I got a Mint awhile back, so here’s some useful info for you:
You can generally find accessories (ink, blocks, and stamp sheets) on sale. Check JoAnn.com regularly, as they have anywhere from 20-50% off pretty frequently. CraftDirect has lower prices than anywhere I’ve looked, but shipping is expensive unless your order is at least $99. Michaels isn’t worth looking at - they disallow all Silhouette products from any promotions or coupons.
The ink will last awhile, so while it’s expensive per ounce you can stretch it pretty far. I’m as of now unaware of any third-party inks that work with Silhouette stamps.
These stamps are made of a highly absorbent material with some kind of sealing layer on top. The Mint uses heat to remove the sealing layer for your stamp image, which allows those parts of the stamp to absorb ink. This is why regular inkpads don’t work with Mint stamps. I believe the ink is oil-based, so keep that in mind if you decide to try alternative inks.
You don’t really need the stamp blocks, since you can just use some glue to secure the stamps to regular wooden blocks. That said, I ended up buying all the stamp blocks since the stamps are easier to store when unattached to blocks.
Don’t bother putting label stickers on your stamp blocks. The labels leave behind adhesive residue, and if you plan on using more than one stamp with a particular block size, it’s really not worth the hassle. I just put stickers on the caps for each stamp.
The ink dries instantaneously. Don’t even try to use it for embossing - it won’t work.
The stamp material absorbs ink very accurately. If you want to use multiple colors, you will have very sharp lines between colors unless you swirl them together with a pin or toothpick before the stamp absorbs all the ink.
The Mint software is pretty limited but does a good job of translating images into something that will work with a stamp. That being said, I had no success trying to use just the Mint software to extract an image (like my cat’s derpy face) from background noise. You’re better off using Photoshop or another image editor to clean up an image before importing into the Mint application.
Overall, the Mint is a very cool piece of equipment. It’s actually a rebranded Casio product called Pomrie that was never marketed outside of Japan (and I think Singapore, maybe?), and I believe it’s patented, which is why you can only buy refills from Silhouette and why the refills are so expensive.
That being said, you can do some REALLY cool stuff with it. A friend of mine got one for her birthday and used it to make a custom return address label for her wedding invitations. I’ve used mine to make a few silly stamps. I’m sort of adverse to making stuff with it that I won’t use for some specific project or craft, because the refills are kind of pricey.
That’s really the only downside with the Mint system. It’s all proprietary, and you will totally get sticker shock when you go to buy refills and ink. Once you bite the bullet and get yourself a full set of inks, blocks, and refills, it’s a sweet little device.