I attended a Maker Demo at JoAnn Fabrics last weekend for the Cricut Maker home die-cutting machine. The machine features 2 different blades for cutting paper, fabric, and one of the blades can cut thicker media like leather.
They made a leather hair clasp while I was there, it took about 30 minutes.
The person running the demo could not answer how frequently the blades must be changed out, but she said the cutting mat has lasted people for over "14 years" which was a little funny, because Cricut products have not even been in production for 14 years.
The uses for this machine are varied vinyl heat transfers, fabric appliques, leather cutouts for jewelry and hair accessories. If you need to do these processes repetitively, a die cut machine makes sense, but it is not cheap and you continually have to buy supplies and replacement cutting heads and cartridges for this machine.
The price for the machine with the 2 cutting heads was $400.00. I am opposed to spending $400.00 on a device that requires expensive regular replacement parts (consummables) just to keep using it.
The Return On Investment [ROI] on this type of machine does not justify the purchase price, it is designed for folks with a lot of disposable income or small volume producers making things for their Etsy Shop or Craft shows. Not a good value for what you get.
If you are serious about buying a Die Cut machine - look at the AccuCut and AccuQuilt products. The AccuCut Go base unit is $250.00 and dies are usually not too expensive. They have an extensive line of pre-designed dies, and you can also order custom dies through CustomShapePros to fit their various models of cutters.
I will also look into getting Brother Scan-n-Cut demo - which is a direct competitor to the Cricut product line. The Brother machines do have the same drawbacks - needing replacement blades and cartridges on a regular basis all depending on your use of the machine. The durability and practicality of the AccuCut and AccuQuilt cutters means the machines last forever, the dies last for many years, and the cutting mat which goes below the dies in the machine only needs replacement rarely and is not very expensive. They offer both manual feed and electric Cutter models to suit your needs and budget.