Brother Scan N Cut 2 – Home and Hobby Cutter Review

The Brother Scan N Cut CM350 Home and Hobby Cutter. A craft cutting machine that can do it all! One that will keep you productive AND entertained for hours. This is a fantastic little machine that you can do soooo many projects with! 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.

 

brother scan n cut 2 home and hobby craft cutting machine for vinyl

 

What Comes With The Brother Scan N Cut 2?

 

Along with the Brother CM350 Scan N Cut 2 machine bought 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

 

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.

 

Can The Scan N Cut Make Heat Transfers For T-Shirts?

 

Yes, this machine can be used to make heat transfers! We couldn’t really consider it on howtoheatpress.com otherwise, could we?

 

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.)

 

Rhinestone Transfers With The Brother Scan N Cut 2

 

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 With The Scan N Cut 2

 

This plotter from Brother can make great HTV transfers for pressing. Here are a couple or online tutorials to give you an idea of what’s involved:

  • Siser have a post, How to Cut Siser HTV in the Brother Scan N Cut, which takes you step by step through the process if you are new to the machine and new to vinyl transfers.
  • 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!

 

 

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.

 

Brother Scan N Cut Vs Silhouette Vs Cricut

 

Anyone searching for a

  • hobby cutting machine,
  • personal die cutting machine or
  • best cheap vinyl cutting machine for t-shirts,

has 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 have lusted after a Silhouette or Cricut for years, have wound up buying a Scan N Cut after doing their research.

 

I think that as it is mostly women buying craft cutters, the name Brother might not resonate with them so well, hence the lessor reputation among hobby cutters. They should have started a sister company called ‘Sister’ for their cutting machines! Or, perhaps it is simply because Brother is seen as more of a printer company, whereas Cricut and Silhouette are primarily all about cutting machines.

 

Whatever the case, 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.

 

 

Features Of The CM350 Scan N Cut 2

 

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 preloaded 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 can buy the activation card with the cutting machine.

 

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.

 

 

Scan N Cut Canvas Design Software

 

Scan N Cut Canvas is Brother’s free software for use with the cutting machine.

 

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.

 

 

The Scanner

 

Surprise surprise, the Scan N Cut has a scanner!  It is a 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.

 

 

Embossing

 

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

 

 

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.

 

And there are scanning mats – the Photo Scanning Mat or the Jumbo Scanning Mat.

 

The Standard Cut Blade Replacement – when you buy the machine it will come with one standard cut blade and blade holder already. When your blade becomes blunt through use you will need to replace it.

 

The Deep Cut Blade – this blade is designed to cut thicker, harder materials such as felt, denim and leather. You also need to purchase the Deep Blade Holder if you want to use this blade.

 

The Scan N Cut Online Activation Card which we have talked about above.

 

There is also a Universal Pen Holder that will hold pens with a diameter of 9.6 – 11.4 mm. You can purchase Brother’s own 6 Color Pen Set or use your own.

 

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.

 

Who Is This Machine Good 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. If you intend to use this machine a lot in a full time business, I would check out USCutter or Graphtec cutting units.

 

Buy the Brother Scan N Cut if:

  • 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!)
  • Etch plaques
  • Make wedding place settings
  • Make favor boxes

 

The options are endless really!

 

Recommended Heat Press Machines

 

If you are looking for the best cheap heat press machine to complement a new cutting machine, might I suggest the USCutter 15 x 15 Clamshell. This is one of our favorites. Other great options include the Power Press 15 x 15 or the Promo Heat 15 x 15.

 

Project Ideas & Further 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.

 

 

There are dozens and dozens of project ideas on the Brother Scan N Cut Project page.

 

Conclusion

 

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?!

 

We hope this article has helped you to choose which cutting machine is right for you.

 

We also have a full article on the Cricut Explore Air 2 and another article with summaries of many other cutting machines.

 

For now, we better cut and run 😉

 

(Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.)

 

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