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Craft Robo/Silhouette Hints & Tips

Specific problems with various versions of Silhouette Studio

Free upgrade to Robomaster v5.1

Free upgrade for Quickutz Silhouette to v5.01

Compatible version number for Xyron wishblade

Repairing your Cutting mat

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

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

Specific problems with various versions of Silhouette Studio

To check which version of Silhouette Studio you have on your computer:
Open up Silhouette Studio by clicking the desktop icon. Click on the HELP option on the top toolbar. Then click on ABOUT SILHOUETTE STUDIO on the dropdown menu. Look at the Silhouette Studio release number. If you have one of the problem versions mentioned below then you will need to get the latest version from Silhouette America at the following link:
Click here for the latest version of Silhouette Studio.

The Silhouette Studio program is still evolving and each new update from Silhouette US has implications for us GSD users. They gave us the completely new user interface with version 3 which took some getting used to, as the appearance of Silhouette Studio has remained pretty much the same from the beginning. We have had updates that wouldn't accept GSD templates at all and many quirks that we have had to get used to. The Studio software itself is worlds ahead of the old Robomaster software, but each new update of Silhouette Studio has had its problems. If you are struggling at all please just contact us. We almost certainly have come across it and will know how to resolve it. We can also contact Silhouette US to make them aware.
Our general advice is NOT to rush into new updates as soon as they come available. Let someone else get the design problems resolved. The Silhouette US site does usually have a LEGACY version available as well as the latest version and so if you are having any problems with the latest version then you can go back to the LEGACY version which will have had much more testing by users.

Version v2.7.0

This version will NOT open GSD templates at all. You will get an error message to say that the template file MAY BE CORRUPT. That isn't the case and an update is mandatory for this version. Although this problem has been about for quite some time now, New Silhouette cutting machines are still being supplied with this version included with it. Solution: UPDATE.

Version V3.0.293

This version assumes that all lines on a template are solid cut lines. The perforated (fold) lines cut as solid lines and the copyright statements (NO CUT LINES) cut as solid cut lines. Solution: UPDATE.

Version v3.0.531ss

You will notice on the CUT ONLY templates that turquoise lines have appeared within the template design itself. This is a new problem on this version only. The turquoise lines are part of the copyright statement that is embedded within the design itself. These lines are set to NO CUT lines and so, even though they are visible, they will not cut or spoil the cut template. Silhouette USA are aware and no action is required by you before cutting the template.

You will notice that there are no registration marks on PRINT & CUT templates on this version. You will just need to click the OPEN THE REGISTRATION MARKS WINDOW icon on the top toolbar. The STYLE option will say OFF. Click the arrow to the right of the STYLE box and choose the reg marks unique to the cutting machine you have. e.g. TYPE 1 (Cameo, Portrait), etc. We have had better results by then cicking the RESTORE DEFAULTS button below.

You will notice that the program sometimes attaches 2 separate lines together. It makes unrelated lines into a compound path. That will mean that it may combine 2 separate objects (or part of those objects) into 1 object. In this case it will mean that you cannot move one object without moving both. Solution: select the compounded line/s and then click OBJECT on the top toolbar and then click the RELEASE COMPOUND PATH option.

Version v3.1.417ss (8th August 2014)

Some minor problems solved, but for GSD users much the same as the previous version

GENERAL PROBLEMS with Silhouette Studio

Why does my Silhouette stop before completing my image?
If the Silhouette temporarily stops during a cut job and the blue light is flashing, the cause of this problem is due to the large data stream being sent to the Silhouette machine (which may be due to the size or intricacy of the image, or combination of cutting settings being used). Please note this has nothing to do with the processing speed or ability of your computer, but rather the Silhouette machine itself. Please also note that the blue light flashing indicates that the Silhouette is on standby and will resume cutting after a few minutes. To prevent the Silhouette from encountering processing issues with jobs that have larger data streams (where there is more intricate detail, images are larger, or thickness settings are very high), we would suggest slowing down the speed to 3 (or lower). Slowing the speed down to 3 will resolve the issue you are experiencing by sending a slower data stream, and your Silhouette should no longer stop in the middle of the job you are looking to perform. You do not have to do this with all images or thickness settings. You will only need to do this for jobs where the Silhouette appears to stop and goes on standby (the blue light flashes) in the middle of your job.

Problems with double cut option.
On some templates clicking the double cut option turns some of the perforated (fold) lines into solid cut lines.  It only happens to some perforated lines and it is impossible to predict where it will happen and in which templates. There is a work round solution.
Cut the template once and at the end of the cut you will be prompted with the cut again option. Cut again this way and the perforated lines remain as perforated lines.

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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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Repairing your cutting mat

We have used the same cutting mats 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 and re apply a temporary spray adhesive.
We use Crafters companion STICK & SPRAY temporary repositional adhesive. It works really well. We buy it directly from Crafters Companion themselves. We spray the cutting mats every 2 or 3 uses, but spray lightly and don't spray up to the edges as it gets onto the feed rollers of your cutting machine. We use another Crafters companion product to clean the cutting mats. It is Crafters Conpanion STICK AWAY adhesive cleaning agent. We spray the STICK AWAY onto the cutting mat and then scrape the sticky goo from the cutting mat with an old Stanley knife blade (be careful) and then a baby wipe to finish the job. Read the instructions of use before using these products.

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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 240gsm card from Papermilldirect. It cuts really well on a Silhouette but a Craft Robo may struggle a bit with it.

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. A


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.

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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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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