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Let's Hope This is an Improvement
on December 20, 2011
I bought my first Grand Calibur in March 2011. This was my first serious die cutting machine (except for a Cuttlebug which I rarely used because of the limited size and those horrible, slippery acrylic plates) and when it broke three months later, I thought I'd done something wrong. So I bought a second one. As soon as I took it out of the box, I could hear loose parts rattling. It lasted less than two months. The third one lasted nearly four months before it broke and I called Spellbinders and was sent a refurbished machine. I can tell from the feel of this refurbished machine that its days are numbered, too. The plastic on the top keeps squeezing open and you can see the handle crank through it, but I'll use it until it, too, quits on me. That shouldn't take long. And I won't hesitate to call Spellbinders again if it does.
I die cut nearly every day, sometimes for hours, so out of a sense of desperation, I ordered a new Grand Calibur from Amazon a few days ago. This one is different. First of all, there are no sides on the tray and the plates/embossing pad are slightly wider. I gather this means a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock will go through without trimming. There's a much more solid feel to the mechanism...it's smoother than the previous machines.
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the Grand Calibur. The plates don't warp like acrylic plates do, embossing a Spellbinder die doesn't require two embossing pads, two acrylic plates, a folded cereal box, a sheet of cardstock folded in thirds and a pair of king-sized bed sheets. This is why I've avoided other die cutting machines. I just want to cut it, emboss it and start working on something without piling up a stack of shims and junk on my table.
I suppose it's like buying anything the first year it comes out...there are quirks that need to be fixed. Let's hope Spellbinders had fixed them. It's been an expensive year for die cutting machines here.