Hmm, Blue, I believe that once I figured out that the pads were curved, I was putting them so that they were each curved in a different direction. (One with the curve up, the other with the curve down.) Maybe if I try putting them in the same direction? It still seems weird to me that this would happen after only about 10 cuts, though. (I bought the machine brand new amazon, it even came in this obnoxious plastic box.)
I am pretty sure the die is the right side up, as it makes an impression but doesn't actually cut. Plus, I tried it a whole bunch of different ways and nothing helped!
I am starting to think that maybe I just got a bum die?