Monday, November 18, 2013

Comparing cutting machines

I have to admit I haven't tried all the cutting machines on the market, who can afford that?  But I have tried many of them.  Of them all, the ones I've kept are the Sizzix Big Shot Pro, the Cuttlebug and the Sidekick and I'll tell you why:

Cuttlebug - I've had my Cuttlebug for so long I can't even remember when I bought it and it's still a workhorse - always ready to cut, the cutting pads are still available and it only takes a second to pull it out, make a cut and put it back.  Most of the steel rule dies that I purchased to use with it are up for sale due to the arrival of my Silhouette Cameo but you can cut any die on the market that is less than 6" wide if you have the proper cutting pads.  Length doesn't matter because 12" long cutting pads can be purchased.  So, if you don't plan to cut a die that is 6" or wider, this could be the machine for you.

The Sidekick is a tiny machine that works really well for the thin dies.  It will take dies that are less than 2.75" inches and again, length doesn't matter because 12" cutting pads are available.  I use this for my Cuttlebug alphabet dies.

These dies are Sizzlets on the left (black or red plastic) and Cuttlebug (metal back with a foam front).  They will fit in all the die cut machines on the market.  I use my Cuttlebug and Sidekick for these two types of dies.

This is a thin profile die.  You can also use this die in any die cut machine with the appropriate sandwich.  A sandwich is the way you place the die in the machine along with the cutting pads and shims.  Sandwiches for all machines and all dies that fit them can be found on the web with a bit of effort.

Steel rule dies:  These are some of the original dies on the market.  They are extremely sturdy and can cut many layers of paper at one time making them wonderful for schools.  These dies won't fit in the Grand Calibur but will fit in most of the other die cut machines.  Tim Holtz still makes steel rule dies as does Sizzix.  The bottom picture is an XL die, they make 3D paper containers and cards, and can only be used in the Big Shot Pro.  These dies cut and make crease marks so all you have to do is fold and glue.

I purchased the Big Shot Pro because with the proper cutting pads, it cuts every die I own and it has the Grand Calibur's capability of cutting many large dies at once.  I realize the Big Shot Pro is expensive but when you add the price of all the smaller die cut machines you could buy for each type of die you cut, it kind of evens out and I like knowing that any die that comes on the market, I can cut.  Every once in a while I see a good deal on it and it's so well made I don't think it will ever break.  The downside:  it's huge and heavy so it needs a permanent place, it's hard to move.  I do love my Big Shot Pro.

There are other die cut machines on the market, I think Accucut has one and I know Tim Holtz has the Vagabond.  I haven't tested either of them, I'm really happy with the three I have.

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