Crafting in any capacity can be relaxing and rewarding. Sometimes, however, you wish you could do more with the tools you already have. You enjoy using your die cut machine, but there are times when you find it lacking. It can be limiting in the type of projects you can create. While you still enjoy using your machine, you wish it could do more. Enter the Sure Cuts A Lot 4.
This program allows the user to design almost anything on a computer and the program will send it to the machine. Any picture you've taken, or any custom-made logo, will work as long as your device is online and the program can interface with it (more about that below). With that in mind, your limitations are almost all but lifted. How does this program work? Below find some interesting facts and insights into the Sure Cuts A Lot 4.
Sure Cuts A Lot
Pros & Cons
Sure Cuts A Lot
What Is Sure Cuts A Lot?
Your die cut machine has been in your life for a few years now, and you use it quite a bit. However, the limitations are sometimes hard to get past when you are elbow deep in a project. You need to be able to make specific shapes or pictures that you can't do easily, if at all. The Sure Cuts A Lot 4 can make this task possible. It is a software database that has in-program tools that allow you to use any image in your library or ones you've created. The program can send the image to your die cut machine, and within minutes you could be looking at a custom-made iron-on logo for your child's soccer team or an outline of your family picture to incorporate on your seasonal greeting cards. With a variety of tools, you can take a sketch that needed a little work and punches it up to fit your vision.
What Can it Offer?
Sure Cuts A Lot 4 offers you opportunities to expand not only your die cut machine's capabilities but also your savings account. That's because you won't have to spend money buying cartridges anymore. Some die cuts want you to purchase individual abilities or elements on cartridges. Depending on the price of those cartridges, this can really add up over time. For example, some machines only offer you a few fonts to choose from initially.
One thing you need to be mindful of is the brand of die cut machine you own or are considering purchasing. The Sure Cuts A Lot 4 program will only work if your machine is digital. It won't work with hand operated devices. Those machines require cartridges and metal dies to cut patterns or emboss. Digital die cut machines work more like a printer and interface with the computer to allow users to create designs and send them to the machine. Sure Cuts A Lot 4 offers plugins for over 30 models of digital die cut machines.
This is a handy feature to have if you get a new machine with any regularity, you want to be able to send your creations to someone else's machine (collaboration with a crafting group, teacher, etc.), or you own multiple machines. Some people find that one device alone does not offer all the features they need. For instance, if you believe that you could use an embossing feature with some regularity, and your current machine doesn't offer it, then you might need to purchase a second. There is a multitude of scenarios in which a person may have more than one machine. The good news is you can find a device to interface with your Sure Cuts A Lot program if you need to get another one. However, it's important to check the full list of machines that Sure Cuts A Lot will work with. The list of devices is available on their website.
Of particular note:
If you own the Cricut, this version of the program will not interface and work with it; however, there is a workaround. You can still create your project in this version of the program, and then send it to the second version of Sure Cuts A Lot 4 to then send it to your Cricut. This seems like a convoluted and unnecessary process, but it does work. This workaround also assumes that you have version two. If you don't, then this program will not work on your Cricut. The company decided not to make their machines available to Sure Cuts A Lot 4 of users. When we looked further into this, it appears that Cricut now has their own creative studio computer program that works exclusively with their products.
You can update an older version of the program for an upgrade fee if you have retained your product serial number. All newer versions have some of the features of the previous ones. It is pretty standard that new versions contain more features, so except for the Cricut workaround, having to revert to an older version is a rare occurrence. Follow the directions we've provided for how to print your creation from this version of the software with a previous version.
What Are the Product Specifications for the Sure Cuts A Lot 4?
Craft Edge no longer offers Sure Cuts A Lot 4 for purchase through their website. Version 5 and Version 5 Pro, which were just released in July 2018, are the only products in this line that they sell. However, there are outlets where you can still purchase Version 4 online such as Amazon and other third-party retailers. Version 5 has all the features of version 4, in addition to new additional features (can use more file types, allows you to do more, etc.). When researching this product for review, we decided to include some of the Version 5 features. We have noted these additional features as V.5 where applicable.
Features of Sure Cuts A Lot 4
The Sure Cuts A Lot program is an immediately downloadable program that works with PC and Mac computers. It allows you to use existing or new files which you can then edit or send to the machine. The formats it interfaces with include but not limited to SVG, JPG, BMP, GIF, and TIF.
