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Craft Robo/Silhouette Hints & Tips

Free upgrade to Robomaster v5.1

Free upgrade for Quickutz Silhouette to v5.01

Compatible version number for Xyron wishblade

Card type, sizes and Robo cut settings

Card weight/thickness conversions

How do I find out the weight of card (gsm)?

Repairing your Carrier sheet

Increase cutting area (Robomaster)

Cutting the card outline last (Robomaster)

Envelope sizes

Print & cut (using registration marks)

Do I need a new blade?

Why does my card curl when I peel it from the carrier sheet?

Our recommendations for card & suppliers

How to open one of our CDs in Silhouette Studio

How to save a GSD template to the Silhouette library and how to import templates from a CD to the Silhouette library

Which electronic cutting machine should I buy?

How do I re-size a GSD template in Silhouette Studio?

Translating American terms and sizes

My Craft Robo (CC200-20) keeps pausing during a cut

If you have ‘ROBOMASTER V2.4’ or v4.4 here is how to get the Free download of ‘ROBOMASTER V5.1’

Please let us first briefly explain a little about Craft Robo.

‘Robomaster’ is not backward compatible. There have been 3 generations of the machine itself (CC100, CC200 and now CC300)
There have also been 3 versions of the Robomaster software (v2.4, v4.4 and now v5.1).
Ours works on v4.4 and v5.1 only.

If you are having problems opening the files, then please could we ask you to check the version of software you are using? It can be found on the software disc that came with the machine, or you can briefly see it on the popup screen when you open your Craft Robo to start using it.
If you have v2.4 or anything older than v4.4 you will need to update to v5.1.
V5.1 is completely free and is available from the Graphtec GB website.

V5.1 is actually more comprehensive than v2.4 or even v4.4 and will work on Craft Robos CC100-20 and CC200-20 as well as the CC300-20.

Please note that if you have a 64 bit computer (almost all computers sold now are 64 bit operating systems) then you can get the 64 bit driver from the same graphtec site.

(You can check whether your computer is 32 or 64 bit by clicking on the Windows start button (at the bottom left hand side of the desktop). Then click on 'Control Panel'. Then click on 'System and Security'. Then click on 'System'. Look at the 'system type' details and it will tell you '64 bit operating system' or 32bit.

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If you don't have Quickutz Silhouette's final software version v5.01, here is what to do

Since Graphtec have purchased the Silhoutte brand and now sell them as Craft Robo Silhouettes, it has left some of you with Quickutz Silhouettes in the lurch. In order to use our templates you will need to have Robomaster for Quickutz Silhouette version v5.01 for them to work.

Unfortunately that version is no longer supported by Quickutz and is no longer available for download. Equally, Graphtec are not supporting it either.

If you have one of the Quickutz Silhouettes then here is what you can do.

You can use the new Silhouette Studio software It is available for free from Graphtec GB ltd

It will work on both the Quickutz Silhouette and Quickutz Silhouette SD.

We know that some of you are more comfortable with Robomaster (better the devil you know) so if you have the original Quickutz Silhouette (the one with the hand wheel carrier sheet feeder) you can still use Robomaster v5.1 which is free from Graphtec GB ltd. You will need to set the 'preferences' on the first time you use it.
You do this as follows: Open Robomaster. Click the 'files' option at the top left hand corner. On the dropdown options menu click 'preferences' and then choose 'CC200-20' and then click 'OK'. The CC200-20 is the exact equivalent Robo version to the original Quickutz Silhouette.

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Compatible version number for Xyron Wishblade

Our standard CDs work with the Xyron Wishblade software (Create and Cut™) version v4.1.

Graphtec gave a license to Xyron in the USA to build their version of the Craft Robo. Whilst it is basically the same machine, the software versions are not named exactly the same as the Robo. Some importers started bringing in the US cutters and selling them here in the UK, but the UK websites for the Xyron Wishblade are quite restricted. We have not yet been able to ascertain whether you can get the upgrades of it's software for free as in the cases of the Silhouette and Craft Robo. Therefore, in order for our cds to work on your older Wishblade and software, you may have to buy the upgrade from Xyron.

