review: silhouette cameo

silhouette cameo

I ordered the Silhouette Cameo a few weeks ago and just had a chance to use it this week. So far I'm quite pleased with the results.

It is an electronic cutting tool that is simple to use. It hooks up to your computer and with the help of the Silhouette Studio (a free software provided by the machine maker) you can cut purchased files or make your own. I like that the machine is clean in design (not pink or girly) and that it's fairly small (smaller than a Cricut).

silhouette cameo

I tried using the instructional video to learn how to use the machine but it didn't work with my Mac. It kept skipping parts of the presentation. I used the instruction manual to fill in the gaps of information that I missed. I later discovered that I had to download the entire video on to my computer in order to see it. It never played directly from the CD but it played on my computer without problems.

The blade was easy to install. With the use of the software the cutting depth and speed can be easily adjusted. I've heard that there are people having trouble with the blade but I haven't had any yet—then again I just started.

The cutting mat holds up to 12" square sheet of whatever material you're cutting. So far I've only cut paper but vinyl and fabric are other materials that can be used. The width (12") is what finally made me go with the Cameo. The previous SD Silhouette option only cut paper up to 8.5" wide. The cutting mat is  really sticky. I had a hard time detaching larger images. I'm assuming that will not be the case after I've used the mat a couple more times.

silhouette cameo

The control panel and buttons are very easy to use and understand. One particular feature that I like is the pause button. If you've cut the wrong size, the wrong color of paper or you changed your mind about anything, this button is key.

silhouette cameo

I cut my Four Petal Lattice at the 10" square size and it was difficult to remove from the mat without tearing the paper. I suppose that after a couple of uses the stickiness will be more manageable. What I really wanted to see was a smaller version of the file to see how the cutting would hold up with detail. It didn't disappoint. The shapes are crisp and the machine had no trouble at all. The bottom square is only 3" wide.

So...
Pros: 
- I like the way the machine looks and works. I specially like the detail work it can cut.
- Good price point. I ordered my machine when it was $260-ish.
- Free software to use with the machine. I like that it has an easy way to sort and label all images in a library.

Cons:
- As far as I've seen the replacement blades and mats aren't sold anywhere near me. That means I'll be ordering online. Not a big deal, but if I happen to need something urgently, it will be an inconvenience.
- The mat is definitely too sticky but I'm sure that will change with time/use of the mat—it's not a deal breaker.
- When the machine cuts it seems louder than what I'm used to—again, not a big deal.

So far I'm very happy with this machine. The next thing I want to try (if I only had the time now) is the print and cut feature. That will be really interesting to see in action. I'll post my thoughts when I get to it.

lattice

Typically the Silhouette Cameo is sold for $299 but as I said, it can be found at a lower price on occasion. The replacement blade is $19.99 and the cutting mat is $14.99.

For those of you that have asked—all A Little Hut files can be cut with the Silhouette Cameo. If you have the free version of the software you can import DXF files. If you have the designer edition (additional cost involved) then SVGs can be used.

One last thing...
This was a personal purchase. I was not sent this machine for review, nor was I asked to comment on it.  Only my personal opinions are part of this post.

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EDIT —It's been a few days since this post. I just wanted to add a tip regarding the mat. I know I said it wasn't a deal breaker but it's getting frustrating. The mat is too sticky and the paper tears when I pull it up—and yes I'm carefully using a spatula. I rubbed a piece of fabric on and off of the mat to remove some of the stickiness and it worked.

Another thing... the setting for the depth of cut is something I'm still struggling with. The machine doesn't completely cut through my Paper Source card stock. The Cricut does it with no problem. I guess it's another learning curve.

22 comments:

  1. Ooh, looks so space age compared to my Silhouette SD! And I think you'll find that the cutting mats get much less sticking over time. I had a similar problem in the beginning.

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  2. I bought my cameo at Paper Source (Austin location) and they told me they carry the replacement blades and cutting mats. I believe there are two Paper Source locations in Houston but I'm not real familiar with the Houston area so not sure where they are.

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  3. Thanks Diane! I didn't know that PaperSource carried them. The only thing is that I live 30 miles from the closest one. I go there on a every couple of months to get paper (it's the only colored paper I use), so now I know I'll be getting some other things too. :)

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  4. Then again, if I'm not in a hurry, I do like the Amazon prices better. ;)

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  5. Nice review, Patricia!

    I've had my Cameo up and humming (and buzzing and clicking) for almost two months now and I like it a lot. It's actually quieter, by a bit than it's smaller predecessor, the SD, especially with the "hood" closed.

    The 12 x 12" mats are way sticky and take more than just a few sheets peeled from them to make removal easier. The first dozen or so require patience and some spatulas! Thankfully, you can adjust the rollers to accommodate the older, smaller sheets that have less tack.

    My only disappointment with the upgrade is that the new and improved ratchet-stye blade collects little bits of paper fiber inside the white blade housing, and there's no way to clean them out, short of some extremely careful picking with a pair of extremely precision-pointed tweezers. So, even if the blade is still plenty sharp, when there's a critical mass of paper bits jammed in there, the blade can no longer turn and the cuts get mighty sloppy. I've heard a rumor that the kind folks at Silhouette may be working on a new design that will allow us to clean out these blade tips in the future. It's a design flaw in my opinion, and hopefully we'll see a better blade soon.

