Mike, thanks so much for all you do to keep us organized. Your polls have been super for us that are always gathering information. The way you give us the final breakdown is wonderful. Keep up the great work. And thanks for donating so much of your time to help us all out!
I agree with the notion that what you've got (between Wizard and Eclipse) is what you'd recommend. We own an Eclipse and love it. We hardly ever sell funny corner cuts or cutesy (sp?) hearts cut into mats, but the accuracy (especially when installing fillets) and the time savings have made it a no-brainer for oue shop.
My choice is Eclipse, I felt it was a better machine for our shop.
I had a Wizard in my shop and liked it. I am using the Fletcher in the shop I am in now and am happy I didn't buy one.
I am not familiar with the Eclipse, but users seem satisfied. But is there a price difference? The Wiz did everything I needed it too, plus I loved the "merge" feature (maybe Eclipse has it, too). How long has the Eclipse been around? Mat Maestro and Fletcher are no longer being made. I think looking into the manufacturers longevity isn't a bad idea.
I love my Eclipse. At the time I was shopping, they offered what was most important to me. They arranged to have it shipped to my store, they sent a technician who installed it for me, made sure it was up and running properly, and then spent the better part of the day training my entire staff on the machine.
I live far away from any city, so I was concerned about what I would have to do if there was ever a problem. If there ever is (hasn't been yet), I can send in the "black box", I don't have to crate up an entire machine.
I wanted something with easy to learn software, and very good support. (Price was not my largest concern) When I call with a question, and I almost always talk to the same person who came to my store and installed my machine. Usually, I get to speak to someone right then; rarely have I had to wait more than an hour for a callback from tech support.
I also wanted something quiet since it sits close to phones, etc. This machine is very quiet.
New software is on the spring horizon. Lots of new features, including the merge feature. I've been merging designs for 3 years without it, but this feature will make it easier.
I think Wizard has a good machine, and the software is intriguing. There will be strong recommendations for both, and I'd take either in a heartbeat over no CMC. Look closely at all the available options, and decide which ones are most important to you.
Maybe I just a tight wade but the way you pay for your CMC could tilt your opinion a bit. That is why I am very happy with the reantal/lease agreement of Wizard. I also like the fact that under the rental the hardware still belongs to Wizard ,and as such replacement Parts, are their concerns. I have seen a part that was sent to me free of charge that could have cost thousands of $$$$$. All I needed to do is ship back the faulty part ,which required a screw diver and their assitance on the phone.
I say this because if you own your CMC ( reguardless of the make)you will save the intrest and service fees ,but the replacement of parts after warranty is your concern and expense.
The built in service contract is certainly a positive factor for renting. However, once your year runs out on a purchased or leased machine - they offer ongoing maintenance contracts. We bought our Wizard 13 months ago and renewed the service for 2 years at about $1350 (I think). When doing the price comparisons(lease vs rent vs own), this should be considered.
Ironically, a couple weeks after we renewed it - a bearing on top of the drive shaft/gantry developed an annoying vibration noise. (our very first tech problem). We called it in on 12/19 or so and the part (the entire gantry assy) arrived 12/23 - with a ups call tag and excellent instructions. Within an hour, we had the part swapped out and the old gantry was picked up the same day. The part would have cost as much as the contract, so it was a good choice.