Cricut makes several different versions of its electronic cutting machine, and they are popular for paper crafts, scrapbooking, creating vinyl decals, iron-on designs and more. In combination with Cricut Design Space software and sometimes additional accessories, Cricut machines can cut, score and draw designs ranging from basic to remarkably intricate. While the complexity of a design depends on the desires and skills of the user, the basic operation of any Cricut machine – including hooking it up to a computer – is quite straightforward.
Connecting a Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter to a Computer
Whether you have a Cricut Joy, Explore, Maker or an older model, connecting a Cricut personal electronic cutter to a computer, tablet or smartphone is necessary for the initial setup as well as for the cutting stage of any project. All current models of Cricut personal electronic cutters can connect to a computer via USB cable, Bluetooth or both and to mobile devices via Bluetooth.
Cricut Explore and Maker machines connect to a computer (Windows or Mac) via USB cable or Bluetooth and to a tablet or smartphone (iOS or Android) via Bluetooth. The Explore One model requires a wireless Bluetooth adapter (a separate purchase) for a Bluetooth connection. Cricut Joy machines do not feature a USB cable connection and only connect to a computer, tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth.
Note that you can use the Cricut Design Space software to create and work on designs without the machine being connected to your computer. This means you can work on designs while you’re away from your machine. Simply connect the machine when you’re ready to cut your project.
Connecting Cricut Machines With a USB Cable
Machines in the Cricut Explore and Maker series come with a USB cable for connecting the machine to a computer. If you do not have the cable that originally came with the machine, replace it with a standard printer cable. Simply plug the USB end of the cable into any USB port on your computer and the opposite end into the socket on the back of the Cricut machine. Open Cricut Design Space on your computer, and it should recognize the machine you have connected via the USB cable.
Connecting Cricut Machines via Bluetooth
You can also connect a Cricut Explore, Maker or Joy machine to a computer, tablet or smartphone wirelessly via Bluetooth. If you have a Cricut Explore One model, first plug a wireless Bluetooth adapter into the back of your machine; other models do not require an adapter. Make sure your device has the Cricut Design Space software or app installed and position your device within 10 to 15 feet of the machine.
Access the Bluetooth settings on your device, select “add a device” or a similar instruction and look for the name of your Cricut machine. A Cricut machine might show up as “audio” under a device’s Bluetooth settings. The name of the machine as it shows up in your Bluetooth settings might also include a code such as "JOY-70CD" or "MAKER-CA28," which is displayed on a label on the bottom of the machine. If you are asked for a PIN, type “0000” and click “connect.”
- You may be prompted to update your Cricut machine's firmware by using the Design Studio software. Let the update install the necessary software before continuing use.
- Make sure that when a driver or update is in process that you do not disconnect your machine or power the computer or machine down.
A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.