Cameo Pro, Let's Explore v4, Silhouette, Silhouette Projects, Uncategorized

Cameo Pro – Print and Cut & Troubleshooting

All of the Silhouette machines can do print and cut projects. This is where you can set up a graphic image to be printed through the printer connected to your computer and then have the Silhouette cut around that shape.
It uses a process called registration marks to find where the design is on the page.

This tutorial is written in v4.4.476 of the Silhouette Studio software.

No matter if you are an experienced user or brand new to the Cameo Pro, I would suggest starting with all the basics, using all the defaults, and doing a test print and cut project to see how the new Cameo Pro is going to work.
This will save you hours of frustration and materials.

What I find most often when I am troubleshooting with a user is that they have been setting things up so far away from the defaults for so long and have been lucky that it’s worked on the older model machines. However, with a new machine, I would highly recommend starting at all the defaults and basics and then once you have a successful cut, then start playing with things and seeing how far you can adjust them.

I use the basic setup and default setting for all my print and cut projects and rarely ever have an issue with a mis-read or mis-cut.

If you are brand new to the Cameo Pro and have not used it yet, I would highly suggest checking out this post –
5 Steps for Setting Up & Troubleshooting the Cameo Pro
prior to attempting a print and cut project.

Affiliate links may be present in the following blog post and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Note: this post contains both photos and videos

Let’s take a look at the different options for the Cameo Pro.

Print and Cut with the 24″ mat

The Cameo Pro comes with a monster of a cutting mat. This is great news for bigger projects! Since this is the mat that comes with the machine, we will start there, but I would highly recommend that you get a smaller cutting mat to use if your print and cut project will fit on it. It is much easier to use the smaller mat for these smaller projects than the 24″ mat.

Print and Cut Setup for 24″ mat – letter size media

On the Page Setup Panel choose
#1 – Machine = Cameo Pro
#2 – Mat = 24″
#3 – Media Size = Letter (whatever page size you are printing on)

Notice how the software places the media size in the top left corner, but with a 24″ mat it is a very specific location. This will be important when we place the material on the cutting mat.

On the Page Setup Panel, check the box next to Show Print border and Show Cut border.
Print border = gray line
Cut border = red line

On the Page Setup Panel, click on the 3rd tab for the Registration Marks.
Click the circle next to On.
Then click on the Restore Defaults button.

When the registration marks are turned On, you will see 3 marks appear on the media size. This is how the Silhouette machine “reads” where the design is placed on the page.
Click on the Restore Defaults button.
This is going to be where the Silhouette machine gives the most accurate read and cut.

Since the Show Print border is on, the gray border will show what the printer margins are with the current printer that is connected to the computer for the media size set under the printer setup.
The biggest thing you want to look for here is that the bottom left registration mark is not outside of this Print border (gray line).
If it is, you will need to click on the Advanced Options on the Registration Marks Panel and bump up the bottom registration mark until it will print completely.
All 3 of the Registration Marks have to be on the printed page in order for it to read accurately.
I only suggest this if the mark is showing outside of the print border.

If this is the first time doing a print and cut or the first time doing this process on the new Cameo Pro, I would suggest doing a test print on cardstock first.
All this means is to pick a print and cut design, place it on the design mat within the boundaries, and then print on cardstock as a test.
This will save you from using more expensive materials and having something go wrong.

With a print and cut project, you want to make sure to keep the design out of the cross-hatched areas on the page and within the red cut border.
The cross-hatched areas do not print on your final page, however, this is the clearance that the optical eye under the blade housing of the Cameo needs in order to read the registration mark accurately. If there is a design in the cross-hatched area or dark colors near the area, it can interfere with the reading of the marks and either give a registration error or an inaccurate cut.

In some cases, the optical eye does not like any design between the 2 cross-hatched areas at the top of the page. It can interfere with reading accurately.

Once the page is all setup and ready to print. Click on File > Print in the top left corner.

