Heat Transfer EQUIPMENT – Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Silhouette Portrait 2 differ from the previous Portrait model?
The Portrait 2 has several new features and updates from previous Portrait models. Among the updated features are the following:

How does the Cameo 3 differ from previous Cameo models?
The CAMEO 3 has several new features and updates from previous CAMEO models. Among the updated feature are the following:

What's the difference between a Portrait 2 and a Cameo 3?
The Silhouette Portrait 2 and CAMEO 3 models are two different machines offered by Silhouette America®.

The main difference is in size. The Silhouette Cameo has a wider cutting area (12 inches maximum) compared to the Silhouette Portrait model (8 inch maximum).

Both the CAMEO 3 and Portrait 2 models offer the following:

The CAMEO 3 offers the following features which the Portrait 2 does not:

Note: The above features may not be included with older CAMEO or Portrait models.

What materials can the Silhouette Portrait® cut?
The Silhouette is designed to cut a variety of materials including vinyl, paper, specialty patterned papers, cardstock, vellum, iron-on heat transfer material, fabric (when using Silhouette Interfacing products) and sticker paper. It will also cut a variety of other specialty materials. The Silhouette has a cutting force of 210gf and includes a blade that can extend to approximately 1mm in depth when using the standard blade.

However, there is still a limitation depending on the material type's density and make up. Certain materials that are overly dense (such as thin metals, acrylic or acetate, for example) may not be able to be cut well or at all and can impair the blade. On dense materials such as mylar, doflex and plasticard you are limited to around 120 micron with the Silhouette machines due to the density of the material – any thicker than this and the blade will not be able to completely penetrate the media. Certain materials that have abrasive natures (such as thicker chipboard or sandpaper) may also impair the blade or dull it very quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, certain fibrous materials (such as select felt materials or handmade papers) may not be held together densely enough for successful cutting.

Testing can be performed on special material types to find whether or not they can be cut successfully by using the Test Cut feature.

What materials can the Silhouette Cameo® cut?
The Silhouette is designed to cut a variety of materials including vinyl, paper, specialty patterned papers, cardstock, vellum, iron-on heat transfer material, fabric (when using Silhouette Interfacing products) and sticker paper. It will also cut a variety of other specialty materials. The Silhouette has a cutting force of 210gf and includes a blade that can extend to approximately 1mm in depth when using the standard blade. However, there is still a limitation depending on the material type's density and make up. Certain materials that are overly dense (such as thin metals, acrylic or acetate, for example) may not be able to be cut well or at all and can impair the blade. On dense materials such as mylar, doflex and plasticard you are limited to around 120 micron with the Silhouette machines due to the density of the material – any thicker than this and the blade will not be able to completely penetrate the media. Certain materials that have abrasive natures (such as thicker chipboard or sandpaper) may also impair the blade or dull it very quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, certain fibrous materials (such as select felt materials or handmade papers) may not be held together densely enough for successful cutting.
Testing can be performed on special material types to find whether or not they can be cut successfully by using the Test Cut feature.

What materials can the Silhouette Curio™ cut?
The Silhouette is designed to cut a variety of materials including vinyl, paper, specialty patterned papers, cardstock, vellum, iron-on heat transfer material, fabric (when using Silhouette Interfacing products) and sticker paper. It will also cut a variety of other specialty materials. The Silhouette has a cutting force of 210gf and includes a blade that can extend to approximately 1mm in depth when using the standard blade, or up to 2 mm in depth when using the Deep Cut Blade to accommodate thicker material types.

However, there is still a limitation depending on the material type's density and make up. Certain materials that are overly dense (such as thin metals, acrylic or acetate, for example) may not be able to be cut well or at all and can impair the blade. On dense materials such as mylar, doflex and plasticard you are limited to around 120 micron with the Silhouette machines due to the density of the material – any thicker than this and the blade will not be able to completely penetrate the media. Certain materials that have abrasive natures (such as thicker chipboard or sandpaper) may also impair the blade or dull it very quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, certain fibrous materials (such as select felt materials or handmade papers) may not be held together densely enough for successful cutting.

Testing can be performed on special material types to find whether or not they can be cut successfully by using the Test Cut feature.

What material sizes can the machines work with?
Though there are standard pre-defined material sizes in the Silhouette program (such as 8.5 x 11 Letter size and A4 size), you can define custom user paper sizes with the Silhouette Studio® software to fit the media type and size you're working with providing the material size is allowed by the scope of what the Silhouette can handle.

