Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lifestyle Crafts Genius Platform–My Review

genius
I am a Stampin’ Up demonstrator.  I love Stampin’ Up products.  Does this mean I ONLY use Stampin’ Up products?  Maybe that’s the case for some demonstrators, but I am a crafter and I look for products that meet my needs.  Sometimes those products are not offered by Stampin’ Up.  Anyway, I buy other brands of products in addition to Stampin’ Up ones.  What follows is a long, wall-of-text, if you will, review of a new product that is not from Stampin’ Up.   
Several months ago I heard about a new product coming to the market.  It was a magnetic die cutting platform that would work in all major brands of die cut machines.  See, I had a problem with my Framelits & Edgelits moving around on my other platform.  I resorted to using tape, which just seemed like a hassle.  I read about this new product that would hold onto my metal dies and seemingly improve my crafting experience.  I ordered the product in May and have waited patiently for it’s arrival which was delayed several times.  Finally it came yesterday.  Woo Hoo! 
Before I continue this review, I need to admit to another non-Stampin’ Up item in my craftroom.  I have a Cuttlebug.  Yes, I know I sell the BigShot.  I like the BigShot, but I already had the Cuttlebug, so it seemed wasteful to buy another die cutting machine, especially when the Cuttlebug works so well.  On the Lifestyle Crafts site it says it works with all major brands of die cutting machines.  Cuttlebug is also specifically listed.  Well when my new magnetic plates arrived yesteday I found that I was literally having to cram them into the machine.  To say it’s a tight fit would be an understatement.  I did get the plates through the machine and successfully cut some paper, but I had to use force to get the plates out.  They won’t roll all the way thru like the Cuttlebug plates.  I decided my product was defective and contacted Lifestyle Crafts.  After all, this system costs $50 and I wanted it to work.  Today I heard back from the company.  It seems that their product only works with the NEW Cuttlebug.  It’s very disappointing and it would have been awesome if they had mentioned this previously.  Granted the picture of the Cuttlebug on their box is the new version, they give the impression that their system will work with all products and it won’t. 
Also, let me discuss the other good and bad points of the product.  First off, I thought the platform would be a magnet.  I knew it was “magnetic” and I assumed that would be the entire plate.  I was kind of surprised when I removed it from the box and found small magnets placed on the back of the platform every inch or so.  The back looks sort of like a honeycomb and the magnets are inserted up into the holes.  Frankly the appearance doesn’t matter to me, but I did notice that having the magnets spaced every inch isn’t quite the same as having a sheet of magnet across the platform.  For example, I thought this would be a great opportunity to create a frame.  I put one framelit inside another one and found it not as easy as I had thought.  In the past, I’d tape them into place to create a frame.  On this platform the metal dies move.  They pull in the direction of the closest magnet.  I’d put the center framelit in place and it would shift so it was touching the larger one.  It was really aggravating.  I found I could eventually get it to work, but it took moving the dies all over the platform to find just the right spot to keep the dies at a good distance from each other.  All the while I’m thinking using the tape was faster and easier. 
Then there are the A & B plates.  They aren’t hard plastic like the Big Shot or Cuttlebug plates.  They are a little spongy, more like a self-healing mat.  I think this is where this system shined.  I ran my fancy Finishing Touches Edgelit thru and it worked wonders.  All those little pieces popped out without me resorting to using a piercing tool.  I wanted to try it with the doily die, but there was another problem.  The $50 Genius system comes with only 1 A & 1B mat.  I’d need an extra one to cut sizzlits and that’s sold separately.  I doubt I’ll be purchasing an extra mat, so I will never know if my doily would cut out with ease. 
Overall I think this product has more negative points than positives and I won’t be recommending it to my friends.  Actually I feel bad I recommended it before.  I got everyone so excited about this new miracle product, which isn’t at all what I expected.  Sad smile  Sometimes if something sounds too good to be true, it is.

**June 2013 Update:
Stampin' Up has added a new Big Shot Magnetic Platform ($40) to their 2013-2014 catalog.  I was excited to see this after the problems I experienced with the Genius system.  I will say that I have not yet seen the product in person.  One of the problems I had with the Genius was that it wasn't a full magnetic sheet and that caused my framelits to "jump" around, rather than staying in place as expected.  According to Stampin' Up Demonstrator Services, the new Big Shot platform has 18 magnets.  Does that mean it will work much like the Genius?  That makes me hesitant to buy.  I hope to get to try it out at a demonstrator event in the next couple of months.  Once I can make a recommendation, I'll post it here.

