I'm going to buy a CMC everybody sell me on the best one to get. PRO's and CON's

Can any of them cut 3/16 foamcore?


[This message has been edited by framer (edited January 20, 2001).]
Our Fletcher-Terry F-6100 has blade holders for 2,4,6 and 8 ply board. The 8 ply holder uses a special blade. We often cut 3/16 foamcore for oval and other spacers. It doesn't cut all the way through but enough for us to finish easily by hand. It does cut 1/8 foamcore well. I cut witches from 1/8 black foamcore for halloween and polar bears from 1/8 white foamcore for Christmas window displays.
I have a Wizard, the only thing it cuts is mat board. The advantage is you don't have to spend hardly anything to get it in your shop. You will have to pay for corners though. It has never cost me over the minimum of $200.00 per month. That amount covers more than enough corners for a medium volume shop.
I just can't see spending $24,000.00 for a cutter when the Wizard is only $200.00 per month.
You get the quality and precision that you pay for. Just like we tell our customers that sometimes quality just costs a little more.....

We owned a Wizard for a year and then sent it back so that we could purchase a Fletcher 6100. We were not satisfied with the 1/32 inch "swoops" in corners that were hardware related but not correctable by Wizard. Phone calls to Wizard tech service went unreturned or after 48 hours on most occasions.

No swoops in the corners with the 6100. No more fumbling for a plastic washer to insert to cut v-grooves. No more adjusting blade depth with a phillips screwdriver for different brands of matboard.

Our Wizard cost $365 per month ($150 rent and $200 corners). The note on the Fletcher 6100 is $392.50 per month & includes unlimited corners. Wizard still calls us every 6 months to schedule an appointment to calibrate the machine which was returned almost 9 months ago.

Wizard shipping weight is 125 pounds. Fletcher shipping weight is 750 pounds.

The list of pros & cons goes on. If you find a couple of CMCs that appear to be comparable in most respects.... check the service and overall reputation of the company. The 6100 is maintained by the factory that built them. Other cutters are maintained by your local chop vendor. Big difference. Your service may be local, but then what kind of quality will it be.


PS. it seems like the counter on my postings is counting backwards. I learn more by listening and have only made half dozen comments, but it is down to one.

[This message has been edited by Frugal Framer (edited January 18, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Frugal Framer (edited January 18, 2001).]
No swoops in the corners with the 6100. No more fumbling for a plastic washer to insert to cut v-grooves. No more adjusting blade depth with a phillips screwdriver for different brands of matboard.

Thanks a lot FF. We have a Wizard. I think I'm having Fletcher CMC envy! If the Wizard is a Taurus, what kind of car would the Fletcher be?

[This message has been edited by Jana (edited January 19, 2001).]
If you are going to buy, I think the Fletcher is the better machine. If they had offered a lease, I would have chosen the Fletcher. The important thing for me was I didn't want to own the machine, so I chose to lease the Wizard. The technology is always improving and changing. At least I won't have a $25,000 dinosaur in five years or less.
Originally posted by PAMELA DESIMONE,CPF:
"If you are going to buy, I think the Fletcher is the better machine. If they had offered a lease, I would have chosen the Fletcher. The important thing for me was I didn't want to own the machine, so I chose to lease the Wizard..."

You can arrange a lease through many banks and leasing agencies, just as you could arrange a loan if you wanted to buy. It is not necessary for the supplier to offer a lease. Indeed, local lease sources might be able to offer a better deal than the supplier can, so shop around.

That may not be of any help to Pamela now, but others who wish to lease might benefit.
Keep the comments comming I'm watching this close.

Frugal Framer, your 1/32 inch "swoops" were they like hooks. I carefully checked out the cuts being done at the show and I could detect no hooks or swoops in the Wizard. I don't know if it an adjustment problem or they've corrected it. I found your comments about, "No more fumbling for a plastic washer to insert to cut v-grooves. No more adjusting blade depth with a phillips screwdriver for different brands of matboard." Of great interest. That an area I was worried about how much fussing is needed to keep perfect mats cuts. I really would like to spend a day each with a Wizard, Fletcher 6100, and Gunner, but we know that won't happen.


