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Our ScanNCut experts have shared some frequently asked questions to help you get the most out of your ScanNCut.
What mat should I use for what?
The Low Tack Adhesive Mat is made for delicate materials such as thin papers, tissue paper, vellum, thin patterned papers, vinyl, computer paper and such. The low tack although not quite as tacky, will still survive through many cuts of varying materials.
The Standard Mat is made for more substantial materials. This mat will assist in cutting items such as painted canvas, chipboard, cardboard, denim, leather, heavy and regular cardstock, glittered cardstock and such. This mat was created to be able to support thicker more difficult to cut materials. In addition to help secure and support fabric while cutting, Brother has created a Fabric Support Sheet that can be used multiple times, removed and re-applied to your purple mat. This Fabric Support Sheet helps to make sure that fabric is secured during the cutting process.
I cut through my mat on the FIRST run – even though I went by your printed instructions.
The easy start up guide is intended to be a suggestive guide to help ScanNCut users get started with their materials. We always recommend starting your first cut with a test setting to get a feel for how your ScanNCut machine works. Every type of surface to cut is going to be different and some of the materials you may try and cut can be thinner than what was initially tested. The best way to avoid any damage to your mat is to try a test cut with your blade depth and settings before attempting your design cut. Cut your test marking at the bottom of your surface away from where you may want to cut your design.
I know there are a lot of paper types that ScanNCut can cut through, how do I know where to start?
Paper is one of the many wonderful surfaces that ScanNCut is great for cutting. Because of the background scan and Direct Cut function, the ScanNCut machine takes cutting paper to a whole new world of possibilities. When attempting to cut paper the best way to start is by analyzing your paper and seeing what depth you may need to cut as well as performing a test cut. We recommend always starting with a smaller blade depth and working your way up. Your standard machine setting should work fine, but you can adjust as needed. If your paper is thin, start with your Standard Blade at a setting of 1-2. If you are using cardstock or heavier patterned paper, you may want to start with a blade depth of 4. For glittered cardstock you may want to start with a blade depth of 6. For specialty papers you will want to measure your blade to your paper and see what depth will work and not be too deep. To become comfortable with paper cutting and other materials you may work with on your ScanNCut, we recommend starting a cut journal to keep track of what settings work best for you and your machine. Your mat will also depend on what type of material you are using. Check out the FAQ “What mat should I use for what?” to find the exact answer for your cutting needs.
How can I use my computer or software with ScanNCut?
The ScanNCut machine was created to give crafters the creative freedom of not being tethered to a computer or the expense of cartridges. With ScanNCut designs can easily be scanned in and saved or cut directly from your surface. For those crafters that enjoy the freedom of their cutting machine software and like the versatility of using SVG files, ScanNCut Canvas is now live. Canvas, is a cloud based website for converting SVG files into ScanNCut FCM files. It is free and easy to register. Go to https://scanncutcanvas.brother.com to create a login and password.
How do I use ScanNCut to cut fabric?
Fabric and cutting machines seldom worked until the ScanNCut machine. With the Brother commitment to excellence in the sewing and quilting industries, Brother applied its knowledge and experience to the development of the ScanNCut machine and its supporting accessories. To begin, starch and iron your fabric if possible. Next, apply a fabric support sheet to your Standard Mat. Then take your fabric and gently lay it across your mat within the grid area. Once placed correctly, take the backside of your spatula handle and run it across your fabric to press the fabric securely to your mat as well as release any air pockets. Before cutting your fabric, always perform a test cut to insure that your fabric and blade depth work together. Start with a smaller blade depth and work your way up to what you need in order to avoid cutting too deep and through your mat. Once you have your fabric secure and your desired blade depth, cut your design as needed. If the blade is still not working, experiment with Cut Pressure and Cut Speed in your tools function.
I am trying to cut fabric and the blade is dragging, how do I know what blade and mat are best?
