Silhouette Portrait automated cutter-first trials

Today I worked with my new Silhouette Portrait automatic cutter.
It’s not terribly different from the Silhouette SD that I’ve been working with for the past five years so it was pretty easy to just hook up and go. I made sure to update my Silhouette cutting siftware first, available for free from their website, and then the Portrait came with a driver disc-the driver may also be available for free online.

I am using a page from Fat Dragon Games ‘Ruined Outpost’ set; the 2-inch wall sections. You need both the printed page and the matching cutting file to make this work. There’s a nifty fellow there that goes by the name ‘pblade’ and he makes most of the cutting files for FDG on a volunteer basis.

I made a mistake in this test and forgot to discard the cutting lines on the part of the printout that had the doors and ended up chopping out a window sized piece from the doors section. Oops. Easy to fix with my x-acto and hopefully I’ll remember next time. :/

* If you are new to automated cutters one of the most important things, and usually the biggest stumbling block starting out, is to make sure that the printout that you are cutting is shown actual size. Some print settings on some computers will stretch or compress images and then the cutting plot will be off or just plain not work at all.

In the video the plotter is cutting at maximum speed and a depth setting of six on the new ratchet blade. Nice and clean, very fast, I’m suitably impressed. It looks like, and I’ve heard on the net, that the new blades will fit into the old machines. I’ll try that later this week and see how it goes.

Normally I make my own “carrier sheets” to hold my printouts, but some people have told me how much they love the tacky plastic carrier sheet that comes with the machine so I thought I’d try it out. If you look at the end of the video you’ll see I had some issues with the excess paper sticking too well and not coming off of the carrier sheet. I cleaned mine with warm water after this test and it’s less tacky now so I’m willing to give it another try.

The Portrait uses the newer style of registration mark with a little 5x5mm block in the lower left corner of the page. When I first put the page in it had the older style (no block) printed on it and the machine recognized it and was ready to go, but I had forgot to turn on the camera and had to restart. The Portrait wouldn’t recognize the marks after that first time until I took a Sharpie and drew in the corner block reg-mark. Worked fine then. 🙂

I’m very pleased to have a reliable cutter at my disposal again and I’ll try a few more experiments with it later this week.

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