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Silhouette Troubleshooting >> Silhouette Hardware Issues >> Registration mark reading OR print & cut misalignment issue

Registration mark reading OR print & cut misalignment issue

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Issue Description

The registration marks on a print & cut job cannot be read properly and so the auto-registration mark reading process fails OR there is a concern with proper alignment of the resulting cut line placement for print & cut jobs.

Cause

There are a number of concerns that may be encountered when using registration marks for print & cut alignment and which may cause the registration marks not to be read properly (thus causing a misalignment) or read at all. Prior to reviewing these, please note that the use of registration marks is only for print & cut projects. Please keep in mind that the registration marks setting should not be checked if there are no actual printed registration marks on the material in question that is being cut.


The following can cause registration mark reading failure:

  • The latest version of Silhouette Studio® is not in use
  • The cutting mat settings in the software do not match the actual set up
  • The mat or material is not being loaded properly
  • The material is not being loaded placed properly onto the cutting mat or is in the wrong orientation
  • The material in use has a color or surface that is not conducive to the optic scanner and so registration marks cannot be read properly on the material type in question
  • The registration marks are not printed clearly or properly
  • The optic scanner is obstructed
  • There is not a good light source for the optic scanner to be able to see the registration marks

The following can cause registration marks appear to be read properly but result in misalignment of the cutting contour:

  • The material in use has a color or surface that is not conducive to the optic scanner and so registration marks appear to be read properly but are not
  • A portion of the image falls into the hash mark area near the registration marks (the "no print zone"), which causes the optic scanner to think part of the print information is a portion of the registration mark and causes a resulting misalignment
  • The registration marks are not fully or properly printed
  • The registration mark settings have been adjusted to a customized setting that is not actually conducive to proper registration mark reading for the material size in question
  • The printer page settings do not match the selected Page size settings selected in the Silhouette Studio® program
Resolution

Registration Marks cannot be read (automated reading process fails)

Check the following point as print & cut jobs are attempted in order to ensure the registration marks are able to be successfully read.

  1. Update the Silhouette Studio® software to ensure the most current software version is in use.
  2. Ensure the cutting mat settings in the software match the actual set up. Go to the Page tools icon and check the cutting mat settings. If a specialty material is in use that does not require a mat and the cutting mat is being bypassed, ensure the cutting mat is set to None. If a cutting mat is being used (regardless of what material type is in use), ensure that the correct cutting mat setting is selected according to the actual mat size in use.
  3. Check the loading method on the Silhouette machine to ensure the right loading option is being selected.
    Since the loading methods will feed the mat or material in at differing distances, if the wrong loading method is being used, then the registration marks will not be able to be properly located.
    • If using the Silhouette SD + cutting mat - Select Load w/Carrier
    • If using the Silhouette SD without a cutting mat - Select Load Media
    • If using the Silhouette Cameo + cutting mat - Select Load Cutting Mat
    • If using the Silhouette Cameo without a cutting mat - Select Load Media
    • If using the Silhouette Portrait + a cutting mat - Select the Load Cutting Mat button
      portrait_load_mat.png
    • If using the Silhouette Portrait without a cutting mat - Select the Load Media button
      portrait_load_media.png
  4. Ensure the material is being loaded in the proper orientation as shown on screen. If there a cutting mat is not being use, then ensure the material is loaded into the Silhouette in the direction of the arrow shown on the computer screen. If a cutting mat is in use, then ensure the material is placed onto the mat exactly as shown on the computer screen.
  5. Ensure the registration marks are printed clearly and properly. The optic scanner is only able to read marks that are clearly printed. The printer may be printing the lines too lightly if the ink or toner cartridge is low, or it is possible that the printing Preferences are set to a lower quality. The Silhouette's optic scanner is also unable to read marks that may have been smudged or have bled into the material in use. This has especially been found with certain cardstock materials. A good test to determine if this is the case would be to re-print the job onto a regular piece of white copy paper and re-try the job.
  6. Check the material color. There may be an issue with reading registration marks that are printed onto select materials colors. The Silhouette may not be able to read the black registration marks on darker or other select material colors. This is especially true with green and blue tone material colors.
  7. Check the Registration Mark Format type. If using the CAMEO or Portrait model, then the Type 1 format should be used. If using any other older Silhouette model, the Type 2 format should be used.
  8. Ensure the optic scanner is clear of any obstructions. In some cases, a piece of vinyl or other material may have been caught underneath the cutting blade carriage where the optic scanner resides. Check under the blade carriage to see if there are any obstructions covering the optic scanner.
  9. Ensure that there is a good light source. The optic scanner is like a small eye that is trying to see the registration marks. It does need enough light to view the marks properly. A well-lit room is recommended. However, caution should be taken when using materials that have a more reflective surface (such as Printable Foil) so that the light source is not shining directly onto the material as a spotlight and causing reflections they may confuse the optic scanner.

Registration marks appear to be read properly but result in misalignment of the cutting contour

Generally, there is an assumption made that if registration marks are read but the cutting alignment is off, then there is a problem with the Silhouette's calibration. This is rarely the case. Calibration should rarely be necessary. Before attempting to calibrate the Silhouette, review the following points first regarding misalignment on print & cut jobs:

  1. Check the material color. There may be an issue with reading registration marks that are printed onto select materials colors. The Silhouette may not be able to read the black registration marks on darker or other select material colors. This is especially true with green and blue tone material colors.
  2. Check the file in the Silhouette Studio® program to see if any part of the image falls into the "no-print zone".

pnc_hashoverlap.png
There is a hash mark area on the screen where the marks appear (highlighted for emphasis in the example above). If any information falls into this area, this will generally cause a failure in the registration mark reading and result in misaligned cuts.

  1. Check to make sure the actual printed registration marks on the printed page are fully present. If they do not appear as shown on screen and part of the mark is not completely present, there may be a concern with the printer margins or page size.

regmarks_issue.PNG

To correct this, go to the Page settings panel and select the Use Printer Settings option. After doing so, print again and ensure the marks appear to be correct.

  1. Check the registration mark settings to see if any adjustments from the default settings have been performed. It is generally unnecessary to adjust the registration mark settings. The marks will be defaulted into their optimal positions based off the material size selected. If any adjustments have been made, restore to the default settings, re-print the job, and try again to see if the adjusted margins had been causing a problem.
  2. Check to ensure the printer settings match the Page settings in the Silhouette Studio® program. There may be a problem where the page size, orientation, and settings for what the printer are set to over-ride the settings that have been defined in the Silhouette Studio® program. Go to the Page tool in Silhouette Studio© and click on the Use Printer Setting option. This will force the Silhouette to follow suit with what your printer is set up for. A discrepancy can throw off the precise placement of the registration marks and while they are present and may appear to be read, this will cause misaligned cutting results. It may be necessary to further check the printer settings (by going to File > Print > Preferences) to ensure the printer is not trying to "optimize" the size of the printed area, or that there are any type of "borderless" options being selected in the printer settings.

NOTE: Registration marks may not work on textured surfaces, such as textured cardstock, or other select cardstock materials. Silhouette America cannot guarantee that registration marks will work on all materials.

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