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Take a Look at the Evolution of Cricut Machines

Have you ever wondered about the lineage of the Circuit machines? I have collected information and images for a variety of machines that have been made. Cricut machines are manufactured by Provo Craft & Novelty, Inc. Provo Craft is located in Utah. The company is 15 years old and was created on December 21, 2003. I don’t have the manufacture dates for each machine. If you have this information, I would love to be able to add it to this article.

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Current Models:

The models are listed in reverse order of their manufacturing years. If you want to see Cricut models by year, then start at the bottom of the current models and work your way back to the top.

Cricut Maker 3

release date: June 2021
The Maker 3 cuts over 300 materials and is compatible with 13 tools. It is up to 2x faster than its predecessor and 10x the cutting force. The Maker 3 is compatible with smart materials for cuts up to 12ft in one go.

Cricut Explore 3

release date: June 2021
The Explore 3 cuts over 100 materials and is compatible with 6 tools that are sold separately. It is up to 2x faster than its predecessor. It is also compatible with Smart Materials for cuts up to 12 ft in one go.

Cricut Joy

release: Feb. 12, 2020 – available March 2020
The Cricut Joy is a smaller, more light-weight version at 5″ x 8″ and less than 4 lb. The Joy introduces two new features not elsewhere available in the Cricut product portfolio. With specialty accessories and materials (labeled Smart Materials™), the Joy is able to cut single designs up to four feet long and repeated cuts up to 20 feet.

Cricut Maker
released: August 20, 2017
The Cricut Maker machine is used with Design Space, which is a cloud-based, online software. It does not function stand-alone. When using Design Space on a desktop or laptop computer, an internet connection is required. When using the machine with the Design Space app on an iOS device (iPad/iPhone), you can use the offline feature in that app to use your machine and Design Space without an internet connection. The Cricut Maker is an adaptable machine with interchangeable cutting and scoring heads.

Cricut Explore Air 2

release: October 5, 2016
A slight update from the Air, it cuts two times faster. Comes in a variety of colors and works with the current Circuit Design Space application.

Cricut Explore Air

release: NA
This is a wireless machine that can cut paper to fabric and more. It works with the current Circuit Design Space application.

Cricut Explore One

release: May 6, 2015
Similar in look to the other Explore machines but only has a single tool holder. You can cut and write but you have to do so in two steps.

Cricut Explore

release: 2014
The Cricut Explore, ExploreAir, and Explore Air 2 each have a double tool holder so that you can cut & write (or cut & score) in 1 step. The Explore One has a single tool holder, so it can cut & write (or cut & score) in 2 steps.

The Explore Air and Explore Air 2 have built-in Bluetooth, but for Explore One and Explore, you will need a Cricut Wireless Bluetooth Adapter in order to use it with your iOS or Android mobile device or to cut wirelessly from your computer.

Legacy Machines:

The rest of this post is not in chronological order, but dates are listed if available.

Cricut Expression 2

released: September 26, 2011
The Cricut Expression 2 was designed as a standalone machine. The LCD touch screen and Cricut® cartridges allowed you to create projects without being connected to a computer. A computer was required to update the machine’s firmware, however.

Cricut Expression

release: February 28, 2010
The Cricut Expression machine had several fantastic features available. A few favorites are the AutoFill and Quantity features. They allowed you to cut multiples of the same image so you could quickly create a batch of invitations, place settings, party favors, or other projects. There was a scoring tip that could be used.

Cricut Mini

release: approx 2012
The Cricut Mini relied exclusively on using Cricut Craft Room, a computer program that no longer functions. The Circuit Mini is obsolete.

Cricut Imagine

release: Summer 2010
The Cricut Imagine machines use a special cutting mat with a white border and black registration marks that the machine will read prior to cutting your printed images with precision and accuracy.  The Imagine machine was unable to read any other mats. 

Cricut Cake

release: na
Cricut Cake was specifically designed to cut edible material, including gum paste, frosting sheets, and more. As such, it was designed with parts made of food-safe material. In fact, any part of the machine that touches food was made of food-safe material.

Cricut Create

release: December 21, 2003
The Cricut Create machine was designed to function with the Cricut® cartridges as a standalone machine.

Cricut Personal

release: January 9, 2005
The Cricut Personal/V1 machine was designed to function with the original Cricut cartridges as a standalone machine.

Additional Machines:

Cricut Mug Press

original release date: 2021
The Cricut Mug Press is for 11 – 16 oz (350 – 470 ml) Infusible Ink compatible mugs*. The press has a one-touch setting and safety features including auto-off.

Cricut Cuttlebug

original release: na
The Cricut Cuttlebug machine is compatible with most leading brands of dies and embossing folders. The B Plates – Cutting, A Plate – Spacer, and C Plate – Adapter (sold separately) are different thicknesses so that you can mix and match. The Cuttlebug is no longer being produced.