The 6100 would be a Lincoln or Cadillac. Your choice of the highest quality, domestically manufactured auto. I am not sure that I would rate the Wizard as high as a Taurus.

Swoops are like hooks stretched out over 3 to 4 inches. Much more noticable when a fillet is installed. Generally controlled by blade depth. When blade depth is properly adjusted for a particular brand of matboard, all is ok until the blade is changed and the new blade is a few thousandths inch different in length. Many times we cut a test mat using flaw board, then install a new blade before cutting the end product. OOPS, the new blade was slightly longer.... ruined board....

Locally arranged financing is much more economical that the GE Capital lease arrangement. Talk to your banker.

As far as the lease is concerned, I don't think that the lease entitles the person to an upgraded machine as changes are available. There were several upgrades made during the year that I had a leased machine and I was not entitled to receive the upgrades at no charge.

I must also say that the Wizard did its job for the first year. It performed the work that a whole employee would have done for only a fraction of the cost. The Fletcher performs the same function, but much better.


[This message has been edited by Frugal Framer (edited January 19, 2001).]

Food for thought --- In Rick's scenerio above, he will at the end of five years have paid in "Rent" $16-$22,000, with monthly payments continuing. He owns nothing.

With his Fletcher F-6100, he could have leased it from Fletcher and at the end of his time frame, made a $1.00 buyout payment. It sounds like he chose his own financing. In either chase, he will have a $25,000 business asset at the end of his finance period.

All software improvements are included for the entire five years, so the machine will be the most "up to date" at the end of five years.

(I don't want this to sound like an obvious plug for Fletcher, as most of you know I work as an outside consultant for that company. But if you find the CMC that you really like, I would encourage you to purchase it, whether it be a Wizard, Eclipse, Valiani, Mat Maestro, Spirit, Gunnar or the Fletcher F-6100.)




The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc.
Appleton, Wisconsin
I agree with John, that if you don't have a CMC, you should. Yes,even you,Jim. But the debate over buying or leasing is like chocolate or vanilla.Which one works best for you? But some of the fuzzy math needs questioning. If the machine cost $25k and the payment is $392/mon. How many months? A casual guesstimate on the same balance for 60 months would probably be closer to +$600. If financing is available for that amount, would you please finance my next car? And I tend to disagree with after 5 years, you'll have an asset worth $25k. If so, has anybody sold an old used CMC that can show this type of return? It's way too much wishful thinking. But the one thing we all pretty much agree upon, this is a valuable tool and needs to be included in your operation. The model and method of financing is purely a personal choice. But it does beg for clarity. By the way, we have Wizards and my oldest one(almost 5 yrs old) has cost to date,under $14,000.At some point, the payments exceed the cost of machine and the cost of financing. We're nowhere near that now, and I like the flexibility of keepiny my options open for the next generation that just might be around the corner. That was especially true 5 yrs ago. But for anyone still on the fence(Jim),make a decision based on your needs and I promise you'll never look back with either machine
We have been using a Wizard 9 months now and are generally pleased with it. We lease the machine and pay corners (lease ends after 3 years, so is cheaper than purchasing outright). True, it only cuts mat board (envy, envy).

Our customers love it when I bring them back and demonstrate.

I am having a terrible time getting a technical glitch with the VCADD part of it cleared up (Can't save a Wizard file as a VCADD file). On the Wizard online forum no one else seems to have the problem and the techs are clueless as to a fix. I've had problems in the past and sometimes it took a public (Wizard online forum) blast to get a response.

I spent 20 years as a computer analyst, so my patience sometimes wears thin with "computer technical assistance" and cantankerous old curmudgeons (as some from the Hitchhiker forum can attest).

I may fume about it, but I do love my Wizard and wouldn't part with it.

Jim Price
Western Winds Frame and Gallery
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Frugal Framer:
... Wizard still calls us every 6 months to schedule an appointment to calibrate the machine which was returned almost 9 months ago<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

We moved to a new location in September and Wizard still sends the lease and corner invoice to the old address, even after numerous change of address cards and calls.

