If you’re new to Silhouette Studio Version 4, you may be asking “How do I make this thing cut???” The answer to that question lies in Silhouette Studio’s Send Panel. Today in part 3 of my “Taking the Fear Out of Version 4” series, I’ll be discussing this panel in detail. Because there are so many parts to the Send Panel, this is a pretty long post so you may want to grab your favorite beverage and settle into a comfortable chair before we dig in! And if you missed the first two parts in the series, you can find them here:
When you update to Silhouette Studio Version 4, you’ll quickly see that the blade icon which opened up the Cut Settings window in Version 3 has disappeared.
Its counterpart in Version 4 is the Send Panel. This panel will be used each and every time you send a job to your Silhouette machine. It contains a lot of information and learning your way around it is critical to achieving success with your Cameo, Portrait, or Curio. To access this panel, click on the Send tab in the upper right corner of your screen. (Alternately, you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + F2 in Windows or CMD + FN + F on a Mac.)
Once the panel is opened, your screen will be split into two parts. Your design will be visible on the left side and any lines that are to be acted upon (cut, sketched, etc) will appear in bold. On the right of the screen you will find a host of options, including pre-programmed settings for a long list of material types. When sending a design to your Silhouette machine, I recommend you always begin with the pre-programmed settings, perform a test cut, and then adjust as needed. The ability to fine-tune your settings in Studio will help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
Some of the options available are dependent on which machine you are using – more specifically which machine was last connected to your computer. For example, if the Curio was the last machine you used, you will see options that are not available for the Cameo or Portrait. For the purposes of today’s discussion, I will assume you are using either the Cameo or the Portrait. There are also a few advanced settings that you will probably never need, so I’ll give you a brief overview but won’t be discussing them in detail.
Ready to take a tour? Let’s go!
The first thing that you will probably notice in the Send Panel is the Materials area. If you are using a Cameo 3 (or the Curio) you will see two separate areas – one for Tool 1 and another for Tool 2. The Tool 1 settings are for the tool that is placed in the left tool holder and the Tool 2 settings are for the tool in the right tool holder. (Note: By default, Tool 2 will be set for the same material and action specified for Tool 1. Unless you manually change one of these settings, any adjustments made to the blade depth, speed, force, passes, and overcut settings for one tool will be automatically adjusted for the other tool as well.)
What you see in the Materials area will depend on which tab you have chosen from the “Action by:” ribbon at the top of the panel – Simple, Line, Fill, or Layer.
This is the default setting used for basic cuts where all line actions are scheduled as one job. If you are using both Tool 1 and Tool 2, actions assigned to Tool 1 (red) will be performed first, followed by the actions for Tool 2 (blue).
Depending on the size of your computer screen, you may see the following items in either a single column or two columns.
- Material – choose from a list of pre-programmed settings or add your own custom material type.
- Action – choose whether a design will be cut, scored, or sketched. (For the Cameo 3 or Curio, there is also an option for stippling.)
- Tool – choose which tool will be used in the specified tool holder. Be sure to install the correct tool before you send a job to the Silhouette!
- No Cut/Cut/Cut Edge (also applies to Score, Sketch, etc) – determines how the specified action is applied to a shape, text, or image. In order to apply the action, select the shape/text/image and then choose either No Cut, Cut, or Cut Edge from the drop-down menu. Cut lines will appear in bold, with the ones set to Cut Edge appearing a bit thicker. Any part of a design that has been moved to the grey holding area or that is outside the cut border area will not cut.
When Action by Line is selected, a table will appear that contains all the line colors used in a particular design. Material type, action, and tool selection can be specified individually for each separate color. Only the colors that are checked will be acted upon. The cutting sequence can be manually determined by clicking on a color and dragging it to the desired position in the table. Pauses can be added between colors, if desired. If you are using a machine with a dual carriage, either Tool 1 or Tool 2 can also be selected for each individual color. (The Cut Edge setting is not applicable when Action by Line is selected.)
When Action by Fill is selected, a table will appear that contains each of the fill colors contained in a particular design. The settings work identically to Action by Line.
Action by Layer is a setting available only in Designer Edition and above. When Action by Layer is selected, a table will appear that lists each individual layer that composes a design. Settings can be determined for each layer in the same manner as Action by Line and Action by Fill.
