Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Review of the Grand Calibur

Some of you know that a while back, my awesome hubby got me a GREAT gift - the Grand Calibur.  I thought that I would share with you my thoughts and observations about  George in action.  So here it is.

 The retail price of the Grand Calibur is 149.99.  As some of you know, I used a 50% off coupon from Joann's to purchase my Grand Calibur in the store (Michaels), making the cost of the machine $79.00 after taxes and all (a super good deal).

Product Description
The Grand Calibur is a large format die cutting and embossing machine made by Spellbinders (the same company that made the Wizard and makes Nestabilities dies).  This machine was made with the avid paper crafter on a budget in mind, as it is easy to transport but still able to be used on larger projects.  When you purchase the machine, you will get the following in the box:

·      Grand Calibur Machine
·      One (1) 8.5x12 A Plate
·      Two (2) 8.5x12 B Plates
·      One (1) 8.5x12 C Plate
·      Tan Embossing Mat

Some of you may be wondering about some early reviews that state that you cannot use an 8.5x11 piece of paper in the machine without modifying it.  This is true if you purchased your Grand Calibur BEFORE January 2012.  If you purchase a machine found in stores AFTER January 2012, the Grand Calibur comes out of the box ready to use a full sheet of 8.5x12 sheet of paper.  Also, if you purchased a Grand Calibur shipped to stores AFTER January 2012, then your Grand Calibur will also come with the 8.5x12 Plate Set - you don't have to purchase this separately.

In Use
This die cut machine has several helpful features that make it stand apart from its other competitors.  First, the Grand Calibur has a suction control on it, that you can lock and unlock.  The nice thing about this feature is that you can self-determine the amount of suction to the surface you are working on.  In my experience of working with the Grand Calibur, this has been very useful as I can ensure that the machine will not move around when in use.  As stated previously, this is large format die cutting machine, but unlike its competitors, it has large size with a small foot print.  The Grand Calibur is easy to store when not in use, and is actually only about 5 inches longer than the Provo Craft Cuttlebug, and about the same width.  This is a huge benefit if you want a larger base to your die cutting machine without taking up much space.  Another benefit to the small size is that this machine is easy to carry and pack – making ideal for both on-the-go and at-home crafting.  The cutting surface of the Grand Calibur is also another feature of this awesome machine.  Despite the small carbon foot-print of the Grand Calibur, it handles an 8.5x12 inch platform.  While working with the Grand Calibur I also found the following pros and cons:

·      Small Carbon Foot Print
·      8.5x12 die cutting space
·      Suction Setting
·      Compatible with other industry dies
·      Detachable handle for more easy transportation and storage
·      Can cut paper, thin metal, thin cork, acetate/plastic, thin chipboard, fabric

·      Cannot use Sizzix original or Embosslit Dies
·      Unable to handle thick materials
·      Some of the larger, compatible Grand Nestabilities Dies do not take advantage of the space available

Tips & Techniques
If you have a Grand Calibur, or thinking about getting one, you may be curious about ways to use this die cut machine or tips.  Below, I am including some tips and techniques I have learned along the way.

·      You can load up a whole 8.5x12 sheet of paper with different types of dies
·      You can use multiple embossing folders at the same time
·      The Grand Nestabilities (which are designed to be used with the large format of the machine) are great for making mini albums or large geometric elements for your 12x12 scrapbook layouts

·      Trying making a shaped mini album using the different sized and shaped dies
·      You can make shaped cards in various sizes
·      Emboss the Spellbinders or Sizzix Framelits into card fronts to create a beautiful and unique embossing look

Industry Products that are Compatible with the Grand Calibur
For those of you who are researching the different industry available options for an at-home die cutting station, I thought I would share some of the industry compatible products for the Grand Calibur. 

·      Sizzix Framelits (with some that also have matching stamps)
·      Sizzix Sizzlits
·      Provocraft Cuttlebug Dies
·      All industry embossing folders (Cuttlebug, Sizzix, Spellbinders, etc.)
·      Want 2 Scrap offers a large range of chipboard and other mediums that are designed specifically to work with the Spellbinders line of dies
·      Several companies offer rubber and acrylic stamps that are designed to be used/layered with Spellbinders products (i.e. Just Rite Stamps, Unity Stamp Co, Gina K. Designs)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful words of wisdom. I appreciate the time you have taken to share this with us & am going to purchase a Grand Calibur soon because of this post.