Upgrading from a Cricut Legacy Machine

Upgrading from a Cricut Legacy Machine

by Lori Dkhissi

Upgrading from a legacy Cricut machine can be a scary thought. Cricut Expression, Cricut Expression 2, Cricut Create, Cricut Mini, and the original Personal Cricut all rely on your library of Cricut Cartridges that you have purchased and collected. The newer Cricut Machines: Cricut Explore, Cricut Explore One, Cricut Explore Air (1 & 2), Cricut Maker, and Cricut Joy are dependent on Cricut Design Space. You might be worried that by upgrading you will lose all the Cartridges that you have invested in. This is a totally valid and scary thought but there are ways to upgrade without losing the Cartridges that you love so much!  

If you are wondering what Cricut Design Space is, it is Cricut’s desktop design application that connects, either via your computer's bluetooth or USB, to your Cricut machine. It really is a great tool that gives you access to a Cricut mat area to design your project on with tools to manipulate the images and fonts (weld, skew, flip, size, write vs cut, and much more), the ability to use fonts that you already have installed on your computer, access to see - try - buy any image in the Cricut image library - either individually or through the subscription program, it has features to upload and cut your own cut file (svg), a ton of project ideas with instructions and even ready to cut if you want, plus so much more that it is impossible for me to mention them all here. Design Space is free to try and play around in. So I highly recommend downloading it and seeing all the bells and whistles for yourself! 

So the big question of upgrading is “How do I use the Cartridges I have already bought in Cricut Design Space so I can upgrade to a new machine?” Let’s go over the options you have available to you. 

  1. If you used Cricut Craftroom (this is the design software Cricut had for the legacy machines but was not supported after 2018) AND linked your Cartridges they will automatically available in your new Cricut Design Space account. 
  2. The Cricut Cartridge Adapter. This handy little gadget basically allowed you to use the USB on your computer to verify the cartridge and link it into Design Space. It really is the most simple way to link your cartridges. But there is a downside...Cricut made a limited number of these so they are hard to get. Because there are so few of them versus the demand they are being resold at very high prices! I’m talking upwards of a new machine kind of prices! 
Cricut Cartridge Adapter
  • 3. So that brings us to our third option which is simply...BUY a new machine! All of the machines in the Cricut Explore Family (Explore, Air 1 & 2, and One) all come with a Cartridge port ON the machine. It literally is your built in Cartridge Adapter! I mean if you need to spend a couple hundred dollars for a little dongle just to link your Cartridges - why not go ahead and invest that money directly into a Cricut Explore?!?! I know some of you may be wanting the Cricut Maker - which really is fabulous, but the Cricut Explore Family is a great upgrade machine to keep your Cartridge library AND get to use all the cool tools in Design Space. If you mainly cut paper, vinyl and iron-on (HTV) you can’t go wrong with owning anyone of the Cricut Explore machines. 

Oh - and did I mention ALL the cute colors they are available in?? (And this is only a few of the many beautiful colors that have been released!)

Explore Air 2 Colors

4. Last but not least, Subscribe to Cricut Access with whatever machine you choose to upgrade with. If you don’t have a large number of Cartridges or you really don’t want to go through all the work of linking your entire Cartridge Library, you might consider selling them or donating them to a craft friend who is just getting started with a Legacy machine and subscribe yourself to Cricut Access. You might find that the subscription opens up your creative space to a lot more images than you ever had before! Cricut is always adding in new image sets that aren’t available in Cartridge form! Plus you will have the tools to upload your own design and everything else that Design Space has to offer. This option may not be for everyone that has really invested a lot of money but I wanted to make sure to include it in case it is for you. 

It is also worthy to note that Licensed Cartridges are not included in the Cricut Access Subscription. You might keep that in mind if you choose to subscribe. If you have invested a lot in Anna Griffin, Disney, or other licensed Cartridges, you will want the option to link those so you don’t lose them. 

There you have it, Personally, my favorite option is to upgrade and start with any machine from the Explore Family. You need to purchase a new machine to upgrade, you might as well give yourself the ability to link your cartridges in as well!


1 comment

Donna Goggin

I love this. It is an encouragement to upgrade. I am on the fence but closer to getting down and getting a new Explore or Maker.

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