Learn how to use the Cricut knife blade with your Maker and what materials it can cut.
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What is the Cricut Knife Blade?
This is a tool that can be swapped out with your every day fine point blade to cut thick materials. It is larger and heavier than a typical blade with a gear on the top and a large knife on the tip.
Shop for the Cricut knife blade
The knife blade comes as part of the quick swap adaptive tool set allowing you to use 1 drive housing and swap tips like the engrave, rotary and knife. You can purchase the knife blade with the housing or just the tip.
What can the Cricut knife blade cut?
A complete list of compatible materials can be found on the Cricut site. You will also see a materials list in Design Space when creating your project.
The knife blade is meant to cut materials like wood, leather, chipboard and foam. It has a straight blade that makes many passes over a design to cut all the way through.
Here is a thorough list of materials:
- Basswood up to 1/16”
- Balsa wood up to 1/16”
- Chipboard 2mm
- Craft foam up to 3mm
- Garment or tooling leather up to 7oz
To change a Cricut blade, open clamp B and slide the existing tool out. Then set the new tool into the open space and close the clamp. The gear at the top will slot into the gear in the machine.
When using Cricut Design Space you will be prompted to add or move tools in both clamp A and B. Be sure to double check this screen before starting your cut. Especially if you are cutting materials withing a single project that require different tools.
Creating a project in Design Space
The knife blade cannot be used with the Cricut mobile app, be sure to create your project on a computer.
In Cricut Design Space on a blank canvas create a project using images, shapes and text. A few things to keep in mind with the knife blade. This is a thick tip and it cannot cut intricate designs. Keep your lines and shapes at least 3/4 inch thick.
Designs thinner than this may not cut or you may end up damaging the blade.
I created a 2 part design cutting the word “hello” from 1/16 inch basswood and a potted plant from craft foam. All images were found in Design Space.
Once your design is complete, click Make it and choose the appropriate material. Design Space will suggest a tool once you have made a material selection.
Thick materials should be cut using the purple strong grip mat with the addition of painter’s tape around the edges. The adhesive that comes on the mat is not strong enough to hold a piece of wood through multiple passes so make sure you use extra tape.
The last step before cutting is to move the white star wheels all the way to the right, this ensures the wood or foam can slide under the metal bar with ease.
Cricut knife blade calibration
The first time you use a knife blade, you will be prompted to calibrate it. This ensures your materials will have clean lines and the cut will be deep enough to go all the way through.
If you are not prompted, or need to recalibrate, select calibration from the top left menu in Design Space.
This is a really straightforward process that requires a plain piece of copy paper and a regular cutting mat.
With the blade calibrated and your design ready it’s time to start the cut. When the machine begins the cut your screen will show the progress. Cutting wood can take a very long time, this word took almost 45 minutes.
When the cut is complete, do not eject your mat just yet! Check and make sure everything is fully cut. If not, opt for another pass. A screen will pop up reminding you to check and give you the option to make another pass.
I like using the knife blade to create 3D projects like this framed art. I used colorful craft foam to make a potted plant and added a painted wood word to the outside of the frame.
I’ve also made wood ornaments using this blade and paired them with iron on for a really unique look.
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Alternative methods to cut wood
The Cricut knife blade does a great job cutting thin basswood, balsa wood, leather and more. The only drawback is the time. This project took over an hour to cut, and that’s before painting and assembling the pieces.
A diode laser like the xTool M1 is not much bigger than a Cricut machine and it can cut wood in just a few minutes. This machine also includes a blade that cuts vinyl, fabric and paper just like a Cricut.
If you want to step up your crafting game to include larger and thicker materials I highly recommend checking out this diode laser video that will help you decide which one is right for your craft space.
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