Plotter/cutter: what to look for?


Gravity Guru
A future investment I'm looking at getting is a plotter /cutter and wondered if someone could give me some general advice about them?
I think my main use would be for word templates and possibly graphic templates etc but I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking for? I've seen what appear to be bargains on eBay for sub £100,with new blades and spare parts etc, and to be honest, I won't be making money with them just yet - more practice and messing around than anything else, so purchase price has to be as cheap as possible!
Is there free software available for them? I imagine that is a critical part?

Any advice greatly appreciated [emoji4]
You're in luck, this is a field I'm able to answer quite easily. If you are looking for something that can cut stencils then you can't really go wrong with a Silhouette Cameo. I got one (second hand) a year ago and love it. Things to consider - the software. Now I have a Mac and the FREE software that comes with a Cameo is for both Mac and Windows, no fiddling required. There is a Designer Edition with more bells and whistles ( for around £20 I think) which is what I have. You can cut a lot of different things with it. About blades, if you use it properly a blade will last a long time. You can buy cheap acetate document holders to cut stencils. Go to the Silhouette America website to have a look, and the Silhouette Plus forum for loads of info. You can even download the free software version from the website to see if you like it. It's pretty straightforward.

Other software is Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A lot but I believe you have to pay for both of those and they are not so Mac friendly. If you want more info, PM me, I'm happy to help you out.
I quickly outgrew my Silhouette cameo, I have a 24" plotter from US Cutter, it's a tad loud compared to the pro brands but it does the trick. One thing to consider is Mac or Windows. Some machines will work with both some won't. I started with a cameo for that reason because I am a Mac user.
Wayne, being a Mac user can be a pain when it comes to software. I can't understand why there are less graphics progs for us. For example, I also do machine embroidery, designing things and then digitising into stitches. Pretty much all the affordable stuff is made for Windows. Macs are sold on their graphic ability but I am forced to run Fusion to do something I want to do! Crazy!

Thankfully most of my stuff is small scale, I don't have the room for a 24 inch plotter :(
I was looking at one of those. Which model do you have.

Here is the one I'm considering. I always worry when I see some of the negative reviews...

Is yours still working well?

Not sure but I think Meesh has the SC,could be the MH though, I do now many people 5th at have the MH and use them with no issues. My SC doesn't always get a lot of use, but it works great, if a bit loud. But then I frequently am at work around a Roland GX24 and that sucker is quiet and fast.
I have the MH871 and have no complaints. A little loud but it does the job.
I have the MH871 and have no complaints. A little loud but it does the job.

Thanks for the info...

Glad I saw your post. I ordered that same 34" plotter by itself from uscutter for $290. It had a different model number so I searched MH871, and it's the same plotter with a bunch of extras for the same exact price...

Here are the extras...

5 x rolls Greenstar vinyl, each 24" x 5 ft. Colors: Black, White, Real Red, Green, Canary Yellow
2 x sheets 12" x 24" magnetic blanks
2 x 100 ft transfer tape 6" roll (one clear, one classic)
2 x 2'x4' banners - white
1 x Hoby knife

I called them just in time to change my order because they were already packing it 45 minutes after I placed it.