Despite the Sizzix eclips (initially) being a cartridge based system, it's important to note that Sizzix (unlike the company that shut the door on Sure Cuts A Lot) is really paying attention to the paper craft world and they understand what paper crafters want. They want the freedom to cut their own (or third party) designs and they don't want to spend $30+ on a font that they can download for free! When Sizzix partnered with CraftEdge to develop a special version of Sure Cuts A Lot for the eclips, they made it clear that they are a company that puts their customers first.
The eclips is a very sleek and straightforward cutter that is very easy to use. So easy in fact, that it only has two buttons. The power button is used to (you guessed it) power the unit on and off and the load/unload mat button is used to (you guessed it again) load and unload your cutting mat. Because the eclips sets the origin automatically, you are sure to get consistent results time and time again.
The eclips ships with a handheld remote control which is used to preview, size and cut shapes from Sizzix cartridges. The remote is exclusive to Sizzix cartridges and cannot be used to cut SVG files. For those that plan to use the eclips with SVG files exclusively, you can put the controller away and plug your eclips directly into your computer using a standard A/B USB cable.
According to the Sizzix website, the eclips can cut vellum, paper, cardstock and chipboard. Based on our internal tests, the eclips lives up to this claim with the exception of chipboard. We found that some of the thicker chipboard simply won't load because it can't get underneath the rollers. We discovered that giving thicker chipboard a push would help get it into the machine, but it still wouldn't cut. As a rule of thumb, anything that doesn't feed automatically, usually won't cut, but everything else cuts beautifully!
Sure Cuts A Lot for eclips (eCAL) gives you the ability to cut SVG files, as well as any of the fonts installed on your computer. In addition, eCAL gives you the ability to print your SVG designs using your laser or ink-jet printer and then cut them with your eclips. Unlike Silhouette's print and cut (which is completely automated), the Sizzix eclips' Print-2-Cut process involves manually placing the eclips' laser in the center of two or three registration marks to help it identify where to cut. The more accurately you help eCAL identify the registration marks, the more accurate your cut will be! (See Print-2-Cut video below) The built in laser can also be used to preview your cut so that you don't waste paper!
Overall, the Sizzix eclips is our most recommended machine because it is one of the most intricate cutters available in addition to being one of the most (if not THE most) affordable!
Check out these home-brewed videos, made especially for the Sizzix eclips and eCAL software!