Glowforge or Silhouette Cutter?

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
Has anyone tried either Glowforge or Cameo Silhouette Cutter for cardmodels? The Silhouette Cutter is quite a bit cheaper than Glowforge.
I like to combine cutting and printing so that the score lines are printed. I'd like to know about precision of the Silhouette cutter, particularly as far as registration between cutting and printing works.
My files are Coreldraw--only runs on PC. I understand that the Silhouette Cutter will accept Coreldraw files and PC with the purchase of a plugin.
How about for Glowforge? Way more expensive for the equipment. I can afford the Silhouette Cutter but not Glowforge. Ideally I'd like to try the Silhouette Cutter before purchasing. For Glowforge I'll need to find the equipment available at some sort of maker space.
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
I own a Cameo Silhouette. It is an accurate machine, very accurate. The company is supportive. It is easiest if you can work with .dxf files to do the outline of your models, but you can use the software's program to manually do the outlines yourself, using "Control Points, and this makes the cut as accurate as you outline it. One advantage of this is that you can print on blank paper and pain afterwards. The Cameo is a very durable machine., I have had mine for aprox. 3 years. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: lizzienewell

wulf111

Member
Feb 18, 2009
67
22
8
Ohio
i have a Cameo as well and use it quite a bit. it makes cutting work easy and you can just cut to the assembly mode. the software is a little wonky to use at first but easy to get used to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lizzienewell

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
How does registration work for aligning the printing with the cutting?
Have you exported from .cdr to .dxl?
I'm also wondering slots work. I put in slots as 2pt lines which means that when I rescale the model the lines stay the same width.
I've e-mails the local makerspace to see if they have one. But from what Wulf111 and Zathros are saying and if the registration is accurate, I might feel confident enough to buy one without trying it first.
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
The printer makes marks on the paper that are used for alignment. The printer comes with an extremely reusable tack surface you put your paper on, it will also cut very thin metal. You have to make sure you drawing stays within the margins. If you make the outline of the parts using the Cameo's software, it would be a better way to understand how it works. Writing a program, using control Points can be tedious but you only do this one, then you store it on your computer. When you place the paper on the plastic mat, the printer first locates the alignment marks, then cuts the outline of the model accordingly. Since you have imported the picture into the software, it uses that picture, so, as Einstein would say, "It's all relative". If you put it in a little cockeyed, it would not matter, the Cameo only sees what it is doing. You end up with the parts cut along the edges you described, and peel the from the mat. It's tedious, not hard. The Carbide cutter blades will endure and are easily replaceable. There are adjustments to make it cut deeper. Once set up, you just start popping out what you have made. Gandol50, one of our moderators, is an expert with these machines. Pleae don't hesistate to ask more questions. ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: lizzienewell

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
Actually, you import the picture/photo into the cameo software, it the puts the "Registration" marks on the picture. You then print the picture through the software's "Print" commands. The location bars are relative to the picture you have just printed with you picture through the Cameo software, the plastic backing you have mounted the paper on has a grid, so you align as best as you can, the virtual picture then gets cut by scanning the virtual lines, and the machine's knows the size of the backing plate, orients the cut to the registration mark it prints, so if your off an 1/8th of an inch, you still get the picture cut right as it is relative to the mark. There's a Grey area that the Display Windows your working in which shows where the picture cannot be. A "No-Go" area. I found with some models I design this was problematic, an I had to rearrange the pictures with Photoshop. There are other programs you can use, like "Paint".