September 2013 UPDATE:  I ordered the new Big Shot Magnetic Platform.  This is my video review comparing it to the Lifestyle Crafts Genius.  I am pleased with the Sizzix product and I'm very happy I purchased it.  At this point I feel comfortable giving it my 2 Thumbs Up!  It's important to note that the Big Shot platform will not fit into either of the Cuttlebug models I own.  The Lifestyle Crafts Genius will fit into my newer Cuttlebug and the Big Shot, but will not fit into the older Cuttlebug.   
   

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for an honest review of this product. I too thought it would be an entire magnetic sheet. How disappointing. So glad I found your post as you've just saved me $60 and a lot of disappointment!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the review. I guess I must live in a cave because I just very recently heard about this product and considered buying one. You and others who have reviewed this product have saved me money. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this. I was contemplating getting this product and was about to hit "Checkout" then I stumbled on your enlightening review. I will hold off purchasing it for now. Hopefully an improvement to the product comes up in the next few months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please watch the video review I did comparing the Genius to the Big Shot Magnetic Platform. One comes out as the clear winner. :)

      Delete
  4. I also wonder what if you would like to cut out a stamped image? That means you need to place your cardstock directly on the magnetic platform, then the die with the cutting side down (I think the directions say cutting side up), then the mat. So... does this mean it will then mark the magnetic platform? Kinda defeats the purpose of having a magnetic platform doesn't it? 'Cause I'd want it more for cutting precise images rather than "just a diecut". I would think that if you just want the diecut mat... it's not even necessary to "tape" your die down. It's easier to stamp then diecut. I use my framelits mostly cut side down. Could you help me understand then how this or any of the systems coming out... will help if you can't place the diecut OVER the image to cut? Thank you. ~Shelley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I understand correctly, you want to place the die cutting side down, which makes perfect sense when trying to line it up with an image you have already stamped. Unfortunately, you cannot do that with the Genius platform. The platform with the magnets will go magnet side down, then your dies with the cutting edge facing up, then your paper, then the self-healing cutting mat. If you wanted it to line up, you would still need to tape it. This, combined with the way the magnets are spaced make it pretty impossible to use without using tape or post-it note to keep things where you want them. Sorry I couldn't give you better news. :(

      Stampin' Up does have a magnetic platform coming out in June 2013 for the Sizzix Big Shot. I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it will have the same limitations as the Lifestyle Crafts Genius. I am hoping it will have a solid magnetic piece instead of all the little magnets. I am not sure, however, that it will work upside down so that the dies can be placed with cutting side down. Seems like we might not be able to get rid of the tape or post-it tape just yet.. we'll see.

      Delete
  5. reading the SU catty right now and it says "magnets are inside the platform", so doesnt sound like a solid piece

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am thankful that I found you site and your experience with the metallic platform from Big Shot. I was seriously considering using in on my Cuttlebug (also an older version) so this review helped make up my mind. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had every intention of purchasing the Big Shot Magnetic Platform. But after reading your review, I will not. Because I too have an older Cuttlebug, which works great for other projects. I'll save some money and stick to what I have. Thanks for your review!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I thought I'd share a comment I received from another reader, Donna Marie, "I corresponded with someone that had seen one at a demonstrators' meeting or some place like that, and said the platform was very strong. I therefore took the chance and bought it since I had some birthday money. I'm glad I did! That sucker is definitely magnetic with no "cold spots". It is so strong, one of the Bigz dies I bought that was in the package with the platform was actually adhering to it. (Try it - foam side on the platform.) It holds the wafer thin dies and paper like no tape ever has, LOL!"

    Sounds like it's working as advertised.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Does the stampin up magnetic platform work in the old cuttlebug?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't own the new platform, so I haven't personally tried it. I did speak with another demonstrator at the annual convention who said it would not fit through her cuttlebug. She did not, however, specify if she had the new or the older model. Since the reviews have been good, I'm going to take a chance and order it once it's available again. I'll post here if I find it does fit through either of my Cuttlebug machines.

      Delete
    2. OK.. I tried it and the Big Shot Magnetic platform does not fit through either of my Cuttlebug machines... not the new style and not the old either. Maybe Cuttlebug will come out with one in the future. Or you might decide to get a Big Shot (which is what I ended up doing.)

      Delete
  10. The Big Shot platform that Stampin' Up! is selling actually has 40 magnets and the dies do not move around to the closest magnet. I've used every size of framelit and all of them (plus the thinlets) stick tightly and don't move. I even use the platform with a battered, scarred up plate and the magnets still hold the dies. Am I happy? Yes! Am I upset that Stampin' Up! ran out almost immediately and is causing mutters among my customers? Yes!! But I would recommend the platform to everyone. Once my customers used mine during their make-n-takes they all wanted one.

    ReplyDelete