Fab@School Maker Studio Frequently Asked Questions
What hardware do I need?
Fab@School Maker Studio requires a Mac or Windows machine, iPad, Chromebook, or tablet with an Internet connection. Fab@School Maker Studio supports a range of fabrication technologies including hand tools, electronic cutters, laser cutters and an introduction to 3D printers.
Besides hand tools like scissors, we recommend you start with one or more digital fabricators. Fab@School Maker Studio works with the Silhouette Portrait, Silhouette CAMEO, and the Silhouette Curio. The digital fabricator will come with software for the cutter, a power cable, a USB cable to connect to your Mac or Windows machine, and cutting mats.
Fab@School Maker Studio files can be saved as an SVG file to be used on a laser cutter.
Fab@School Maker Studio includes a basic on-ramp to 3D printing that lets you export 2D objects to STL format. The STL file can be opened in 3D print applications.
Does it work with the Cameo 3?
The easy answer is yes, Fab@School Maker Studio will communicate with the Cameo 3, however it must be a wired connection as Bluetooth capabilities aren't functioning yet. The autoblade feature is also in the works, you will have to manually adjust your blade. If you have any questions, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to print designs before fabricating?
Although color and graphics can enhance your design and offer additional learning opportunities, you can also create compelling designs by fabricating with plain or colored paper or cardstock. If desired, you can color and decorate your designs by hand.
What are registration marks? Do I need to print them?
Registration marks are brackets and squares that appear in three corners of your printout. They tell the digital fabricator where your design is placed on the page so cut and fold lines align with the printed graphics. If you plan to send a printed design to the digital fabricator, you need to print the proper registration marks for that machine. If you don’t plan to print before sending your design to the digital fabricator, or if you plan to print and cut by hand, you don’t need registration marks.
When I print with registration marks the image is off by a ½ inch.
Silhouette tech support encourages users experiencing cutting issues to calibrate the cutter. Please follow the steps found here.
Does the Silhouette digital fabricator print the design?
No, the Silhouette digital fabricators are not inkjet printers. Their main function is to cut. If you want to fabricate a printed design, send your design first to a standard printer and choose Registration Marks in the print dialog. Then load your printout into the digital fabricator.
Note: Although digital fabricators are not printers, some can create basic line drawings if you replace the blades with pen heads.
Can I send the design from my mobile device to the digital fabricator?
Although you can create Fab@School Maker Studio files on mobile devices like the iPad and Chromebook, in Fab@School Maker Studio, you must send the designs to the Silhouette from a Mac or Windows machine.
Can I share Fab@Schoool Maker Studio files?
Yes, you can share Fab@School Maker Studio files in several ways:
Save to My Computer: Save the design to your computer and then email or share the XML file. Anyone with access to Fab@School Maker Studio can open your XML file from within the program, fabricate as is, or modify it to create something new.
Export to Image: Under Import/Export, choose Export to Image. Export as JPEG, PNG, GIF, or BMP and share the file on social media to show off your work. Others can print the project image and cut by hand.
Save as PDF: Choose Print and then select Save as PDF. When you share the file, others can print the project image and cut the project by hand.
Can I import an image to use in Fab@School Maker Studio?
When importing an image into Fab@School Maker Studio, there is an option to Process Image Outline. This will create a cut line around the imported image automatically. Do note that this feature relies on the image having a clearly discernible background (white or transparent backgrounds only).
If the Process Image Outline feature doesn't work for your image, here is a technique that employs the Line and Cut Fold Tab tools.
- Import your image into the workspace with the Import button.
- Using the Line tool, trace around the edge of the image. There are three different kinds of Line tool that work slightly differently, so we suggest experimenting and finding which technique you like best. When the line has followed the edge all the way back to the origin, it will create a closed shape. If you want to edit the line once it has been completed, click the white arrow Edit Points tool to manipulate the line's control points.
- Select the shape/line and choose No Fill in the Color pallet
- Click the Cut Fold Tab tool and select the shape you have created. Likely, it'll have a lot of yellow circles on it; you can click and drag these off of the line to delete them since you won't need them and it'll make selecting the whole outline at once easier. With the outline selected, hit the Cut button within the Cut Fold Tab tool.
The image you have imported now has a cut line around it, so you can Print and Fabricate your image.
I encounter a WebGL error when using the 3D Viewer tool.
The 3D Viewer tool requires that your browser have WebGL enabled. If WebGL is not enabled, Fab@School Maker Studio will deliver a pop-up notification alerting you.
Test if you can run WebGL on your browser and system by following this link.
If the test fails, you may follow the instructions listed on that page to properly enable WebGL on your system.
There is a small set of older graphics cards that can't run WebGL at all. If you have one of these you will need to replace the card/system with a new one that supports WebGL. This resource lists graphics cards that do not support WebGL.
Need assistance with a technical issue?
We're eager to resolve it so you can enjoy our software! Please submit the issue you are experiencing at our Technical Support page. Filling out the required information ensures that you will receive a quick and helpful response from our team. You'll hear back from us soon!