In the v4.4 software, a “print preview” will pop up (unless you’ve turned it off).
You can review this for any things that look out of place and to get to the printer preferences will click Print in the bottom right corner.

Now, the printer window will come up.
This may look a bit different for each user because of the different printers being used.
Choose the printer the job will be sent to.

Then I choose Preferences on my printer panel. Under this selection I can change my page size, media type, and have the option for an additional print preview. I highly suggest this as it has saved my butt a few times and I’ve caught things before wasting ink and paper.

Click Ok.
And then click Print.

Note: If you changed the page size that will be printed on, click on the Apply button and then cancel. Then choose cancel again on the Print Preview and start over at File > Print. This will ensure that the printer margins are showing accurately on the page size you changed to.

Since I enabled the additional Print Preview, I get a new Preview window that pops up where I can verify that it all looks correct and that all 3 registration marks will print completely on the page.
This may seem like an extra step, but it has saved me more times than I can count.

Once it’s all good, click on Print. Make sure to let the printer ink dry before handling the page. If the registration marks get smeared on the page, it can affect the reading of the marks.

Place the printed page on the 24″ cutting mat exactly as it shows on the software screen.
This will be 1/2″ to the right of the outside grid line on the left edge of the cutting mat.
Make sure that the top of the page is covering the grid lines or the Cameo can pick up the black of the grid lines as it reads.

With the Cameo 4 and the 24″ mat, you will need to have the mat fully supported in the front and behind the machine. This means that you will need 22″ of clearance and support in the front and in the back. The cutting mat needs to roll in and out of the machine as flat as possible. It cannot hang down on either the front or backside as it cannot work against gravity. If the mat is hanging down, it can affect both the reading of the registration marks and the cut accuracy of any project.
(This is another reason I’d recommend a smaller mat if the project allows)

Information on the DIY Cameo Pro Stand HERE

I would recommend using the roll feeder supports with the additional mat support at all times for best results with the 24″ mat.

Load the 24″ cutting mat in the Cameo.
The left edge of the cutting mat should be next to the line on the left side.
The rollers should be rolling across the edges of the cutting mat and not across the adhesive on the mat.

One of the neat features of the Cameo 4 models now is the Autoload feature. Press the load button and it will start to flash. The Cameo will automatically load the mat/material 6 seconds after the sensor is covered. The mat /material needs to be held up to the rollers securely (not pushed under) and the rollers will grab it and pull it in after 6 seconds.

Note: If the mat/material does not load straight, press unload and try again.
If the machine “loads” before you are ready with the material up to the rollers, press unload and try again. The machine will think it’s loaded if you do not press unload.

Check out this quick video showing the Autoload feature.

Back in the software, click on the Send tab in the top right corner.
Verify that the design has cut lines around it.
Bold red lines = cut lines.

Note: it is very important that nothing be moved on the design page after the page has been printed or it can affect the cut accuracy.

Choose the Material that is being cut.
Verify that all the settings are correct.

Note: if this is the first time cutting this material, a test cut is always recommended. However, you do not want to test cut in the top left corner of a print and cut project or it can interfere with the reading of the registration marks. I like to use a capital B and place that in a blank area on the design page to perform the test cuts. Turn the cut lines off for the full design and then cut only the capital B. Or use a scrap piece of the same material to perform the test cuts.

Once everything has been set and verified, (cross your fingers) click on the Send button in the bottom right corner.

The Cameo will now begin to look for the Registration Marks. It starts at the top left square, then moves down to the bottom left corner, and then moves up to the top right corner.

By following these same steps each time, I have great success with print and cut.

Print and Cut Setup for 24″ mat – large format media sizes

How large can you print and cut on the Silhouette machines?

This is determined more by the size of your printer capabilities than the limits of the Silhouette machine. I have a Canon TS9521C printer and love it! I love the ability to print on 12″ x 12″ cardstock for projects, especially when creating multiples of a design.

