Ever wondered what the three scariest words are for a papercrafter? Broken Big Shot – those are the words! And it’s happened – to me! I was working on a card, as usual, and running a cover plate die through my Big Shot, when the die got stuck. Okay – don’t panic, I told myself. I tried turning the handle forward, then backwards. No luck. I tried pushing the platform through while turning the handle. No luck. I gave up trying to turn the handle, and tried just pushing the platform through. Finally – it went through!
WHEN GOOD MACHINES GO BAD
Now, I’ve had this Big Shot for almost 8 years, and I use it pretty much daily. It has lived through prepping for card classes, workshops, swap cards, Christmas cards. In other words, it has helped me make thousands of cards! I can’t complain that it hasn’t been a quality machine. But at almost 8 years old, it’s way past it’s 3 year warranty, which it came with when I got it from Stampin’ Up! all those years ago.
After I finally released the stuck die and platforms, the Big Shot did work, for a few more cuts. Then…nothing. The handled dutifully turned, but there was no pressure, no familiar ‘grabbing’ of the platforms to pull them through and commence cutting. Okay – now I could panic!
WHAT TO DO
Well, the first thing I did was go online, looking for others who, like me, needed to fix their machine. Because we all know, misery loves company! Plus, everyone loves to share a success story, so I thought I’d find a solution. There’s plenty of stories out there, and pictures to boot. But, I decided that since my mechanical abilities are limited (read *almost nil*), I turned to my husband, who is in fact a mechanic. Okay, he’s a marine transport refrigeration mechanic – but he knows about screws and gears and how to take things apart, and put them back together!
This, my friends, is what it looks like when your Big Shot has been taken apart! (his good Snap On tools are in the work truck, so he’s ‘making do’ with what’s in the house). Those are my initials, on the bottom of my Big Shot – that’s the middle of the base, in case you don’t recognize it.
“For the want of a horseshoe, the horse was lost” – is that how the saying goes? Well, it turns out that the problem appears to be the loss of a tiny little ‘circlip’ or ‘snap ring’ that holds the bearing in place. It keeps it from sliding up while turning, which is what apparently had been happening. On the inside of the plastic housing, you could see the wear marks.
See that little horseshoe looking clip, on the bottom cog-like wheel thingy? (sorry for my technical terms! LOL) And how there isn’t one on the top one? Yeah – that’s what’s needed. Now, this tiny missing piece is worth maybe 50 cents – but do you think we have one? Home Depot doesn’t have them, either. My husband has lots in his tool boxes – but not the ‘right’ one. So, after dinner tonight he’s off to a supplier, to see if he can find the right one.
I’ll let you know tomorrow how it all works it out! Now that you know the three scariest words, I’m hoping that tonight I will hear the three happiest words – Big Shot fixed! Until then, my work space is taken over, so I can’t even photograph the one finished project I have. In the meantime – take care of your tools, and appreciate them! You never realize how much you depend on them, until they aren’t working!