One of the advantages to the new Cameo 4 models is an improved crosscutter. The crosscutter is designed for use with materials such as adhesive vinyl or HTV that come on a roll and are often cut without the mat. Rather than unloading at the end of the cut, you can move the vinyl farther into the machine and slice it off. You then move it back to a good starting position and begin your next cut.
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Here are some advantages of the crosscutter–
- If you’re cutting multiple files, you don’t have to unload each time. Loading and unloading can be challenging when cutting without the mat. (I’ve got tips on loading these materials in this series).
- You can begin weeding part of your project without waiting for all of it to cut.
- It’s a great way to get a good, straight 90° edge-to-top for your next cut job. That is critical when cutting without the mat.
On the Cameo 2 and 3 models, the crosscutter was, to me, more of a liability than a help. The groove catches the edge of material, the cutter blade is sub-par, and it’s very hard to get a good straight cut as the tool wobbles in the groove. The new design is SO SO SO much better! But there are definitely a few tricks to using it. I recommend reading this entire post so that you understand the details.
Where is the crosscutter?
You might not even know that your Cameo machine has a crosscutter. It’s on the back side.
There might be other hidden gems on your machine you aren’t aware of. Check out my post here for a complete rundown.
You do NOT want to open the crosscutter until your machine has finished cutting. But I do definitely recommend you practice opening and closing it before you cut your project.
How to advance the material
The first thing you need to know is how to get the bottom of the cut past the crosscutter. There are 2 different ways to do it. Read through both BEFORE you cut so that you can make a choice.
Manually use the buttons on the machine
You can use the buttons on the machine. I listed this first because personally this is my preferred method. After your machine has finished the cut job, look for the compass point arrows on the machine and push the down (south) one.
This advances the material farther into the machine. Do it until you see the bottom of the cut past the groove in the back. My finger is pointing to the end of my cut and I’ve drawn a red arrow to show you the groove.
Select the Feed option in cut settings
As you set up your cut job — so before you hit SEND — click on the gear at the lower right corner of the Send area. This is NOT the same as the gear on the Design area that’s for Preferences. This one opens the Advanced Cut Options panel. Under Feed Options, it will be set to the default Return to Origin. That means that after the cut job is done, the machine moves the material back out to where it was when you loaded it.
You can instead choose Feed and set an amount. Here, I’ve set it to 1/4″. That means that after the cut job is finished, the machine will advance it 1/4″ past the bottom of the lowest cut.
But you should know…
That’s okay if you just want to start the next job right there. But there are some quirks you should know about if you’re going to use the crosscutter.
- You have to experiment with the number to find out how much farther you need it to go to be in the right spot for your crosscutter. 3.75″ is usually enough for me.
- It takes into account designs that are off the mat area. So, if you have a shape that’s off to the side but lower than anything on your mat area, the machine will feed past the lower edge of that shape.
- The feed is based on the size of the text box rather than the size of the words in that box. That means the lower edge might be lower than any of your letters.
- With the feed option, you have to press the Unload button multiple times to unload. Each time you press it, the material moves back out just under 2″.
- Once it feeds, you can’t scroll back to the initial load-in point. In other words, you can’t advance it to trim it off, then move it back to the spot where the top edge of the material is just past the cutting strip by using the compass arrow keys on the machine. They aren’t there — just load and unload. To me, this defeats the purpose.
You can, however, do a bit of a workaround. Use the Unload arrow to get it close, then hit Load again. When you’ve done that, you CAN use the compass arrows to adjust.
- The setting will stay there in the Send area until you change it. It is cut information saved with the file. If you start a new file directly after working with a file that has the feed option selected, it may also have it automatically. It’s like when you’re working in a file and start a new one, the page size is the same as the last new one you started. This applies even when you close and reopen the software. ALWAYS check!
To me, this makes it more cumbersome. But if it’s something you’re going to do a lot, you can play with it and decide if you like it.
Cutting with the crosscutter
So, now you’ve got your material advanced so that it’s past the crosscutter groove. Now you’re ready to slice.
- Unlatch the tabs at the left and right sides of the groove. This is tricky, because there are 2 tabs on each side. The larger ones are for removing the crosscutter from the machine. You’re looking for the smaller ones — the ones to the inside. Pull them down to unlock them.
- As you unlock the tabs, a tray with a groove in it drops. I’m pointing to the tray with my thumb. Make sure the lock tabs and tray are fully down or else you won’t be able to slide the crosscutter. You should hear a click.
- Double check and make sure the bottom of your cut job won’t get sliced off. You should be able to see it in front of the tray.
- Grab the crosscutter and pull it across the material, all the way to the other side. It will glide inside the groove and slice off the material.
After using it
What you do after using the crosscutter is very important. If you don’t lock it back in, it can cause issues with your cuts, as the material can bump into it. I will repeat here that I do NOT recommend keeping the crosscutter out while cutting. So, after each time you use it — even if you’re going to keep your roll of material loaded into the machine and do another cut — put it away.
- Hit the regular unload button to unload your material.
- Slide the crosscutter all the way back to the left or right side. The crosscutter tray won’t close if it’s not all the way over to one side.
- Lift the tabs back into place, making sure they are fully locked.
- If you are going to cut again without unloading, use the up (north) compass arrow to roll the material back to the load-in point. When you use those arrow keys, the machine will not normally move the material back out the front completely. However, since you have sliced off some of your material it would. Move it back only to the point where the top of the material is past the cutting strip. Just remember that you can’t do this with the automatic feed option without that workaround.
Removing it from the machine
I mentioned earlier that you can remove the crosscutter from the machine completely. You may have wondered the purpose of that. Eventually, the crosscutter blade might get dull. This is how you replace it — by replacing the entire assembly. Unlatch those outer tabs, lower the entire crosscutter assembly and remove it from the machine.
Again, if you do remove it, be sure that when you replace it you lock it in completely so that it doesn’t interfere with your cuts.
Unfortunately, at this time Silhouette America does not have replacement crosscutters in stock. Keep an eye on their website under replacement parts or blades and mats, as those are the most likely places they will have them in the shop. Please do note that the crosscutter tool for the earlier Cameo models is NOT the same.
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