Hello crafty friends and followers. I hope all is well with you, and that you are all happy and creative.
Recently, I have been in the very fortunate position of being able to buy a new die-cutting machine because a dear friend sponsored one for me for my classes. Mine unfortunately broke and I was not able to fix the handle as it is the area of most force. I tried a few different options with bolts and epoxy, but they all broke.
I have been doing a lot of research into which machine I would need, and which I would prefer, based on price, size the machine can cut, how reliable and solid it is, and if I will be able to buy plates in the future when they warp and need replacing. After a lot of research and a lot of online comparisons, I have found the following machines to be available here in South Africa:
- PressBoss Pro
- PressBoy Pro
- Couture Creations GoCut and Emboss
- Crafter’s Companion – Gemini Die-Cutting and Embossing Electronic Machine
- Sizzix Big Shop Plus
- Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway
I have used a lot of machines (never used an electronic one) and generally found that the ones that flip open (such as the Cuttlebug, and the fold-away Sizzix) tended to be less sturdy than the ones that are a solid bottom construction. I have also used shorter machines like the Grand Calibur that don’t really have a wide base but have suction cups to hold it steady. I also noticed that some machines tended to have more warping in the plates than others. I don’t know if this was a personal process result or as the result of a specific die or embossing folder, but it seemed to be worse in the fold-away machines.
I also noticed that with the relatively new 3D embossing folders, the “sandwich” for some machines was not as easy to create and swap as others due to the thicknesses of the plates available. For example, the sandwich you used for an older 2D embossing folder was not sufficient for the new thicker 3D ones and I know at least one lady who broke her machine trying to use the same sandwich. All brands do have all sorts of online sandwich recipes and suggestions – always recommend testing and erring on the side of caution, using paper shims before going up a size in plate, but we don’t always craft cautiously, do we?
I noticed a machine at one of my local shops that was a larger one – it fitted an A4 rather than the most common A5 ones, but it had only two plates. The base plate (which all machines have) plus only 1 other plate (instead of 2 or 3 of varying thickness for different applications or dies). The Nellie Snellen PressBoss Pro has a unique feature where instead of using a different sandwich, you actually open the aperture narrower or wider according to your application. It also seemed to be a more solid machine and felt like it had more metal innards than some of the ones I have used before.
I wasn’t able to find any new Cuttlebug machines for sale, and believe they are no longer made. There are several second-hand ones to be had on various craft sites, but I had made my mind up that I wanted an A4 one.
Based on the information I had, it seemed to me that there was one machine that was best because
- It had only 2 plates and did not need a sandwich. I only needed to change the aperture
- It was A4
- It was very sturdy and solid
- It turns like a dream and doesn’t make your hands or arms tired after cutting several things for the next class
- It was cheaper than some A5 machines
- It has solid backup and parts are available
The machine that won for me was the Nellie’s PressBoss Pro.
Here is a table of all the information I gathered from the various sites, and it was all correct at the time of this article. This is all my own opinion, and any errors are possibly my fault for copying information wrongly from the various shops here in South Africa.
|Crafter’s Companion – Gemini Die-Cutting and Embossing Electronic Machine
|Sizzix – Big Shot Plus
|Couture Creations GoCut and Emboss
|R2550 – R2750
|Sizzix – Big Shot Foldaway
|R3,500 – R6000
I hope this information is useful to you, and I would welcome any discussion or further information you would like to add. This is just what I think based on what I could find. No company has given me any money or products or anything else to influence this article. I am happy to let anyone know which shops I found for these items, and where they are available.
Here is the detailed table of cutting machines currently available in South Africa if you want to see what I was able to find.
Thank you for popping in, and I hope you are all enjoying the Spring, along with the lovely blossoms and heat it has brought.
See you all again soon.
|Press Boss Pro Die-cutting and embossing machine
Rollers are adjustable in height Includes base plate, transparent plate and embossing mat
The PressBoss Pro die-cutting and embossing machine from Nellie Snellen cuts and embosses all kinds of materials up to A4 size. From paper and cardstock to fabric, foam, felt and more. Because you can adjust the distance between the rollers, you can effortlessly use most embossing folders and dies of different thicknesses in the PressBoss Pro.
In addition, you only need the two included plates and embossing mat to create the most beautiful cut-outs and embossing decorations with a cutting template or embossing folder of your choice. Create depth in your cards and make the most beautiful crafts by combining different materials. Watch the manual provided and/or the product video for all applications. The machine rotates very lightly, making it ideal for people with rheumatism or osteoarthritis.
The PressBoss Pro includes the following:
1 white base plate 1 transparent plate 1 embossing mat A5 Manual
The plates and embossing mat will eventually need replacing and are available separately.
Handle also available
|Couture Creations GoCut and Emboss
Included with each machine: 1 x Base Plate (A) 2 x Cutting Plates (B) 1 x Die Adapter Plate (C) 1 x Metal Adapter Mat PLUS an introductory manual with everything you need to know!
Approx R2550 – R2750
|Crafter’s Companion – Gemini Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine A4 – Global Version (electronic machine) A4
Included in the box: Gemini Machine Clear Cutting Platform x 2 Metal Cutting Platform Magnetic Shim Plastic Shim Rubber Embossing Mat Gemini – 3D Folder – Ornate Lace Gemini – Multi Media Die – Hexagons Gemini – Die – Floral Frame Gemini – Die – Blossoming Borders Gemini – Die – Flourishing Elements User Guide Power Cable
No transformer required
|Sizzix – Big Shot Plus (A4) Machine
It’s everything you love about the Big Shot – plus the versatility to use 8 1/2″ x 11″ materials! With a sleek white and gray color scheme and the Sizzix logo embossed on the handle, the Big Shot Plus die cutting Machine offers plenty of stylish appeal with the same versatility of working with the entire Sizzix product library (with the exception of Bigz Pro dies) – including our smallest to our big 9″ wide plastic-backed dies and embossing tools. If that wasn’t big enough, this portable roller machine cuts and embosses many different materials.
Create your own one-of-a-kind cards, invitations, scrapbook pages, home décor, fashion, altered art, quilting and much more!
The Big Shot Plus is compatible with all leading brands dies & embossing folders (Bigz XL, Bigz Plus, Bigz L, Bigz, Original Bigz, Thinlits, Sizzlits, Ink Its, Framelists, Die’sire, Spellbinders, Xcut, Kaisercraft Dies, Lifestyle crafts dies and more, as long as they A4 or smaller when using the correct adapters.
Please carefully read the instructions and never force a die or folder through your machine. Only the Big Shot Pro dies won’t go through as they are 30cm x 30cm/60cm in size Included with the Big Shot Plus die cutting machine are a pair of A4 Cutting Pads and the Big Shot Plus Platform and Adapters A & B, which makes all Sizzix components thinner than a Bigz Die compatible with the Big Shot Plus Machine and even works with other brands’ dies and embossing tools!
|Sizzix – Big Shot Foldaway Machine Only (White & Gray)
Includes 1 Big Shot Foldaway Machine, 1 Platform, 1 Thin Die Adapter, 1 Pair of Cutting Pads Die-cut and embosses many different materials up to 15. 24cm (6″) wide.
This Big Shot Machine is also compatible with the entire Sizzix product library including Bigz, Thinlits, Framelits dies, Textured Impressions, Texture Fades and Impresslits Embossing Folders (with the exception of Big Plus and Big Pro dies).
Approx R3,500 – R6000