers)
This machine can hold pens and draw whatever you input
It can hold various colors of felt, etc.
It can emboss (with the added purchase of the embossing kit)
Precision cutting blade can move around the smallest of details
The machine comes with a 12 x 12 inch mat
Increase the cutting area with the purchase of the larger 12 x 24 inch mat
The Touch Screen
The low glare LCD display sits on top of the machine. It comes with a stylus which is very necessary because of the often small and delicate maneuvers you need to make on the screen to organize your cuts – it makes it a lot easier.
Many of the touch functions that appear on the screen are pictures. These pictures can be tricky to interpret sometimes! The operation manual is important to help you learn what each ‘button’ on the screen does.
Scan N Cut Online Activation Card
The Scan N Cut Activation Card allows you to connect your machine to your wireless network – why this isn’t simply an included feature, I don’t know! It seems a bit petty to make us pay for it afterwards. Nevertheless, that’s what you’ve gotta do. Unfortunately, if you didn’t order it with the machine, you also have to wait for the physical card to be shipped to your house before being able to activate it.
You do not need this card to begin using your machine. It does come preloaded with over 600 designs, plus you can scan your own designs or upload them to the machine from a USB drive. The wireless function is just an easier way of transferring files to your cutting machine from your computer or tablet.
Here is the Wireless Network Setup Guide or you can watch the following video from River City Sewing Machine Center to get the whole process sorted in your mind.
Create a free account with unlimited storage which serves a number of purposes:
Designing and preparing files for cut
Converting files to the appropriate cutting format
For saving all your work
This machine takes .FCM files for cutting. You can convert other types, such as JPEG or .SVG files, in the Canvas program.
You can see the latest developments video below.
Surprise surprise, the Scan N Cut has a scanner! It is a 300 300 DPI scanner, which means it produces smaller files which are easier to work with compared with a 600 DPI scanner, for example.
The scanner is useful because it helps prevent waste of materials. You can lay down small pieces of vinyl or fabric (or whatever) onto the mat, put it through the scanner which will pick it up, and you can then cut small designs into what were scraps.
See further benefits in this video.
With the added purchase of an Embossing Kit you are able to begin embossing. This enables you to do both line embossing and region embossing.
The kit comes with:
A special 12 x 9.5 inch embossing mat
2 embossing tools – 3.5 mm and 3 mm
An embossing tool holder
Two 7.9 x 6.1 metal sheets – one brass metal and the other silver metal
One 12 x 12 template sheet (for region embossing)
A scanning support sheet
And an activation code for access to patterns in Scan N Cut Canvas
Brother Scan and Cut Vs Silhouette & Cricut
Looking for a:
Hobby cutting machine,
Personal die cutting machine or
Best cheap vinyl cutting machine for t-shirts?
You’ve asked this question: Should I get the Scan N Cut, a Silhouette or a Cricut?
You might be surprised to hear that many people who long wanted a Silhouette or Cricut, have wound up buying a Scan N Cut after doing their research.
The Scan N Cut really does compare well with these other brands in terms of performance, looks and features. And many would say it does better than these other machines.
I think what sets it apart is that you can use it as a stand alone machine. You do not actually need a computer to start using it. With the scanner in built into the machine, it can find your material (vinyl, etc) and you can then do the rest from the touch screen display.
Average Jane shares why she prefers the Scan N Cut in the video below.
There isn’t the same community around the Brother machines. Cricut in particular, and Silhouette also, have huge fan bases with Facebook support groups, meet-ups, and they have a real buzz around them. I haven’t felt the same thing in Scan And Cut circles.
Little things, like needing an activation card, is a con of the Brother Scan And Cut 2.
The real benefit of this machine is for those that would use the scanner as well. That is a unique feature that many will enjoy. This machine is perhaps also better for doing Rhinestones.
Types of transfers you can make with the Scan N Cut:
Rhinestone transfers (with a rhinestone kit)
Many varieties of heat transfer vinyl (flocked, glitter, foil, etc.)
Printed heat transfers on transfer paper (inkjet, sublimation, etc.)
Many things are best learned by watching someone else do it first – creating rhinestone transfers are one of these things! The following video shows Brother’s ‘Scan N Cut ambassador’, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, using the Brother software to design a transfer. She goes on to make and then press the transfer onto fabric as an example.
The Rhinestone Starter Kit can be purchased on Amazon. You are also able to purchase the machine as a bundle with a rhinestone trial kit here. You can make wonderful designs with these Rhinestone kits, though it can take a bit of practice getting it down to a fine art.
Heat Transfer Vinyl
This plotter from Brother can make great HTV transfers for pressing. Here are a couple of online tutorials to give you an idea of what’s involved:
CleverDog Designs have a long tutorial on using HTV in this machine. Putting the speed on YouTube up to 1.5x is a great way to get through all these videos!
Use the Brother with iron-on transfer paper. Cut around many transfers on a page with this machine. This is quite handy because you could print a page of logos, for example, and then scan it into the machine. The machine will then be able to cut precisely around all your logos, minimizing the wastage of your transfer paper.
Scan N Cut Accessories & Replacement Parts
These additional items work with both the older style Brother Scan N Cut and the newer version which we’ve focused on in this article (the Scan N Cut 2).
There are many additional mats which you can purchase for this scanner and cutter. There are the cutting mats – the 12 x 24 inch mat or the 12 x 12 inch mat. You will see on the items’ Amazon page that you can choose the tack level of each as well.
You can purchase an Embossing Starter Kit which comes with a mat, 2 embossing pens and an embossing pen holder.
Also available is the High Tack Fabric Support Sheet – this is made for use with the standard mat and is absolutely necessary for cutting fabrics and felts.
And our final accessory is the cutting machine carrier! The Brother Scan N Cut Tote Bag will be perfect for you if you think you’ll be moving your machine around a bit, or if you would like a nicer way to store it while not in use.
The Brother Scan N Cut Is Best For…
Described as a craft cutting machine, this is great for the home crafter. Women are the target audience – and in particular, women who love scrap-booking and card making.
The Brother Scan N Cut wasn’t designed as a professional cutting machine for large scale t-shirt production. That being said, this machine will serve you well if you are just starting out or if this is a side hussle.
You love experimenting with different materials; cutting vinyls, fabrics, cardstock, etc. If you think you’ll have multiple uses for it then I would go ahead. I would choose something else if you were only looking for a vinyl cutter.
You are looking for a machine that can keep the children busy for hours on end – especially good for homeschoolers who might like to start a small craft business.
You’re looking for an amazing Christmas or birthday present – what a gift!
With this machine you will be able to:
Make amazing presents for your friends and family
Make transfers to press onto baby onesies or kids clothes
Produce high quality cards (that you might be able to sell!)
Make wedding place settings
Make favor boxes
The options are endless really!
Scan N Cut 2 Project Ideas Resources
Heat transfer vinyl onto a tote bag – Coconut Robot has this delightful project tutorial in this video:
In this next video from Brother, we have an example of a vinyl sticker transfer project. Using HTV and a heat press you could do the same and apply it to a variety of surfaces.
I think that the Brother Scan N Cut 2 is a fantastic machine for the right person. I think it is the perfect machine for the part-time t-shirt maker, card maker or lover of crafts.
The ability to easily draw, scan and cut your own designs is really cool. I imagine letting my kids sketch some pictures and then turning their drawings into t-shirts transfers – how cool would that be?!