The Cricut Imagine is a design, print, and cut machine, combining the technology of the Expression die cutter with HP print technology. It also offers an easy to use LCD touchscreen, comparable to the interface on the Gypsy handheld design studio.
No computer is needed to use this machine. The cartridges and interface provide everything that is needed for operation. The interface includes eighteen pre-defined colors, as well as a color wheel to select more colors. In addition to the color wheel, you can also input RGB codes, to produce any colored die cut imaginable. No need to keep a supply of colored cardstock available - this machine can make any color you want!
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HINT: Many popular scrapbook paper companies are making their RGB codes available. For example, Bazzill has an app for iPhone/iPod Touch users, providing access to RGB codes for over 500 of their cardstock colors, as well as a color matching feature for your photos. For Stampin Up fans, here is a link to a pdf chart with RGB codes for their cardstock collections.
The Cricut Imagine uses a black ink cartridge ($34.99) and a tri-color ink cartridge ($39.99). The inks are nearly acid free. What does this mean? To be considered acid-free, items must have a pH of 7 (or slightly more). The inks used with this machine have a pH ranging from 6-1/2 to 7, which means they will last for many decades. The printer also has a resolution of 1200 dots per inch, offering vivid, photographic quality printing.
Cricut Imagine Cartridges
The Imagine can be used simultaneously with your existing original cartridge library and the exclusive Imagine carts. Find out more about the exclusive Cricut Imagine cartridges here.
Imagine vs. Expression Feature Comparison
The ability to print is exclusive to the Cricut Imagine, but it offers many of the same options as the Expression. For example, it has Fit to Page and AutoFill features. However, the Center Point feature is not available. This machine uses the same cutting blades as the other die cutters from ProvoCraft. The pressure and speed are also adjustable, just like the Expression and other machines.
It is compatible with the Gypsy and the Jukebox. Unfortunately, it should be noted that the Imagine is currently not compatible with the Design Studio software. There is a rumor that something is in the works to replace Design Studio. I'm not sure what this means for current owners, but let's keep our fingers crossed that you will receive free upgrades!
There are also more Imagine applications to come. I can't wait to see what's in store, and of course, I will keep you posted as these new apps are released.
If you do plan to add the Imagine to your scrapbooking arsenal, you may also want to seriously consider investing in a Gypsy. Future updates of the Gypsy will allow you to to make composite images of the artwork on the original cartridges. This means that with the Gypsy, you will be able color the layers and weld them, prior to printing and cutting. The Imagine also doesn't save projects, but you can save all of your cards, layouts and other projects on your Gypsy.
Really, using the Imagine with the Gypsy together takes designing on the go to a whole new level. It is quite possible that the only time you will need to go into your scrapbook room is when you need to print and cut your designs. The rest of the design process can be done anywhere else using your Gypsy!
The Imagine uses a special 12x12 cutting mat and can make print and cut die cuts ranging in size from a 1/4" to 11-1/2". You can make your own scrapbook paper, up to 11-1/2" x 11-1/2". It also offers metric options, and can be used on a variety of different materials, including not only paper and cardstock, but transparencies, iron on fabric, stickers, wood veneer, thin magnets, and canvas.
It's a hefty machine that you will want to keep at home. It would be cumbersome to drag it to a crop. The machine weighs in at 28 pounds and is almost two feet in length.
See It In Action!
Would you like to see the Cricut Imagine in action? We thought so! Here's a quick three minute video from Provo Craft that provides more information about this machine...