We’ve all had it happen. You send a job to cut on your Silhouette and something goes wrong during the cut. It could be that your mat is no longer sticky enough and so isn’t holding your material. Or maybe your blade number or force is too high so the paper is ripping or the blade gets stuck. Perhaps you realize that force or blade number isn’t high enough and can see it’s not going to cut all the way through your material. As a rookie, you might panic when that happens and abandon the cut. Once you’ve gotten more experience, you have solutions. Today, I want to share one of those solutions where you can usually save at least part of your cut or material when something like this happens. I’ll show you how to pause the cut and trick your machine.
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The issue with using a pause
On any Silhouette machine, you can pause the cut. With the earlier models, you have a screen where you can click the word Pause.
On a Cameo 4, once the cut starts the controls will show the universal pause icon — 2 vertical lines.
I don’t have pics of these, but on machines with buttons, look for the button with that same icon.
Here’s the problem — if you cancel the job on the machine the motor box stays right where it is rather than returning to the upper left part of the mat. It only resets when you unload the mat. If you sent the job again from your software, it’s going to start the cut in the wrong place.
What if you unload the mat instead so that the motor box does return to its home base? You can’t start the cut again in the exact same spot because there will always be a bit of wiggle room as you insert the mat. You may have it ever-so-slightly to the left or right. Sometimes, that’s okay if you’re just trying to save some of your material in another spot on the page. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about how to force your machine to cut in the exact same spot.
So how do you solve the problem? You trick your machine.
Tricking the machine
On older machines, you could just remove the blade and then continue cutting. Easy solution.
Cameo 4 models have a new technology where the machine reads whether or not you have a tool or adapter loaded in the machine. That’s to keep you from accidentally sending a job to cut without a tool in or with the wrong one in. That might make you think that you have to keep it in for the entire cut in order for the machine to work. But that’s not the case, because it only reads that tool before it starts the cut.
Pretend you’re cutting along and notice a problem happening so you pause the cut. At that point, you can remove the tool or tool holder and the machine doesn’t register that you did. In other words, you can take the blade out and it doesn’t know that.
Once you remove the tool, you can continue the job. The machine will go through all the motions of cutting, but doesn’t really cut anything because there’s not a blade in it. Once finished cutting, it will take the motor box and mat back to the load in point (called the origin point) in the upper left. Then you can make any adjustments you need to, put the tool back in, and send the job again. It will start again in the exact same spot and you can save at least some of your project or material.
Does it always work?
You should know that if the issue is that the blade got stuck in the mat or material, you may not be able to salvage your piece. It sticks, which means the motor box stays in one spot momentarily while the roller bar keeps moving. That’s why you hear that scary sound. It usually gets free, but then the motor box and roller bar are no longer in sync. So, your cut may be ruined as the starting and ending points won’t match up. However, it’s worth a shot because you can usually save at least some of the design. Pausing the cut gives you time to evaluate what’s happening and decide what to do.
Want more on cut settings?
There are SO SO SO many tricks like this to use when you’re cutting on a Silhouette. In fact, I’ve got an entire series on it called Silhouette Cut Doctor. You can find the first lesson here.