If you’re a fan of the Cameo line of die cutters, the fact that Silhouette Cameo 3 comes with some handy updates might get you a little curious. To put this into perspective, the machine comes with a touchscreen interface and dual carriage. It also has an autoblade and the capability to cut up to 2mm depth. What’s more? You don’t need to connect it with cables in order to transfer files since there’s a Bluetooth feature ready for you. Clearly, the manufacturer has done their homework in ensuring you get a bunch of goodies to keep you going. But the question remains – do these additional features translate into improved die cutting performance? This review investigates.
Silhouette Cameo 3 – An Overview
The Cameo 3 stands out due to its enhanced ability to create custom designs. Although it is not as powerful as some of its more expensive competitors, it comes across as a friendlier home printer thanks to its size and shape.
Usability is one of the key things that make this die cutter a must-have. So, in case you’re looking for the best die cutter for beginners, this is certainly a machine worth experimenting with. Its full-color LCD touch screen simplifies the job of navigating through different designs and gives you the power to adjust color schemes, language and also access the help icons.
If in case you’re not good at designing or simply want to put your phone’s camera to good use, the PixScan functionality of the Silhouette Cameo 3 will certainly interest you. You simply need to load an image of choice and let the scanner do the rest for you.
The icing on the cake is that this machine is cartridge-free and that makes it super easy to use. Of course, the absence of cartridges gives you the freedom to create awesome designs from scratch and also use a computer to customize your designs. This added level of flexibility means you can operate the machine within minutes even if this is your first time seeing a cutter of this nature.
To make the deal even sweet, this machine offers print-and-cut functionality. This is the kind of tool you need in order to cut around pre-printed images of choice. So if you’re an artist who prefers to work with handmade drawings, all you would need to do is feed your drawings and import them into the Silhouette Studio software. The lines will be automatically cut as you watch.
In a nutshell, Silhouette Cameo 3 is the kind of machine to go for if you’re on a quest for originality. Behind its cutting-edge success are drag-and-drop features which make it extremely easy to resize, move and play around with the texture of your images.
Feeling too tired and busy to produce your own designs? Worry not because the Cameo 3 provides you with thousands of pre-made designs from the Silhouette Store. Unfortunately, though, you will have to purchase these pre-made designs which are not the case with some leading brands that offer unlimited access to pre-made designs. But all is not lost, though, because you’ll still get 50 free pre-made designs free of charge the first time you start using this machine.
Why Try This Machine As Opposed To Any Other Die Cutter In The Market?
There are quite a few reasons why this die cutter stands out from the pack. In the next few lines, we will talk about some of these and what to expect from each feature mentioned.
One of the main unique things about this machine is that it offers you a two-tool option. To access this option you’ll need to open the cut settings window. Once this setting has been activated, you will be in a position to use two tools simultaneously. That means you won’t need to waste time stopping the machine in order to switch from one tool to the next. If you’re in business, this means you can attend to more clients – and that equates to more room for productivity. Super cool, isn’t it?
What’s more? This dual-carriage functionality gives you the freedom to cut multiple varieties of materials which may require the use of different blade settings. As less time is required to switch between tools, you’re better able to multitask and get stuff done quickly and efficiently.
Under the settings option, you will be able to select from two modes: Standard Mode and Advanced Mode. The Standard Mode offers limited features because the left tool holder is always given first priority. If you need to work more efficiently, then all you’ll require doing is check the Advanced Mode setting and ultimately the Silhouette Cameo 3 machine will unlock its fullest potential.
Looking to create some multi-colored stippled ink decor? Worry no more because the Cameo 3 comes fully armed with this feature. To apply stipple all you’ll need to do is open the Stipple Window at the upper right end of your screen. Once you click on Stipple Fill, you’ll access a variety of stippling options ranging from stripe, scallop, wave to chevron, zigzag and metal plate. Of course, there are a bunch of other tools that you can use to achieve even more customized settings with this program. So, once again, this is a feature you’ll only find in the Cameo 3 – other Cameos don’t have it.
Print and Cut Feature
Keeping up with the excellent track record associated with its elder siblings, the Cameo 3 comes with a print and cut feature. This feature makes it pretty easy to capture and send videos through the Studio software. Worth noting, however, is that the image will be printed with tiny registration marks near its extreme corners. Once the material is printed, it’s transferred into the Cameo from where the machine automatically decodes the registration marks and determines the right way to cut out the image. This, therefore, makes a process that would otherwise be so involving to be quite easy and effortless.
Needless to say, once you master the use f this feature, your scrapbooking and crafting sessions will be way sweeter and easier to manage. So, don’t hesitate to give this feature a try. The only word of caution here is that it is important to make sure you set your paper size to the correct settings of the printer through the “Current printer” option.
