Are you ready to go beyond the 12 to 24 inch cutting range of a mat and learn how to cut without a mat on a Cameo 4? The Cameo 4 does a great job cutting without a mat! Additionally, today we will also be going over how to use the built in crosscut feature on the back of the Cameo 4. The crosscut feature only takes a minor tweak to the settings. If you are cutting something long, it is very handy to cut it at the end rather than have it feed all the way out the front of the machine. Ask me how I learned that! Just kidding…sort of. I did learn it after cutting a few long pieces of vinyl and getting annoyed with struggling to cut it straight while the vinyl was still attached to the roll.
Also, first post in a while! Sorry about that! I have been crafting up a storm this summer. Sometimes I even remember to take photos for blogging the projects. Mostly I capture about 75% of each project, ha. I handcrafted almost every detail of my wedding (like this one!) and that has taken a lot of time away from blogging this summer.
This post features a thank you sign that I made with vinyl on wood. No, not as permanent as painting, but it is much more time efficient and works perfectly for the purpose of a one time use sign. Look forward to more DIY wedding inspired posts in the future! Alright, back to our regular scheduled programming:
How Large Can You Cut Without a Mat?
Silhouette machines can cut to an infinite length. The largest limitation is the width of your machine. My Cameo 4 has a standard 12 inch cutting width, but without the mat, there is a small amount that will be out of range for the blade. This makes the cutting width approximately 11.75″ wide on 12″ material. The Cameo 4+ and the Cameo Pro can cut even wider than the standard Cameo 4.
Setup Silhouette Studio for Cutting Without a Mat
Within Silhouette Studio, there are also a few settings that need to be updated to tell the machine you are cutting without the mat. This matters because it impacts where the machine considers the cut region and where the zero position is at the top and side. Chances are if you have ever had it cut outside where you expect, you may have the mat turned on or off in the settings and forgot. Yep, I have definitely done that at least once!
In the Page Setup menu, set the Cutting Mat setting to None. Set your Media Size to Custom at 12″ wide by however long you need. I add a few inches to the length due to the cut border. Make sure you turn the Show Cut Border on so you can see what you have to work with. I also like to leave a little extra on the width in case it feeds in at a slight angle. A slight angle off isn’t always noticeable when you feed the vinyl in, but over 24 or more inches, it can move your edge a quarter inch or more.
How to Cut Without a Mat on a Cameo 4: Machine Setup
To set up your Cameo 4 for cutting without a mat, pull out the built in drawer in the front. Pull this all the way out until it clicks in place. Next, unfold the flat panel. It will lock in place after rotating about 135 degrees and point towards the cutting area. Unfold the small flaps on the sides. Place the roll of the vinyl in between the flaps and slide the right flap into the roll to secure it from walking left to right. Feed the vinyl through the slot in the long angled piece towards the roller bars.
On the machine, release the small lever on the right side, just above the roller bar. Push in the gray lock button on the far right white guide piece. Slide it in towards the left where it will roll on the right edge of the vinyl. Once it has found a home in one of the grooves on the roller bar, flip the release lever back up to lock the bar down. Then feed the vinyl in just as you would the mat. Does it look straight? If it doesn’t, feed it back out and try again.
Setup Cameo 4 for Crosscut
Setting up the Cameo 4’s crosscut feature is super easy. Simply go to the back of the machine and pop the lever down. There is a level on each side, but they are connected so they will both go down at the same time. This allows the sliding cutter piece to move freely. Put it out of the way towards one side and the machine is now ready to crosscut! Next up: telling the software you want to use this feature.
Setup Silhouette Studio for Rear Crosscut
To setup the crosscut, you need to be in the Send Panel, not the Design Panel. My vinyl settings are in the picture below. Click on the small gear in the lower right of the menu to see the Advanced Cut Settings.
In the Advanced Cut Settings menu, change the Feed Options from “Return to Origin” to “Feed.” Set this to something over four inches to make sure that your design does not get cut off. I like 4.125 for an extra 1/8 inch of wiggle room. Remember to go back to this menu after you are done cutting and change this setting back to the default: Return to Origin.
Lastly, send your design to cut. After it is finished, it will feed the vinyl 4.125″ inward (towards the back of the machine). Then you slide the cutter across the back of the machine. To get the vinyl out from the roller, press the down arrow on the front of the Cameo 4 until the vinyl has been fed all the way out. Remember to also move the right most roller guide back to it’s original position for when you are back to cutting with a mat.
This is one of many signs that I cut with my Cameo 4. This design is about 14 inches wide so it’s too wide for my machine and also too long to just turn 90 degrees and still use the standard 12 inch mat. I did rotate it 90 degrees and then cut without the mat. I then added transfer tape and installed this vinyl to a stained and sealed piece of wood. It turned out great and the vinyl was perfect for this purpose!
I hope you enjoyed learning how to cut without a mat on a Cameo 4 today! Go conquer those oversized projects!
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