If you have a large format printer, then you can set up print and cut projects with the same size you can print. However, keep in mind, print and cut is most accurate when using a cutting mat. While it can be done without a mat, there is greater chance of feeding errors and mis-reads, so especially for a beginner, I would highly recommend practicing with a cutting mat first.

The setup steps will be the same for any size you can print.

Here are 2 examples:

12″ x 12″ media size setup in the Silhouette software

12″ x 12″ page on the 24″ cutting mat

11″ x 17″ media size setup in the Silhouette software

11″ x 17″ page on the 24″ cutting mat

Find additional tips on print and cut for large formats in this post
How to Print and Cut Larger in Silhouette

Print and Cut with the 12″ mat (or other size)

Like I said at the start, I highly recommend getting a smaller cutting mat to use if your project will fit on it. Not only will it be easier to manage, but it will save a few dollars in the long run since you are not having to replace the 24″ mat when it’s no longer sticky.

I always like to keep a variety of cutting mat sizes on hand.
Grab 12″ Silhouette cutting mats here:
Silhouette America – use code 10OFF to save 10%
The Vinyl Spectrum
Swing Design
Amazon

The setup for Print and Cut is the same no matter what size cutting mat you are using. The same steps apply as outlined above with a 24″ mat, you will just adjust according to the smaller mat in the software and loading the mat.

On the Page Setup Panel choose
#1 – Machine = Cameo Pro
#2 – Mat = 12″
#3 – Media Size = Letter

Notice how the software places the media size in the top left corner.
The media is covering the grid lines in the top and on the left side.
This exactly how you should place the material on the cutting mat.

On the Page Setup Panel, check the box next to Show Print border and Show Cut border.
Print border = gray line
Cut border = red line

On the Page Setup Panel, click on the 3rd tab for the Registration Marks.
Click the circle next to On.
Then click on the Restore Defaults button.

When the registration marks are turned On, you will see 3 marks appear on the media size. This is how the Silhouette machine “reads” where the design is placed on the page.
The machine reads best with the default settings.
While the software allows the marks to be moved or changed, the defaults are the most accurate and where they can guarantee the best results.
I suggest starting with all the defaults to test and then you can adjust things to see what will still work for you after you’ve had successful registration and cuts.
Changing things too much and too fast can lead to frustration, registration errors, and inaccurate cuts.

Since the Show Print border is on, the gray border will show what the printer margins are with the current printer that is connected to the computer for the media size set under the printer setup.
The biggest thing you want to look for here is that the bottom left registration mark is not outside of this Print border.
If it is, you will need to click on the Advanced Options on the Registration Marks Panel and bump up the bottom registration mark until it will print completely. (see above for examples)
All 3 of the Registration Marks have to be on the printed page in order for it to read accurately.
I only suggest this if the mark is showing outside of the print border.

Like I mentioned above with the 24″ mat, if this is the first time doing a print and cut or the first time doing this process on the new Cameo Pro, I would suggest doing a test print on cardstock first.
All this means is to pick a print and cut design, place it on the design mat within the boundaries, and then print on cardstock as a test using all the defaults.
This will save you from using more expensive materials and having something go wrong.

Make sure to keep the design out of the cross-hatched areas on the page and within the red cut border. The cross-hatched areas do not print on your final page, however, this is the clearance that the optical eye under the blade housing of the Cameo needs in order to read the registration mark accurately. If there is a design in the cross-hatched area or dark colors near the area, it can interfere with the reading of the marks and either give a registration error or an inaccurate cut.

In some cases, the optical eye does not like any design between the 2 cross-hatched areas at the top of the page. It can interfere with reading accurately.

Once the page is all setup and ready to print. Click on File > Print in the top left corner.

The steps to print are the same as directed under the 24″ cutting mat section above.
I follow the same steps each time I print a job.

Here is a quick video screen grab of the Print Process that follows the same steps as written directions above.

Keep in mind that each printer may vary in the menus that it brings up and your printer menu and preferences may not match mine exactly. But, the steps will be the same no matter what your printer menu looks like.

