I bought the Big Shot a short time ago. Now I'm a crafter who has had a Cuddlebug and an Excalibur and I'm here to tell you that the Big Shot is the easiest machine to use...in my opinion. I love it! Scrapbook.com also had the best price and sale at the time I purchased this machine. I would recommend you check here before checking anyplace else before to buy. There is a reason more crafters use the Big Shot and I now know why!! Do you want to know why?
I've been using another company's die cutting machine since I started card making 3-4 years ago. I've been ok with its performance, but could tell it was lacking, just from all the tutorial videos I watched with people using the Big Shot. I've only had this a week but can already tell it's miles above my old machine in quality, performance, and ease of use. I wish I'd have gotten this brand when I first started paper crafting! I highly recommend!!
So far I am loving the whole die cut craft! It was very confusing at first what additional parts I need to make the “sandwich”. It seems there are a lot of add ons. I find that if I stick with products from one company, excluding the dies, then all the parts work.
As for dies, I make sure I stay with “thinlits” or wafer thin die cuts.