Just below the Materials area you will find the Action Settings, which include the following:
- Blade – this setting indicates how much of the blade is exposed. The more blade that is exposed, the deeper the cut will be. Keep in mind that if you are using any blade other than the Autoblade, the blade must be manually adjusted to match the settings displayed in the software.
- Speed – how fast the machine is going to cut. Depending on how thick your material is and/or how intricate the design that you are cutting, you may want to consider slowing down the speed.
- Force – the higher the number, the greater the force will be that is applied to the tool during a cut job. Thicker materials often require greater force.
- Passes – the number of times that the lines of a particular design are cut. This does not mean how many multiples are made of a design, but rather how many times a tool is set to follow the same cutting path.
- Line Segment Overcut – checking the box for this setting will cause the blade to make slight overcuts on all straight corners, resulting in sharper points on the finished design. It has no effect on rounded corners. The overcut distance can be edited in the Edit Material window, which is accessed by clicking on the 3 dots just to the right of the Line Segment Overcut checkbox.
Note: In Version 4.3, the Line Segment Overcut checkbox is on the left of the Send Panel and the More button has replaced the 3 dots.
When any of the default action settings are changed for a preset material, buttons will appear for “Revert” and “Save As”. Clicking on Revert will adjust the settings back to their default while Save As will save the new settings as a User Defined material.
Again, my advice is to try the pre-determined settings first by making a test cut and then adjusting as needed.
The bottom area of the Send Panel contains more useful information as well as other customizable options.
Machine Details. In the upper left corner, an icon will be displayed for the last device that was connected to your computer. Right-clicking on this icon will open a menu with choices to connect/disconnect a device and options for calibration and registration. (In Business Edition, there is also the option to assign a name to any device.) Under the icon, you will see a small white box with the letter “F”. This indicates how your material should be placed on the mat. If the F appears normal, your material should be placed face UP on the mat. If the F appears to be mirrored, place your material on the mat face DOWN.
Learn. The graduation cap icon indicates the Learn area that includes a rudimentary slideshow demonstrating which tool to insert into the tool holder, how to place the material on the mat, how to load the mat into your machine etc. Unfortunately, I find that the slideshow is often inaccurate and will not, for instance, tell you if you have chosen a mat that is not compatible with your machine (such as a loading a 12” x 12” mat when using a Portrait).
Test. You need to become very familiar with this button! Performing a test cut is the best way to determine the correct cut settings without wasting materials. The default position for a test cut is the upper left corner of the Silhouette mat’s gridded area but it can be moved using the arrows to the left of the Test button. When you are satisfied with the position, click on Test and a small triangle within a square will be cut. When the square can be easily peeled from the mat, leaving a clean-cut triangle behind, your cut settings are correct.
Barcode (Business Edition only). Adds a barcode to a Print & Cut page, along with registration marks. The optical scanner of the Cameo 3 can then read the barcode and cut the printed page without having to open the file in Studio.
Bluetooth. Clicking on this button will allow you to connect a machine to the Cameo via Bluetooth, resulting in the ability to cut wirelessly.
Silhouette Devices. Click on this button and a window will open with a list of all Silhouette devices that are connected to your machine and the cutting status (if any) of each. (In Business Edition, you can run up to four machines at one time!) The number appearing just below the machine icon indicates the firmware version installed on the device. You can disconnect a device or cancel a cutting job by clicking on the appropriate “X” on the right side of the menu.
Advanced Settings. Clicking on the gear icon in the lower right of the screen opens up the Advanced Settings menu. In this menu, you can choose options for how the media is going to feed through the machine when a cut is finished as well as options for Layer Sorting and Cut Order Sorting. There is also a button you can click on to revert all material types back to their default settings. Beware that this action will delete all your user defined materials and cannot be undone!
Whew! That wraps it up for this week’s edition of Taking the Fear Out of Version 4. Now you know almost all there is to know about the Silhouette Studio Send Panel and hopefully you’re letting go of any fear that you’ve had of updating. Yes, there is a learning curve, but once you’ve gotten used to the changes you’ll wonder why it ever took you so long to make the switch!
We still have a lot of features left to discover in Version 4, so look for more tutorials in the weeks to come. And if there’s anything you’re struggling with in particular, leave a comment below or visit me over on Facebook and I’ll be glad to help!
Until next time,
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Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.