Frequently Asked Questions

Silhouette Troubleshooting >> Silhouette Hardware Issues >> Silhouette Machine Cutting Issues

Silhouette Machine Cutting Issues

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A "cutting issue" can mean a variety of things. Thankfully, most cutting issues only require a few easy steps to correct and get your machine working properly! Some of the more common cutting concerns are as follows:

  • Cutting too deeply/cutting through the mat
  • Not cutting deeply enough/only scoring the paper
  • Not cutting at all (moving as if cutting but no marks on the paper)
  • Tearing the paper during cutting process
  • Blade getting stuck/jammed and making a "woodpecker" noise
  • Material sliding/shifting during the cutting process
  • Cutting lines not in the right area/not cutting straight
  • Cutting additional lines that are not in the file
  • Machine not moving to cut, possibly says "Cut Complete" without movement
    (For this concern, please click here)
  • Print & Cut project not reading registration/not cutting correctly
    (For this concern, please click here)

If you're experiencing any of the above issues, please walk through and follow each section below carefully. There are several components and steps involved with cutting. Each should be checked to ensure proper function.


NOTE: The steps below are intended for Silhouette Studio and the following cutting machines:

  • Silhouette Cameo® 4
  • Silhouette Cameo® 3
  • Silhouette Portrait® 3
  • Silhouette Portrait® 2
  • Silhouette Curio™

Older models follow similar steps, but some instruction may not match your model exactly.

One of the most important factors in a successful cut is the blade.

Please perform the following steps to properly set up the blade for use: 

⚠ CAUTION: The blade is very sharp. Please use caution when inspecting and handling the blade.



AutoBlade

1. Clean (if used)

  1. Use the included Blade Adjustment Tool to unscrew the white cap of the blade, exposing the blade tip
  2. Blow on the blade tip, or use a dry paintbrush to clear away any dust or material debris
  3. If any adhesive material is stuck in the blade tip, you can remove it carefully with a pair of tweezers

2. Inspect

  1. While the blade is exposed, ensure the blade tip is intact (no chips or damage) and the blade has a sharp, clean angle
  2. When finished inspecting, screw the white cap back onto the blade
  3. Ensure that the cap is secure by using the Blade Adjust Tool to fasten the cap back on. Be careful not to overtighten the cap.

3. Load

  1. Press down on the blade with one hand until it is fully seated in the holder
  2. While holding the blade down, press in on the blade holder lock. There should be no gap between the blade and the holder.

You can view a tutorial video of this process here.

Blade (Ratchet or Manual)

1. Clean (if used)

  1. Unscrew the white cap on the top of the blade using your fingertips. This will expose the blade tip.
  2. Blow on the blade tip, or use a dry paintbrush to clear away any dust or debris.
  3. If any adhesive material is stuck, you can remove it carefully with a pair of tweezers.

2. Inspect

  1. While the blade is exposed, ensure the blade tip is intact (no chips or damage) and the blade has a sharp, clean angle.

3. Load

  1. Ensure the black, plastic "fin" piece is facing forward (towards you, away from the machine) as it is being loaded into the machine and the white tip is pointing down
  2. Press down on the blade with one hand until it is fully seated in the holder
  3. While holding the blade down, press in on the blade holder lock. There should be no gap between the blade and the holder.

Premium Blade or Deep Cut Blade or Kraft Blade

1. Clean (if used)

  1. The cap of these blades does not need to be removed
  2. Blow on the blade tip, or use a dry paintbrush to clear away any dust or debris.

2. Inspect

  1. Ensure the blade tip is intact (no chips or damage) and the blade has a sharp, clean angle.

3. Load

  1. Ensure the blade is loaded fully into the holder with the rim seated flush against the holder. There should be no gap between the blade and the holder.

Rotary Blade (for Cameo 4 only)

1. Clean (if used)

  1. The cap of this blades does not need to be removed
  2. Blow on the blade tip, or use a dry paintbrush to clear away any dust or debris.

2. Inspect

  1. Ensure the blade edge is intact (no chips or damage)
  2. Place a peice of paper or thin fabric onto a safe surface, such as a cutting board or crafting mat, and manually press down and roll the blade accross the surface. It should cut through the material cleanly.

3. Load

  1. Ensure the blade is loaded fully into the second chamber of the Cameo 4 machine with the rim seated flush against the holder. There should be no gap between the blade and the holder.

 


Click here for further information on proper product maintenance.


Once all steps above have been completed, please continue to the next section.

The next important factor in a successful cut is to ensure your mat or material are being loaded properly into the machine.

Please review the following steps to properly set up and load your mat or material:


1. Inspect

  1. Ensure a Silhouette brand cutting mat is in use. Third-party cutting mat alternatives are not recommended for use with the Silhouette machine as they can damage to the machine, either immediately or over time.
  2. Ensure the mat has a strong enough level of adhesive to hold the target material in place properly during the cutting process.
  3. The presence of score marks on the mat’s surface is normal. However, any area of the cutting mat that is completely cut through cannot be used successfully. Replace your cutting mat as needed.

2. Load

Silhouette Cameo

If loading WITH a Cutting Mat

  1. Ensure your roller is adjusted to the proper position. For the cutting mat, the white roller piece on the right side of the roller bar should be secure in the furthest groove to the right. This is the cutting mat position. 
       -  A video showing how to adjust the roller on Cameo 4 series models can be found here
       -  A video showing how to adjust the roller on the Cameo 3 model can be found here
  2. After this is in position, please line up the left side of the mat with the loading line on the left side of the machine base.
  3. While pressing the mat against the roller bar, press Load on the machine.
  4. Once loaded, you can give the mat a gentle tug and it should not slip out of place.

