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Sizzix Big Shot Machine Review

June 13, 2012

Posted under $50 - $100, Product Reviews, Scrapbooking Tools, Sizzix

Consumer Rating:

The Big Shot is a product by Sizzix. It is frequently compared with Provo Craft’s Cuttlebug Machine because of its similarities based on functions and capabilities. The Sizzix Big Shot is also a portable roller machine that cuts and embosses uniform shapes on different types of materials for art works, card making, school projects, scrapbooking, jewelry-making, embellishments, quilting, recycling, and other crafts.

The machine basically cuts and embosses by sandwiching materials and the dies between specially designed mats. These then are inserted in the machine, rolled out by rotating the handle. It works well with the entire Sizzix product library except those of the Big Shot Pro because of its size. It is also compatible with other brands’ dies and embossing folders.

The Big Shot Machine comes in a stylish black color which has an antique look in it and will remind you of old black phones, typewriters, and sewing machines. The pink in it gives it a bit of a feminine touch, and a bit of whimsy like toy, which also contrasts with the black. Sizzix even designed Big Shot Machines in periwinkle blue and Hello Kitty motif.

When you purchase the Big Shot Machine, you will get also a pair of Standard Cutting Pads, and the adjustable Multipurpose Platform. Learn more about the Big Shot Machine below.

 

Big on Cutting Shapes

Sizzix Big Shot Machine can cut shapes using dies. Dies usually are made of thin materials that have foam on one side and a metal sheet below.

The Big Shot cuts materials such as acetate, card board, corrugated card board, card stock, chipboard, papers, plastic, place mats, fabric, thin leather, tin, sticker paper, rubber, quilt batting, Soda Cans, burlap, Cork board, adhesive felt craft sheets, foam sheets, wool blend felt , and even plastic bottles.

Dies are sold separately. They differ based on the image’s shape, size, quantity, or set. They are usually as low as $2.49 or as expensive as $149.99. Browse Amazon and you can find great deals and sales on such dies.

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Big on Embossing Shapes

The Big Shot Machine can also emboss. Like cutting shapes, you only need to make sandwiches but this time use embossing folders to create your projects. Simply sandwich the materials and embossing folder between cutting pads and feed through the machine. Also, you will need different sets of mats for this to work on certain materials. These are in detail below.

Like Cutting shapes, the machine can run through many different types of materials including soft metals for jewelry-making.

Also, embossing patterns and folder are sold separately. They range from $4.99 to $19.99.

 

Fits Items 6″ Wide by 1/8″ Thick

The maximum material width you can feed on the Big Shot is 6 inches. As mentioned earlier, and like the Cuttlebug, all dies and materials less than half a foot will go through the machine. If you are doing pages of 8 or 12 inches in width, the Sizzix Big Shot Pro is recommended.

The maximum material thickness you can feed on the Big Shot is 1/8 of an inch. Some even tried out some craft wood that has the thickness of wall paper and is very soft.  It goes through the machine with less effort.  It can also cut multiple pieces in one pass like 10 layers of fabric. This will enable you to generate many die cuts of the same shape at once. But do note that some materials can only be cut with the steel rule dies. And with dealing with fabrics, you may have to trim a couple of threads.

 

Big but Portable

The Sizzix Big Shot Machine measures 14 1/4 x 12 3/8 x 6 5/8 inches. It also weighs about 7.5 pounds. The Big Shot is made of solid core steel for the rollers, unibody cast for the roller housing, solid steel for the gears, and ABS plastic for the exterior.

The weight and materials it is made, just shows how sturdy the Big Shot can be. Its weight is actually distributed all throughout the whole machine to make it stable during cutting and embossing. Users though find it quite hefty for travel. Aside from the weight, it also has rubber feet to make it more stable.

In comparison to the Cuttlebug Machine, the Sizzix prioritized its built and durability for the Big Shot towards its use rather than Provo Craft’s fold-and-store feature.

 

Big Rotary Arm

Upon purchasing the Big Shot, the handle is not yet attached. An instruction along with the box will tell you how to easily assemble the handle to the machine. It is with this handle that the Big Shot is operated. Like most of Sizzix products, it is also manually operated. It moves the gears to squeeze the mats, pads, and materials on its rollers.

 

Sizzix Accessory – Cutting Pad

Sizzix Accessory - Cutting PadsWhen making cuts with the Big Shot, a pair of Cutting Pads is necessary. This comes along with the purchase. Each Cutting Pad measures 8 3/4 x 6 1/8 x 1/8 inches and weighs 0.73 pounds. They are made of high-quality polycarbonate plastic. These see-through materials sandwich the die or embossing folder and your material between them. It is specifically designed for use in the Big Shot, BIGkick, and Vagabond machines.

