I’ve been using my Big Shot Plus since Christmas now, so I’ve had a chance to get to know it, warts and all. There’s no doubt that it’s a favourite crafting tool, but it has a few gremlins and, in the spirit of sharing, here is my candid review.
Its a beast of a machine, weighty and solid. It feels like a tool that will last me for years. It’s manual, so it requires turning a handle to feed the cutting or embossing sandwich through. In the box you’ll get all that you need to get started: the Big Shot Plus Machine, 1 Platform, 1 Adapter A, 1 Adapter B and 1 Pair of Cutting Pads.
You’ll also receive a small booklet that tells you exactly how to cut and emboss and which plates you need to use, but these are also shown clearly on the platform and adapter plates, so you shouldn’t need to use the booklet often.
Using the Big Shot Plus is easy, but if I had limited mobility I believe I would find the handle difficult to turn. It is also quite a challenge for young children.
I bought the Big Shot Plus Stater Kit, which gave me a selection of wafer thin dies, a Bigz die, an A4 gift box die and an A4 embossing folder. There was also a small amount of printed card and paper, but to be honest I thought it’s value was pretty limited. It was a good deal at the time, I bought it in a Flash Sale at Amazon, but the starter kit may not always represent the best value as there is such a massive variety of dies available, you might just be better to select your own.
The Big Shot Plus is a superb cutting machine. I love the effect of the wafer thin, intricate dies and mostly these cut brilliantly with one pass, although a few may require a second pass through the machine. The Bigz dies cut perfectly through several layers of cardstock at a time and easily cope with challenging fabrics such as felt.
Using embossing folders is child’s play and achieves excellent results, even when using the A4 folder.
However, I had trouble almost immediately with the platform. There is a considerable amount of movement between the edge of the platform and the sides of the machine and the platform and the plates are large to manage – approx 38cms x 23cms. After a few short weeks of using my machine, I found that the edge of the base platform had spread out and formed an extruded lip at the side, quite sharp.
A discussion with Sizzix was fruitless, despite the photograph we sent of the damage. They considered the matter unimportant and would not replace the platform. They assured me that a) it would not interfere with the working of the machine and b) they couldn’t see how it had happened as they believed the fit of the platform was tight, evidence notwithstanding. It has not impeded the working of the machine, but it is sometimes difficult to keep the platform exactly in place in order to avoid further damage.
I expected the cutting plates to mark immediately and of course, they did. What I did not expect was the almost instant bowing of the top plate. It’s good practice to keep a plate ‘clean’ by always using the same plate for cutting onto and the other to complete the ‘sandwich’. (note: alternating the plates results in embossing the cutting marks from the plate straight onto your cardstock as it passes through the machine). It’s also common practice to use every part of the plate and turn it frequently. Despite doing this my ‘clean’ plate swiftly bowed and no amount of turning had any effect.
I purchased a set of standard plates as I thought they might be easier to use for small cuts. These are sold as suitable for this machine, but the ‘clean’ plate became bowed within a few weeks, to the extent it could no longer be used. Reading other people’s posts suggests that the cutting plates are not as robust as they once were, and many people have similar complaints to mine.
- Great cut
- Good emboss
- Stable and firm
- Easy to use
- Requires no electricity
- Cuts different makes of steel dies without problems
- Plates warp very quickly
- Bulky footprint
- Heavy, although technically portable
- Poor after sales from Sizzix
Problems with cutting plates aside, I love my Big Shot Plus and am generally very happy with it. It does what I wanted it for and for me, its an essential part of my craft room. I’ve tried a number of different cutting machines and this is definitely my favourite.
I hope you have found this review useful.
Big crafty hugs – Sandie xx