Cutting HTV on the Cameo 4, Cameo Plus, or Cameo Pro
Are you having issues with getting HTV to cut properly on the Cameo 4, Cameo Plus, or Cameo Pro? Or are you noticing issues with the HTV feeding properly through the machine?
Recently, I was cutting HTV with my Cameo Pro and was having feed issues. I see several times each week on Facebook where users are having cut issues with their machines. I kept loading and unloading the HTV and began to notice a pattern.
Note: these tips will work for all Silhouette machines, but you may find that you notice it more on a Cameo 4, Cameo 4 Plus, or Cameo Pro models
If you are having cutting or feed issues with your Cameo machine
is your HTV curled?
As I watched the machine load and feed through, I noticed that the HTV was curled.
If it is, this will affect your cutting and HTV feeding through the machine 100%!
If you lay your HTV flat and the edge curls up, this can cause issues.
Typically, HTV comes in a roll and is shipped that way, especially if you are buying it in longer sections. Depending on how it’s rolled, it can retain that shape and then it will not roll flat through the machine.
Why do you have cut or feed issues?
Since the HTV is curled, it will catch inside of the machine as it rolls through.
This is not a machine fault, this is due to the HTV being curled.
First, the number one thing that needs to be checked is that the blade is installed properly. I cannot even tell you how many posts I see daily on Facebook that the blade is not installed properly. This is one of the best things you can learn to do for yourself & to save yourself headache in the future. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced user or a beginner. If the blade is not installed properly with no gap and adjusting properly, you WILL have cut issues.
This is how the blade should be installed on a
Cameo 4, Cameo Plus, Cameo Pro, or Portrait 3.
There should be absolutely no gap between the lip of the blade and the housing.
AND the lock on the front of the blade needs to be pushed in completely.
Then watch as the machine does it’s “tap dance” at the beginning of the cut. Does the red line inside the blade adjust properly and to the correct number?
If it does not, we can start troubleshooting it with a photo of the blade installed with the cutting mat or vinyl loaded if you post on the Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook group or check out this video by Silhouette America on Cutting Machine Maintenance and how to Reset the Motor at 4:38 in the video. This should reset the housing so that it is properly aligned to hit the adjustment holes correctly.
Once the blade is installed properly and adjusting properly, the next place to look is where this curled HTV can cause issues.
3 places to watch for curled HTV catching
1 – The Roller bar
Is the HTV loading properly and straight?
If the HTV is curled too much, it may not be securely under the rollers and the machine cannot grip it well. This means that it may be pulling it in at an angle.
Here is an example of what it might look like if the HTV is not securely caught between both the rollers. One side may pull in more than the other.
It can also catch on the bottom of the blade in the Tool 1 or Tool 2 housing.
If the HTV is curled and you do get it loaded straight, the curl on it can catch on the bottom of the blade(s) as it rolls back and forth.
Here is an example of what it might look like if it gets caught on the bottom of the Tool(s).
If the material does not load straight, unload and try again. If it loads crooked, you will most likely have an issue with it feeding properly. It is better to try again until it is loaded straight or try one of the other solutions below.
2 – The middle bar in the machine.
If you look at your machine, you will see there is a white piece that sort of has a curl up on the front that runs behind where the blade housing moves. The curl on the machine is designed so when a material is loaded and moves toward the back, it directs the material down and through the machine.
However, if the HTV (or other materials) is curled, when it gets to the white piece in the machine, it will go up instead of going down. This means the HTV is not moving freely through the machine and may get caught. This can cause both cut and feed issues.
Watch as the HTV is moving through the machine to see if it’s catching here.
3 – The back of the machine
If it makes it past the first 2 areas, then the last place it might catch is the back of the machine and you may or may not see this as the vinyl coming up behind the metal bar that runs the length of the Cameo 4 models. If you listen close, you will be able to hear this when it catches or you might actually see it come up behind that metal bar as well.
All of these areas can affect the cut or feed of the HTV. Since the HTV is curled, it cannot roll smoothly and flat through the machine. The machine is functioning properly, but since the material is curled, it will catch.
Now, I’m sure you may be wondering how I figured this out. When I noticed there was an issue, I tested. And I tested. And I tested. I watched how the machine was grabbing the materials. I watched how it was moving through. And I watched what parts of the machine were moving when everything was happening.
This is a great way to learn your machine and what it doing!
Now, how do you fix it?
Solutions to curled HTV
Tip 1 – Feed the material through the machine until the curl is out the backside.
To advance the material through the machine, press the down arrow on the right touch panel on the Cameo 4, Cameo Plus, or Cameo Pro machine.
Or you can advance the material by using the down arrow key next to the Test Cut button on the Send tab in the software. This would work for all machine models.
Now, this is not always the most ideal or conservative way to work with your HTV roll because you will be advancing it into the machine about 4″ or more to get past that curl.
However, if you are pressed for time, it may be the fastest way to work with it.
Tip 2 – Roll the HTV backwards when you get it.
Once you have identified this as a possible issue you may have, you can then re-roll the HTV rolls when you receive your order. This can help the curl “relax” a bit. And then store the vinyl this way.
If the HTV roll came with a piece of tape on it, tape it securely so it will start to retain the new shape. When you want to use it, the inside of this roll will hopefully be relaxed a bit and less curled.
