Sizzix eclips2

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Review

Simply stated, the Sizzix eclips2 is an improved version (from a hardware standpoint) of the original eclips and doesn't come with any new bells or whistles. We will however see a second version of the eclips2 later this year (late summer, early fall) that will come equipped with Bluetooth technology that will give users the ability to control the cutter with a tablet device.

What's New?

  • Lower price due to Sizzix dropping the handheld controller. But this also means that if you purchased Sizzix cartridges, you won't be able to use them with the eclips2.
  • About 3.5" wider than the original eclips
  • No Load/Unload mat button on actual machine. Loading and unloading is handled through the eCAL software. Yes, its a different concept but we quickly discovered that it won't really impact where you have to place the cutter in your work environment. Chances are you have it right next to your computer and if you don't, its okay! You'll simply insert the mat into the machine so that the rubber rollers grab the edge and then click the load/unload button from your eCAL software. We never had an issue with the mat not staying in place while moving over to the computer to load the mat.
  • Quieter operation
  • Transition time between cuts is faster. Basically, the time it takes for the blade to lift and move on to the next cut is much faster resulting in a more efficient cutting.
  • Print-2-Cut is not automatic like the Silhouette CAMEO and still requires that you manually set the registration marks with the built-in laser, but the accuracy and more importantly, the consistency has improved.
  • The original eclips has a slide out tray to help stabilize your paper as it goes in and out of the machine. This has been removed, but we haven't really noticed any issues while cutting.
  • The eclips2 has the widest cutting area of any cutting machine we've tested. We were able to cut a 11.9" x 11.9" circle.

What Hasn't Changed?

  • Same mats and blades so you can continue using that stash of mats and blades you purchased for your original eclips
  • Print2Cut requires that registration marks are manually set using the built-in laser
  • The latest eCAL update (not eCAL2, which has not yet been released) will continue to support the eclips2. eCAL version 1.5 or later is required with the eclips2 and can be downloaded here: http://craftedge.com/download/download.html
  • The cutting quality hasn't changed much. I cannot tell if it has improved since the original eclips was pretty darn good to begin with.

Smallest Circle Results

The Sizzix eclips2 was able to cut a manageable .05" circle. And by manageable, I mean that it was shaped like a circle and not just a speck of paper. The circle also stayed together to allow transfer from the mat onto an Epson scanner. The image below is magnified and not actual size. We did this to show you the detail of the smallest circle we were able to cut based on the sizes above. Cricut Explore is shown in dark blue, Silhouette CAMEO in light blue and Sizzix eclips2 in magenta.

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Circle Test

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Intricate Shape Test

The eclips2 continues to impress when it comes to small and intricate cuts. The doilies shown below were cut at 6.5"w, 5"w and 2.5" wide.

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Scoring Feature

The eclips2 gives you the ability to specify which layer you want to cut and which layer you want to score. Fans of SVGCuts know that we always put our score lines on separate layers so that you can take advantage of this wonderful feature. This eclips feature has carried over to the eclips2 and is as wonderful as it was with the original machine.

Note: As you can see, the machine handles acute and obtuse angles with ease.

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The cut pictured above is from our Dress Shop SVG Kit and features actual cuts and scoring. As you can see, the score lines aren't overly visible until you look closer (see image below).

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The score lines are created with the existing blade (it is cut at a significantly lower pressure than the actual cut) so you don't have to swap the blade for a scoring tool, nor do you have to load the mat twice. The cutting and the scoring are done in one fell swoop.

Scoring Video

This video was created for the Sizzix eclips, but since version 1.5 of the eCAL software hasn't changed much, most (if not all) of the information in this video is pertinent to the eclips2 and eCAL 1.5.

Print-2-Cut

The eclips' Print-2-Cut was hit or miss in older versions of eCAL but was eventually improved in later versions. Version 1.5 continues to show consistent results with Print-2-Cut as well as a superior level of control when performing Print-2-Cut tasks.

The Frankenstein below is from our Spooky Cuties SVG Collection. In the example on the left, I imported the "Printables" version located in the extras folder. (Note: The printables version is a special version included for Print-2-Cut where the layers are not isolated). Using eCAL, I was able to specify that I wanted Frankenstein to print. I then took the base layer, duplicated it and positioned it in the same place as the original base layer, but instead of telling eCAL to print this second base layer, I told eCAL to cut it. The Frankenstein on the right is the same file, but with a shadowed base layer.

From my personal experience, the Silhouette CAMEO still might be a better option for Print-2-Cut since it has the ability to automatically locate registration marks. The Frankenstein on the left is near perfect, but you can tell that it was slightly off to the left. I did my best to align the laser in the center of the registration marks, but the element of human error comes into play resulting in an imperfect cut. Would anyone notice? Probably not, but I wanted to be as unbiased as possible with this review. Personally, I like adding a shadow layer to my Print-2-Cut projects, its just cuter! On the other hand, I've seen some Silhouette Print-2-Cut projects that were also a little off, so I'm sure this is bound to happen even with robots reading registration marks. The solution, regardless of machine, is to ink your project to soften the lines, or just use a shadow layer!

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Conclusion

The Sizzix eclips2 gets our thumbs up and we'll definitely be replacing the original eclips with the eclips2. We're confident that the eclips2 will be able to handle anything and everything we create.

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