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Silhouette Cutter/PC Connectivity


MikeC
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I'm considering a purchase, and what I'm not really finding in the various descriptions of machines on the retailers' or manufacturers' sites is a positive statement about connectivity.  Perhaps I'm missing it, or perhaps it's so basic one shouldn't have to ask, but nevertheless I will.

 

Quite simply, can anyone who owns one or is otherwise in the know please tell me how the cutters on my shortlist, the Silhouette Cameo 4 and the Portrait 3 (is that the current model?), connect to a Windows PC:

- USB?

- Bluetooth?

- WiFi?

Or any/all of these?

 

[Edit] I ask because space considerations would make it more convenient to site the cutter somewhere other than next to the PC.

 

Thanks.

Edited by MikeC
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Mine’s an older model Mike so USB is the only mode but I believe some of the newer ones also use Bluetooth. I’m really surprised that it’s not mentioned in any of the blurb or ads though. Kev I think has a Cameo 4 so he’ll doubtless chip in with some info about his.

What’s on your shortlist?
Max 

 

PS, just found this:

The Silhouette Cameo 4 Digital Cutting Tool features cutting edge technology, operating three times faster than the Cameo 3. The ultimate DIY machine for creative craft projects, this can be used to cut over 100 materials, including paper, cardstock, vinyl, and fabric up to 12 inches wide.The Cameo 4 model has an increased cutting force of up to 5kg, and offers Bluetooth wireless connectivity with increased range. This is also compatible with PixScan technology.

Edited by Mozart
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Thanks @Mozart Max, that's useful.  I thought some of the blurb on some sites must mention it, but I couldn't find a clear statement in a technical spec.  Perhaps I wasn't looking hard enough? 

 

I'm really looking at just the Cameo 4 and the Portrait 3.  I gather from various posts that you're quite happy with your Cameo, and a friend from my club has a Cameo 1, so I'm leaning towards that; but Kev has said on this forum that he's happy with a Portrait as that meets his needs, so I'm trying to work out what my needs actually are and whether a Portrait will meet them, taking into account things like maybe doing masks for other people (not commercially); or "renting" cutter time out to my granddaughter who's into all sorts of crafts.

 

Silhouette seems more popular than Cricut, I may well look at them as well.  At the risk of drifting off-topic, anyone have any thoughts on that?

Edited by MikeC
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I only have a Portrait 2, and I don't believe it has Bluetooth. I'm using it via USB, which works well enough. I'm not sure if the Portrait 3 has Bluetooth as standard, but if it does, it's probably your best choice for the combination of convenient footprint and connectivity options. That said, if you'll be siting the device somewhere where there's room for the larger Cameo, then perhaps that device's extended performance and features will be more attractive, especially given that Bluetooth takes away the need for it to be within cable's reach of your computer.

 

The big difference with the Cricut, as I understand it, is that it doesn't come with any software that you run on your computer. Rather, you have to use their cloud-based software and services to run the device. And they recently made some changes to that functionality that limits the way you can use it - I can't remember exactly what they were now, but I've posted about it elsewhere in the forums. In short, I'd stick with the Silhouette product over the Cricut range.

 

Kev

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6 minutes ago, Kevin Futter said:

I only have a Portrait 2, and I don't believe it has Bluetooth. I'm using it via USB, which works well enough. I'm not sure if the Portrait 3 has Bluetooth as standard, but if it does, it's probably your best choice for the combination of convenient footprint and connectivity options. That said, if you'll be siting the device somewhere where there's room for the larger Cameo, then perhaps that device's extended performance and features will be more attractive, especially given that Bluetooth takes away the need for it to be within cable's reach of your computer.

 

The big difference with the Cricut, as I understand it, is that it doesn't come with any software that you run on your computer. Rather, you have to use their cloud-based software and services to run the device. And they recently made some changes to that functionality that limits the way you can use it - I can't remember exactly what they were now, but I've posted about it elsewhere in the forums. In short, I'd stick with the Silhouette product over the Cricut range.

 

Kev

 

Thanks Kev, this is all useful info.  I do still need to take a more detailed look at footprint, and how siting it elsewhere will work. 

 

As for the Cricut, I've just seen the thread you refer to; that's Cricut out of the equation as far as I'm concerned.

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Mine’s a Cameo 2 Mike, I bought it I think 8 years ago and it does everything that I need. I had a problem with it last year but found it was the power supply that was faulty, easily rectified. My advice would be to definitely go for the Cameo 4. My wife makes greetings cards and she also uses it for her crafting activities. 

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Mike, I have a Cameo 4. Connections are USB and Bluetooth. I had a struggle getting a connection with Bluetooth, even sending an email to Support. After a reply from Support and going through everything again, I finally got it to connect and be recognized. At a later time it didn't seem to want to connect so I have given up on Bluetooth and I'm using USB with an extension cable. With USB it works great, no connection issues. IIRC, USB is necessary if the firmware has to be updated.

 

Dave

 

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Thanks everyone for your comments - all helpful.

 

Dave, roughly how far away was the Cameo 4 from the PC?

 

Under my current plans, the PCC is downstairs and the cutter will be in the room directly above - but perhaps I need to rethink that.

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It's about 6'. I'm using it with a desktop that doesn't have Bluetooth on the motherboard so it's a dongle plugged into the front of the case. Another thing, it will only work with being connected to one PC at a time. If you have multiple PCs, only one computer's Windows can be connected.

 

I realize I don't know your situation, but having it upstairs seems to make a lot of trips up and down. For what I've used it for, it doesn't take long for it to cut and I usually prefer to make sure it starts out ok.

 

This from the Support reply email. HTH

 

Your Bluetooth connection can only be established with no other connections to the machine. This means we need to first, ensure your USB cable is not plugged in to your machine or computer. Second, please go to your Bluetooth Device menu on your computer and ensure the Silhouette machine is not paired.
If that isn't successful, then please verify your computer meets the minimum requirement for Bluetooth compatibility, Bluetooth 4.0 support, by visiting http://www.bluetoothandusb3.com/how-to-confirm-bluetooth-version-of-computer
Follow these steps to locate the LMP version currently on your computer. To operate the Silhouette machine via Bluetooth connection, the LMP should be 6.0 or above. This will indicate a Bluetooth 4.0 support. 
Dave
 
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15 hours ago, MikeC said:

Under my current plans, the PCC is downstairs and the cutter will be in the room directly above - but perhaps I need to rethink that.

 

I honestly don't think that arrangement is ideal, Mike. Bluetooth has a very limited range (estimates seem to vary, but 10m is commonly given), and generally doesn't penetrate obstacles as well as radio waves or wi-fi, for example. It might work, but given Dave's account of his flaky Bluetooth experience, I reckon you'd be better off sticking with USB if you can. I certainly know what it's like to not have any room though, as a lack of it was the primary reason I chose the Portrait over the Cameo.

 

Kev

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Thanks chaps.  Basically it can't sit permanently next to the computer; it could sit temporarily near enough to plug a USB cable in, so I think the next solution is to store it and set it up only when actually cutting.  Does that sound viable?

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25 minutes ago, MikeC said:

 Basically it can't sit permanently next to the computer; it could sit temporarily near enough to plug a USB cable in, so I think the next solution is to store it and set it up only when actually cutting.  Does that sound viable?

I think you’ll get more satisfaction using it that way Mike, I can envisage quite a lot of frustration trying the Bluetooth way on different levels. Mine sits alongside my PC and is “permanently” connected but not used that often. 
Max 

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