And the Cameo Monster Returns

To: The Silhouette support team

Re: Their damn machine


Dear folks,

In the past you have tried to be very helpful and I greatly appreciate your patience. It is in deference to that patience and your wonderful attitudes that I am going to refrain from using every curse word I ever learned listening to my father work on the car right now. However, enough is enough. And I am calling it enough.

With our last communication, I had told you that after calibrating this Silhouette Cameo, serial number T312A299141, was behaving. Maybe it’s because I tend to take a couple of days between cuts, but that was then and this is my first attempt at cutting anything a little while after that. And once again, it’s simply not behaving.

I have been all over the internet, shaken my head at your manual, looked at your website, and even struck up conversations with perfect strangers that endorse your machine in my various attempts to get it to work correctly. I have followed your advice. I have done all I could.

I don’t want to empty my settings anymore, or uninstall programs, try Make the Cut, calibrate, or do any of those things any more. Because they’re flat out not working. I am attaching a picture of how well your machine cuts for me. As you can see, it at least cuts the paper. It doesn’t cut where it’s supposed to. I realize now it’s just not going to.


It doesn’t matter if the paper is thick, thin, shiny, metallic, matte, glossy, small, or large. I have tried them all. Typically when I try to cut one simple page of 1 inch to 1.5 inch stickers, it literally takes me all day to get a sheet that isn’t slashed by your machine’s blade. ALL DAY.

The first problem to this, by the way, costs me valuable work time and thus money because I work at home. While I’m fighting the machine to get a simple set of stickers I’m setting other commissions aside.

This is how my process goes. I set up my page. I print it. I send it to your machine. Your machine sometimes refuses to register no matter what I do. Sometimes it will be in the middle of registrating and suddenly stop with a horrible sound. Sometimes it will go through the process entirely and then make that sound and fail registration. Almost always it makes that sound about 3/4 down a standard sized piece of paper.

I have to watch the cut. Sometimes it will start out sort of close and then halfway down it won’t be close at all. Sometimes it will not start out close at all. Less and less common, to the point of being more and more uncommon, it will get a page right. I haven’t had a correct page in a very long time.

I have to register and start a cut dozens of times. Each time it cuts in a different place.

Britny, who works with your help department and was very very friendly and leaped through hoops to reach me, had explained to me that the fact your cutter is a paper waster is a fact of life. To avoid overloading your little machine, I had to keep the amount of data in my cut very low. She told me to never change the default setting on the registration marks (which makes it rather pointless for you to have it so they can be changed). And of course I already knew not to go past the hash marks.

I just cut the amount of stickers on a sheet I normally do to 1/3. That’s about 12 stickers at 1/5 inches high. The photo you see is of my fifth attempt to cut them.

I have even went so far as to put a single sticker in the middle of the page without any success.

I have made sure it is in good lighting. Cleaned it. Made sure I hit “load cutting mat” when loading. Cleaned the blades. Blew out the dust. Kept the cutting files ridiculously low and unproductive. Not changed the default settings. I probably would have rocked it to sleep if that would have helped.

Now, if you please, I’d like you go to and take a look at the prices. These are the sheets your machine are destroying. This is how much money it is costing me, and that’s not counting the replacement mat, extra blade, pens I’ll never be able to use, and other paper from the craft store.

The important point that has gotten overlooked time and again throughout this drama is that your machine worked perfectly in the beginning. I could cut some serious sticker sheets with it. Now with each file I’m limited more and more. There’s something seriously wrong with that even Captain Kirk could see.  Sure I had a slight learning curve, but I already knew what I was doing from the OTHER Cameo I used to own. I sent that other Cameo back because it wouldn’t cut what I needed and your company was very gracious. This is something else. Your machine is BREAKING if not already broken. With each and every cut the problem just gets worse and worse. I don’t appreciate that this is being overlooked. Do you expect me to demand my money back? How on earth could I do that when I bought it at Michael’s? No the most I can do is make my dissatisfaction very well known.

Your machine does not work. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, because selling it to an unsuspecting person would be WRONG. But it doesn’t work. It USED to work and *THAT IS THE POINT*.

I could have sent the money spent on this thing as a partial payment to my car or my house. We could have bought food. Or changed the oil in our car. I was very unsure about buying this machine – call it a bad feeling – but was talked into it. I wanted to hold out for a silver bullet, which comes with a business warranty and cuts what I need to cut. But I was a fool and listened to the elements around me that wanted me to settle for less. You should never settle for less.

All I want to do is make some charms and a few paperdolls. I’ve been wanting to make these charms for over five years now. With the hundreds of dollars your machine has cost me, I could have had at least a few of them MADE in a way that would look a billion times more professional.

I really have no way to sum up what I say in a good manner. So thank you for your time.


The Official Review for the Cameo given to Amazon. Just because.

I currently own my second Cameo. The first I had less than a week before returning it. However, I thought to myself that it was because I didn’t quite know what I was doing and I had tried the Circut Explore for 24 hours. What I mean by that is I brought my new Cricut home, discovered it required the internet to use it, boxed it up, returned it. And came home again with my second Cameo.

I bought this for professional craft work. Even with the learning curve I have to go through, I feel it’s got issues. I think I hate this machine more than my ex-husband. But I am going to give a fair review for those who are looking to purchase a Silhouette brand machine anyway.

