Today we are going to discuss some ways you can keep your Silhouette machines running in top order.
The #1 way that you can keep your machines in good working order is to keep them clean.
I know that sounds so basic, but it is the down and “dirty” reality of it.
Keeping it clean and not letting things build up is best!
Dirt, dust, adhesive residue, paint, glitter, fibers, or other debris can interfere with getting a good cut and affect the lifespan of the machine.
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Tips to Keeping Your Silhouette Machine Clean
To keep it clean, remove any debris, fibers or materials out of the machine after use.
Look closely at your Silhouette machine.
Do you see any dirt, debris, glitter, fibers, or other materials in the machine in any area?
The more familiar you can become with your machine and how it works will help you with future projects and troubleshooting on the machine.
What are some areas you should look at?
Blade Adjustment area
If you have a Cameo 3, any Cameo 4 model, or Portrait 2 or 3 model; make sure to check the adjustment holes for any debris. These are on the left side of the Silhouette machine.
Debris in these holes can block the Autoblade from adjusting properly.
Remove any debris from inside the holes carefully with a sharp pair of tweezers or blow out with a canned of compressed air.
This is a rubber strip that runs under where the blade housing moves and provides the bottom support on the underside of the mat or material when the blade is cutting.
Check the cutting strip for debris, cuts, gouges, pieces missing, etc. both by a visual check and by running your hand along the strip to feel for any roughness.
The cutting strip is present on all Silhouette models, except the Curio.
In some older models, it may be black.
If there are cuts, gouges, holes, or pieces missing; this can affect the cut quality.
This is a replaceable part and can be ordered from Silhouette America.
There are different cutting strips according to the machine models.
Cameo 1-3 model cutting strips can be found HERE.
Portrait models found HERE
Cameo 4 found HERE
Cameo 4 Plus – found HERE
Cameo 4 Pro – found HERE
Use code 10OFF to save 10% with any of the links above.
Personally, I like to keep an extra on hand for each of my machines, just in case.
The description of the cutting strip, also contains a link to instructions on how to replace it.
Click HERE for those instructions as well.
With the new design of the Cameo 4 and Portrait 3, there is now a cutting channel that is directly in front of the cutting strip. This is just a small, thin channel that runs the length of the cutting strip.
Check that there is no debris in this channel. Usually wiping with a clean, dry cloth will clean it.
Auto Load Sensor
The Cameo 4, Cameo Plus, and Cameo Pro have a small sensor on the left side of the machine for the Auto load feature.
If there is any debris in the sensor area, it can interfere with the loading of the cutting mat, whether you are using this feature or not.
Carefully, clean any debris out of this sensor being very careful not to scratch it.
Here is how the Auto load feature works
All Silhouette machines have rollers on the left and right side.
If debris or adhesive residue builds up on the rollers it can affect how the mat or material rolls in and out of the machine. The machine is designed to grip the smooth edges of a Silhouette cutting mat or material.
Both rollers should be rolling across the same material. If it is gripping the edge of the cutting mat on the left side, but rolling across the material on the right side, it can cause one roller to roll at a different rate than another.
Some other ways this can happen is if a user is taping the materials down on the edges, material is cut too wide for the cutting grid on the mat, or the right roller is in too far and rolling across the material or adhesive.
Adhesive residue is one of the bigger issues I see with machines over time.
Two of the most common ways I see adhesive building up on the rollers is if the right roller is not positioned in the far right groove on the roller bar and is rolling across the adhesive on the mat.
This will not only cause the roller to pick up the adhesive from the mat, but it can also wear a groove in your cutting mat over time and it will not cut correctly in that area as the mat is not a completely flat surface with that groove worn in it.
The other thing I see that can cause issues is re-sticking the cutting mats with any adhesive glue of any type. No matter how careful a user is, this can cause cut issues over time. Adhesive residue can built up on the rollers, inside the machine, and gum up a cutting blade too.
In discussions with Silhouette support this is not recommended and they have seen so many issues due to re-sticking mats and adhesive residue inside of machines that they get back. Ultimately over time, it can decrease the lifespan and cause you headache and frustration with cut issues.
I would also recommend a Silhouette cutting mat. Other brands of mats can be a different thickness, which can affect the lifespan of the rollers on many models. And the adhesive grid may be a different size than a Silhouette cutting mat, which means the roller would be rolling on the adhesive and picking up residue.
To clean adhesive residue off of the rollers, start by taking a Q-tip with a bit of alcohol on it and carefully removing it. Just a bit of alcohol should do.
I do not recommend using any adhesive remover that is oil based as it could affect the rollers ability to grip the materials due to the oil.
If your rollers have quite a bit of build up, it may take some time and patience to get those cleaned up.
General Cleaning Tips
In general, keeping the machine free of debris is the best way to get the best results.
A can of compressed air can help remove debris inside the machine and get to areas & fibers we cannot see.
Wiping down with a dry cloth is another way to remove debris & fibers.
Closing the lid on the Silhouette machine when not in use can help dust and dirt stay out of the machine.
Covering the machine when not in use can also help to protect the machine.
Find covers and carrying cases HERE for Silhouette machines.
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Do not re-stick the cutting mats with any type of adhesive.
I can get a lot of life out of my cutting mats and over time, you will pick up tips that help extend the life as you continue to use your machine.
Check out this post HERE on Getting the Most Out of Your Silhouette Cutting Mats
Want more tips?
Check out these YouTube Videos from Silhouette
Silhouette Support Series – Cutting Machine Maintenance
Silhouette Support Series – Blade Maintenance
Silhouette Support Series – Cutting Mat Maintenance
Silhouette Support Series- Replacing the Cutting Strip
Find the full series HERE
I hope these tips help you to get the most life out of your Silhouette machines!
Have further questions?
Feel free post on the
Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook Group.
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Check out all of my online Silhouette classes on my Teachable site HERE.