Silhouette Cameo Review – Print and Cut

Introduction

The software for the Silhouette Cameo allows you to use your usual printer to print images and then cut these images using the Silhouette Cameo.  It does this by telling your printer not only to print the image, but registration marks (1” perpendicular lines) at the corners of your page.  The Cameo then reads these marks as it is cutting.

When you put the printed image into the Cameo, you have an option to either let the Cameo find the registration automatically, or to manually orient the machine to the first registration mark.

 

How Well Does the Cameo Cut Around the Images?

White-Edged Images

Many of the more recent images in the Silhouette online store come with a rim of white around them so that if the cut is not exact, you don’t notice.  If you look closely at the Bugs Bunny die cut, for instance, you’ll see that the white near his feet is actually wider than the white by the top of his ear.  It doesn’t matter though – the image still looks great!

globe bugs bunney-2 bugs bunney

Images That You Fill in Yourself

The Silhouette Cameo gives you the ability to take a cutting shape and fill it with either a solid color or a pattern.  When you do this, there is no white edging all the way around.  This type of example better demonstrates how the Silhouette Cameo Print and Cut feature works.  The examples below are representative of my experiences with the Cameo.  The cutting is very accurate, but it does leave some white edging around certain parts of the images. 

It’s possible to correct this problem by using the offset feature.  You can use the offset to create a slightly larger figure to fill; and print this.  When it comes time to cut, you can use the original image so that it cuts slightly inside the printed image.  This is a little time consuming though.

The other option is to use the approach that is used in the Bugs Bunny image above; you can use the offset feature to create a cut line that will leave a small white border around your entire image.

 

flourishes

wings

 

Problem with Some Files

I found that there are some images in the Silhouette store that would print and cut fine at the original size, but a problem developed when they were made smaller or bigger. 

In the next two sets of pictures the one on the left is a screen capture from the Silhouette software, and the second photo is the print and cut generated from that screen.

The first set was print and cut at the original image size.  Notice that on the screen capture, the cut lines (i.e. the grayish lines) are right around the colored image. (Please ignore the yellow stripes in the printed version – that is a problem with my printer and has nothing to do with the Silhouette Cameo.)

flower screenshot regular flower original size

 

This is a screen capture of the same flower that has been resized in the software.  Notice that the cut lines (i.e. the grayish lines) are no longer flush along the colored image.  The Cameo cut along the cut lines, but unfortunately they were in the wrong place.

flower unaligned 1 larger flower smaller printed

 

I found numerous other files that had this same problem.  Most of the print and cut files that I own are over one year old, and I didn’t notice it in the few newer files that I own.  Hopefully this problem has been corrected in the newer files.  It caused me quite a bit of frustration though because I kept trying ways to get a better cut before I realized there was a problem with the file.

 

Manual Detection of Registration Marks

I tried the feature that allows you to manually detect the first registration mark, but this seemed to make no difference in the accuracy of the cut.

Calibration

Because I was having a problem with the Print and Cut feature (due to a file problem – see above), I tried calibrating my Silhouette Cameo to improve the cutting performance.  This turned out to be quite a bothersome process, partially because the instructions are not as clear as they could be, and partially because it is a multi-step process. 

Luckily, this is supposed to be at most a one time process that you do not need to repeat.

 

Conclusion

In my experience, the Silhouette Cameo cut very close to the edges of the image, though not exactly on the edges.  Many of the images for sale in the Silhouette online store seem to overcome this by putting a plain white border around the image.  When creating images at home, you can overcome this by using the offset feature and a few additional steps.

If you are having difficulty cutting an image properly, be sure to look at the file on your computer screen and check that the cutting lines are set up correctly.

 

If you would like to see other parts of this review, click on one of these links:

Silhouette Cameo – Overview

Silhouette Cameo – Cardstock Tests

Silhouette Cameo – Cutting Plastic for Stencils

Leave a Comment