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Rian Fabrication Services  www.rianfabrication.com

Are Speed-Mat cutters as good as say, a Fletcher 2200?

njw1224

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
137
I know the Speed-Mat manual mat cutters, like the Esterly Standard, are made to be faster than a typical manual mat cutter. But other than speed, I don't know much else about their benefits or drawbacks. Are they as good at doing everything that a great cutter like the Fletcher 2200 does, or do they fall short in any areas? I've read their literature and watched some demonstration videos, but haven't listened to any objective opinions yet. So let me know what you think - especially if you own or have used one. Thanks!
 

Bob Doyle

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Messages
19,485
Well, the opening on the speedmat would be consistently the same over and over. On a 2200 or other similar mat cutter you are cutting based on the outside of the mat blank so when that blank is off by a little so is the opening.

Also when doing multiple mats you don't have to mark all the mats, just plop them into the speedmat.

Multiple opening mats are much easier with the 2200. And even more so when you have the extended base. On a speedmat you have to cut each opening individually. More math involved.

As I cut more multiple opening mats than I cut multiple mats of the same size the 2200 was a better option for me. My artist freind that had the speedmat painted the same size watercolor paintings and the speedmat made more sense for her.

Try to use both if you can and make your decision that way.
 

CB Art & Framing

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
2,113
The Fletcher can do straight cuts, spacers, be bevelled foam.
Not sure about Speed Matt
 

njw1224

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
137
Multiple opening mats are much easier with the 2200. And even more so when you have the extended base. On a speedmat you have to cut each opening individually. More math involved.
Thanks Bob! I didn't realize that. So I'm taking your response to mean that the Speed-Mat would be quicker at most mats that are single opening, including double and triple stacked mats, correct?
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
4,658
IMO, the Speed-Mat cutter is great for volume production of mats that are the same size, but you may find it slower and cumbersome for onezies and twozies.
 
Donmar Creations

Fsimard

True Grumbler
Joined
Aug 7, 2013
Messages
50
I own a new Speedmat since two weeks and I'm really impressed by the accuracy and speed.
It's true that for a unique mat, it takes some time to adjust the stops, but for three or more, it goes really fast.
Using the 8 ply dedicated cutting head needs some practice and fine tuning, but once done, it's very efficient.
With the production stops, you can do multiple mats easily by rotating the stops for a 1/2, 1/4, etc. difference.

Also, if I compare to a tabletop, I find the Esterly a lot more ergonomic for the back posture when using for long periods...
I would highly recommend the unit for shops that only makes simple rectangle mats and don't want to invest in a CMC.
 

framer-for-life

Grumbler
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
22
I have used both cutters extensively and favor the Fletcher 2200 over the Speed Mat.
 
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framer-for-life

Grumbler
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
22
I have used both cutters extensively and favor the Fletcher 2200 over the Speed Mat. Multiple openings are quicker and easier. A slow process with the Speed Mat (lots of math involved). The Fletcher 2200 produces the best looking v-grooves of any machine I have used (including CMC's). The Fletcher 2200 does require a perfectly square board to ensure a square opening, but any multiple mats are attached to and referenced from this board, giving you parallel openings. That said, I know plenty of framers that love their Speed Mat cutters. It is probably quicker to grasp for a beginner compared to the Fletcher, which may need more practice time to master.
 

ali

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Oct 11, 2015
Messages
111
Two totally different mat cutters for two totally different purposes. Really hard to compare the 2
 

bruce papier

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
836
We had a Speed Mat when they first came out (our unit had a two or three digit serial number). We used it for large mats because it would cut up to 40 x 60. They are handy for multiple identical mats, but not for multiple opening mats. Our unit wore out quickly. The stops got loose and the frame supporting the cutting head went out of square. I'm sure the new units are better. We've used Fletcher cutters for 32 years and they never wear out.
 
We’re here for you. www.wizardcutters.com

njw1224

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
137
Two totally different mat cutters for two totally different purposes. Really hard to compare the 2
From what I'm reading in the responses, it seems the Speedmat's strength is doing volumes mats that are the same size. But to do lots of different size mats/openings or multi-opening mats, a good standard mat cutter is better or at least as good/fast as a Speedmat. Correct? Let me know if I'm incorrect or there are features/strengths of the Speedmat I'm missing. Thanks.
 

Antondejesus

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
2
Please do not buy this machine if you respect your business, this looks like made in a garage with cheap hardware store components and not a company-made machine. The design is sloppy and needs a lot of further testing and redesign. The advertisement on the website is misleading and fake, its marketed as a machine that can cut 8 ply, well, it doesn't even with the pneumatic head connected to an air hose. We lost a lot of time and resources trying to fine tune the machine to cut properly and never got the job done, after three long weeks without cutting a single mat we had to return it. Really bad experience.
 

Fsimard

True Grumbler
Joined
Aug 7, 2013
Messages
50
Please do not buy this machine if you respect your business, this looks like made in a garage with cheap hardware store components and not a company-made machine. The design is sloppy and needs a lot of further testing and redesign. The advertisement on the website is misleading and fake, its marketed as a machine that can cut 8 ply, well, it doesn't even with the pneumatic head connected to an air hose. We lost a lot of time and resources trying to fine tune the machine to cut properly and never got the job done, after three long weeks without cutting a single mat we had to return it. Really bad experience.
I really like my speedmat and I don't think it's cheaply made. It's a small company, and I respect that.
I must admit that their 8 ply cutting head could be improved. I got mine modified by a machinist and it now runs really smooth, without any overcuts or hooked corners. Really good experience here...
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 15, 2001
Messages
8,692
Just so you know, the Esterly speed mat has been in production for around 30 years. This isn't some new machine that "needs alot of further testing and design.