If you don't have version v4.1 and you don't want to pay for the upgrade, we have had feedback from a customer that the new Silhouette Studio software does actually work on the Wishblade. We don't have a Wishblade ourselves so we can't confirm that it works, but you can get the software for free from Graphtec GB ltd

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Card type, sizes and Craft Robo cut settings

I'll start with the paper thickness. 0.1mm is usually said in microns when talking about card. There are 1000microns to 1mm. So 0.1mm is 100microns. You can convert gsm to microns by multipling it by 1.25 approx). So 160gsm is (160x1.25) approx 200 microns (or 0.2mm).
if you use the pink cap (Craft Robo users only) for all your cutting (as many people often do) you will always get it to cut. BUT, You will be attempting to cut through the carrier sheet as well if you use paper or thin card. You will not only be blunting your blade prematurely (and you will hear a harsh noise as it is grating on the tougher carrier sheet) but you will be damaging your carrier sheet. We all know how expensive the blade and carrier sheets are. Pink is the easy option, but not the best practise. Use the one shown on your cutting menu and test cut (The square with a triangle symbol in it). When you cut intricate shapes as some of our templates are, you will also hear a woodpecker sound, where the blade lifts and drops every time it reaches a design node. This is normal. You may find that if you work your Robo hard, then it may suddenly stop in the middle of a cut (not hapened to us yet, but we are aware). If this happens just leave it, the thermal safety cut out has stopped it. In about 5 minutes it will reset and the Robo will carry on as if nothing has happened. They really are quite tough machines.

Now for the trickiest question. The speed and force settings. There is no simple answer. Even card of the same thickness can vary in its quality. We have tried 240gsm and it cuts with ease and we have tried 200gsm and it cuts badly. If your cut is not clean then reduce the speed. The robo can't maintain the downforce because of it and you get a grasshopper effect, with some missed through cuts.
Too much force and again you get the best and cleanest cut, but the greatest blade wear. You again will need to try different settings.

Here is our guide:
Never start with all the settings at maximum, as this will potentially damage your Craft Robo, the carrier sheet or ruin the blade. Start at low settings, do a test cut, and increase the settings incrementally until the test cuts result in a clean separation with very little evidence left on the carrier sheet. (One sure sign that the cutting settings are too high is when you start seeing deep cut marks in the carrier sheet.)
Try all of the blade caps. Just because the card looks thick doesn't necessarily mean it
needs the pink cap, when the yellow cap may suffice. Using the correct cap helps protect the
Craft Robo, carrier sheet and blade from damage.
When the "Adjust Settings" checkbox is ticked, the settings for the current cutting job can be
fine-tuned.

Speed Setting: The Craft Robo has a variable cutting speed from 1mm per second to 10mm per second. The speed can be adjusted by means of a slider control. Generally, the default speed of 10mm per second works fine, but if you start to notice a significant amount of tearing at tight corners, you may want to dial the speed down to 5mm per second or even 2mm per second. Slower
speed settings can also prevent the Craft Robo from overheating and pausing in the middle of
a job, and may also improve cutting quality for some intricate jobs.

Force Setting: As with speed, the force setting can be adjusted to any value between 1 to 33. The blue, yellow, and pink blade caps control the amount of blade exposed, but the force setting determines the amount of cutting force exerted upon the blade. The default value depends on
the type of media that you selected. If the blade is not cutting deeply enough, change the
blade cap first. If that still does not cut through the material, increase the force setting in
small increments until you start seeing consistent and clean cuts.

Test Cut: The "Test Cut" button is used in conjunction with the "Blade Position" control buttons to cut out a small 1cm x 1cm area. The cutting is performed at the blade's current position, and the
"Blade Position" control buttons are used to move the blade around the sheet. This is the
quickest and easiest way to validate the speed and thickness settings for the selected media.


Finally for your query on the 'without backing sheet'. The Robo is actually a VINYL cutter. Vinyl comes with its own backing sheet and so you don't need to use the carrier sheet as we do with card. So the option to use'without backing sheet' applies always to us users of card. Viny is much easier to cut, can be cut at faster speeds and gives less blade wear.
Again if you set your robo to thick media you are just going to get premature wear of your blade and carrier sheet, but you will actually get a good clean cut. You have to decide.
We have been using our craft robo for just a year now and we are still learning. There is a website called UKScrappers. We use it a lot. It is free to use. Just go to the forums and scroll down to the bottom. You will find a section exclusively on the Craft Robo. Many people have contributed questions and answers. We find it invaluable.