Jim Price
Western Winds Frame and Gallery
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by John Ranes II, CPF, GCF:

Food for thought --- In Rick's scenerio above, he will at the end of five years have paid in "Rent" $16-$22,000, with monthly payments continuing. He owns nothing.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

At $150 per month for 3 years (rent payments cease after 3 years), that is only $5,400 in rent. However, the $200 per month is for the "life" of the machine.

Just my 2 cent clarification :Þ.

Jim Price
Western Winds Frame and Gallery
I did not mention that bank loans for equipment usually require a down payment and the payment I make was on the financed amount. Wizard owners often forget to mention that there is a non-refundable, software charge associated with the lease.

That was an oversight on my part. I did not intend to mislead the group.

Bob convinced me to purchase a CMC, and I'm glad he did. The time I save alone is well worth any expense. Everyone has to make their own mind up about ownership or leasing, and for me, leasing made more sense. I will have an eight+ year old Wizard by the time the Wizard lease equals the cost of the Fletcher, not counting interest payments (which I am too numerically challenged to figure out). Only I'll have an eight+ year old machine I can exchange for a new model. You will get no argument from me that the Fletcher and some others are better machines. But, the Wizard does a good job and does what I need it to do at a price I am willing to pay.
Thanks for Pam's kind words and Rick's clarification. Neither was necessary, but both were absolutely helpful in getting closer to making a decision for anybody wringing their hands about this decision. Get off the fence and get into the game.For as cheap as $500 down(I think) and $350 for a limited time, you can get a Wiz. Or for those with more committed to your business(or with more cash), step up like Rick and get a Fletcher. But get off the bench and become a player. Not one person that I've read or spoken to has regretted their decision. One of the toughest things about being an owner/operator is making decisions. This, however, is probably the easiest decision you will make on growing your business. If you can't make this easy call, you might consider your real committment to growing your business. And that's fine, but don't hide behind the cost. Never let a little money get in the way of a big decision. As an aside, we use Wizards are they are most satisfactory. But if I were doing it again, I would sure look hard and long at the Fletcher
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is staff, for those with bigger operations I would be interested to hear if the CMC has reduced the need for more staff? Also the smaller one-three person business, have you saved sufficient time to allow an increased workload?
We are a 2 person shop and owning a CMC has allowed us to operate without hiring any additional labor. The cost of the machine more than pays for itself in labor savings even though some weeks go along with very few mats being cut.

We use the Fletcher to cut the opening as well as size the outside of the mat. This has reduced insurance claims for Repetitive Motion Injuries caused by using the wallcutter to size mats prior to cutting the openings.

Rick - CPFcm
The Frugal Framer
Coeur d'Alene, ID

[This message has been edited by Frugal Framer (edited January 20, 2001).]
My time is more valuable to me than anything, and my CMC saves me lots of time. I am able to get more work done in a day. I also have the cutter cut the outside of the mat. It's more accurate and saves a step. Therefore it saves more time.
We had an order last week that involved several largish (maybe 24 x 36) mats with multiple openings in a variety of ovals and rectangles, each a different size. Laying out and cutting those mats by hand would have taken me at least two hours; the wizard did them in ten minutes while I cut the backing and glass. Gotta love it!

One feature of the wizard I never use is the novelty cuts - hearts, shamrocks, wedding bells, etc. - because I think they make the mat more important than the image being framed. Any thoughts on this subject??? Kit

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana
I think one of the things that impressed me the most about a CMC was when I hired a new helper a few years back. She had absolutely no background in framing at all. Within one week she was doing complete frame jobs with double and triple mats completely by herself.
She was at a level of production that normally takes a month or more to get from a "green" employee. That to me was one of the biggest pluses to owning a CMC.
As for using the cutesy mat designs that are available, no, we hardly never use them. It is nice to know we can though. We've used them for making store displays and that's about it.
I am an advocate of CMC's, but they will change our industry. Just think if you can get an employee up to speed that quick, then you can find replacements fairly easy and the pay scale for that position will fall. Something we all want, but this makes it easy to run a shop for less money and makes this more of a comoditized industry. This makes it easier for Michael's, Aaron Bros., Great Frame up, Frame and Save, Fast Frame, etc. perhaps even Home Depot, Sears, Penneys and Lowe's Brothers. More minimum wages positions for the masses.