They should last for thousands of cuts. They provide the required thickness for the gap between the rollers of the machine to produce the pressure required to make the proper cut or emboss. If a sandwich is too thin there will be minimum cuts and emboss will not be show properly, but if it is too thick it will not go through the machine.

These pads are used with Sizzlits Dies, Clearlits Dies, Textured Impressions, Textured Fades, Simple Impressions Embossing Folders, and Embosslits Dies along with Solo Shim and Platform. It can also be used with Originals Dies and Bigz Dies without the Shim or Platform. A Premium Crease Pad may be used in place of one Cutting Pad when die-cutting Sizzix steel rule dies that have crease rule.

All Sizzix Cutting Pads can be used on both sides. This prevents the warping or any distortion. When both sides of the Cutting Pads are worn out, simply replace them. A pair is normally sold for $8.99. If you need a longer Cutting Pads that are 14 3/4 inches in length, it can also be purchased for $19.99.

The only downside of this product is that it easily takes on the shape of a die. It is easily marred that some types of fabrics get snagged with it. It is recommended to use spacers between the die and the cutting pad to prevent this.

 

Sizzix Accessory – Multipurpose Platform

Sizzix Accessory - Multipurpose PlatformAlong with the Big Shot and Cutting Pads, Sizzix included the Multipurpose Platform. This sturdy platform has hinged tabs and is specifically designed for use in the Big Shot, BIGkick, Big Shot Express, and Vagabond machines.

The Multipurpose Platform measures 11 1/2 x 7 x ¾ inches and weighs 1.12 pounds. It is made of PP Plastic, POM Plastic, Mylar, and Steel. The diverse construction materials make it compatible for other brands’ dies and embossing folders. Each tab or platform has printed instructions on them to make the proper sandwich depending on the type of die and embossing textures.

We listed some uses for the Platform with or without tabs and its corresponding material types or dies below.

Platform Base Only

  • To emboss one layer of thick material or a folded card using Texture Fades, Texture Trades and Textured Impressions with Cutting Pads
  • To emboss one layer of thick material using Texturz Texture Plates with an Impressions Pad and Silicone Rubber.

Platform Base with Tab 1

  • To cut or emboss one layer of thin material using Clearlits, DecoEtch, DecoEmboss, Embosslits, Ink-its, Sizzlits, Simple Impressions, Texture Fades, Texture Trades and Textured with Cutting Pads
  • To emboss one layer of thin material using Texturz Texture Plates with an Impressions Pad and Silicone Rubber
  • Using Cuttlebug Dies

Platform Base with Tab 1 and Tab 2

  • Framelits and other brands’ wafer-thin dies with Cutting Pads

In case of replacing the Multipurpose Platform, it can be purchased for $19.99.

The only drawback with this Platform is that each instruction does not mention other brands but the type of dies only. Loyalty for Sizzix, Sizzix assumes that consumers also will purchase their own dies. So they only mention Sizzix products on it. This makes a user frustrated on figuring out what the proper die or embossing die of other brands to what platform they should use.

 

Sizzix Accessory – Solo Platform & Shim

Sizzix Accessory - Solo Shim and PlatformAs an alternative to the Multipurpose Platform with and without Tab1, Sizzix has designed the Solo Platform and Solo Shim. It also has diagrams printed on it as guidelines on how to make the proper sandwich.

The Solo Platform and Solo Shim are made of polypropylene plastic and Mylar plastic. They measure 6 1/4 x 13 x ½ inches and weigh 1.77 pounds. They are also specifically designed for use in the Big Shot, Vagabond, and Big Shot Express machines.

Below are uses for the Solo Platform and Shim:

  • To die-cut or emboss one layer of thin material using Clearlits, DecoEtch, DecoEmboss, Embosslits, Ink-its, Sizzlits, Sizzlits Decorative Strips, Simple Impressions, Texture Fades, Texture Trades and Textured Impressions with Cutting Pads
  • To emboss one layer of thin material using Texturz Texture Plates with an Impressions Pad and Silicone Rubber

Below are the uses of Solo Platform only:

  • To emboss one layer of thick material or a folded Texture Fades, Texture Trades and Textured Impressions with Cutting Pads
  • To emboss one layer of thick material using Texturz Texture Plates with an Impressions Pad and Silicone Rubber

Below is the use of 6 1/4″ x 13″ x 1/2″ Solo Platform, Shim, Wafer-Thin Die Adapter

  • Framelits and other brands’ wafer-thin dies with Cutting Pads

The Solo Platform and Shim is retailed for $24.99. Replacement Solo Shim alone can also be purchased for $4.99. They both come in light blue colors and sold separately. There is also the longer version of the platform called the Essentials Platform which is 13 inches in length for $24.99.