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Card weight/thickness conversions

1000microns=1mm

150-160gsm = 200microns

170-180gsm = 230microns

210-240gsm = 280-300microns

270-290gsm = 350-380microns

385gsm = 500microns

460gsm = 580microns

550-590gsm = 750microns

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How do I find out the weight of card (gsm)?

Even if the seller states that their card is a particular weight, they in fact may have substituted the stated card with something thicker. For most crafters that would be a bonus, because thicker card is much more expensive. This is not the case for us Craft Robo users. They may have substituted with a card that is simply too heavy/thick for our cutting machines.

Therefore we need to be able to quickly check that what you have received is cuttable.

The solution is simple. Just use your kitchen scales (digital ones would be perfect). Weigh 1 sheet of A4 card in grammes and then multiply that figure by 16 (because there are 16 A4 sheets in 1 square metre). So for example if your 1 A4 sheet weighs 11 grammes, then 11 x 16 = 176 gsm. That would be perfectly fine.

We actually weigh each supply of card and then put that in an A4 container with the weight shown on a label. We know then whether we need to cut once or cut twice.

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Repairing your Carrier sheet

We have used the same carrier sheets for hundreds of cuts and they are still useable.

1st of all, don't throw them away when the stickiness goes. Just clean the sheet. We use baby wipes to remove the fluff (usually from our sleeves) and any surplus adhesive. Then use a spray on 'repositionable adhesive'. We use KRYLON EASY-TACK and it is wonderful......sadly there is now a problem with the purchase of it.

We have questioned the seller that we bought ours from and then asked Krylon in the USA to respond. Apparently you can buy the Krylon from anywhere in the world now....USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South America, etc.......ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD...........EXCEPT the European Union!!!!
It contains toluene, which is now banned ONLY in the EU.
Krylon have told us that it would be far too expensive to reformulate just for the EU and so we are the only place in the world that it cannot now be purchased.
We have looked at 3m and there appears to be 2 types. You will need the temporary repostionable type.  '3M ReMount™ Spray Adhesive Repositionable 400ml'
Crafters companion do one too called 'Stick and Spray Mounting Adhesive'. You can buy this straight from Crafters companion or Create and craft tv channel. This is much cheaper and seems to do exactly the same thing.

The can will last you for years, but you will need to use it regularly (perhaps every week if you use your Robo every day). Don't overdo it and we leave ours overnight when sprayed. This is not essential, but it seems to work better that way.

We have now had customer feedback of another product 'Plasti-kote spray adhesive repositionable'. We bought ours on Ebay.

We have tested both the Crafters Companion and Plasti-kote for about 3 months now and both are fine.....with problems. Both sprays work OK with undue damage to the carrier sheet. Neither have the same fine mist sprays as the 'now banned' Krylon. Which means that both the products can leave some areas of the carrier sheet with built up areas of adhesive if not sprayed carefully and evenly, which make the sheet tackier in some parts than others.

The Plasti-kote is the far stronger bond. We think that you could actually spray a brick wall with it and then stick and your partner to the wall. The problem is then how to part the 2 without damaging the wall. It also leaves residue on the back of the card and that makes the card tacky and messy too. We now get a piece of scrap card (but we know that crafters never have scrap card....every bit gets re-used) and then press the card against the carrier sheet several times to get rid of the excess build up. Then we can use the carrier sheet in our Robo.

We are lucky in that we still have a can of Krylon which will last us another year or 2, so we plan on using that until we have to change. It wins hands down.

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Increase cutting area (Robomaster only)

I have found that the maximum I can get on an A4 sheet is a cutting area 190mm x 290mm.
Click on 'New' to open a new page - in the drop down menu choose 'user size' and put in 210 x 325 mm.
Tick the use 'registration marks' box.
Click on the 'edit' toolbar and then on the drop down menu choose 'Registration mark settings,. They should show 190 x 290 mm as the cutting area.
To get the most of the page untick the 'print the media loading direction' box (Only applies to the v5.1 software) Then take the 'size' of the reg marks down to 7mm.
Click on 'view' on the top toolbar and untick the 'registration marks'.
Click on 'output settings' on the top toolbar and then on the 'print settings' tab. Click on 'Rotate 180 degrees'
This should give you a bigger size cutting area placed almost centrally on your page

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Cutting the card outline last (Robomaster only)

Occasionally you may find that your Craft Robo cuts the card outline first and then sometimes the cut card moves on your carrier sheet during cutting. First check that your carrier sheet is tacky enough (see 'repairing carrier sheet' on this page). Secondly make sure that you are using a card weight that Craft Robo can easily cut ( see 'Card type, sizes and Robo cut settings' on this page).