The most common instances for fabric cutting will be for fabric backed with an iron-on material (stabilizer) or a quilting cotton pressed with spray starch or fabric sizing applied first. In either case, the fabric has a form of stabilization applied to it before cutting. Next, select the Standard Mat and the Standard Blade Holder and Blade. Start with a blade depth setting of 6 on the cartridge and the default settings for Cut Speed  and Cut Pressure  in the tools function. (The default settings are highlighted for east reference.) Use the test mode to cut a test piece first. We recommend that the test square be sized to about 1" square. If the blade depth of 6 does not work to your liking, work your way up through blade depths until you find what will work for you. We recommend keeping a cut journal so that this information will be handy to you in the future.
How can I see the designs to cut when the fabric that I scanned is so dark?
ScanNCut comes with a built in feature that desaturates the color of your surface allowing you to see your designs with ease. To access this feature, simply touch the key on the left that has the wrench icon. Scroll down to the page for the Background option. Here you can select the dimmer image (grey with white polka dots) or select “Off” to turn off the scanned image. This will allow you to still see your background and set your design exactly where you want it to be cut on the fabric.
Can I change the color contrast level when I am using the Direct Cut or Scan to Cut Data?
In Direct Cut you are unable to do so and for a good reason. The Scan N Cut machine needs to see the scanned image at its original color scheme so it can determine what part of the color range it can recognize and cut. In the Scan To Cut Data function you can change the contrast levels, allowing you control over how much information you would like ScanNCut to process for your design.
There are a lot of factors that determine this. First each machine may vary a small amount as well as the mats. The mats usage, materials used, climate and humidity may play a part into why different mats react and work differently.
How long will my mats last?
This depends on what each mat is used for and how often the mat is used. To help preserve the longevity of your mat, check out our FAQ on “What mat should I use for what?” This will help you use your mats for the appropriate use which will help to prolong them. In addition, we recommend using the Fabric Support Sheets to help preserve your Standard Mat. This reusable and disposable sheet is perfect for cutting fibrous materials such as thicker types of fabric. When your Fabric Support Sheet has been used, simple remove from your mat and replace with a new one. You will notice that your mat will remain as you left it while using the support sheets, which help to prolong the life of your mats during fabric cutting and use. In addition, to prevent cutting through mats we do recommend that you always try a test cut before proceeding to cut out your design. Tip: Start your testing at a lower setting. Especially with using the fabric support sheet, you will want to test your blade to create a kiss cut . This will cut out your desired surface, but not cut through your Fabric Support Sheet.
How long will the blade last?
The blades longevity will depend on the use and frequency of use of each blade.
How long will my pens last?
The life of a pen will depend on a variety of factors including use.
My mat is way too sticky, I am worried it will not let go of my paper and may rip my design?
One suggestion made by crafter Erin Bassett is to lightly press your mat on a piece of clothing to reduce the initial tackiness, yet still allow your mat to remain tacky enough to be used for regular use.
Can I use the ScanNCut machine with food product such as fondant?
No. Neither the ScanNCut machine nor the accessories are designed to be used with fondant or any other type of food product.
Why did my scrapbook paper tear when removing it from the standard mat?
If your scrapbook paper tore when removing it from the standard mat then there was too much pressure applied when securing the scrapbook paper to the standard mat. For best results, lightly press the scrapbook paper to the standard mat; do not use a brayer or spatula. Gently remove the scrapbook paper and cut designs off the mat immediately. If the paper continues to tear, try using the low tack mat.
What is the smallest image that can be scanned?
When using the direct cut mode, use patterns that are at least 5mm square. With the Scan to Cut Data function, the default limitation for the smallest image is 5mm and you can adjust it down to 1mm.
What should I do if my image/design is not showing up in the direct cut function?
If the image and/or design has too much detail or the background has a lot of information for the scanner to read, then direct cut will not recognize it. You should use the scan to cut data feature with images and/or designs that may have a lot of detail or background.
Do I need a converter to use my ScanNCut outside the United States?
No. The power adapter input is 100-240 volts. However, you may need to use a plug adapter.
How many layers of fabric can I cut?