Once the page is printed and completely dry, place it on the 12″ cutting mat exactly as it shows on the software screen.
Make sure that the top of the page is covering the grid lines or the Cameo can pick up the black of the grid lines as it reads.

Adjust the rollers so they are securely locked in place to roll across the edges of the cutting mat and not across the adhesive.
Something to keep in mind with the Cameo Pro is that the rollers are now under the square roller bar. There is no easy way to clean these rollers if they get gummed up from rolling across the adhesive on the cutting mat.

Roller is directly under the embossed rectangle on the white piece.

Here is an example of where the right roller should be for the 12″ cutting mat.

Load the 12″ cutting mat in the Cameo Pro.
The left edge of the cutting mat should be next to the line on the right side.

Back in the software, click on the Send tab in the top right corner.
Verify that the design has cut lines around it.
Bold red lines = cut lines.
Choose the material and verify it all looks good.
Then click the Send button in the bottom right.

The Silhouette machine will begin looking for the marks starting in the top left corner with the square, then move down to the bottom left corner, and then up to the top right corner.
Keep in mind that if there is any part of the design in the cross-hatched area it can interfere with the accurate reading of the marks and can cause a registration error or a mis-cut.

I love Print and Cut!

This is what happens when you are a Silhouette Beta tester and write blog tutorials – you end up with a whole herd of hippos!
Hippo PNC design by Jaime Lane Designs – Design #58689
Be Your Own Crazy Self Phrase by Kolette Hall – Design #169936
Easel for back of card by Lori Whitlock – Design 76159

I follow the same basic steps for Print and Cut each time no matter which machine I am using and rarely have an issue with registration errors or inaccurate cuts.
I would recommend setting it up exactly as the tutorial shows above for the most accurate read and cut. If you are still experiencing issues, here are a few tips to try.

Troubleshooting Print and Cut with the Cameo Pro

Tip #1 – Use the default settings
I cannot stress this enough! Not only for new users or new to the Cameo Pro users, but in general – start with the defaults to eliminate a lot of the things that could be the issue and then continue troubleshooting from there.

Tip #2 – Use the mat supports.
No matter what size mat you are using, the mat needs to roll in and out of the machine as flat as possible. The mat support with the roll feeder set up properly can make a big difference.

Tip #3 – Make sure the mat is fully supported.
The cutting mat has to be fully supported and not hanging down in the front or in the back at all. The machine needs the proper clearance, proper support, and stability in order to function well.

Tip #4 – Make sure the mat is loaded correctly.
This will vary depending on the size of the cutting mat you are using.

24″ cutting mat
Load the left edge next to the line on the left side.

12″, 15″, 8″ cutting mats all get loaded with the left edge next to the line on the right side

Tip #5 – Make sure the registration marks on the page printed correctly.
The marks should match on the printed page exactly as they show in the Silhouette software on the media page.

Tip #6 – Hold the mat up a bit higher than level
If you still encounter a registration mark or cut issue, try holding the cutting mat up a bit higher than flat as it reads the marks.

Tip #7 – Use a smaller cutting mat when possible.
While you can use a 24″ mat for projects, it is a large mat and can take practice to get the hang of handling. A smaller cutting mat can be easier to complete those smaller projects with.

Print and Cut is one of my favorite things and I do have many other resources as well if you are still having issues.

Resources:

Print and Cut Basics to Design to Troubleshooting Course HERE

Print and Cut Basics found HERE

How to Print and Cut Larger with Silhouette found HERE

Print and cut is one of the awesome things that the Silhouette machines can do.

Hopefully with these tips you will be off and running with your Print and Cut adventures on the Cameo Pro machine!

I love to see what you are creating with your Silhouette machines!
Feel free post on the
Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook Group.

Save this for future reference by pinning the image below.

Enjoy!

Check out all of my online Silhouette classes on my Teachable site HERE.

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**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

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