Finally you can actually make Robomaster cut the card outline last. Just follow these instructions .

Robomaster recognises colours when defining cutline settings and so we are going to change the colour of the card outline to differ from the rest of the card design.

Open the card template in Robomaster. As a safety precaution, we 'group' the entire design together, so the 1st step is to 'ungroup'. On the side toolbar, choose the 'select' tool. Click anywhere on the design and then go to the top toolbar and click on 'ungroup' (If you hover your mouse over each tool a written description of its purpose will show).

Click anywhere outside the design to deselect. Then click on the card outline only. Only that part of the design will then be highlighted. On the bottom toolbar, click on line settings. On the popup box click on modify. Another colour palette box will appear. Choose any colour that you like from the colour palette and click on Ok. Click on OK again and then deselect the highlighted card outline. You will then see that it has changed to your chosen colour.

You now need to tell Robomaster that you don't want to cut it at the time you cut the rest of the design.On the top toolbar, click on 'output settings' and then on the'cutline settings' tab. Again you will see your chosen colour with a tick in the box to its left. Click on the tick to remove it. Click OK and then Robomaster will ignore anything that is in your chosen colour (ie the card outline).

You can then output the design to your Craft Robo and it will cut everything but the card outline. When it has finished cutting do not unload the carrier sheet, just leave it there. Go back into the 'output settings' and then 'cutline settings' and deselect the red and blue colours and select the new colour. Output your design to the Craft Robo once again and it will now only cut the card outline.

The files on the CD are 'read only' protected and so you will have to save your file as another name on your computer, so you can use the settings again in future.

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Envelope sizes

Remember that if you buy an envelope for your 5"x7" card, you will need a 5 1/4" x 7 1/4" (130mm x 180mm) envelope. Same applies for an A6 card. You will need a C6 encelope, which is larger than an A6 card.

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Print & cut (using registration marks)

Doing print & cut templates is the most difficult thing to do on your Craft Robo/Silhouette. It doesn't matter whether you are using Robomaster or Silhouette Studio, the causes are the same.
Here are some things to check:
When you open a template, are any of the template cut lines outside the RED BOX (Cutting line limit) which is shown on the screen just to the inside of the cutting mat illustration? If they are outside of it, then the template is too large or you may have adjusted the cutting line limits by mistake. If you are using Silhouette Studio, then make sure that you open a GSD template using the OPEN command and not by double clicking on the file. If you double click on the file then it can open as an oversized template and be too big to cut.
If the template is within the red cutting limit lines then look to the following:
Make sure that the printed image (especially the registration marks) has solid bold colours. If you have used a fast print option or if a print cartridge is low then you will get grey coloured registration marks and not black registration marks. It won't be able to read the registration marks if they are grey.
Make sure that the card is stuck firmly and squarely onto the carrier sheet. If there are any bubbles or if it is skewed and not square onto the carrier sheet then it can't find the registration marks.
On the small screen on the Silhouette, make sure that it says word to the effect LOAD W/CARRIER SHEET. Your Silhouette can cut long banners and then you would change the loading settings. If it doesn't say w/carrier sheet then use the left arrow until you see that message.
Make sure that you are lining the carrier sheet up with the correct marks when you load it in.
Make sure that there isn't a bright light shining into the Silhouette as that can confuse it.
Make sure that you aren't using really shiny material to cut as it can reflect light and confuse the optical reader.
Lately, the carrier sheets themselves seem to be much more flimsy and they seem to lift in between the rollers after they have been loaded. If there is any lift whatsoever, then the registration marks can't be read. What we do is to strategically place a finger to hold the carrier sheet down as it reads the registration marks. This is quite tricky to do as the cutter can get quite some speed up when registration mark checking. We are absolutely sure that it isn't recommended by Graphtec, so please do this at your own risk. However it works for us.
You can also put a book or suitable telephone directory butted up to the front and to the back of your machine. This stops the carrier sheet flopping down so much. Sometimes the 'flopping' causes the card to lift from the carrier sheet and the card moves during cutting. You end up with a poor or torn cut.

