I finally got around to installing Leslie's new toy, the Silhouette Cameo 2. I'm anxious to see what other projects we can create using this new die cutter. We also own a Pazzles die cutter we purchased a few years back. As of right now, I haven't had enough time with the Cameo to make an in depth comparison. With the little time I spent with the Cameo, I can honestly say that I do like the experience thus far.
Software is probably the single most important key to any new machine I use. Since I am a primary Adobe user, it's mandatory that any new software I use is compatible to Illustrator or vector files. One added feature that the Cameo has over the Pazzles is that there is a plug-in software (Cameo Connect) that can seamlessly take you from Illustrator directly to the Cameo software and begin cutting. This can make it a breeze for those who want to transition directly from Illustrator without going thru the hassle of learning too much of another software. At this point, I have NOT used this plug-in and have only seen it being used on YouTube, but it does look promising. It is not mandatory to purchase and use this plug-in to cut your Illustrator art work as I have demonstrated below.
When it came to importing vector files into the Pazzles software, it was much more daunting to say the least. Being a relentless tech-guy and after many hours of troubleshooting, I eventually found a way to import my .eps files into Pazzles. I wouldn't recommend this to the average crafter/user unless you are well versed with converting files and saving your designs in a specific format. There were so many steps to successfully creating a compatible file that I had to create a .txt file with detailed instructions in case I forgot.
Overall I would recommend the Silhouette over the Pazzles just based on it's compatibility to Illustrator alone. I'm not sure at the point of writing this blog if Pazzles has updated to a new version of their software or even a new machine that works in conjunction with Illustrator, but I wouldn't even bother. I believe the Silhouette Cameo is crafter's weapon of choice when it comes to home use die cutting machines. For what it's worth, I'd rate it a "Must Buy" for any serious crafter or artist looking for a die cut machine.
Stay tuned for upcoming projects with the Silhouette Cameo.