We have our first Economical Vinyl Cutter that I can recommend: the Silhouette Cameo. The out of the box experience is great and the software is easy to use. The software imports SVG files, in metric or SAE units, correctly. The output is pretty much perfect without having to mess around with a bunch of settings.
It can accept media up to 15" wide but only has a max cutting width of 12". Still 1 foot by 10 feet is large enough to cut graphics for all but the largest of models. It can cut MonoKote, Ultracote, Ultracote trim sheets and vinyl without issue as well as paper and card stock for airbrushing templates. It also has an optical registration mark sensor so it can cut around printed designs, often called 'print and cut'. This feature doesn't show up on vinyl cutters until you spend at least $500.
If you are looking for a machine to cut out large pieces of covering the width is going to be an issue. Covering rolls are up to 26" wide so if your primary use case is cutting large designs for giant scale aircraft, look elsewhere. If you are interested in cutting your own graphics and markings or covering designs on small to medium sized aircraft this is a great deal.
- Cuts all materials we use in the hobby cleanly
- Easy to use out of the box, no long adjustment process needed
- The numbered blade holder is very easy to adjust. More blade holders should have units like this!
- Software works on both PC & Mac
- Price: It's the cheapest craft cutter we've looked at and software is included in the price.
- Accuracy. It cuts designs correctly out of the box.
- Small Size: it fits easily on a desk or table.
- Replacement blades cost $15 each. Industry standard replacement blades cost ~$4. There are blade holders out there that fit the machine but they are expensive.
- The included software wont import SVG files without a $50 upgrade. The upgrade is tied to your online account at http://silhouetteamerica.com so it wont be easy to transfer if you decide to sell the machine. Support for an open format like SVG shouldn't be a 'pro' feature.
- Software has limited support for common vector formats, just SVG and DXF. If you have existing Adobe Illustrator designs you will have to export them as SVG files.