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Do I need a new blade?

(Old style blades)

It is always a good idea to have a spare blade. There is one type of blade for the A4 Craft Robos and each has 3 different coloured caps (not applicable for Silhouette Cameo). The only Robo that has different blades is the Craft Robo Pro. Blades do last a long long time, so if you aren’t getting a clean cut, it may be another solution we need to find.

There are 3 different coloured caps that come with the Robo. They are for different depths of cut.

Blue       0.1mm
Yellow   0.2mm
Pink       0.3mm

 We hear of lots of people who just leave the pink cap on. That cuts the deepest and is the easiest solution. BUT you will find that you go through a lot of carrier sheets and can also cause premature failure of the blade. Both you will find are quite expensive.
We always use the yellow cap. We use card from 160gsm to 220gsm and it copes fine. We have used a carrier sheet for over 1000 cuts too.
Check a few things first before you buy a new blade. Unscrew the cap (be careful as the tiny blade is really sharp) and then blow the cap and blade. You get paper dust trapped inside and that will reduce the quality of the cut. When you replace the cap make sure that you don't get it cross threaded.  Then make sure that it is seated properly back in your Robo.
If your carrier sheet has really deep gouges in it, then replace it. Every time you cut, the blade makes a small indentation in the carrier sheet. That is normal. But as the sheet gets really worn, you will find that the cut is no longer clean and doesn't go all the way through in places. The carrier sheet may need replacing.
Next is the quality and thickness of the card. We have bought different batches of the same card from the same supplier and the quality of the cut has changed. Try different thicknesses of card from different suppliers and if the cut is still bad, then as a final solution buy a new blade.
We always use Graphtec themselves. Register with the Crafty club at Graphtec and then order through them. The postage is then free and the delivery is next day. The price is really good too.

(New style blades-adjustable)

We have had mixed respnses to the new adjustable blades. They seem to last from 3 weeks to 3 months. We haven't had our Cameo long enough to check for ourselves, but we have noticed some major factors that may be a contributory factor to the reduced blade life. The old blades with the coloured caps were manufactured in either Japan or Germany and so the quality was to be expected. The new blades are manufactured in China to a budget. The new blades are less than half the price of the older blades, but as they can last much less than the older ones, they actually would appear to be more exepensive overall. We have had feedback that the tip breaks off if you use too high a depth setting, so follow these tips to improve the life of your blade.....and always keep a spare.

The manual provides blade settings as follows:


Blade Setting

Material

1

Thin materials such as vinyl and smooth heat transfer material

2-3

Medium-weight materials such as paper, cardstock and flocked heat transfer material

4-6

Thicker materials such as textured cardstock and pattern papers

7-10

Thick materials such as canvas

We always use the test cut feature. It cuts a small square and triangle at the corner of your card. If the first test cut isn't acceptable then you can do it again, by using the arrow keys on your Cameo to move the blade over a bit to a new position.

Always set the blade to the lowest recommended setting and then adjust higher if neccesary.

Cut quality can be affected by a build up of paper dust and fragments getting trapped between the blade and its holder. With the old blades you could just screw the cap off and blow. With the new blades you first try blowing and then Graphtec suggest a pin, but be careful not to chip the blade and remember that the blade may be small, but it is sharp.

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Why does my card curl when I peel it from the carrier sheet?

Curling is always caused by the tackiness of the carrier sheet. When a carrier sheet is new, or if you have resprayed it recently with repo spray, or if the card is too thin it will curl when you peel the card off.
The tackiness will wear off quite quickly and that will stop the curling.
Until it stops, peel the carrier sheet away from the card and not the card from the carrier sheet In other words, turn the card/carrier sheet upside down with the card touching your cutting mat (or craft table) and bend the carrier sheet upwards as you peel it away, keeping the card flat on the mat. That way you are bending the carrier sheet and not the card as you peel it away.

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Our recommendations for card & suppliers


Cardstock choice is one of the skills you will acquire with experience and some failures on the way.
First of all using gold and silver mirror card. We have had limited success with the standard type of gold and silver mirri card. The mirror laminated surface can seperate and tear, leaving a white undercard showing round the edges. We usually have to clean it up with a cutting knife by hand. Audrey prefers the foil card that you can buy from Create and Craft (Craft club membership gets you a discout of 10%). They do also have A4 Gold and Silver Linen Card. (We have used it on the CD39 in the photos). That cuts really well too.