For best results, only one layer of fabric can be cut with ScanNCut. The fabric must be adhered to the standard mat using the fabric support sheet. Mats are also available in a 12"x24" format for mass cutting or cutting larger images.
Should I use the deep cut blade for fabric?
It depends on the thickness of your fabric. Most cotton fabrics will use the turquoise standard blade. Please reference the quick guide provided with the machine’s operation manual for suggested material, blade, and mat recommendations.
What fusible backing can I use with my fabrics?
There are 2 sheets of iron-on backing included with the ScanNCut and additional iron-on backing is available for purchase. Other types of fusible backing work well such as Steam a Seam 2, Heat’n Bond Light, Wonder Under, and Misty Fuse. Please always use the test cut function prior to beginning your project.
How do I know the blade is cutting in the proper direction each time?
The ScanNCut adjusts the blade’s direction each time before it starts to cut. You will notice small notches above the ruler in your mat and this is the process of the machine making sure the blade is in the proper direction each time.
My scanner is not recognizing image and/or document, what should I do?
Your scanner may need to be cleaned. To do this, open the compartment on the bottom of the scanner to expose the scanner glass. Wipe clean with a dry, lint free cloth and secure the cover. If you need further assistance, please contact customer support.
Can I use adhesive spray on my mat?
No. We do not recommend using an adhesive spray on the low tack mat, standard mat, or fabric support sheet.
What is the fabric support sheet and how do I use it?
There are 2 pieces of fabric support sheet included with the ScanNCut. It is glossy on one side and tacky on the other. The tacky side has a blue release paper on it. The fabric support sheet should be applied directly to the standard mat (glossy side down) when cutting fabrics. The blue release gets peeled away (do not discard, you may want to keep this to cover the tackiness when not in use) and the fabric is placed onto the fabric support sheet. Additional fabric support sheets are available as an accessory item.
Do I need the scanning mat in order to scan an image or photo into the ScanNCut?
No you do not need the scanning mat. The low-tack mat and the standard mat can be used for both scanning and cutting. Photos and/or printed images on thin paper can be scanned into the ScanNCut using the low-tack mat(turquoise). If you will be using the ScanNCut for archival purposes frequently for pictures and documents by saving them to your USB, we recommend that you purchase the scanning mat.
Why do I get an error message using the scanning mat in direct-cut mode?
The scanning mat should be used to scan images and/or documents that will be saved to a USB drive. The scanning mat can also be used with Scan to Cut Data function. The low tack mat and standard mat are to be used with the direct-cut function.
Why should I do if I get an error message that reads “The mat cannot be recognized. The mat will unload.”
The scanner glass may be dirty. Clean the scanner glass at the bottom of the machine (follow instructions on page 59 of the Operation Manual). Then, try the mat again.
Is the 12”x24” mat only for cutting?
Yes. To use the 12”x24” mat, select the 12”x24”
cut area on Page 1 of the Setting Screen. You can create 12”x24”
designs with ScanNCutCanvas.
Go to https://scanncutcanvas.brother.com.
What is the maximum thickness of material that can be scanned or cut with the machine?
The machine will feed, scan, and cut a maximum
thickness of 1.5mm for paper, fabric, and a variety of other materials.
Maximum thickness for cutting
0.8mm with STD Cut Blade
1.5mm with Deep Cut Blade
*Please note that they depends on materials you are going to cut.
Maximum thickness for scanning
1.5mm with Cutting Mats
1.0mm with Scanning Mat
Does the ScanNCut allow for cutting multiple layers of fabric?
No. The machine does not cut multiple layers of fabric. However, if working on large projects you can cut many pieces out by using the 12”x24” cutting mat.
What is the overall work area for cutting and/or drawing?
The cut/draw size is up to 11 ¾” x 11 ¾” (296mmx298mm) when using the 12”x12” mat and up to 11 ¾” x 23 ¾” (296x603mm) when using the 12”x24” mat.
Can I wash fabrics attached with the iron-on appliqué contact sheet?
No. We do not recommend that you wash fabrics attached together with the contact sheet.