If you do not have the tape from the original roll, grab a core from an old roll and then place the new roll inside so it will conform to the shape more and be held securely.
Tip 3 – Use a cutting mat to hold the vinyl down.
If the design will fit on the cutting mat and you cannot get it to feed properly, then I would suggest a good sticky cutting mat to help hold that vinyl down as flat as possible.
I do know some users who will even use painter’s tape and tape the HTV so it lays flat. My only caution here is to not place the painter’s tape on the left or right edges where the rollers may roll over it as it may lose it’s grip because of the difference in surface area and cause the mat to skew.
If you do place tape in the roller paths, just be aware if the mat skews or the cut is off, that this could be one reason why. If the left roller is gripping a different material, say the smooth surface of the mat, but the right roller is rolling on painters tape, it can cause it to roll at different rates. This can cause the mat to twist in the machine.
This can also be the case if the right roller is rolling across the adhesive on the cutting mat. It can not only cause your roller to get gummed up, but can affect the feeding of the mat as well since it is rolling on the adhesive and not on the smooth edge of the cutting mat.
Tip 4 – Slow the speed of the cut down.
On the Send tab in the Silhouette software, you can adjust the speed. Faster is not always better. If you continue to have an issue, slowing the speed of the cut down can help not only in the cut, but in also being able to identify the cause of an issue.
Tip 5 – Test cut with a capital B you type out placed below the design area.
If you are not doing test cuts before you send the design to cut, I highly recommend getting in the habit of it. It only takes a few seconds, but can save you time, wasted materials, and big headaches!
This is my favorite way to do a test cut!
I use the Text Tool on the left side and type out a capital B. Move the B to a place that is below your design or towards the bottom in the negative space.
Why so far down?
By placing the capital B test cut at the bottom of the design, you will be able to see how the machine and HTV will track as it goes. It will have to roll all the way to the bottom of where the design will be and perform the cut. By doing this, any issues may show up before you’ve actually tried to cut the full design and it didn’t work properly.
One More Tip
This one actually has nothing to do with the machine itself, but it more on the software.
I would suggest reading through this next section entirely so you understand how this one works and also how to “fix” it.
In 2016, there was a new “pop-up” message that was released into the software for Heat Transfer materials called the Mirror pop up.
For heat transfer materials you are generally placing the material face down on the cutting mat and then cutting through the backside of the material. This means that you have to “mirror” the design so it will cut properly.
How many times have you cut heat transfer material only to have that “head smack” moment after when you realized you forgot to mirror the image?
So the idea behind the “pop-up” message is great!
If you have never cut HTV before or are just getting started, then I would suggest this
Silhouette “Secrets” for HTV – Beginner Tips & Tricks
blog post to get started.
However, this “new” Mirror pop-up released in 2016, did not just mirror the design in the exact place that it was on the design mat. It flipped the entire mat when it mirrored the image, but it does not show that on the screen. So the design that shows on the screen on the left side of the mat/material, is really going to cut on the right side if you choose
“Send Mirrored” and let the software mirror it for you.
If you choose “Send As Is” it will send it to cut in the exact location and exactly as you see it on the screen.
Now, I know that may seem like “old news” since this “bug” has been in the software since 2016. Some users got used to it this way while other users would learn to flip the design themselves and just choose “send as is”.
Now, let’s move to the present.
A few months back, I started to notice users commenting that their HTV was not cutting as it should. They would tell the software to mirror it and it wasn’t cutting in the right spot. I reported the issue and found out that the old mirror “bug” was changed in February 2020 the software release.
Now, it would flip the design in the exact location you have it placed on the mat, but still does not show you that on the screen.
However, if you have anything else on the design file, it will mirror all of the objects. Whether they are in the “holding area” off the cutting mat or not.
If you choose “Send Mirrored“, it could mirror all of the designs on the file.
So when it flips it, this is how it would cut.
Now that would come as a complete surprise when you cut and it’s not what you thought it would be.
Note: the above screen shot is a representation of how it may cut, you do not see this change on the software screen at all.
This is present in the software versions from v4.4.247 until v4.4.438.
From v4.4.438 and higher, the software now is back to mirroring the design on the opposite side of the design mat than what shows on the screen.
How to work with this?
In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal, if you know about it and know how to work with it.
My suggestion to you is to mirror the design yourself.
The fastest way to do that is to right click on the design on the Design tab before you go to cut and choose Flip > Horizontal.
This will flip the image on the screen, in front of your eyes.
And it will then cut in that exact spot if you choose “Send As Is” on the Send tab.
If you do not have right click menus enabled on your computer, you can also find this in the top menus under Object > Mirror > Flip Horizontally too.
I use the Mirror Pop up as my final reminder and it has caught me several times when I forgot to mirror the design. Then I go back and mirror it myself before I’ve sent the design to cut.
Hopefully with those tips above, you will be well on your way to cutting HTV smoothly and being able to troubleshoot when you do have an issue.
For more tips on the Cameo Pro and troubleshooting check out this post
5 Steps to Setting Up the Cameo Pro & Troubleshooting
that also includes a free, downloadable PDF document for future reference.
I would love to hear if this helped you in identifying a problem or if you just learned something new in today’s post. Feel free to comment below or post on the
Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook Group.
We love to see what you are doing and creating with your Silhouette machines!
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