I had one in the late 80's and for repetitive production it is perfect. It also has the capability of cutting foam core, sizing mats and cutting glass on the end of the machine.

In my opinion, the comment posted by Antondejesus seriously does NOT represent the machine or anything about it.
Not sure what his agenda is but what he posted really does not represent this machine.

Now as for comparing it to the Fletcher 2200, as others posted, it is not designed to do multiple openings. It is designed for single opening mats as well as production of quantities.
I had both before selling the Esterly and getting a CMC.
I still keep the table cutter for when the CMC might break down and am waiting for parts or whatever. Only needed to pull it out of storage once.



I know this is an old thread but I needed to respond to Anton's post as it was too weird to let it go.
 

Antondejesus

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
2
I really like my speedmat and I don't think it's cheaply made. It's a small company, and I respect that.
I must admit that their 8 ply cutting head could be improved. I got mine modified by a machinist and it now runs really smooth, without any overcuts or hooked corners. Really good experience here...
So Fmsimard, you say you had a good experience with this mat cutter. Sounds very suspicious since you had to send a head to a machinist and he did a better job than the sterly company itself.

Answering to "Framah" about my agenda posting my previous comment I'll answer you that the Volkswagen beetle was in production for 80 years. They don't make it anymore because it's not a practical vehicle for today's demands. We used a feather with ink in its tip for writing for hundreds of years. Based on your argument I guess you still go around on a Volkswagen and write emails with a feather.

My comment about the machine is based on experience and evidence. I'm a manager at the most reputable conservation framing studio in New York city which framed the da vinci's "salvator Mundi" artwork which was sold for $450,000,000 at Christie's NY. We've been in this business since 1907 and have the largest collection of antique frames in the world.

I don't care for how long this company has being in the business of mat cutter priduction, if it's being for 30 years and is still a "small company" then that says a lot about reliability and product quality. I purchased the machine myself and had to return it for mechanical issues related to a poor design, when I called the company after almost 3 weeks of fine tuning it the answer was that the machine was never meant to cut 8 ply when they clearly state otherwise in the website and in the machine's manual. And even after that period of time wasting time, conservation grade mats, and $1,000 in air hose installation the
cutting of 8 ply had a marginal rate of success. Also, Just because something works doesn't mean it can't be improved. Well, I never said it doesn't cut 4 ply, but I didn't spent this premium for a pneumatic machine to cut just 4 ply.

Your comment about me following some obscure "agenda" tells me you have some troubles handling anybody who has an opposing point of view.
 
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Fsimard

True Grumbler
Joined
Aug 7, 2013
Messages
50
So Fmsimard, you say you had a good experience with this mat cutter. Sounds very suspicious since you had to send a head to a machinist and he did a better job than the sterly company itself.

Answering to "Framah" about my agenda posting my previous comment I'll answer you that the Volkswagen beetle was in production for 80 years. They don't make it anymore because it's not a practical vehicle for today's demands. We used a feather with ink in its tip for writing for hundreds of years. Based on your argument I guess you still go around on a Volkswagen and write emails with a feather.

My comment about the machine is based on experience and evidence. I'm a manager at the most reputable conservation framing studio in New York city which framed the da vinci's "salvator Mundi" artwork which was sold for $450,000,000 at Christie's NY. We've been in this business since 1907 and have the largest collection of antique frames in the world.

I don't care for how long this company has being in the business of mat cutter priduction, if it's being for 30 years and is still a "small company" then that says a lot about reliability and product quality. I purchased the machine myself and had to return it for mechanical issues related to a poor design, when I called the company after almost 3 weeks of fine tuning it the answer was that the machine was never meant to cut 8 ply when they clearly state otherwise in the website and in the machine's manual. And even after that period of time wasting time, conservation grade mats, and $1,000 in air hose installation the
cutting of 8 ply had a marginal rate of success. Also, Just because something works doesn't mean it can't be improved. Well, I never said it doesn't cut 4 ply, but I didn't spent this premium for a pneumatic machine to cut just 4 ply.

Your comment about me following some obscure "agenda" tells me you have some troubles handling anybody who has an opposing point of view.
Suspicious of what?? Being paid by them to say that?
We are a small framing shop and I don’t have the budget Lowy has to get a mat cutter. I would definitively have a CMC instead...
This mat cutter is what we were able to afford for the volume and styles of mats we do. We got it new from Esterly, at the full price.
I also mentioned the 8 ply head is not perfect and could be improved.
I modified mine to add an extra depth adjustment, so the blade doesn’t bend when it enters the mat.
It was a minor machining intervention, and now it works great.
They could really improve that cutting head... it’s a simple design issue that can be solved and I don’t know why they don’t.
I still think it’s a good machine, and the overall experience I have with it is positive.

I wish you to find a mat cutting solution that fits your needs.

Sincerely,

François Simard
Encadreur
Québec city.
 
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