If you are an art and craft enthusiast or a full-time art and craft professional, then it is a given that you love to die cutting machines. They are DIY machines that let you bring your imagination to life by letting you cut a variety of materials.
Finding the right die cutting machine for your needs can be a time-consuming task not to mention frustrating as there are a number of cheap machines in the market disguising as quality products. They may even tempt you to buy them for the apparent cost-saving but you will only end up wasting your money by buying those inferior products.
On the other hand, there are the high-end models that let you do wonders but will only cost you a leg and an arm. So how do you find one that is affordable and yet does not compromise on quality or features?
Don’t you worry as we have found a die cutting machine that might be just the one for you? The Silhouette Cameo 3 is an affordable machine that is chock full of features to give cheap machines a run for their money. Read on as we review this wonderful piece of equipment so that you may decide if it is the right one for you.
Features and Specs
- Cuts more than 100 different materials
- Dual-carriages saves time with two tools at a time
- Auto Blade feature that is beginner-friendly
- Free Silhouette Software 4.0 for bringing projects to life
- Bluetooth technology for wireless convenience
- Backed by a 1-year limited warranty
Does The Silhouette Cameo 3 Save You Time On Your Projects?
The Silhouette Cameo 3 is the latest version of the machine from the company with new improvements and features. From the inclusion of wireless Bluetooth connectivity to dual carriages to upgrade of the cutting software, the Cameo 3 is a better machine that lets you do more.
This powerful DIY machine comes with its own blade that can cut over 100 different materials including fabric, cardstock, paper, vinyl and much more. This makes it the most versatile die cutting machine that will make any art and craft enthusiast smile with excitement.
Below we will look at the features of this wonder machine in great detail so that you can understand how good it really is. We are sure that you will fall in love with it.
The introduction of dual carriages in the Cameo 3 makes your life easier as you can add up to two different tools to do multiple tasks in one project. For example, if you want to do both cutting and printing you can do so by attaching a blade to one of the carriages and a pen to another. Otherwise, you will have to stop the project and swap the tools for each of the tasks.
A notable improvement of the carriages is the push-lock mechanism for securing your tools. This is much easier and less frustrating than the previous twist-lock method. So swapping your tools also becomes easier saving you additional time in the bargain.The carriages are also compatible with a number of tools from automatic blades to pens to standard blades and deep cut blades giving you more flexibility.
Another thoughtful feature of the carriages is that they have a generous 2mm clearance to allow for thicker materials and to make nice and deep cuts. You can cut even thick materials like leather, foam, balsa wood and much more.
The Cameo 3 is compatible with PixScan technology which lets you cut a design precisely using a scanner or a camera. You don’t need an expensive SLR camera to do this. Even the camera on your smartphone or tablet is sufficient.
All you need to do is simply capture your favorite image on your phone’s camera and upload it to the silhouette studio. Then place the material to be cut on the PixScan mat and let the Cameo 3 cut away your design.
This is very handy when you want to use hand-drawn images for cutting. Simply click your artwork and upload to turn them into the beautiful craft.
The Mighty Auto-Blade
If you are a beginner, choosing the right blade setting for the material being used can be difficult. But the Cameo 3 comes with the Auto-Blade feature which automatically selects the blade settings such as blade depth and more.
All you will need to do is simply enter the material that you are using and the Auto Blade will take care of the rest. This is even useful for seasoned users who sometimes miss changing the blade settings.
An important thing to look for in your die cutting machine is the cutting force which tells you how well it can cut through various materials. The cutting force of the Cameo 3 is 221g/s which is the same as its predecessor. Though this might not let you cut through thicker materials like metal or chipboard, it still is good enough for most art and craft projects.
LCD Touch Screen
The Cameo comes with a full-color LCD touch screen which is very intuitive and fun to work with. You can use the touchscreen to explore various options of the die cutter like view the tutorials and to change settings like the color scheme or user language etc.
Even though the typical set-up of the Cameo will be similar to a printer where it is permanently connected to a computer, you can still make use of its wireless Bluetooth connectivity. You can send cutting projects directly from your smartphone or other smart devices to the Cameo 3 to quickly get started on small projects. You can immediately turn your imagination into solid projects.
Silhouette Studio 4.0
Yet another improvement in the Cameo 3 is the improved version of the design software. The Silhouette Studio 4.0 is much easier to use than its older counterpart and even has step-by-step guides and tutorials which are very useful for beginners.
The interface is very simple and user-friendly with functions like improved tracing tools, accurate estimate of cutting time, a freehand slider tool etc. The software also has an interesting ‘double-cut’ feature which comes in handy when you want to cut thicker materials.
This software is completely free to use and lets you create your projects from scratch. It gives you the freedom to come up with your own designs or even use ones found form the internet. As if that wasn’t enough, the software comes with 100 free images to get you started right out of the box.
A new free design is also added to the Design Store every week from where you can download the image. To top it all, you even get a free 1-month basic subscription to the Design Store when you buy the Cameo 3.
Not only can you cut different types of materials with the Cameo 3 but you can also cut more with it as it has a bigger cutting space. You can cut materials that are a whopping 12 inches by 10 feet. So you don’t have to feel content with just smaller projects. You can even confidently take up larger projects like signage.
You can also cut materials without the cutting mat when you use the Cameo 3. So for projects where you have stiffer materials like paper-backed vinyl or heat transfer, you can directly cut the materials. So, as a result, you can cut materials that are up 10 feet in length.
Don’t worry about storing your blades separately and looking for them every time you need to change blades. The Cameo 3 had a thoughtful in-built storage space specifically for storing your extra blades and tools. So even if you want to change your blade during a project you will have your spare ones ready.
The cutting software is compatible with the operating systems Windows Vista or higher and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher.
The Cameo 3 is not just a great cutting machine but is also a good looking machine. It has a very clean and minimal design which gives it an understated elegance. It will give your desk a very organized and neat look.
Care and Maintenance
You will be delighted to know that the Cameo 3 is low on maintenance so that you can spend more time on your projects than caring for your die cutter. The only maintenance you will have to do is an occasional blade change when they become dull or replace the cutting mat.
The Cameo 3 is a quality product from the house of Silhouette and comes with a limited 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- It can cut a whopping 100+ materials
- AutoBlade feature for automatic blade settings
- A large cutting size of 12 inches by 10 feet
- Dual carriages reduces time and effort
- Bluetooth enabled for wireless connectivity
- Great storage space
- There is no change in the cutting force of 221g/s from the previous versions
As you can see from the review above the Silhouette Cameo 3 is a mean cutting machine that will satiate the needs of a craft-thirsty person. You will love the Cameo 3 if you cut a lot of vinyl for your projects.
Even though it cannot cut very thick materials like metal or balsa wood, it does not come across as a major handicap as these materials are rarely used for most projects. It’s not without a reason that the Cameo is one of the top-selling die cutters on the market and one that has some great customer reviews too. And with a pocket-friendly price tag, it is sure to make anyone fall in love with it.