The Silhouette CAMEO® has adjustable pinch rollers to control the material width allowance with pre-set roller settings for A4 width, Letter width, 12 inch material width, and 13 inch width (in order to grip the 12x12 inch cutting mat). It cannot accept any materials with a width exceeding a 13 inch path.

The Silhouette Portrait® has pinch rollers set to accept A4 and Letter size materials, as well as the standard Letter size cutting mat (which may be used for A4 size materials as well). The pinch rollers on this model are not adjustable. It cannot accept any materials with a width exceeding a 9 inch path.

When cutting longer materials that have their own adhesive backing (such as adhesive-backed vinyl), you may cut lengths of up to 10 feet so long as the material is wide enough to be gripped by the pinch rollers.

Materials that are smaller than the width of the pinch rollers would require the use of a cutting mat to hold the material in place properly during the cutting process. If such is the case, the maximum length of the material could not exceed that of the cutting mat (12 inch maximum length for the CAMEO when using the 12x12 mat or 24 inch maximum length when using the 12x24 mat; 12 inch maximum length for the Portrait).

The smallest recommended size of material would be at least 3 inches width by 3 inches length (which would require the use of a mat as they are not wide enough to be gripped by the pinch rollers).


When using Silhouette Cameo® 3, must I use the AutoBlade?
The existing Silhouette Standard, Premium and Deep Cut blades are also compatible with the Silhouette Cameo® 3 but you will have to manually adjust the blade settings as the Silhouette Cameo® 3 can only automatically adjust the AutoBlade.


Can I use Silhouette Cameo® 3 with a tablet such as an iPad?
Yes, Silhouette Studio® Mobile allows you to create and send images to a Silhouette machine using a tablet, It is available to download here.

Do Silhouette machines come with a warranty?
The Silhouette machines all have a 2 year return-to-base warranty.

Can the Silhouette Cameo and Portrait machines cut 190 micron Mylar?
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No, they can cut up to 120 micron but any more than that will be too much to get the blade through due to the mylar being so dense.

 When I cut A4 with my Silhouette Portrait, I can’t get it to cut right to the edge - it always leave around 2 inches at the bottom of the sheet.
This is normally because the cutting mat is not selected in the software. There will always be a 10 mm margin around the edge, even with a mat selected, but when there is no cutting mat selected it adds an extra 50 mm margin at the bottom of the page so that the media doesn’t roll out of the rollers.

Check if you have a cutting mat selected and make sure you have the page size set to A4 because the software defaults to Letter format and if that is used it will also reduce the available page length.

​​​​​I'd like my Silhouette Cameo to cut around a design on my paper/vinyl, can it do that? Let's say I'd like to cut out a smiley face, but so that I wouldn't need to weed around it, when it comes out of the cutter, can I just lift the round shape of the mat?
If you use the cut by colour option in the Silhouette software you can create two different cut settings and assign them to different parts of the design. Let’s say for example, blue lines use a blade of 1 with a force of 7 to cut the design out, and red lines use blade 1 and force 18 to cut all the way through. It would take a bit of tweaking to get the setting spot on but it is possible.

In terms of blades, there are two ways of doing it, you can use a single auto-blade and assign a different preset to each colour, the blade will then change itself between colours.  Alternatively, you can use two blades, one in each blade slot and assign a blade to each colour - if you are doing it this way you can use any type of blade but we would recommend you use a premium blade because they give the most adjustment for fine tuning.  We prefer to use the two blade method but both will work.

What is track enhancing?
Track enhacing is a feature that moves the mat or other material back and forth through the Silhouette prior to the actual cutting process.

As material thickness increases, the rollers (dependent upon the material type and surface) may not grip as firmly on the material's surface during operation. In such cases, it may be recommended to enable the Track Enhancing option. The action of feeding the material through the Silhouette several times prior to operation creates a "track" for the Silhouette to roll on and gain a better grip during the job in question. The feature attempts to ensure proper alignment of secondary passes performed and attempts to resolve potential mis-alignment concerns.

This option is only needed when cutting thicker materials where the material appears to be slipping during the cutting action, or when there is mis-alignment when using the "Double Cut" option.

The Track Enhancing feature is something built into the Silhouette unit which can be controlled through the software (in the Silhouette Cut Settings screenOR via the Silhouette's LCD screen when cutting directly from an SD card (Silhouette CAMEO model only).

Do Silhouette machines come with a warranty?
The Silhouette machines all have a 2 year return-to-base warranty.

What are the exact dimension of the different machines?
The Silhouette CAMEO® measurements are:

The Silhouette Portrait® measurements are:

The Silhouette Curio® measurements are: