CMC - Eclipse or Wizard


Grumbler in Training
Sep 19, 2003
Lexington, Ky.

I am new here, but have been framing for a long time. I have everything high tech as it gets for a framer. DBL head mitre saws, V-nailer, Vac heat mount, etc. The last item on my wish list is a CMC.

I just got back from the Atlanta show. Watched Brian Wolf at Wizard and went through a demo at eclipse.

I plan on buying and would like as much feedback as possible about which one to buy as well as advice on the subject as a whole.

I did a search on Eclipse. Most info was outdated, they were comparing Eclipse to Fletcher.

I am kinda leaning towards Eclipse, from what I saw.

I don't want something that won't go the distance. I am a small shop, but I want to spend more time with my 2 year old son and not hand cutting multiple openings. It would also give me more latitude with designs.


Mark Miller
Lexington, Ky
Miller Fine Art & Framing
Welcome to The Grumble. There are several threads about CMC's on the Board, go to search and you'll find a bunch. I have a Wizard, don't own it, lease it.

You'll get different opinions from other people for and against each machine. I Love my Wizard, and with Brian at the Quality Control end of things there is a whole lot to say for Wizard.
We'll be shopping for one soon too. I can't financially justify it at the moment, but hopefully the volume will increase soon to make this a realistic necessity. There are so many different products out there. Clearly, three of them seem to stand out above the rest.

I started researching this for myself. Although incomplete, what I have so far is at this link: Grumbler PC FAQ

I'd like to be among the first to welcome you to the Grumble. Have a great weekend!


[ 09-19-2003, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
People who have Wizards - especially the new ones - love 'em and will defend them to the death.

People who have Eclipses love 'em and will defend 'em to the death.

People who have Fletchers love 'em, but aren't very happy with Fletcher for discontinuing them. :confused:

People who have Mat Maestros aren't in a position to offer buying advice to anyone. :mad:
What Ron said.

After looking at both and talking to everyone we could, we found that there are Wizard people and Eclipse people.

I think the bottom line is that either will be faster, more efficient, and offer more creative abilities. That being said, we went with what appears to be the "better deal" by taking a Junior Rental on the Wizard.

WIth the Jr Rental we can get out of it in 60 days, lease it or buy it in the future. We're not 100% (just 98%) convinced it'll be worth the monthly cost. If it is, you can be sure we'll lease it.

The hardest part??? Waiting the 8-10-12 weeks for delivery. I WANT MY WIZARD!

Good Luck!
The monthly cost for the Junior Rental program pays for itself if you cut 10 or more mats a week. I wasn't sure if it was going to be affordable either, but after 2 years, I'll give up my wife(at the Shop) rather than the Wizard!
No one can really answer this question unless they have actually used both CMCs in a shop for at least 2-3 months. The Wizard jr rental program gives you the best start to find out if you want a CMC. It will also allow you to get the feel of how a CMC will fit into your work place. Then you have a bench mark to really compare. The 8000 is a reallllly goood cutter.
Wizard also has a web site with a forum on it to discuss problems openly. They encourage user input as to what cutart you would like to see added to the 400+ stock designs. You can even suggest feature changes. (some they use some they don't). Best yet the toll free tech support line. Not that it is need that much but when it is they keep after it till they solve it.

Disclaimer; I do have a Wizard CMC Got it in 1998. I am having fun now!
We have two really good mat cutters who've been with us for 25 and 10 years. They can cut single opening mats faster than the Wizard and they cut all of them. About 4 years ago our best mat cutter's father had a heart attack and she was gone for a week just before father's day. We discovered that no one could reliably cut double opening double mats with less than a 1/4" reveal. That's when we got a Wizard. We lease it becuause the lease is cheap, $200 a month. I consider a lot of that $200 a month a service contract. The service contract on our Creo scanner is $1800 a year. The service contract on our Epson 10000 is $1000 a year, on the 9600 it's $700. So let's say the service contract on the Wizard would be something like $1200 a year, that makes the actual lease/rental payments only $100 a month; as I said, cheap.

We haven't gotten our Wizard 8000 yet but the old Wizard has been a heck of a machine, and, frankly, we'd gladly pay $400 a month for it. We use it to cut all oval, multi opening, and unusual mats. We size the mat blanks on a wall mounted cutter.