USE: I bought this machine primarily to cut shrinky dinks. Now I know the Cameo isn’t strong enough to cut shrinky dinks, but my husband and I did some research before taking the plunge and we simply couldn’t afford this other cutter I covet. There were a lot of bloggers who managed to cut shrink plastic so it was worth a try, we felt, because I primarily make charms to sell and my hand isn’t as good as it once was.

It cuts great through paper, cardboard, cover stock, vinyl and a lot of other lightweight materials. I have tried and failed to find a comprehensive list of what it can cut, so will probably be starting one of my own to put on the internet. With shrink plastic, even though if you look at the sheets they’re no more thick than some of the other stuff the machine will cut, the blade may make a line slightly in the surface if you’re lucky. We even bought a specialized blade with an aluminum case. No luck. I did develop a way to convince the silhouette to cut through the plastic almost to the other side that involved a lot of offsetting and many more cut passes than double cutting, however I don’t recommend you do this to your silhouette every day.

So far I’ve forced my silhouette to “cut” at least one whole pack of shrink plastic and a few other projects. It’s still working. So it tries.

BLADES: The Silhouette blades dull easily, so treat them well. After much research I found that cleaning them off by running them a few times into a bit of folded tin foil helps enormously. Tin foil does not sharpen the blade, btw. It’s softer than the blade itself, so it can’t.

I really like that the blade itself is adjustable. Instead of having to switch between 10 different blades I just pick up the adjustment tool and find a number.

What I don’t like is how dirty the blade get so quickly, and how the blade cartridge housing inside the machine is a dust magnet. Last night I thought my machine had broke forever because so much paper residue had gotten into the casing and it didn’t want to work properly anymore. Keep your machine meticulously clean. Even if you never wash your dishes, clean your machine after every use with an air gun or something.

THE MAT: I hate that **** mat. I hate the mat system period. The mat is one reason why I returned the machine the first time. It dirties too quickly, loses it’s stick the moment you cross your eyes at it, and silently curses your name while you’re feeding it into the machine. There are a lot of tutorials on the internet from other people on how to keep your mat clean, how to redo the sticky, and all sorts of things. I followed them. My mat lost it’s sticky in ONE DAY. I mark this as important because the last time I owned a cameo the exact same thing happened.

You can restick your mat reliably by cleaning the dirt off with goo gone or something like that, putting painter’s tape around the edges where your machine rollers will run, then spraying the inner grid with a *re-positional* spray glue like Easy Tack. The stick lasts longer according to many people than the Silhouette’s original, as well. I say re-positional, because with permanent or anything that says permanent then temporary you’re going to mess everything up. Listen to the voice of experience.

However, I think I’m not asking the Silhouette company too much in asking for some way to redo our mat without having to find someone’s experience tutorial on Youtube… or maybe just find a better way to glue their mats…

INTRICATE CUTS: The answer is yes and no. Oh, my machine tries to do them. It’s even succeeded a few times. The stupid mat was too sticky and ripped them apart. Or the stupid mat wasn’t sticky enough and the machine ate them. I can’t go into my experience with intricate cuts without wanting to punch something with my bare hands.

STICKERS: I’m actually pleased with this one. I took the original Silhouette recommended settings and then adjusted so that I can cut stickers… and only have the sticky part on the top be cut. The bottom half of the sheet stays untouched. The stickers come out nicely. Very good.

ACCURACY: This is one feature of the Cameo I actually love. If you’re making your own designs and want to cut something like, say, a printed sticker the Cameo has a sensor built in. Your printed sheet has marks on the edges the machine will look for, and that’s how it knows where to cut. Sometimes it’s off by a mm or two but I’m still happy considering the machine’s limitations.

SOFTWARE: My machine came with their version 2 of the design software. It’s okay, but the limitations often have me cursing worse than my fisherman father. There are no layers, no lightening, no nothing to control exactly what I need to control in my work. Yargh. So I updated to their version 3. Double yargh. It’s got better features and, most important, is better at selecting cut edges than version 2 (which was a pain) buuuut… unlike version 2 it doesn’t like to try to “register”. What I mean is, you tell it to find the cut lines and start cutting and it wiggles a bit and flips you a sharp, blade-endorsed bird. I have become very familiar with the manual register process because of this…

Which it turns out I prefer. The one single time my machine registered on it’s own two days ago the cuts were crazy and way off. It’s best you do the thinking for this machine. It’s worse than my roommate.

PAPER WASTER: That’s right. I feel this thing wastes paper. But I’m pretty sure it’s the software’s fault because version 2 wasn’t as bad. With the current software I use the machine would cut to the edge of it’s cut area. With version 3 it won’t. Even when you tell it to. So yes, you get partial cuts. And you shake your fist at the ceiling and curse the Silhouette CEO’s name. If I could afford it, I would buy one of the other softwares the Cameo works with to see how they do, but I can’t. It took me months just to be able to buy the machine…

Which brings me to COST: I guess you could consider it affordable. With the new machine that has just come out (which looks like it’ll do the same job but with maybe a few more features for cutting lightweight material, no shrinky dinks), well. $300… $350… that’s a lot to a lot of folks, especially these days. However, this price is but a fraction of the cutter I covet and for someone like me it’s a start.

Just beware of your limitations.