    The Cameo is a heckuva machine and the intuitive software allows for more and freer creativity than any other machine like it, for a fraction of the cost of some of the others, too.

    I look forward to reading about your print and cut adventures, and to any trials you may have with vinyl and/or fabric. Cut away!

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  6. I've been using these digital cutters for years now (initially as a Craft Robo, which is the same machine as a regular Silhouette, then the Silhouette SD when I ran my Robo into the ground). LOVE THEM! I can make quite intricate cuts with them and pretty complicated mechanical cards. You DO need to replace the blades and mats fairly frequently as the cuts quickly become distinct if you don't.... so I actually would buy 10 blades at a time -- if you shop around and contact suppliers, you might be able to swing a discount -- I did. Mats I could never get a discount, but I'd recommend stocking up on those as well, so you never run low...

    You can "unsticky" a mat just by peeling and unpeeling the backing sheet several times... and, if it loses its stick, you can spray it with temporary spray adhesive....

    Good luck! With your type of papercutting, you REALLY need a digital cutter!

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  7. I just ordered my Cameo, currently I have Silhouette SD, can I ask what software you use to cut your SVGs with cameo? I know that can be done through Studio Software (Designer Edition), but the free Studio sftware doesn't import SVGs. I tried to convert SVGs to DXF using Adobe Illustrator but I noticed that the nods number increase and that causes 'jagged' cutline? any ideas? thanks

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  8. Marnie - Thanks for the tip on the blade. Now I know what to expect and I won't be thinking it's something wrong with my machine! I definitely keep everyone posted as I try new things with the machine.

    Molly - Great tip on making the mats less sticky—thanks for sharing!

    Jess - I won't be much help to you because I only use the free software and import my DXF files with no problems so far. I haven't noticed any jagged edges or increase in nodes. I don't know what we could be doing differently...

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  9. Oh thanks for your respons!
    it must be in the details! I mean what line setting and Export 'Options' you select in Illustrator?

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  10. Jess - I just export as DXF and use the default settings for the rest.

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  11. Congratulations on your Cameo! I love mine (although it is pretty noisy) Also,I understand Michael's may start carrying Silhouette supplies in the near future:) My favorite tool is the spatula for removing intricate designs from the sticky mat. I've been cleaning my blade with a VERY soft paint brush and that helps. Also,the pause button is great, but it only pauses after it finishes a continuous line so don't get worried if it doesn't stop right away.

    Jess, If your lines are jagged when you bring from AI to Studio, you may want to try to go to "Point Editing" and click on simplify, that has helped some of my projects.

    Hope I didn't ramble too much, just wanted to share some tips I, unfortunately, learned the hard way:)

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  12. @emgower: thanks for the tip, I tried to use 'simplify', but it always change the shape, straight lines turns into curves and not sharp or pointy. I know how to 'maunal' edit the nodes but this can last for ever! I hope I can fix it through other software, I may try Corel. Thank you both.

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  13. Hi Patricia,

    I just received my Cameo ~2 weeks ago, and I am also struggling. I've contacted Customer Service twice now, and my problems seem to be the blade. FYI - my mat finally stopped being sticky after about a half dozen uses. Now after cutting about 20 projects it is a really nice level of sticky.

    Due to the issues I was experiencing, I discovered the following forum that I am now totally in love with! They have pdf downloads with tips on blade maintenance and cut settings based on different types of paper - this may help you figure out the best combination for Paper Source paper.

    http://s15.zetaboards.com/Silhouette_Plus/faq/

    Good luck! :)

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  14. I just received mine and my cameo keeps telling me it's done printing out when it's done nothing! Ironically, when I use Sure Cuts a Lot it can't even find my Cameo! Grrrr....I can't even use my new toy! I'm about to ship it back to Amazon and request a refund on Sure Cuts a Lot and the Deluxe version of Silhouettes software.

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    Replies
    1. check the 'cut style' window and make sure your image is set to actually cut. This happened to me before, I hadn't realized I set my image to 'not cut'.... hope that helps!

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  15. paper that seems to cut really well is 'American Crafts'. i have come across many bloggers who highly recommend their cardstock [although I have yet to try this]

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  16. I love my Cameo but I hate the new blade.
    Cristina

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  17. I was wondering if the silhouette sd blade would fit in the cameo, I am a little scared about tryin it, as only had my cameo just over a week, before that had the sd but due to droppin and braking it replaced with cameo, I get a lot of my designs from google images, copy n paste in a photo package then save, n open file is silhouette and then trace, etc etc

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    Replies
    1. I only own the Cameo so I really don't have an answer for you. I'm sure if you do a search you can find that others have had similar issues.

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  18. how come i can't see an image when i open dxf file in my cameo

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  19. I have just purchased the Cameo and have experienced some of the problems as above, thanks to you all I know now what the problem is - the blade, what are they going to do about the design of it? I did contact customer services and they are sending me a new blade as it went funny after a week. I also understand why I had problems with the mat too. Thank you all so much

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  20. need some help. has anyone tried cutting edible rice paper with the Cameo. not icing sheets but rice paper. ive surched the net with no information atall

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