If you do any business at all, you should have one of these machines. For one thing, a CMC will allow you to accept jobs that would be very daunting without one. We've done 30 opening triple mats that would have been killers without the Wizard, real killers. I know for sure we do a lot more multi opening mats since we got a CMC so we must have been missing business before.

I have a good feeling about the Wizard people; they have a huge established base and they have a real incentive to keep renters happy since our only obligation after an initial period is one month's rent. I think it's a no brainer and that you've already wasted opportunities by not having a CMC.

Think about it. What would it cost you to have a reliable employee who could do what a CMC can do? I live in a low wage area and I figure about $35000 a year. It takes a year or more to become a really efficient mat cutter, and once you've got one trained, he could (and will) get sick, leave town, work for someone else, you name it. If you're serious about this business, you need a CMC. We were lucky that before we got our Wizard wo did enough business to pay key employees enough to keep them; we were also lucky to stumble on great people to work with. Still, I don't like the idea of the success of my business hanging on a thread of luck. When there is a product available as useful as a CMC, you're not very smart if you don't have one. We learned that lesson as a result of an unfortunate heart attack. Warren
Well I will put my 2 Cents worth in as to what machine to buy or rent.

I am the Guy that installs all the Wizard CMCs here in Australia and I know a bit about the Wizard 5000 and the new 8000. Having worked on and installed a considerable amount of these machines I can say from experience that Wizards are probably the most reliable machines on the market with far more down time than other brands.

The new Wizard is a modular unit with virtually now servicing required as the machine is realy the Cutting Head and the Gantry. there are less moving parts and less complicated mechanics than other machines therefor less problems can go wrong. It can cut anything you can design and the software is THE MOST ADVANCED MAT CUTTING SOFTWARE ON THE MARKET which is also easy to use, the novice can cut all his normal everyday work within hours of getting the machine.

The new 5.0 software has the most comprehensive range of templates (Over 100) and over 700 pieces of Cut Art, that amounts to mat design combinations in the Tens of Thousands.
Some of the new features are realy cool and the software upgrades are free. V-Grooves can be cut the same shape as nearly all the templates and shapes can be created by combining two or more templates then merging them so they cut as one opening. V-Grooves can also be merged to form other shapes around your designs.

I cut a mat (40" x 60") with 520 openings on a 5000 that could not be cut on a Gunnar Rapido. The complete job took me less than 45 minutes to design and cut and without any mistakes. Try that by hand.

The Eclipse is also a good machine but cost more than the Wizard and does not have the same design capabilities as the new wizard software. So there is no advantage in paying more for other machines that can not offer the same range of templates or designs as the Wizard nor the reliability or service. The Wizard is a real work horse that is worth every cent.
Cheers From Down Under.
I don't really have time to go into things too deeply, but I'm going to have to say I love my Eclipse. Two years ago we struggled through the same decision, and came to the conclusion that the Eclipse was the better buy. I don't know how Wizard does it now, but I just didn't like the notion of paying for corners.
I honestly belivev that any choice you make will be so beneficial to your shop that you'll wonder why it was so difficult in the first place. Especially if you get an Eclipse.
I am an Eclipse owner and, while I agree with Gumby that most of us are basically defending our choice when we recommend the machine we purchased, I think there are some things to consider.

Don't get too caught up with the corner templates and the gee whiz features. A CMC has to make sense on a day to day regular basis - you will probably not bring in enough extra selling 6 step southwestern corners to justify the purchase.

We did 5 days of work in 3 days the first week we had the Eclipse. In our shop a CMC covers what used to cost about $30,000 in extra payroll. The couple of thousand or so we generated selling cute corners isn't bad but it doesn't make the payment.

The new Wizard seems like a nice machine, incorporating features the Eclipse has had all along but there are differences. The Eclipse is more robustly constructed and has more sophisticated motors. Looking at the rental program for the 8000 it appears that I am paying about $35 more a month for the Eclipse.

The one area that wizard is clearly superior is in marketing - Eclipse has some of the lamest ads around.

I feel, after three years of CMC ownership, that it will be very difficult to compete as a custom framer without a CMC. You competitor is probably going have one.

Peter Bowe