Get the Cameo, you're so smart that once you start using it, I'll be asking you questions. Also, my machine is a couple of years old, I haven't used it much, it''s virtually new as they sent me a dud, and it took us two weeks to figure that out, they immediately sent me a new one, and just asked me to return the "dud". They were extremely apologetic, they have an excellent customer care center and policy. I should install the software again, as it's been updated again. I got so turned off by spending two weeks figuring out it was messed up, i t turned me off to the whole process. There are many people who use this machine on the forum. I just built this computer and it was hard enough getting my CAD and Photoshop programs setup and registered. You can't go wrong with the Cameo, you will really enjoy not doing all that cutting. I may be inaccurate on some points, going off memory here, and just turning 60 has me befuddled. ;)

This link shows it better than I can write, but fumbling with the machine yields quicker results, especially when it's right in front of you. I did get great results finally

Link = http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2015/02/silhouette-print-and-cut-tutorial.html (lots of dumb pop ups)
 
  • Like
Reactions: lizzienewell

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
Thanks. It looks like there are 3 options for machines: Cameo, Portrait, Curio, and Mint. The Cameo looks like the best option for cardmodels because it will accept standard letter-sized cardstock. This makes the production cheaper because the size is readily available and as a kit the pages will fit in standard sized envelopes. I'm concerned about how it's going to work to modify cdr files to work with Cameo. But most of the parts are repeats.
It looks like the Cameo might be able to do scoring as well as cutting. If so I can fit more parts on a page. Currently, I space the parts for batch scoring--multiple parts scored at once.
I think the working method may be to do initial design with Coreldraw. Once the design is solid move it to Silhouette. I'm also considering that I'm going to be displaying models at sci-fi con art shows. The scale model of the Earth and Moon has a 67" beam. People purchasing are often packing the art in luggage to take home. So I'm looking at mailing tubes and considering the carry-on size restrictions for airlines. Some of them are limited to 18" ugh. Also I will be flying from Alaska and will probably carry multiple models in my checked baggage.
I think 20" might work if the tube goes diagonally in carryon luggage. I'm going to see if it works to make the beam so it can be taken apart into sections which are under the size. I think the models will fit in a 3 inch tube. I may have to cut down the tubes to a size which will fit in luggage. This will probably be cheaper than shipping them. Hm. I'm going to be regularly traveling between Alaska and Colorado, and may be carrying the Cameo in my luggage. The Cameo might go in carry-on with only the blades in checked luggage. That gives me one checked bag for clothing and one for models. If I need more room, I can skip the clothing.
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
I would try and design a collapsable tube set up. With the length needed, you could easily strengthen the tubes with spray foam, only needing to make sure the ends are extra strong. Think of the old collapsible antennae's on cars. The Cameo does score, and you can set that depth, though that is a manual operation, you turn a dial, make another pass for scoring. It does cut thin tin vvery easily, and as the cutting tool is carbide, this will not wear it down. It really does open the door for expression. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: lizzienewell

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
I'm going with a collapsable beam designed somewhat like a car antenna. I have it glued together but I could think about designing stops so that it extends to the correct length. If I did it this way the mailing tube could be quite short, fitting into baggage overhead easily.
I could make a box to hold the model for shipping, but it might be better to buy commercially available packaging. I think I have seen collapsable mailing tubes. That might be a good way to go. :)
I'm realizing I could probably make the same models out of metal and soldier them together. It's worth a try. Or maybe I could design bendable tabs. I'm seeing how it could happen. I make the interior of the sphere with straight edges which allows for folding tabs. :) People might be willing to pay more for metal than for paper. Even though I love paper and how it's not-precious.
Thanks for the brainstorming.
 

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
]I'm going with a collapsable beam designed somewhat like a car antenna. I have it glued together but I could think about designing stops so that it extends to the correct length. If I did it this way the mailing tube could be quite short, fitting into baggage overhead easily.
I could make a box to hold the model for shipping, but it might be better to buy commercially available packaging. I think I have seen collapsable mailing tubes. That might be a good way to go. :)
I'm realizing I could probably make the same models out of metal and soldier them together. It's worth a try. Or maybe I could design bendable tabs. I'm seeing how it could happen. I make the interior of the sphere with straight edges which allows for folding tabs. :) People might be willing to pay more for metal than for paper. Even though I love paper and how it's not-precious.
Thanks for the brainstorming. Uh oh now I'm thinking of the possibilities of metal. If it can cut copper I could do lovely patina surfaces. I bet I could do wax resist over the continents and make the oceans copper oxide green. Or maybe vinyl masks over the continents.
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
I got mine just after Christmas, and they were begging me to buy it. Time is valuable though, and since we never know how long our dispensed time will last, sometimes it's better to get the things you desire when you are able to. I'm sure after "Black Friday", the prices won't go up. :)
 

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
Maybe. I'm also getting ready to purchase audio recording equipment. I'm going to record audiobooks, an entirely new type of project for me. I'm eyeballing my closet. I think I might be able to do it in the wee hours of the morning when there's not much traffic.
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
There are foam coverings for Mics that weed out a lot of background noise. Why can't you record into your computer?
 

