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on January 13, 2011
Bigger dies, that is.
I debated whether I needed to add this to my collection of die cutting machines and eventually gave in to the temptation: I wanted the larger 8x11 dies! This machine will only cut the thin dies (by all manufacturers). It is probably one of the simpler ones out there, having only 3 plates + an embossing mat. (Base plate, cutting plate, embossing plate and "rubber" mat).

If you want to cut, use the base plate + the cutting plate. To emboss, use the base plate + embossing foam + embossing mat. If you have problems getting a good cut, add cardstock "shims" to your sandwich.

It works. Although it does have the same problem I think all the die cutting machines seem to have (except the Big Shot, I assume because of it's larger footprint and lower center of gravity?) of moving around on the table, no matter how hard you adjust the white knob to "lock" it onto your table. But, grab hold of the pink handle and hold onto the machine while turning the white handle and all is well.

It is larger than it probably looks (the plate is 8.4" wide) but has a smaller footprint than some of the other pro/large machines out there (which, again, is probably why it moves around on the table while cranking).

I do hope they come out with more of the larger dies (I'm hoping for full size card sizes with envelopes).

Then, in a perfect world electricity will be added so I don't have to turn the crank!

One final comment: I'm not sure we can ever get away with having only one die cutting machine. This one cannot use the thick dies (eg, Sizzix Originals, Bigz + their new movers and shapers) or some of the longer border dies (unless they come out with longer base plates; I have some QK dies that are longer than the plates) ... but my Big Shot Express (electric, yay!) is not wide enough for the Grand nestabilities.

I really think I need a barn.
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on February 14, 2011
Believe it or not, this is my first embossing machine, and I've been scrapbooking for over 12 years. This machine does it all and it's compatible with most of the embossing folders on the market. But, beware in order to make it compatible you need to buy the raspberry plate which the website home page does not mention. I broke my embossing plate thinking I could use it with the other manufacturers embossing folders and cracked it right in half. But the customer servcie department was wonderful. They replaced my pink plate and sent along the raspberry plate. I've used it with Cuttlebug and Sixxix embossing folders and even my old Fiskars plates. You remeber those where we had to rub the little hand held roller thingy over the plate? They all work great.

LOVE this machine.
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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.
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on January 15, 2012
I already had a Big Shot die cutter and was always frustrated with how it cut Spellbinder type dies. My new Grand Calibur does the job with no fuss or muss. I especially like that I can set up several items to cut at a time unlike other types of cutters. I'm so glad I bought this machine. I give it a big thumbs up...10 out 10.
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on December 29, 2013
I read the instructions and watched some videos but they didn't seem to help much. When I tried embossing folders the results were disappointing. The card stock wrinkled and sometimes the embossing cut clear through the paper. Using the Spellbinders Shapeabilities die's - some worked beautifully and others AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I had a rectangular die with lots of scroll work. It took me six tries to get the perfect look. The die wouldn't cut on one side, the embossing cut through the paper. I tried repositioning the dies and I followed one of the videos that I had watched. I wasted good paper and I was very upset that it took me so long to get a simple cut and emboss. I am returning the Spelllbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine and I will get a Cuttle Bug. I am very satisfied with the Circuit products that I use.
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on January 6, 2013
I've made scrapbook LO's for many years, and previously used my Cricut to make fancy circles for my LO's. I recently decided I wanted to make cards and do embossing, so I bought a Cuttlebug. It worked fine for my cards, but I wanted something to make larger designs with a fancy edge for my SB LO's. I then discovered the Grand Calibur that is faster and easier to use than my Cricut. The Spellbinder Grand Nestabilities are a bit pricy, but definitely worth the price if you are looking for a larger design for your LO's. I've now bought several of these die cuts and would definitely recommend the Grand Calibur. I use wax paper underneath my die cuts to help cutting the fine details and am very pleased with the results.
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on February 21, 2012
I ordered this machine on December 1st. I had it a week later and used it until January. Then, a rattle inside occurred. My husband opened it up and found 2 screws so loose they had fallen off. He fixed it. Just now, a little over a month later, the handle broke. Not the part that can be pulled off, but the crank part that makes you spin the rollers. I do not use too thick of a 'sandwich', and yet it broke.
I am so disappointed. My Cuttlebug is twice as old, and I have had to put some shims in to make the cuts, and it has never broken. Shame on Spellbinders for putting such flimsy materials into this machine. I will want my money back. Too many brake downs in less than 3 months of gentle use!
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on April 1, 2013
After watching PR videos on the product, I purchased it along with several hundred dollars in dies over the course of six months. It would only cut through scrapbook paper, so I searched blogs, forums, websites (including Spellbinders) and tried every tip suggested. No matter what I tried it would only cut totally through scrapbook paper. I feel duped because Spellbinders advertises a variety of products the machine cuts through. What a joke; it won't even cut through Spellbinders own foil!!!

I emailed Spellbinders with my dissatisfaction.

Don't buy this product unless you're ready for much frustration!
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on February 3, 2013
I wish I had known that the full size Sizzix dies do not work in this machine. I am new to card making, and I thought this would be a good 'all purpose' purchase. It was not, and shame on me for not doing more research up front. I ended up buying the Sizzix Big Shot and I really, really like it; especially the easy to use all-in-one platform.

I do like the levered suction-cup that firmly adheres the Grand Caliber to the work surface.

Bottom-line, I recommend the Sizzix Big Shot.
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on January 4, 2013
I own a Big Shot. Just received the Grand Calibur yesterday. Awesome! So easy to use and easy to turn the handle. All sandwiches are basically the same, no matter what die you use. Takes less time for me to use without having to make sure my sandwich is correct like the Big Shot. Used Cuttlebug embossing folder and Couture (sp) Creations embossing folder with the acrylic plate from my Big Shot on Top (saw this on Facebook); two folders at once; excellent impression! Able to fit Edgeabilities without having to fold over card thereby omitting slight impression on back of card, which happened with Big Shot. Stuck to my craft mat with no problems. Read prior reviews re: handle breaking, it's so easy to turn, perhaps their sandwich was incorrect. Of course, I've only had one day but after using Big Shot, this GC is a piece of cake and awesome that you can fit 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper in it too! Well worth it!
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