We also use Hand Hippo who do a well priced 220gsm range of coloured cardstock that cuts really well.
We also buy Kanban card from QVC. This is usually around 220gsm which is fine for your Robo. It cuts briiliantly.

We have just started using cards from Quickdraw supplies. They are on Ebay or you can go directly to their Quickdraw supplies shop where their prices are a little cheaper. Their choice of colour is brilliant and they sell in colour batches of 25. Their card is 225gsm and cuts really cleanly.

We have had some lighter weight card from Ebay. We have had mixed success. We got a really good 160gsm white card for our popup inserts. When we went back to order (in a much bigger quantity) it was absolute rubbish. Either they changed their supplier, or it could just have been from a different batch.
We use a lot of 200gsm Xerox premier TCF white card which is very good and totally consistent.

Be careful when you buy cardstock. Sellers can specify a card weight, but then substitute a thicker card weight. As you know the thicker card is much more expensive, so ordinarily they would be doing you a great favour. Unfortunately the card weight is critical when using a Robo. Always check that you have received the card weight you ordered.

We always check every batch we receive (see other tip).


Although your Robo can cut up to 250gsm, we wouldn't recommend you use to the limit. The thinnist we use is the super smooth decoupage paper (from Creat & Craft.tv) which is 110gsm and cuts and prints brilliantly and then 160gsm for our popups and some sliceforms. and then we stick to 200 to 220gsm for all the rest. At those weights you will be able to just cut once with success. When you go above 220gsm, it may need 2 cuts.
We hope this helps a little.

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How to open one of our CDs in Silhouette Studio

How to open one of our CDs in Silhouette Studio. (2 options)

Option 1 (This will make SILHOUETTE STUDIO the permanent program used by your computer to open GSD templates (unless you change to another option later)).

Right click on top of any GSD template file icon. Click on 'OPEN WITH...'. If the Silhouette Studio icon is not already showing in this popup window, then click on the 'BROWSE' button. Click on the 'DESKTOP' option at the left of the new window. Now scroll down the main window and click on the 'SILHOUETTE STUDIO' icon. At the bottom of the window click 'OPEN'.
You will now see the 'SILHOUETTE STUDIO' program icon in the 'RECOMMENDED PROGRAMS' section of the original popup window. Make sure that it is selected and then put a tick in the box 'ALWAYS USE THE SELECTED PROGRAM TO OPEN THIS KIND OF FILE' and then click 'OK' at the bottom of the window.
From now on just double click on any 'GSD' template file and it will open up in 'SILHOUETTE STUDIO'.

Please note that this is the procedure in Windows 7. For other Windows versions it may differ slightly.

 

Option 2 (This option will need to be done each time you open a GSD template).

Load one of the CDs that has the GSD files on into your computer’s CD/DVD drive.
Double click the desktop icon to open Silhouette Studio.
Click on the 'FILE' option at the top left hand side of the screen and then 'OPEN' on the dropdown window (or the 2nd icon in from the top left (OPEN) which is the shortcut for opening files).
At the bottom of this drop down window you will see 'FILES OF TYPE’. Change that to 'ALL FILES' and then navigate to your computer’s CD/DVD drive from this window.  
To navigate to the GSD files from this window, look at the left hand side of this window and you will see the ‘COMPUTER’ command and the computer icon. Click on it. Make sure that you have already loaded our CD in your CD/DVD drive. You will then see several icons. One of which will be your CD/DVD drive, which will show the name of the CD you have in your drive. Click on this. You will now see the contents of that CD. Click on the GSD file you want to use and then click on ‘OK’.
The GSD file you want may be within a folder, so click on the folder until you get to the GSD files.
Silhouette Studio was designed to work happily with '.STUDIO' files and '.GSD' files, but if you create a file in Silhouette Studio, it will only save it as a '.STUDIO' file.
Please note that before you cut a GSD template, make sure that you have selected the cutting mat size that you will use. Open the page tools window (Top toolbar and 4th icon from the right). Cutting Mat options are at the bottom of this window. If you are using the 12"x12" mat then the option is shown on the first page. If you are using an A4 cutting mat then click ADVANCED OPTIONS at the bottom of the window and then select the A4 mat option from the new window.
This way you will see the correct orientation of the card on the cutting mat and the correct way to load the card/mat into your cutting machine.

