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Brother ScanNCut SDX2200 Review

The Brother ScanNCut is a luxury bit of kit. Here, we take a closer look at the latest model, the SDX2200 Disney machine and find out - is it worth it?

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
SDX2200 - machine in use

Our review

Although the Brother ScanNCut SDX2200 has a high price point, the functionality you can get with this machine is outstanding. You'll need to replace the adhesive mats every so often, but if you are a keen paper crafter, or are a small business owner, the ScanNCut will soon become your best friend.
Functionality
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Ease of use
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Look
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Quality/durability
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Portability
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Value for money
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Pros: Incredible range of functionality, huge in-built library of designs, Disney machine includes in-built Disney patterns, quiet when cutting, cuts a range of materials, automatic blade adjustment, easy to learn software, software is free and does not require a subscription, simple to create your own designs, regular (free) software updates, an impressive range of extras and kits, standalone machine - you don't need a computer to use it (but you can if you want to)
Cons: High price point, large footprint, may require an additional carry case, adhesive mats are fairly short-lived

What is the ScanNCut SDX2200?

The ScanNCut SDX2200 is a digital cutting machine with Disney branding. Don’t want Disney branding? Get the SDX1200 instead. It has a huge library of in-built designs, and functions as a completely standalone cutting machine – currently the only one in the world to do this. Or, if you prefer, you can link it to a computer with its wireless connectivity.

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The ScanNCut SDX2200 will scan virtually anything, including drawings, templates, magazine clippings or photos – and from there, you can easily create cut and draw designs which you can save to the machine’s memory.

SDX2200 - machine open
The ScanNCut SDX2200

ScanNCut SDX2200 functions

Where to begin? The ScanNCut has so many functions it’s difficult to know where to begin. Ultimately, like manual die-cutting machines, it comes down to cutting. And it can cut a lot of different materials, making it also ideal for quilting and sewing projects, as well as papercraft. If you’re cutting paper, not only can you cut all the way through (like you would with an ordinary die-cutting machine), but you can also kiss cut – cutting partially through, to create, for example, a sheet of stickers. Check out our tutorial, how to make stickers, to find out more about this function.

The ScanNCut SDX1200
The ScanNCut SDX1200, the non-Disney version of this machine

But the clue is in the name – as well as cutting, one of the key USPs of this machine is that it can scan, too. You can choose you directly cut what you scan (called Scan to Direct Cut), or you can save the designs to your machine for later craft sessions. Fussy cutting has never been easier!

Key features/functions:

  • Scan, cut and draw as standard
  • Additional add-ons mean you can also foil, add rhinestones, emboss, paper piece and write calligraphy
  • Massive in-built library of designs, including 132 Disney patterns
  • 17 built-in fonts
  • Fussy cut patterned paper – just scan, highlight and cut
  • Cut up to 3mm thickness
  • Can half-cut stickers (kiss-cut)
  • 5″ LCD touch screen
  • Large 12 x 12″ cutting/scanning area
  • Built-in high-res scanner with 600dpi resolution (for comparison, the standard for A4 is 300dpi)
  • Automatic blade that measures material thickness before cutting
  • Thin fabric auto blade, especially for cutting fabric
  • Very quiet compared to previous models
  • Completely standalone machine – no computer required
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Free, easy-to-use software, Canvas Workspace, if you prefer to use a computer
  • Compatible with third-party USBs – just plug them into the side of your machine and go. Look up Trimcraft Digital Dies if you want to see a small snapshot of add-ons available
  • Seam allowance and sewing guidelines – you can add a seam allowance in ¼” increments – ideal for quilting
  • 140 built-in quilt and applique designs
  • Can read SVG/FCM/PES/PHC/PHX files
SDX2200 with USB
The SDX2200 has the option to import designs via USB

How much is the ScanNCut SDX2200?

The price of the SDX2200 is fluctuating wildly at the moment (I’ve seen it on sale for anything between £599 to £799). It used to be cheaper to buy the SDX1200 (essentially the same machine without the Disney branding), but the SDX2200 is currently retailing for less than the SDX1200. It is a considered purchase, but there are often payment plans you can take advantage of, and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for Black Friday or January sales. At the moment, the only place you can buy it is Makers Superstore – but keep an eye on Create & Craft and Amazon for when it’s back in stock!

Is the ScanNCut SDX2200 good value for money?

There’s no denying that the SDX2200 is an expensive bit of kit. So really it depends on how much use you’ll get out of it. If you use it several times a week (or more), then I would say yes, you’ll get good value for your money. But if you only use it occasionally – say, several times a year? Then unless you really really really want one, you’re probably not going to get value for money.

Of course, it doesn’t just come down to how often you’re going to use it. If you’re someone who, for example, batch makes Christmas cards once a year, and then downs tools for the other 11 months, then the SDX2200 will be a dream to have in your craft room. All you’ll need to do is switch out the paper. Or, if you’re a small business owner and you’re looking to create more professional-looking stationery, then, in the long run, I’d say you’d get your money’s worth.

But the thing that is head-and-shoulders above other digital cutting machines (looking at you, popular-insect-branded range), is that the software is free. Completely free. Canvas Workspace is regularly updated and does not require expensive monthly subscription fees just to access the patterns. This, in my opinion, makes this machine absolutely worth it. And, if you’re a serious designer, you can even get a plug-in that makes it compatible with Adobe Illustrator.

