Hello robin, I have a question about manual, hand crank die cutters. Which tool has the widest platform for cutting, as in from left to right or side to side? It looks like the Grand Calibur from Spellbinders may be the one. They list their cutting width as 8 1/2 inches, but Cuttlebug and Big Shot don't give any cutting measurements for width, at least that i can find. I've never had a die cutter before, and I am disabled and can't get out to the stores to look at them in person to compare them. Would you be able to tell me which one you think would be the best purchase, as far as reliability and good construction of the tool, and also considering general use? My funds are limited, and there is a large price difference between Cuttlebug and Spellbinders. I just do general paper crafting and cards, so I don't really need a big machine. I appreciate your time and your help, Robin. God Bless, kathy Runnals
— louise, AZ on Feb 21, 2012

The die cutting machine with the widest opening is the Big Shot Pro at 13 inches. However, this machine is $349.99. Here is a link to this machine on the Annex (it is not available in stores): http://www.archiversannex.com/Sizzix-Big-Shot-Pro-Machine--656250/default.aspx?PageID=21&CategoryID=99&ProductID=20600&ItemID=46704&RootCatCode=11200

The die cutting machines we use most often are the Big Shot and the Vagabond (both from Sizzix and both available in stores and online). The Big Shot comes with either a crank handle or as an electric machine that just requires the push of a button to run the dies or embossing folders through. The Vagabond is also an electric machine that just requires the push of a button. You can also cut up to 7 sheets of cardstock when using the Vagabond and Bigz dies. Here are links to both of these machines:

http://www.archiversannex.com/Sizzix-Vagabond-Machine-Inspired-By-Tim-Holtz-US-Version-656850/default.aspx?PageID=21&CategoryID=99&ProductID=29116&ItemID=60997&RootCatCode=11200

http://www.archiversannex.com/Sizzix-Big-Shot-Machine-Black-655268/default.aspx?PageID=21&CategoryID=99&ProductID=17952&ItemID=39933&RootCatCode=11200

The Cuttlebug and Spellbinders machines are also very popular, however, we do not have a lot of experience using these machines. Both allow you to cut and emboss, just like the Big Shot and Vagabond. It really does boil down to personal preference and how much you'd like to spend on a machine. Hope this helps!