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
I'll be using my Mac for recording. They make less noise than PCs. I'm doing my research on what I need. Which will be a good microphone, a pop screen, a mic stand, headphones, a Kindle(for soundless page turning), a chair that doesn't squeek, clothing which doesn't rustle, software for editing, and for the walls acoustically deadening material. There are foam things which go around behind the mic but I'm not sure if I'll need one. I've got the headphones, the Kindle, the Mac computer. I downloaded Audicity for the software. The advice I'm getting for producing audio books is to start with a high quality recording, If the room is quiet with a "dead floor" the editing is easier. My closet seems the best for noise absorbing wall covering, clothing. To cut down on traffic noise--automobile and airplane--I'm going to try recording between midnight and 5 am. Yawn. But maybe afternoons will work. It's possible I can cut out the traffic noise with the clothing on the walls(high frequency) and with a device which goes on the mic cable to filter out low frequency noise. If I record in the wee hours in winter, I'm going to have to shut off the forced air heat which probably means bringing the temperature up at midnight before turning off the furnace. I could record in Colorado where I'll have less traffic noise but it will have to be when the house is empty and I'll have to figure out how to install sound absorbing materials. This is where the foam behind the mic will work. I also may build a sort of tent recording booth out of quilts. ;-) oh yeah maybe some card model inspired design with cardboard tubes holding up the quilts. Although 2x2s held together with sheetrock screws just might be the easiest and cheapest. If I do it right maybe it could double as a camera obscura. I've been considering building one. It consists of a magnifying glass or convex mirror and a dark booth. I've got the magnifying glass and the convex mirror. That has me thinking how easy it would be to use a magnifying glass and a bit of cardmodeling to make a computer into a projector. I've already got an old camera lens. I should do it. More fun brainstorming. Thanks
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
I don't know why you would think Mac's make less noise than P.C.'s. I am an electronic technician, state certified, I repaired audio, and all kind of electronics for 10 years. Any noise is due to a faulty capacitor, diode, or poor ground. Macs are P.C.'s, they just have a different operating system. The days of Mac's being something different than a P.C. a far gone. My Asus MoBo board has a fantastic sound system, 7.2 surround, digital and audio inputs and, remember, when you connect any different electronics together for recording, you must ground them together, or you get a ground loop, which causes an out of phase condition, manifested as distortion.

Creative makes a PCI-E recording card that produces studio sound for recording and playing. Using your Mac because it's what you like and are used to is fine, but software limitations make it impossible for me to use their product. They are not better than P.C.'s, and frankly, are overpriced.

This is a highly rated Mac compatible Mic. $79 dollars and free shipping. :)

Link = https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010W6W9EQ/?tag=thewire06-20&linkCode=xm2&ascsubtag=AgIAAAAAAAAAAAWQ



AC_UL115_.jpg
 

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
The sound is the fan turning on to cool the computer. The Mac is smaller than my PCs (Dell and HP) and doesn't have a fan that I can tell. Or the sound of the harddrive. Also the touch pad on the Mac works better than the one on the Dell which means less mouse noise. I see though that your talking about noise it in the electronics. I hope I went for the right balance of cost and quality for that. The Dell laptop is for my cardmodeling and art since it will run Coreldraw. Mac won't. The Dell--I call her Dell-iliah--has a core 5 processor and a something-or-other graphics card. I looked for recommendations for computers used for illustration and went with one design for gaming. It's last years referbished to keep the cost down.
I think I'll call the Mac, "Mac-Dugh." I'm new to Mac.
I went ahead and made the big order: Cameo, Cameo carrying case, Cameo tools, microphone, pop screen, shock mount, pre-amp, mbox, 2 mic stands, 2 mic cables, and a foldable sound shield. I'm going to take it out of my 2018 budget. I'm new to what most of these things are. I hope my purchases aren't redundant.I guess I can send things back if they are, I got the pop screen, shock mount, and microphone as a kit. The pop screen reduces plosive mouth sounds --B, P, T, K. I'm not sure what the shock mount does--but it's recommended equipment.
I looked it up. The shock mount cuts out vibration traveling on the mic stand.
 