Is the ScanNCut SDX2200 easy to use?

With so much functionality, the ScanNCut SDX2200 does come with a bit of a learning curve. But if you just want to cut shapes? Then you can get cutting straight out of the box – it’s very easy to use. And the SDX2200 is definitely easier to use than previous models, thanks to the automatic blade. There was always a risk that you would cut through your adhesive mat, but that risk has been eliminated with the SDX2200 and the SDX1200. The machine will read how thick your material is, then adjust the blade pressure automatically – so you don’t have to.

If you want to dive into some of the more advanced features, and you’re not used to using a digital cutting machine, then this is where the learning curve will come in. But if you’re technically minded, it’s likely you’ll pick it up very quickly, as both the software and the machine are very intuitive.

Even with things like the foiling kit or the rhinestone kit, it comes with very clear instructions – and there are plenty of online tutorials if you get stuck – so just take it slow, follow the steps on the screen and the machine will guide you through.

SDX2200 - touchscreen
The ScanNCut SDX2200 has a large 5″ touch screen

The Brother SDX2200 is a standalone machine, meaning you don’t need to hook it up to a computer for it to work. The big touch screen makes it easy to scroll through the (huge) library of patterns, and you can resize to your heart’s content. If you prefer to use a computer – you can do that too, the machine is wireless so you can send files to be cut using the Canvas Workspace software – more on that below.

If you want to get started straight away, we’ve put together a video on how to use the ScanNCut SDX2200. But most importantly – don’t be afraid to take it out of the box!

Is the Canvas Workspace software easy to use?

Yes. Canvas Workspace is a really easy piece of software to use. You don’t even need a ScanNCut to use the software – there’s a web version, so you can have a play around before you buy the machine. It works using vector files, which you draw in the workspace, then send wirelessly to your machine to cut. Not a fan of drawing? No problem – you can import FCM or SVG files directly into the software, use the in-built patterns, or even import pictures that the software will “trace” and convert to cutting files for you. And did I mention that the software is free?

Canvas Workspace for the ScanNCut
A screenshot of Canvas Workspace – just look at all those projects! (and there’s hundreds more)

ScanNCut SDX2200 quality/ durability

The SDX2200 is essentially exactly the same as the SDX1200, just Disney branded and a different colour. The quality of the machine itself cannot be faulted, and as long as you look after it, it will last for many years to come.

The only part of the machine which you’ll need to replace on a regular basis is the adhesive cutting mat. The SDX2200 comes with both a standard tack and low tack mat in the box, but they do lose their stick far too quickly for my liking. I tend to get through one every 3-4 months.

SDX2200 - accessories
What’s included with the ScanNCut SDX2200

Once your adhesive mat has lost its stick, then a little trick I like to do is to use Spray Mount on the back of the paper/card to keep it temporarily adhered to the mat while the machine cuts. If you do this, it’s important not to spray the mat itself, only the paper, or you’ll risk pulling adhesive into your machine. Of course, this does leave a sticky residue on the back of your paper/card, so if you need both sides of your paper/card free from adhesive – it’s time to replace your mat. The mats come in at around £20 each – but prices have been forced up to around £30 during the pandemic, so if you see them for £20, you might want to buy a couple.

You’ll also need to replace the blades every now and then, depending on what type of material you’re cutting. I cut mostly paper and card, and the blades will last 2+ years with ease.

How big is the ScanNCut SDX2200 and how portable is it?

The ScanNCut SDX2200 is a sizable machine, In fact, any ScanNCut will take up a fair chunk of space in your craft room. Mine has a permanent space on my craft desk, but it’s in constant use so I don’t begrudge this loss of desk space. The original CM300 model is considerably smaller, so if size is an issue, you may want to look at the CM range.

The SDX2200 and the SDX1200 both have a footprint of 21.5 x 53 x 17cm when closed, or 42 x 53 x 17cm when open (both front and back open, but with the screen down).

Just as an aside, you might like to think about buying a carry case (or making one yourself), to keep your machine in tip-top condition – you’ll want to look after it. And there are lots of people on Etsy making them if you want to support a small business.

Our verdict: Should you buy the ScanNCut SDX2200?

Well – that depends. If it was less expensive, then I would say categorically yes – you need this machine! However, because of the high price point, it’s worth a little more consideration.

If like me, you love a new toy – then you’ll get a lot of use from this machine right from the start. There are always new kits being released, and it really will revolutionise the way you craft. If however, you’re only looking at it to replace your manual die-cutting machine which you only occasionally use, then I’d say, save your money.

If you’re a keen quilter, then again, this machine will save you so much time – but make sure you look at the ScanNCutCMQ before splashing the cash, as the CMQ is specially designed for quilters.

If you’re still not sure – head over to Canvas Workspace, make yourself a free account and have a play with the software. Browse the free projects available (under Canvas Project) and have a nosy around the library of patterns, or check out the stuff you can activate under Pattern Collection – maybe even try designing something (My Projects>New). You’ll soon get a feel for whether you’ll like the machine, without having to shell out the cash. https://canvasworkspace.brother.com/en

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One thing I would say if you do decide to buy it – don’t hang around. Stocks have been lower than usual during the pandemic (not surprising), so if you see it on sale, and you already know you want it – don’t wait, as it might not be available for long.

SDX2200 - machine closed
The ScanNCut SDX2200 features a Micky and Minnie Mouse vinyl decal on the front of the machine