I cut the mat, I pet the =^..^= cat.
Kit, you and all the others who are lucky enough to own CMC's have our envy. It's not the same thing, but the next best to have a local who owns one and wants us to use it. (It's a Fletcher 6100.) We were given a simple job that involved twelve arched- design mats, and made grateful friends by having them complete and perfect in one day: and it was quite inexpensive for me. One feels almost decadent in creating a design and having someone else "poof" it so well and so fast. Think I'll begin letting my imagination work harder (but sure agree about the cutesy mats: don't like 'em.)
I haven't signed the dotted line yet, but Wizard has a Jr. lease that is $175.00 per month plus $50.00 for 1000 corners. Good deal for small shops.
I don't have a CMC yet, but I can tell you that there is a time and place for the "cutesy" mats. I have had to cut some cute mats for cross stitches from time to time, but I normally tell people not to use them on photo's or prints, as they tend to cover some of the picture.

Sue (Can't wait to get a CMC)
I purchased my Fletcher-Terry F-6100 about 2 years ago to replace a rented CMC that I was not satisfied with. I recently had a framer come to see my machine and he tried to buy it from me with an offer that was only a few thousand less than a new machine. After 2 years it's still a great mat cutter. 3 years from now at 5 years old it will still be a great mat cutter and it will have solid value. It will not be a worthless dinosaur. I believe it will have a value more than 50% of it's original price. There may be some advances in CMC's in the next 3 years and I may decide to pay the money to upgrade but this machine does so much that we haven't used all it's capabilities yet. So don't forget to put a number for future value in you calculations.
If you've seen adds for a computer system that Kodak calls a "Picture Maker" I had the 3rd one of these. After 8 years of operation it's still worth 20% of what I paid for it. And it's still sitting out front making money. I will BUY a new one next year.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MerpsMom:
(but sure agree about the cutesy mats: don't like 'em.)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

In our area, a lot of our customers like the Navajo, Western, Taos, Durango, and Arrowhead mat designs by Wizard.

Jim Price
Western Winds Frame and Gallery
Between "cutesy" mats and everyday mats there is a vast range of elegant mats that can be cut with CMC's. Some of these may be cut by hand but with great difficulty. And it's nice to have the design saved so it can be cut again in a few seconds. For an art print in somber blues, blacks and grays I recently cut a mat with a square opening. It was a triple suede mat and I cut it with reverse bevels so it was color on color with no white edges showing. The top 2 corners were rounded with a 2 inch radius. The bottom corners were square. It looked great! I could cut a mat such as this by hand but it would be time consuming and difficult in suede. We have moved on in our framing and there's no going back. Take away my F-6100 and I would close my store.
Magaret, I check on that jr rent agreement with Wizard and it looks like a real win win for a small growing shop. For 225.00 per month you get the same machine minus the CAD program that you can purchase for $150.00. You get 1000 corners a month that can accrue unused corner for those few big months. You still pay the $500.00 down but because of a show special (this was offered to me today because the jr lease was not mentioned while I was at the show.) I will get 2 boxes of blades and 1st month rent free. If you have need of more corners they can be purchased 1000 at a time for $100.00 or a dime each.

500.00 down
225 x 11 = 2475

2975 1st year
2600 add'l year

24000 * .08 interest rate (lost investment income) = $1920 I know this figure can be played with but if you take money from saving you are losing interest.

What I'm seeing is for my shop and needs I can start with the Wizard and review my options each year. It's a safe play on the Wizard.


