I've been using my Big Shot for a while now and I'm fairly comfortable with it.
But I have to say that some of the basics I take for granted.
So just before teaching a recent Big Shot Sampler class I asked some of my fellow Stampin' Up! Demos and other Big Shot users to send me their tips and reminders that I could pass along to NEW Big Shot users.
Here are some tips that I compiled from my own experience and their replies:
1. The Big Shot machine comes with 2 clear plates. Right off the bat mark one for cutting. Use only the cutting mat on top of your sandwich stacks. Be sure to rotate the cutting plate back to front and side to side.
It is normal for your cutting plate to get "cut up" with marks from your dies.
BUT if your cutting plate starts to curl do not attempt to flatten it with your heat tool or by running it through your machine "bump" side up in a tight stack. It may crack and break!
It is still useable with a curl but you are now committed to running it through your machine with the ends curled up. You may also have to push the curled up end down to start your stack when running it through your machine.
Ideally it would best to have 3 plates on the go - 1 for cutting, 1 for the bottom of the stack and another 1 to use for embossing only as a top plate.
2. Each machine is slightly different. Each user should play with their machine to "get to know it". Don't be alarmed if the recommended sandwich stack does not work in your machine. Simply experiment and make adjustments.
3. Once you get to know your machine you may want to run some samples through and record on them your unique recipes if different from the MPP. You may also want to make your own laminated "recipe" shims and keep them with your machine.
4. If you are using patterned or textured paper the "good side" must face your die unless you want a mirror image - especially important when cutting alphas!
Same goes for the embossing folders - "if" it's important that the patterned side of your paper be embossed rather than debossed make sure you load it face up and have the folder's logo be face up as well - on the Cuttlebug folder the top side is the side that says Cuttlebug and Provo Craft on it.
5. It is recommended to run your MPP binding end in first.
6. Push your stack through slightly to get the "kick" from your handle to see which way to crank it.
7. If the handle is not pulling through your sandwich check:
a. your handle to see if it is properly tightened
b. your top plate to see if it is curled up and catching on the roller
8. It is normal for some stacks to "crack" when using dies such as Nestabilities. That noise is the sound of the paper being cut. A crunching/splintering sound is not normal especially if you are struggling to crank your stack through. This means that your stack is TOO TIGHT and you should adjust by taking a layer out (tab, shim etc).
9. When using embossing folders there may be descrepancies in sandwich stack instructions. Sizzix says Tab 2, Cuttlebug may be Tab 1 or no Tab. I personally use Tab 1 for all types of folders but it depends on the paper being embossed and the tightness of your machine.
10. Steel rule dies will cut all kinds of material. There is no need to use a silicone mat with these dies unless you want to cut through them!! You need the silicone mat for the texturz plates or embossing Nestabilities (but be forewarned that the blade will leave an impression but should not cut through).
11. It is normal for the Crease pad to become slightly marked up as well.
12. I printed out labels and attached them to my Crease pad with the stack for my machine and to my SHIMS with "SHIMS DO NOT THROW OUT!".
13. When using Texturz Impression plates spritz your paper with water to get a better impression.
14. For you visual girls click HERE for an awesome video!
I hope you find this info as useful as I have when using your Big Shot machine.
If you see something that needs clarifying or correcting please let me know.