Monday, 24 October 2016

Brother Scan n Cut 2 - Machine Upgrades how and why to do it

Ok so. It really really annoys me that I buy something, it sounds cool cos it links to some sort of computer software. Then it's out of date. I'm still sulking about this with my Bernina sewing machine and the embroidery module and accompanying software. There is NO WAY I am going to pay for a whole new piece of software! or even a whole new machine just because they do it differently now.

And this is why I've held off buying an electronic die cutting machine until now. The Brother Scan & Cut sold itself to me, not only because of the integral scanner that takes the guess work out of cutting, but mostly because they've issued Machine Upgrades that (to the extent the hardware allows) means that my (older albeit new to me) machine can do pretty much everything that a brand new one can. No need to buy a brand new one! hurrah!

In a word, future proofing!

This post explains what's in the Machine Upgrades also called software or firmware upgrades, and therefore, why it's a good idea to do it.

Here I need to say to you, I own a CM600. This is a first generation Scan n Cut - it will only ever be able to use a USB stick to get computer files, it will never be able to be connected to a computer by cable, or by wifi. Connecting to a computer by cable or by Wifi is the new generation Scan n Cut 2. Therefore, Brother has to do slightly different upgrades for SnC2 machines, because those machines have additional actual physical ports and chips that mean cables and/or wifi can be connected. If you want to know which machine has those new cable/wifi capabilities, go to your country's Brother website or exclusive seller (Create & Craft TV in the UK) and look at the Comparison Chart between the different models.

Also, as a result of me owning only a CM600 but Brother giving the functionality upgrades to everyone where possible, everything I talk about in this series of posts will work for EVERY machine, so long as it's got the latest Machine Upgrade, it can do it. But I can't help you with cable/wifi aspects as it's something I don't have!

Machine Upgrades - What did they add?Honestly? An awful lot of functionality that makes it far easier to use the machine, makes it more flexible and accurate. So, after you've read the list - and you still don't do the upgrade - fine, but I'll be using those functionalities in my blog posts, and if you realise you don't have on your machine what I have on mine, that'll be why! Because ALL MODELS of the Brother Scan n Cut have those added features IF you do the upgrade.

Version 1.1 - Now allows you to SELECT the scanning area when saving to USB drive. This means the image uses up less memory space and you're less likely to pick up annoying little marks from the edge of the paper or the cut marks in your mat that the machine wants to read as Cutting or Drawing info.

Version 1.3  - Now allows you 
  • to UNDO the previous operation (saves you having to start again from scratch)
  • ENLARGE by 400% (before it was only 200%)
  • MOVE patterns around when enlarged by 200% or 400% (means you can be more precise about placing objects to weld together)
  • changed the name of the button that tells the machine what to ignore when doing Scan to Cut Data from 'Delete Size' to 'Ignore Object Size' and allows you to IGNORE OBJECTS smaller than 1mm (previously 5mm. That makes an enormous difference when you are trying to get a slightly dodgy scan to cut cleanly).

Version 1.6 - Now allows you
  •  To see your Machine Information ie specifications in settings
  • Changed the default setting in Scan to Cut Data to 3mm
  • Allows you to CALLIBRATE THE BLADE & SCANNING POSITION from Settings. (This is huge, before then, you had to go into the scary innnards that an engineer would use to service the machine. If your machine isn't cutting quite right, you do THIS and it all works great again.)
  • Allows you to IMPORT other files such as SVG (Instead of just Brother's own FCM file type)
  •  Added COLOUR RECOGNITION to Scanning for Direct and to Cut Data (This matters hugely because the machine can now recognise far fainter/ less contrast and pick up cutting lines.)
Version 1.8 - Now allows you
  • To specify an INSIDE OFFSET (You can do seam allowance around the outside of your image, but also now the inside too, this helps with cutting stamping images which I'll talk about in a later post).
  • To DELETE unnecessary objects after scanning before cutting (those random bits the scanner picks up that aren't part of your image).
  • To do a TRIAL CUT after Scanning in Direct Cut
  • To do a PREVIEW in GreyScale Recognition when Scanning, by selecting a TRIMMING AREA, ADJUST image detection levels so it ignores elements you don't want based on contrast
  • To use FILL PATTERNS for drawing for decoration or to make lines thicker
  • To FLIP multiple patterns
  • Added a button to go to Settings to adjust pressures/speeds for cutting & drawing (instead of going via settings, it's a shortcut)
  • Added the likely time it'll take to do a task when drawing or cutting.
  • Allows you to choose 12x12 or 12x24 mat.
  • Added PREMIUM FUNCTIONS. Currently this is only the Line & Region Embossing Functions that you can only use if you own Brother's official Embossing Holder and Embossing Tools which you get in their Starter Kit.
Ooooo I hear you think, how does she know this? Well, it's industry standard practice to do Release Notes with an Upgrade. In the Brother Support Website in the Manuals section of YOUR model of the Scan n Cut there's a Category called Notification. With lots of different PDF files to download that tell you what's in each Upgrade WITH INSTRUCTIONS on how to use the new features. 