 

Sizzix Texturz Silicone Rubber Pad

Sizzix Texturz Silicone Rubber PadThe Texturz Silicone Rubber Pad is used to press thin materials for making embossed impressions. This sheet measures 7 3/8 x 5 3/4 x 1/8 inches and weighs 0.14 pounds. It is normally used with the Impressions Pad to emboss with any metal stencils.

The Texturz Silicone Rubber Pad also needs the use of Platforms mentioned above for the Big Shot Machine, BIGkick, or Vagabond. And it is specifically designed for Sizzix Texturz Plates.

This item is also sold separately and is in retail for only $5.99.

 

Sizzix Texturz Impressions Pad

Sizzix Texturz Impressions PadThe Texturz Impressions Pad is used for thin materials along with the Silicone Rubber Pad. It measures 8 7/8 x 5 7/8 x 1/8 inches and weighs 0.28 pounds. It is made out of polypropylene plastic. It compensates for the proper pressure and height requirement. Simply put, it acts like a spacer to achieve the desired impression.

The Texturz Silicone Impressions Pad also needs the use of Platforms mentioned above for the Big Shot Machine, BIGkick, or Vagabond. And it is specifically designed for Sizzix Texturz Plates.

This item is also sold separately and is in retail for only $5.99.

 

Sizzix Accessory – Solo Wafer-Thin Die Adapter

Sizzix Accessory - Solo Wafer-Thin Die AdapterThe Solo Wafer-Thin Die Adapter is used to allow crafters the flexibility to use other brands’ thin dies in their Big Shot, Big Shot Express, Big Shot Pro, BIGkick, and Vagabond machines. This is the counterpart for the Multipurpose Platform with Tab1 and Tab2.

The Solo Wafer-Thin Die Adapter measures 6 1/4 x 13 x 1/8 inches. It is made up of polycarbonate plastic. It used along with the Solo Platform & Shim to create a sandwich for accommodating Framelits and other brands’ wafer-thin dies. It also has diagrams for guidelines on how to make the proper sandwich.

This item is also sold separately and is in retail for only $9.99. If you need a longer adapter, you can get the Extended Adapter which is 13 inches long for $9.99 as well.

 

Sizzix Accessory – Premium Crease Pad

Sizzix Accessory - Premium Crease PadThe Sizzix Premium Crease Pad is a recommended for crease-rule Bigz and Originals dies. It helps create fold lines or creases along with the Cutting Pads. It is also used with dies if the steel rule dies fail to cut the shape completely. It used for the Big Shot, BIGkick, and Vagabond Machines.

The Premium crease Pad is made up of PU Plastic. It measures 6 1/8 x 9 x 1/8 inches and weighs 0.28 pounds. This item is also sold separately and is in retail for only $8.99. A longer Crease Pad is also available which measures 6 1/8 x 13 1/2 for $19.99.

 

Sizzix’s Online Presence

Sizzix’s website looks very simple. But we applaud the easy and clean navigation of it, which makes querying a breeze. Their product listings offer just the right amount of descriptions per product. This makes any user not to have a hard time locating what they need.

Aside for their shop, they have an online community, where they have numerous tutorials, lists of designers, and lists of projects to help a beginner or the advanced user of Sizzix products. It offers enough information and inspiration as well.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easy to set-up
  • Versatile
  • Portable
  • Cuts a wide variety of materials
  • Compatible with other brands’ dies and embossing folders

Cons

  • Heavy for transport
  • Leaves mark on the clear cutting pads
  • The longer dies are harder to push through the machine making it move, it is recommend to use rubber mat
  • No clear instructions on other brands’ dies from the Multipurpose platform, it assumes you purchased Sizzix’s own dies and embossing folders
  • Embossing does not make good impressions

 

Consumer Ratings

Consumers have rated the Sizzix Big Shot as 4.8 where 86% of them awarded it with a 5 star rating. It has also been amongst the Best Sellers ranking #33 in Arts, Crafts & Sewing and #1 in Die-Cut Machine categories in Amazon.

 

The Sizzix Big Shot’s Price

The Sizzix Big Shot is normally sold for $99.99. But during this post is written, it is on sale for $59.88 with free shipping, which gives you about 40% savings.

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Are you big on the Big Shot?

The Big Shot can also justify cutting and embossing like the Cuttlebug Machine. And since it is manually operated and independent from computer, you get to go wild in crafting and escape from the computer. It is handy enough that you can try anything that pops in your mind without setting up or assembly. Storage and mobility may be of question. But this is a great machine for doing crafts only at home.

And with the Big Shot’s price, it is quite affordable. Downside with this kind of machine, you tend to buy more accessories and you are limited to the shapes you buy, size and image-wise.

 

Images courtesy of Amazon and Sizzix

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