zathros

-----SENIOR----
Administrator
Moderator
Apr 6, 2013
10,995
6,138
228
The additions for the Mic were smart to buy. You won't notice them, but if you didn't have them, you would want them, as their effectiveness is that good. If you can hear a fan, the bearings are bad. If you can hear the air, you do not have proper airflow. I just built an 8 core AMD 64 big 4.7 Ghz, 24 Gigs of Ram, and 8 Gigs of video ram. It has a radiator, as it is water cooled. It is so silent, sometimes I have to look to make sure the fans are running. Usually with PC's, the intake and exhaust fans are not matched, especially with Dell and H.P., which I tell people to stay away from. I build my own computers, I actually have never purchased one. The first code I learned was in 1973, APL (A Programming Language), then BASIC I, II started Fortran, ASCE I and then entered into the secretive proprietary software working for the Aerospace industry.

If your experience is on PC's, you will find the Mac's very limiting. You have to pay for things that are available for free for PC's. Macs are mostly for people who just want to cruise the web, take pictures, and do light weight work. On the other hand, the complete lack of any moving parts may be just what you need. I don't know about software for that kind of stuff. You might want to post your experiences for the few Mac users we have here. Someone quit a while back because I made a comment about the limitations of Macs. It's just true. They do work and do what they can do well though. If you get into Photoshop, then you realize that even though they are in essence no different than your Dell, the software is holding you back. Apple has put all their efforts into phones, and really doesn't care about computers much or their O.S.. They have left many customers that paid for their Billions of dollars nest egg holding modern bricks.

You would be surprised ow much sound conditioning a quilt will do. The corners of the room are what cause the problems. Do your sound conditioning there. I think you will be fine and happy with what you have purchased. The shock stand would be more of an issue if you were playing music, or had vibrations coming up the floor, would would sound "thumpy". Good luck! Are you doing these recordings commercially? Sounds like a good project, so many blind people, or near blind, that really appreciate this. Also, a lot of people use audio books while traveling, though I think imagery could get distracting, unless your not driving. :)
 

lizzienewell

Member
Jun 25, 2005
290
158
16
55
Anchorage, Alaska
lizzienewell.com
It seems to me that each of the machines has it's advantages and disadvantages. The Mac is lightweight so it's the one to take with me to surf the net at a coffee shop and because of like you say the lack of moving parts it's going into the recording booth. The graphics stuff will be going on the Dell.

Good to hear it about the quilts. That was my initial thought and I've got quilts which should work. These recordings are going to be commercial in that I'll work with ACX and they will be compatible with Kindle so that you can purchase audio book in addition to the ebook and either listen or read. The recordings need to meet the standards put out by ACX. I thought about hiring a narrator and sound engineer through ACX but that was going to get pricy and I like when authors read their own work. I also had two people say I have a good voice for it. Oh dear we've gotten off the topic of the Cameo, although this all fit together with my book marketing plan.

It seems the Cameo will engrave and produce etching masks but it won't cut metal. Too bad.
I'm going to have to get the business edition upgrade to sent cdr files to the Cameo. The prices for the upgrade are all over the place. A few things Cameo set my teeth on edge what with the emphasis on printing and cutting decorative clipart doodads. I guess it's a good moneymaking deal for Silhouette if they can charge you for the designs--not just the machine, the vinyl, the blades, the mats, the tools. User provides the money, Silhouette does everything else. It makes me feel like a cash cow. But I think I can work around it so I'm controlling the machine; it's not controlling me.