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How to save a GSD template to the Silhouette library and how to import templates from a GSD CD to the Silhouette library

If you have already opened a GSD template in your Silhouette Studio, then follow the following steps.
Click on the 'FILE' option on the top toolbar.
Click on the 'SAVE TO LIBRARY...' option
Enter a 'FILENAME' of your choice and click 'OK' to save

Now if you want to access the Silhouette library.
On the vertical toolbar at the left of the screen click on the 'SHOW LIBRARY' option (If you hover your mouse pointer over each icon then the explanation of what the icon is will appear momentarily')
Click on the 'MY OWN DESIGNS' folder and you will see the reduced scale image of the saved template on the right hand segment of the page.
Just double click on any image to open the template.

If you want to import a GSD template from a CD to your library then carry out the following steps.

Please be aware when importing GSD files straight into your Silhouette library. When you subsequently open the file from the library, the orientation, postion and registration mark settings may be incorrect and so we really wouldn't recommend using the following technique although the Silhouette Studio software does have this facility for you.


Load the GSD template CD into your computer's CD/DVD drive. (Just close the window that will popup on your screen. This will apear if you have set a CD/DVD to 'autorun' on your computer.)
Click the 'FILE' option on the top toolbar.
Click the 'IMPORT TO MY LIBRARY....' option on the dropdown window.
Firstly on the 'IMPORT' window that pops up, set the 'FILES OF TYPE' to 'GSD'. It defaults to '.STUDIO' file type.
On the same window click the 'COMPUTER' option.
You will see the CD/DVD drive icon option amongst others appear and click on that.
You will now see all of the GSD templates on the CD.(You may see a folder first which contains several GSD templates, so click on the folder if that appears first).
In the 'FILENAME' option type in the file name that you want for the template or use the default.
Click 'OK' to carry on.
You will now see your own library. Click on the 'MY OWN DESIGNS' option to see the template you have saved there.

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Which electronic cutting machine should I buy?

We have often been asked which electronic machine should you buy? We don't have any links to any cutting machine sellers and this is our own personal opinion and may not be the same as others who have expressed any preference. It is an overview only. If you would like more in depth information then please contact us with specific questions. We are here every day of the year.


If you are confused then don't worry, you're not alone. There are probably 30 different types of electronic cutting machines on the market and not a single one is compatible with the others.
Basically the cutting machines fall into 2 broad categories. One can be used independently from a computer and the other needs to be connected to a computer. The market leaders of each group are the CRICUT (using cartridges) and the CRAFT ROBO/SILHOUETTE (Needing a computer).
The Cricut uses expensive cartridges which are about £20 to £40 each and so it can be very expensive to get started with a variety templates. The Cricut costs from around £250 up to £400 for the basic cutting machine.
The Craft Robo/Silhouette comes with its own software so that you can design your own templates as you get more experienced. You can also buy templates from other sellers such as ourselves and these can cost from 10p each to 35p each from us or a variety of templates from other sellers at a wide variety of prices. You can also download individual templates from the Silhouette Studio online shop for 99c (US).
The Craft Robo/Silhouette machines themselves fall into 2 categories. One is a CUT ONLY machine and the other is a PRINT & CUT machine. The PRINT & CUT machine can cut around a printed image, whereas the CUT ONLY can only cut from blank cardstock.
The CUT ONLY machine is called a Craft Robo LITE and costs around £100 and the PRINT & CUT costs around £200 to £300. You can buy these machines from a variety of sellers, including Graphtec GB themselves (Graphtec are the manufacturers) . Check around for any offers.
The Craft Robo/Silhouette is a solid and very reliable cutter and so it is quite safe to buy from the used market, perhaps on EBay. All models ever made are reliable and so you could go for any model. The latest new machine is the Cameo, which can cut 12"x12" and is the very best on the market.


Pros of Cricut:
No computer knowledge required.
No computer connection required.
Can cut up to 12"x12"


Cons of Cricut:
Expensive cartridges.
Designs aimed at the US market and have many US themes that aren't typical of UK tastes.
Can't design your own templates other than using MTC (Make The Cut) software which is quite limited.


Pros of Craft Robo/Silhouette:
Can design your own templates.
Tens of thousands of templates for sale for this machine.
Build quality second to none.
Can cut up to 12"x12" (and even long banners).
Far superior quality of cut.
Craft Robo Lite cheaper to buy than a Cricut.