Put simply, this kind of technology uses a cutting mat that comes with pre-printed marks on it. The best way to understand how this works is by thinking of it as an incidence where you’re doing the usual print and cut – only that in this case, someone else does the printing for you. In order to use this handy feature, you will require having a copy of the latest Silhouette Studio software (usually, V3 and upwards). The PixScan functionality can be easily accessed from the upper toolbar and also you can select the cutting mats using a drop-down menu on the “Page Settings” section to your right.
Once this is done, you will only need to place whatever you want to be cut on the PixScan mat. Once the material is placed on the mat, all you will need to do is take a clear photo of it, scan and feed it into your computer. Finally, click on the PixScan menu at the top right section of your window, select import file, complete a few self-explanatory steps and voila, the image will replace the PixScan image on your screen. At that point, you’ll be ready to trace and cut the image as you’d like.
The Cameo 3 comes with 3 different blade types. These are: standard blade, deep cut blade, and auto blade. Of course, each one of them is included with a specific role in mind. So, let’s take a closer look at them.
Also popularly known as the black ratchet blade, this one plays an essential role in splicing jobs. You can adjust the blade’s length on a scale of 10 different units (1-10). Of course, 10 is for deep cutting while 1 is for shallow cuts. Save for fabric materials, this blade plays a useful role in cutting all materials ranging from stencil to vinyl.
*Deep Cut Blade
This blade is almost twice as powerful as the standard blade. In fact, it gives you the freedom to adjust across 1-20, with 20 being the deepest cut and 1 being the shallowest. The beauty of this blade is that you can adjust it using your hand meaning no ratchet is needed. Worth noting, however, is that the deep cut blade comes with no fin meaning you can insert and lock it into the machine whichever way you desire.
Unlike the other two blades where you have to manually adjust the settings, this one does the heavy lifting for you. In a nutshell, if you want to use the auto blade, you will only need to select your material type and the then instruct the software to work with this particular blade. Click “Send to Silhouette” and the blade will automatically adjust its settings to suit the material provided. The beauty about this is that it removes the guesswork, especially when dealing with an unfamiliar material. Actually, the Cameo 3 is made in such a manner that it punches itself up and down until the right depth is achieved. How cool is that?
How It Performs
As far as distribution of features is concerned, the Cameo 3 is certainly a beautiful and versatile machine. However, if its cutting power is anything to go by, then our conclusion is that it lacks the muscle to deal with leather, balsa wood or any other tough material. The idea behind this machine is that not every designer needs a commercial-grade cutter and, therefore, this unit focuses on providing optimal convenience for basic or hobbyist tasks.
It’s easy to see why this unit enjoys such a loyal following despite its relatively weak cutting power. It comes with awesome user experience and that’s a major win for beginners. Do you make frequent trips or attend crafting parties in your neighborhood? The Cameo 3 is quite portable, although it lacks an easy-to-carry handle.
In short, if you’re thinking of working using paper, vinyl, among other light items, this is certainly the best machine to go for.
Additional Features & Specs
*For added convenience, the Silhouette Cameo 3 comes with free USB and power cables
*You’ll be able to enjoy free access to the Silhouette Design Store for one month
*250 grams worth of cutting power
*Adjustable spring rollers and pinch rollers
*Compatibility with all consumables used by other CAMEO models
*A sleek body with a savvy touchscreen interface
*Up to 2mm depth cutting abilities (of course you’ll need to use the Deep Cut Blade for this role)
- Helpful customer support team
- Makes professional cuts
- Opens up a wide range of possibilities as far as crafting is concerned
- Loaded with an onboard tool storage feature
- There’s a tote which you can use to transport this machine easily (bought separately)
- Helpful Silhouette Studio software for easy editing, printing, and cutting
- The Silhouette Cameo 3 is by far one of the most user-friendly machines out there
- Not versatile and tends to limit you in terms of capabilities
- Although it cuts well, it is not designed to emboss, engrave or pierce
- You need to purchase a separate bag in order to make it fully portable
The Silhouette Cameo 3 may not be the most popular die cutting machine out there but it presents you with an awesome choice worth pondering upon. Its major selling point is its wide variety of user-friendly features. Of course, its dual carriageway is another major take-home. So, generally, if you’re looking to transform your user experience and enjoy die cutting like never before, this machine provides a suitable launching pad for that ambition.
However, if you’re thinking of scaling up your business by experimenting with tougher materials like leather and balsa wood, this may not be the best die cutter to settle for.
On a scale of 10, we would give this unit a well-deserved 7. It could have managed a 8 but the fact that you have to purchase a tote separately makes it lose portability points.