If loading the Material WITHOUT a Cutting Mat

  1. Ensure your roller is adjusted to the proper position based on the width of your material. The white roller piece on the right side of the roller bar should be secure in the 9" or 12" groove mark, depending on the material width. The goal is to have the roller grip the edge of the material fully. 
         - A video on adjusting this roller can be found here
  2. After this is in position, line up the left side of the material with the loading line on the left side of the machine base.
  3. While pressing the material against the roller bar, press Load on the machine.
  4. Once loaded, you can give the material a gentle tug and it should not slip out of place.

    A video of this process can be found here

Silhouette Portrait

If loading WITH a Cutting Mat

  1. Line up the left side of the mat with the left most loading line on the machine base.
  2. While pressing the mat against the roller bar, press the UP arrow on the machine.
  3. Once loaded, you can give the mat a gentle tug and it should not slip out of place.

    A video of this process can be found here

If loading the Material WITHOUT a Cutting Mat

  1. Line up the left side of the material with the left most loading line on the machine base.
  2. While pressing the material edge against the roller bar, press the UP arrow on the machine.
  3. Once loaded, you can give the material a gentle tug and it should not slip out of place. 

    A video of this process can be found here

Silhouette Curio

The cutting mat or embossing mat must be used for any project.

  1. Once the material has been loaded onto your mat, place the mat on top of the platforms (recommended platform number is located in the software - see the Cut Settings section below)
  2. Load the platforms and mat onto the hard base, locking them in place with the snaps.
  3. Slide the base into the machine until the loading notch passes the front of the machine.
  4. Power on the machine by pressing the Power button on the side of the machine, or the load button (arrows) if the machine is already powered on.
  5. The base should then move and adjust to the proper position for cutting to begin.

    A video on this process can be found here

 


Click here for detailed information on proper machine loading practices.


Once all steps above have been completed, please continue to the next section.

One of the most common causes of cutting issues is a problem with the cut settings.

“Cut settings” here refers to:

  • Blade Number
  • Force
  • Speed

These settings are found in the SEND panel of the Silhouette Studio software program. There are other settings that can be adjusted which may also affect the cut result. Additional information on each of these settings can be found here.

Many material types are listed in the software to provide a starting place for that material type. However, these recommended settings may require adjustment to perform a successful cut. Different brands, textures, or other features present in the material can require setting adjustments. Depending on the design’s complexity or sizing, there may likewise be adjustments required for optimal cutting results.


Check the Cut Settings

  1. Perform a test cut using the default settings listed in the software for the material type in use.
  2. If the test cut is not successful, adjust the settings to achieve a heavier or lighter cutting result, as needed.
  • If you find your mat or material is getting caught during the cutting process, making a loud, stuttering noise, or cutting too deeply, you may need to decrease the cut settings.
  •  
  • If your material is scoring or not cutting the material at all, you may need to increase the cut settings.

As needed, adjust the Force setting slightly and try another Test Cut. If there is no change, you can adjust your blade number and try again.

When performing testing, we recommend the Test Cut feature to avoid wasting material for testing. A tutorial video for this feature can be found below:



If you have tried multiple settings and see no change in the cut quality, please continue to the next section.

If you have confirmed all of the above steps and are still experiencing concerns, please compare your machine setup and loading method to the appropriate images below.

Discrepancies between the setup shown in these images and your setup may point to an issue that is causing the cutting concern.


Blade Loaded (AutoBlade example shown)

Cutting Mat Loaded (Cameo 3 example shown):

No Mat with Material loaded directly (Cameo example shown):

Cutting Mat Loaded (Portrait example shown):

No Mat with Material loaded directly (Portrait example shown):

 


If your machine matches the expected setup shown above, please continue to the next section.

If your machine setup matches the images above and you are still experiencing issues, please contact support@silhouetteamerica.com with the following information:


    Email subject: Cutting Issue

1. Machine Model: ______________
* For help identifying your model, please visit www.silhouetteamerica.com/setup

2. Blade/Tool Type: ______________
* For help identifying the blade/tool in use, please visit https://www.silhouetteamerica.com/shop/blades-and-mats

3. Silhouette brand Cutting Mat in use? (Yes/No): ______________

4. Material in use (brand and type): ______________

5. Cut Settings in use

Blade number: ______________
Speed number: ______________
Force number: ______________
Number of Platforms (Curio model only): ______________

* These settings are located in the SEND panel of your Silhouette Studio software

6. Software Version: ______________
* Click Help (PC) or Silhouette Studio (Mac), then click "About Silhouette Studio".

7. Firmware Version: ______________
* Go to the SEND panel in Silhouette Studio. The firmware number should be listed as INT X.XX and EXT X.XX, for example 1.60.

8. Provide a description of the issue
NOTE: The more detail that is included, the easier it will be to provide the proper support.

9. Provide images showing your setup
NOTE: The images should be similar to the images in the section above


Including all above requested information will help to expediate a response and allow our support team to provide the best solution.

To further expediate assistance, you may record a video of your process and show the issue occurring. Your video should include shots of the following steps:

  1. Loading the Blade into the machine
  2. Loading the Mat or Material into the machine
  3. Sending the job via the software. Please show the design area with your file displayed and the SEND panel showing your selected cut settings before sending.
  4. (If using an AutoBlade) Close-up of the blade adjusting process
  5. Front view of the full machine during the cutting process
  6. Continue filming until the issue occurs

For the best angles to capture your video, please see the photos in the "Setup Confirmation" section above as examples.

For instructions on how to upload and share videos with common hosting services please visit:

Once uploaded, you can email the link and all requested information to support@silhouetteamerica.com

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