we got some wedding gift money so i decided to splurge on a Big Shot die cutting machine (right now only $60 at overstock). i won't lie--it looks like a tacky cheap piece of shit but it works fairly well. i like how it is relatively heavy and quite stable. the handle is easy to turn and i was able to cut 6 layers of fabric. i think i might have been able to go up to 8 but i was afraid of forcing it too much.
i got a tiny hst die, the two drunkard's path dies, and a 2.5" square. the finished HST is an odd size, 1 7/8" and you still have to cut off the dog ears. they have larger HST dies that eliminate the dog ears. i don't see myself using this HST much because it is very small. i don't know what i was thinking.
i tried out the dies with some it's a hoot scraps i had lying around. i had some issues with "hanging chads" where the fabric doesn't separate completely. for that reason i don't know that i'm completely sold on the machine yet. i'm going to try a few different things to try to fix that problem.
otherwise it is nice how quick it is to cut fabric using the machine. i stitched up the drunkard's path block and HSTs last night and it went very smoothly. if i purchase other dies it will probably be for shapes that are a pain in the ass to cut normally, like the apple core, and/or a larger and more practically sized HST. i can see myself using the 2.5" square a lot, and for that reason i might purchase the charm square die as well.
i know that the big shot is a multipurpose machine that does all kinds of papercutting things but i doubt i will ever use it for that purpose. the last thing i need is another craft. i do think it will come in handy for quilting, but right now i would consider it a luxury, not anything essential.