Cons of Craft Robo/Silhouette:
Does take a little practice and patience to get familar with it.
The Cameo requires an A3 printer to take full advantage of its 12"x12" Print & Cut, although an A4 printer is perfect for most applications.

We hope that we haven't confused you, but please come back to us if you want any more help with your choice.

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How do I re-size a GSD template in Silhouette Studio?

When you open a GSD template in Silhouette Studio, the template may look to be as one, but in fact, it is lots of unconnected geometric shapes that make up the template. This is one of the quirks of GSDs in Silhouette Studio. So that in order to re-size the entire template (or in fact manipulate it in any way. e.g Copy, move, rotate, mirror, etc.), you will first need to select the entire template (or element) that you wish to re-size. Unless you do this you may just be re-sizing part of the template and not the whole of it.

Use the SELECT tool (top of left hand side toolbar) to select the entire template (or element). That tool is the one that Silhouette Studio defaults to each time you open it. Move the cursor to just outside one corner of the chosen template and then (holding down the left mouse button) drag a Marquee (rectangle) to the opposite corner diagonally and then release the mouse button (e.g. top left to bottom right). That way you will have selected the entire element. Once you have it selected then you can resize it, (or move it, mirror it, rotate it, etc) in it's entirety. Don't use the GROUP command as that may change some of the cut line settings. Any dashed lines (folds) may become solid cut lines and the embedded copyright information may change from NO-CUT lines to CUT lines.

Once you have the selection made you will see boxes around the selection. These are called control points and you can drag any of them to re-size the selected element. If you use the corner control points then you will retain the aspect ratio. To get an exact size, you can click on OBJECT on the top toolbar. The dropdown menu will give you the options.

To move a selected templare/element, move the cursor over the selected area until the cursor changes to a HAND. Then you can drag the selected element around the screen.

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Translating American terms and sizes (Silhouette Studio only)

The first thing that struck us when using Silhouette Studio was some of the jargon and measurement units that are set as the defaults.

As the Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Studio are both designed in the USA, then naturally they explain everything in terms that apply in the USA. Only in The USA, and a couple of countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela do they specify cardstock in lbs. They also call it COVERSTOCK too. However as the rest of the world uses the GSM (Grams per square metre), then here is a useful conversion from the USA measure to the most popular GSM measure.
The US measure (Pound weight) is the weight of 500 sheets of card (cardstock/coverstock). However it is even more complicated and confusing than that, as each specific type of paper/card is measured in pounds per 500 standard-sized sheets, BUT different types of paper/card have different standard sheet sizes.

As a rule of thumb....and this applies for CARD only.... then 1lb (USA) is 2.7gsm.

So that for example 122lbs is the same as 330gsm, which is near the maximum capacity for the Cameo.

By default, when you go to the cut screen in Silhouette Studio you will see the preset options stated in lbs, but you can change this to show GSM if you wish. But be aware that gsm is a metric measure and so the units will change to metric too.

Here is how to do it:

Go to the File menu (PC) or Silhouette Studio menu (Mac) and select Preferences > Measurements. Selecting one of the metric measurements will prompt the program to display the paper weights in GSM rather than in LBS.

My Craft Robo (CC200-20) keeps pausing during a cut


We have recently spoken to Brian at Graphtec GB and he has explained the problem and solution to the problem of pausing during a cut.
It only affects some of the Craft Robo CC200-20 models and it happens in both ROBOMASTER & SILHOUETTE STUDIO.
Technically it is related to a firmware problem with this model. During the period that the CC200-20 was being sold, the firmware underwent some upgrades. The problem of pausing only happens on some firmware version upgrades and only on some templates.
Generally it happens at a node where a straight line joins a curved line. At this point (node) the Robomaster carries out a 'buffer reload'  and it can (but not always) take a while to do this in certain circumstances.
As the CC200-20 is an obsolete cutting machine and now has unsupported firmware, there will be no further firmware updates and so the problem will never be fixed permanently.  
A solution that Graphtec have offered is to slow the cutting speed down to 3 just for any template that causes a problem. It will only be some templates in which it will happen and not all of them. Sadly it is impossible to predict or determine which templates will cause the problem and impossible to correct the template to cure the problem.
We hope that this is helpful.

 

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