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Cameo 3 is a digital pattern cutting machine by Silhouette, designed to have both a fairly flexible range of uses and make a new standard of usability for buyers. Along with the many capabilities boasted by similar machines, Cameo 3 has a number of options that are aimed not at a better cut, but a more enjoyable experience for the hobbyist.
Bluetooth capability has been added for sending designs or altering existing ones, although there is a USB cable included in case the user doesn’t have a pairable device. A touchscreen on the machine itself makes navigating menus and options a breeze, and eliminates the need to open another device to adjust the cutting machine.
Several small compartments are built into the body of the machine to store the various tools and accessories. Three such tools are provided for different cutting strengths, along with a pen for marking material before you start cutting.
Silhouette has included several software improvements as well, even setting aside the previously mentioned upgrades. The blades can be set to detect material thickness automatically and will adjust cutting length and force as needed without troubling the user.
Print-to-cut functionality has been added, allowing users to first print a design on paper for a preview of sorts before committing to the cutting machine. A software upgrade called PixScan is available as well, allowing a user to scan any image the please into the Silhouette Studio program to be converted into a digital pattern.
A combination of design stores, cloud storage, and customer support is available in the form of the Silhouette Studio software. A subscription is required for full access, but certain features can be used for free by any buyer.
Although quick and easy to use, the Cameo 3 does not have the power or blade length of some other machines, and so will struggle with thicker leather or balsa. Unlike many similar machines, it cannot emboss, etch, or score ‒ the Cameo 3 should be used for cutting only.
Who’s It For
Cameo 3’s user-friendly features and simple controls and connectivity make it an ideal first cutting machine, or for someone who crafts infrequently but still want the option for digital pattern creation. As digital cutters go, it is relatively inexpensive, a further incentive for someone not yet sure whether to commit to the hobby more fully.
Cameo 3’s lack of certain features or capabilities, as well as the limited software access it includes, make it a poor choice for more experienced hobbyists or those intent on more intricate projects.
What We Like About Cameo 3
Cameo 3 sports a number of solid advancements in user interface, many of which are lacking in comparable machines. An onboard touchscreen and Bluetooth link go a long way towards keeping the machine simple to use even for a relative novice.
PixScan makes anything a user wants into a cuttable pattern and is backed by print-to-cut functionality for the best results.
Plenty of storage for pens, scissors, and similar is built into the machine, and the included tools will doubtless save many users a lot of time and effort when prepping the machine.
What We Don’t Like About Cameo 3
The blades are not as long or powerful as other machines, a fault that somewhat limits the range of materials available to the Cameo 3. Similarly, there is no option to etch or emboss, further limiting the machine’s usefulness to the experienced hobbyist.
Silhouette’s design software is not fully available with the machine and will require a paid subscription to access. There is also no option to connect to the internet, a deficit in connectivity in a machine that otherwise puts that first.
Cameo 3 comes boxed with the machine itself and a power and USB cable to go with it, and a trial version of Silhouette Studio. A pen, instruction booklet, and cutting mat are also included.
The Cameo 3 comes with two manual blades for different cutting lengths and one autoblade that will detect what cut is needed on its own. Tools for blade adjustment and vinyl cutting will be found in the built-in storage compartments.
Overview of Features
Cameo 3 is twenty-seven inches by fourteen and a half, and stands ten inches tall. It weighs roughly sixteen and a half pounds.
Cameo 3 includes a dual-tool carriage and is rated for two hundred fifty grams of cutting power. All rollers are adjustable and compatible with other supplies in the Cameo line.
Interface with the machine is done in one of three ways ‒ USB hookup, Bluetooth link, or the built-in touchscreen. Patterns can be found in the pre-loaded database or uploaded with PixScan in the Silhouette Studio.
The autoblade tool will detect and deploy to the needed length, sparing a user the guesswork of whether to use a shallow or deep blade on a given piece of material.
Several compartments are built into the sides, back, and bottom of the machine, including one with supplied grooves to safely store all cutting implements. The included pen fits easily, as will many other supplies needed over the course of a project.
Cameo 3 is a helpful assistant for the beginning hobbyist, handling many of the tasks needed for more basic projects to leave the user free to finish the rest. Along with a more user-friendly interface and relatively low price tag, it’s a good choice for someone new to the field.
More experienced users may find it somewhat limited in capability, especially given the lack of etching or writing functions. Like all digital cutters, it is unsuitable for those without a power supply in the work area.