Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Introducing my Silhouette Cameo 2 Electronic Cutting Machine

I have an exciting new machine to show you today – my Silhouette Cameo 2 Electronic Cutting Machine!
It’s still quite new to me, so I decided that a good way to learn all the features and ways of using the machine would be to set myself some projects to blog about.  I’ll be sharing some of those soon, but I thought that I would start off with just introducing the machine for anyone who has never seen one before.

2015 April 29 Silhouette Cameo cutting machine introduction hazelfishercreations 1
What’s a cutting machine? Why choose the Silhouette Cameo?
I do cut things by hand with a knife or scissors, but was considering buying a cutting machine which would be able to cut detailed designs, more quickly (and with less pain - not more hand cramp!).  There are various cutting machines on the market, from manual die cutting machines (eg: the Sissix Big Shot) which use metal dies, to electronic cutting machines which look like home printers but use a blade to cut rather than print designs.  I wanted an electronic cutting machine so that I could cut my own designs and not be limited by using dies.  Also, although the initial price of an electronic machine is more expensive they actually work out cheaper than a die cutter in the long run because you don’t have to buy a metal die for every design you want to cut.

I had looked at the Brother ScanNCut and the Cricut Explore before choosing the Silhouette Cameo 2.
There are pros and cons for each machine, but for me the Silhouette came out on top when balancing the features I was looking for with the cost (it’s about half the price of the Brother machine!).
Some of the features I like about the Silhouette Cameo…
  • Cuts a variety of materials including card up to 350gsm, fabric, magnet, vinyl – either using the 12x12 inch mat or on a roll feed.
  • Cuts your own designs using the Silhouette Studio Software, which is easy to use.  It also has an optical scanner to read registration marks printed on the design to cut precisely around the image.
  • Cuts fonts installed on your computer.
2015 April 29 Silhouette Cameo cutting machine introduction hazelfishercreations 2What comes in the box?
There are different packages available, with extra tools and pens, but I chose to buy the basic package from Amazon.
This included the machine, with power adapter and USB cable, Silhouette Studio software, blade, 12x12 inch cutting mat, crosscut blade and instruction booklet.  It also came with 100 free designs and a free 1 month's subscription to their design store.

How does it work?
I found it was easy to set up – it connects to your computer by USB and within a short time I was able to start cutting.  The only problem I had initially was that the cutting mat is very sticky when you first use it.  I tried a sheet of scrapbooking paper for my first cut – this became firmly stuck to the mat and was not easy to remove without tearing the paper, very frustrating!  I read that you can try pressing a smooth fabric (jeans!) over the mat to reduce some of the initial stickiness, also use a thicker card for your first cuts.  Now I’ve used the mat a few times it is much better.

There are extra tools you can buy, but I have been using things I already have.  For example, a scalpel has been helpful in picking up small pieces from the mat.  You can get a scraper tool to help ease paper from the mat after cutting, instead I have been using an old credit card.

These are a few of the shapes I have tried cutting so far.  I have been impressed with how accurately it cuts very small items – the letters are less than 2cm tall…

2015 April 29 Silhouette Cameo cutting machine introduction hazelfishercreations 3
I will be posting some projects I have used the Cameo with soon - the first one will involve cutting text to use on a card.

Do you have a Cameo or another cutting machine?  What have you made with yours?

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