Some of the most relevant features include:
Instead of searching through multiple folders for your project or an image you've used in the program, you can create folders to be used inside the program. This way you need only go to the "file" tab to pull up what you need. This feature is an improvement on previous versions.
True Type Font
The program allows you to use any true type font on your computer with your die cut machine, which means you have access to the hundreds of fonts preloaded on your computer. Some die cut machines force you to buy cartridges to get just one type of font. Now, as long as your machine is compatible, you will have access to your full library of fonts.
Being able to engrave is made easier with the line-feel feature of the machine.
It is easy to turn any word into a stencil using this feature. It makes those cut-outs in individual letters or shapes, sometimes called bridging interior shapes, much easier to create.
Creating overlaps or layers is made simple by being able to drag the shapes or samples via the layer panel. This tool eliminates the need to try and navigate this sometimes difficult task with the arrow keys on your keyboard. It makes for a more precise and customized finished product.
If you want to be able to make an image opaque or change the intensity of the opaqueness, the program allows you to do so. You can pick and choose which pictures you want to change one by one, or if you have a group of images saved in a file for use on the same project, you can change them all at one time.
If you like the shape of an existing image or pattern, but you want to be able to customize it, the auto-tracking feature makes it easier to do. Gone are the days where you have to manually outline a shape to cut it out like the lasso or hand drawing tool. Now you load an image, go to the auto-tracing tab, and the program will cut it perfectly for you.
Using Sure Cuts A Lot is like working directly with your mat. The screen interface you use to create and refine your project is a die cut mat and allows you to visually see exactly how much of your mat space you will use. It helps in many ways to maximize cuts and utilize more of the area than you might have without the visual.
Customizable User Interface
If a program isn't easy to use out of the gate, chances are it won't get used much. The folks at Craft Edge have made sure that the user interface of the Sure Cuts A Lot program is easy to use. You can quickly change things like the measurement settings (inches, centimeters, millimeters), choose to use the grid to help with spacing or turn it off entirely, and change the width, color, and thickness of brush strokes. Drop down menus, and helpful icons make this customizing process pain-free.
Aside from the detailed descriptions above, the Sure Cuts A Lot program can also do the following:
- Create rhinestone templates
- Rotate and duplicate images (good for creating mirror images)
- Gradient fill
- Connect shapes with letters (V.5)
- Change the look of your image (or letters) with blackout and shadow (V.5)
- "Bridge Warp" (V.5)
- Work on multiple projects at the same time (V.5)
Computer Requirements V.5 (per the Craft Edge website):
- Pentium processor-based PC or compatible computer (Windows)
- Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8/10 (Windows)
- Intel-based Macintosh (Mac)
- Macintosh OSX 10.10 - 10.13 (Mac)
- 512 MB of RAM or more
- At least 50 MB of available hard disk space
- USB Port 1.1 or 2.x
Pricing of Sure Cuts A Lot 4
- The prices below are provided by the manufacturer's website and are for Sure Cuts A Lot 5
- The cost of upgrading from a previous version is on sale.
- The price we found for Sure Cuts A Lot 4 was from a third-party retailer and it's a little bit higher.
How it Compares
We wanted to take a look at some other programs that also provide customization features for digital die cut machines. We found one similar program that worked with several machines.
Make the Cut
Make the Cut is easy to use and interfaces well with many digital cutters. While it has quite a few features in common with Sure Cuts A Lot, there are some things it does better:
- Auto-save option
- Permanently access fonts within the program
- Eraser function is easier to use and allows you to do more
- Auto-tracing and drawing are smoother and sharper
Some reviews online also say that the customer support and community is better with Make the Cut even though the program has not had an upgrade in years. They have hundreds of videos to help your experience with their product be more comfortable and enjoyable. Make the Cut also has a Facebook group that is active, and the community really seems to share ideas and inspiration openly and honestly.
Customer reviews of this product were all positive. Note that Make the Cut also does not interface with Cricut.
Final rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
In terms of having the freedom to create anything you want or need from your die cut machine, Sure Cuts A Lot 4 and the subsequent version provide the means. It is a great program. The motto of the product certainly stands true: "The only limit is your imagination."
Based on specs, ease of use and customer reviews, we give this program 4.5 stars out of 5.
Featured Image via Amazon logo, text and banner added