If you own a Scan n Cut 2 machine (second generation) then you already have all those functions in it. How do I know? because when I go to the CM900 Notification category (the newest top end machine), it shows Version 2.1 and Version 2.2 - looking at them they are:

Version 2.1 Allows:
  • Grouping and Ungrouping Patterns. 
  • Aligning Patterns
  • Blade Adjustment Area to be specified
  • 12x24 scanning mat added (this is ONLY applicable to SnC2 NOT the older machines we can only cut 12x24, SnC2 can both cut and scan 12x24)
  • Additional symbols & special characters added to fonts
 Version 2.2 Allows:
  • Specifying inside offset
  • Removing unecessary patterns
  • Trial cutting
  • Grey scale
  • Fill & outline patterns
  • Flipping patterns
  • Mat size keys
  • Premium Functions
 My machine is old generation CM600. My upgrade gave me the functionality from V2.1 & 2.2 also even though the Notifications on the CM600 (Europe Others) didn't include them. Don't ask me why. Now I've realised I'll need to check this stuff against the Online Manual and confirm whether or not it's all in there! 

So, depending on the age of your machine, your CD Rom Manual may or may not contain the information in those release notes. I strongly recommend printing them out if the info isn't in your Manual! So that you have the info there when you need it!

I haven't checked, but it may be that the Online Manual has been updated whereas obviously your own CD Rom Manual can't be. If they do update the Online Manual every time they add functionality, it's an additional reason to go to the Online Manual and print off the Contents and Index pages only rather than the whole Manual from the CDRom - it'll be more up to date!

I think that reading  the above is self explanatory as to why the Upgrades are a good idea. Next, HOW to get the upgrades into your machine!


  1.  Get a USB Stick that is compatible for your machine. The Brother Support Site has a list of Compatible USB Sticks in the Manuals section for your machine model.

    Personally I was told by an FB group than SanDisk Cruze 8gb 2.0USB sticks worked, Argos sell 3 for £9.99 so that's what I got.

    Your USB stick needs to be EMPTY for upgrades. That's why I bought 3, one of them is going to be used as my Upgrade stick only.

    Apparently the upgrade overwrites the previous machine software so it's not going to run out of memory with repeated upgrades.
  2.  Download the right upgrade for your machine to your laptop or desktop. Go to the Brother Support Site, find the right Machine type for your country (remember Europe Others is where you find older machines that aren't showing up as UK ones) and click on the Downloads Option

    You have to choose your operating system, Windows or Mac, and your Operating System (ie Windows 10 or Vista etc)


    That's actually the only one available to you.

    Click on the Update Software Link and it'll start downloading into your computer. Once it's downloaded you can transfer it onto your USB stick. (If you don't know how to do this, do a browser search, there's loads of articles on how to do this!)
  3. REMEMBER TO SAFELY disengage your USB stick (right click on the menu bar icon in Windows) because otherwise they sometimes don't work properly.
  4. Go to the APPENDIX of your Manual (CD Rom or Online) and find the 'UPGRADING THE SOFTWARE' instructions. Follow them! (page 66 in mine but it might not be in yours).
Did it work? Great! If not, try again.

NB: How to check your machine's version number for Upgrades. Go into your SETTINGS (bottom button under the Power button on your Machine). Scroll through the pages until you get to the screen that has your Machine's own number on it, immediately beneath that, it tells you the Version. I've updated my first generation CM600 and mine's v1.8.01

Next Post: Calibrating your Machine so the cutting and scanning and screen work properly.HERE


  1. Thank you. Very useful information.

  2. Thanks for all this info Great and easy to understand Thanks again

  3. Hi I've just started to follow you! I'm waiting delivery of CM900, from C&C do I still need to buy USB Stick to do software upgrade to the machine even though it's wifi enabled? Ty

    1. My understanding is that you do THIS TIME because it needs to have the machine software put in it to be able to receive wifi updates in future.

      USB sticks are so cheap, you might as well buy them. Because sometimes the wifi mightnot work, and then at least you won't be stuck not being able to get anything from computer to machine and vice versa. You don't need really big ones! 8gb is more than enough!

  4. SO helpful! Thank you so much for the thorough explanation.


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