If you look back through this topic I've made a few post about electronic cutters and software. My lastest post was about the soon to be released Zing. This looks to be a very promising cutter. The customer service reputation of the machine distributor and the software developer is TOP notch.
Many users are happy with the Cricut but I have to say, Just don't do it. Honestly, if I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have purchased it.There are other cutters that cost a little more up front but in the long run will be less than the Cricut. The Cricut is limited to the art work on the cartridges, so you may find you have to spend $16-$49.00 or more for a cartridge and only use a couple of images. If you look at some of the other software available, you'll see the Design Studio is lacking. I recently completed an order of 32 custom designed shirts with Heat Transfer Vinyl, a screen printed fraternity/greek design, designed a memorial decal, vinyled a beverage dispenser and etch some water bottles and mugs. I could not design any of these using the images or fonts from the Cricut cartridges. because they don't exist.
I hope I don't offend anyone.
I am also going to admit that I am truly biased against Provo Craft and the Cricut eventhough I have 2. If you want design freedom choose a different machine, especially if you want to branch into rhinestones or heat transfer vinyl.
Here's something to think about http://www.facebook.com/BoycottProvo...type=1&theater