EasyPress

release: August 2017
The Cricut EasyPress comes in three different sizes and is used to heat iron-on vinyl. You may find it has alternative uses similar to an iron.
Here is a printable chart for heat settings. [EasyPress chart]

BrightPad

release: approx 2017
The Cricut BrightPad comes in Mint Green and Rose Gold. It is a modern lightbox and works great for weeding, tracing, paper piecing, and jewelry making. 

Cricut Gypsy

released: September 2009
The Gypsy was a portable personal design device for use with your Cricut® Personal, Create, Expression, Cake, Cake Mini, Expression 2 and Imagine machines. It allowed you to store Cricut® cartridge content, design with that content, and then connect to your Cricut® to cut. 

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22 Responses

  1. I WAS GIVEN A CRICUT CREATE RECENTLY (USED) I DO NOT HAVE ANY INSTRUCTIONS OR MANUEL FOR THIS MACHINE. I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO USE THE MACHINE BUT WITH LITTLE OR NO INFORMATION IM LOST WITH LEARNING HOW TO USE THE MACHINE. ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
    LISA

  2. I have Cricut expression . But it is not working. The cutter does not seem to be dropping down to the paper to cut. How can I get it repaired? Or would you replace it? I can not afford to by new one as I live on fixed retirement income.

      1. This was helpful thanks. You seem so knowledgeable about Cricut. My 13 yr old Cricut Create has quit communicating with my Gypsy. I looked at the Cricut Explore Air 2 but I am reluctant to go electronic all the way. I like to handle my cartridges. And Design Space
        Overwhelms me. I found some new in box Expeessions on line. Is buying an Expression a whack idea? I know I sound like Wilma Flintstone but I am not wanting to relearn everything.

        1. I think you need to do you. If you have a ton of cartridges it makes sense to have a machine they work with.

    1. Make sure your blade is in correctly. check some of the videos on youtube. the blade holder should sit so the blade is about 1/8 inch from the base of the machine. it is easy when you dont know to put the blade holder too high.

  3. I think it’s interesting how the market has totally went to digital. I have a sister in law who is younger then myself and she wants nothing to do with Cricut Machines that are totally digital. I’m in my 60’s and I love using my cartridges and find it very easy to use, but about 4 years ago I received the Cricut Expression 2 for a gift and I’ve barely used it. It is so hard to maneuver the small screen with the the stylus. I have another scrapbooking friend who had one (she’s much younger, in her 40’s) and she finally gave up and gave it away. I’m about to do the same. I wish the company would not have went to totally digital. I’m still a hands on scrapbooker. My sister in law received the Cricut Mini and did not want to be hooked to the computer so she totally trashed that. It’s getting real frustrating with this product.

  4. Hello, I just purchased a cricut crv0001.. aka v1.31.. it’s raspberry, limited addition. (I saw it on Amazon for 299.99, so I jumped on it when I was offered it for 1/4 of this price) it had only been used for 1 single project.

    Anyway, I am very new to cricut, but have fallen in love. I see that it has a computer connect jack, and have ordered the cord off of Amazon..

    I went to Joanne fabric and a few other places and it seems that they do not sell cartridges anymore, is this correct?

    Is this machine going to be completely unusable once I completely dull the blade? I feel like this was the first machine they ever made! 🤣😭🤦‍♀️ Should I put it up in the box and purchase a new one? I would like to open my own little Etsy shop with my cricut and other creations, but I fear this model does not do everything the newer ones do. Is this correct?

    Thank you for your time and information!

    1. This is a very old machine and it uses cartridges. It will still work for you with cartridges. There is no computer connection for this machine.

      1. What is the name of Lindsay’s. Machine? Cricut crv 0001 aka v.1..31 I purchased a new machine about 10 years ago (approx, $299.00) when my grandsons were 2& 3 years old. It uses cartridges and I purchased several of them but never used the machine. The idea of the cutting blade scared me. The boys are older now and I would like to be able to put their baseball and soccer numbers on their gear. Where would I find the model number? It might be helpful in identifying the type of Cricut it is.

  5. Hmm… what is your personal history with the Provo Craft? Just a few quick observations about your Cricut history, you have a picture of the Cricut personal where you state it is a Cricut expression (you also have the same image under the personal), the Gypsy wasn’t the first item created (though it appears so based on your evolution going in order backwards), the Cricut Expression came before the Cricut Cake, which as you said had all food grade products where it would touch food (true), it also had adaptations in the mechanism so that you wouldn’t have wheel marks in your fondant. While you have some interesting history here, it’s not correct in several other places and gives misleading information. The Gypsy was actually the stepping stone to the digital transition that led the way to the current machines. Just saying.

    1. thank you for your insight, I have added release dates to all machines that dates were available for.

  6. I have the very first cricut machine the Personal Electronic cutter. I am looking for blades. I have seen some on Amazon that look like they would work but will they? Also, will newer cartridges work with this machine? Thank you for taking time to let me know.

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