Contract might be in the mail tomorrow.
We have a Wizard and have been very happy with it. I really liked the rental aggreement because I could give the machine back if I did not like it. You cannot do that with a lease (Most are just high priced financing). Also with the rental you are always under warranty because they own the machine. If technology changes in a few years I am not stuck with an out of date machine. I have three people using the machine and it gets hard use.We have had good results with tech support. I would reccommentd it to anyone.
Howard Chesselr

Howard Chessler
The Chessler Company
Baltimore, MD 21215
Our good cyber-friend,Scarfinger, makes an excellent point of why he buys his tecnology. Yet Framer takes the option best suited for his small , growing shop. Thank goodness we have choices like these to make.It really further amplifies the point that everyone can get on the technology bandwagon. My reasoning for encouraging more users? The more players involved, the more likely that the next generation will be available just that much more quickly. Don't you just love the beauty of technology and free-market systems doing what they do best to make our jobs better and easier?

[This message has been edited by Bob Carter (edited January 23, 2001).]
Although I prefer to design and cut classy, elegant mats, I certainly have a place for "cutesy" cuts. I can't resist cutting STARS in a corner or 2 after I have cut a CAD designed triple suede mat in a shape that fits around a folded hockey jersey. Add these stars and customers will pay more. The stars take about 1 minute to size, position, and cut with my F-6100. Cost zip! Profit Lots! Our world is wrapped up in the Walmart ideal that low price is all that matters but given the right temptation people will still open their wallets and not worry about price! This, of course, is the secret of beating the big boxes.
We are a small shop and we have a Wizard. We are very hapy with it. It's a great time saver. The wizard allows us to do multiple opening mats much faster than we could before and there we are less hesitant to sell them and other specialty mats. It has replaced one employee in our operation and might be worth more than that in a larger store.
I have mine set up with several software configurations to take care of the differences between foil, rag, suede, and other types of mat board. In that way I can adjust the machine with two or three clicks of the mouse and always get an excellent cut.
I would like to hear what makes the Fletcher 6100 a Cadilac.

Bob Shirk CPF
Blue Mountain Gallery
Shippensburg PA
Well the deed is done. Wizard jr rental is the winner for me. I made a mistake in my last post, the jr program show special was only two boxes of blades. The 1st months rental is not included.

Let the mat wars begin....

[This message has been edited by framer (edited January 23, 2001).]

I am glad I could help you with the information on the Jr wizard. I am a procrastinator and had the Jr. contract since Sept. 2000. Usually takes me a long time to decide on a major change -POS-Lifesaver- took me 2 years.

So I guess I am doing good, the Jr. Wizard is signed and that only took 9 months. Mr framer, your post helped me get off my duff and do what I know I needed and wanted to do; sign the contract.

Thank you for the kick in the hind quarters. I am so glad you started this post! You just got one stubborn old mule off her butt.

We have been using the Eclipse computerized mat cutter (40X60 table version) for over two years. When my wife and I were looking for a computerized mat cutter I had three major points I needed answered.

#1. LEARNING CURVE... How fast could we be trained to cut mats that I could market and make money with, not just cut "everyday ovals and squares". I also knew I did not want somebody else's CADD program driving the software.

#2. WAS THE SOFTWARE "PROPRIETARY" TO THE MAT CUTTER... I knew I did not want a cutter sitting in the gallery taking up retail space, but I did want our customers to have the ability to be a part of the design process.

#3. I WANTED A MACHINE THAT WOULD LAST... I knew I did not want "just an over priced plotter" with a knife attached. I ask all of the manufactures where I could get parts, and which industrial suppliers I could call, if in event they went out of business. We have all seen manufacturers in this business come and go, but we still must be able to keep cutting mats and sell our products.

After looking at several shows, (in most cases just getting CMC show rhetoric answers) and going to other shops that were using other CMC machines, we knew the Eclipse was the best machine for the money. It will cut all designs and openings (regular and fancy) using 2,4,6 and 8 ply board without any special equipment.

In my opinion, after using the Eclipse myself for our galleries and training our staff on the use of it, I know the ECLIPSE is by far the best value on the market today.

If you want a computerized mat cutter that will "MAKE YOU MONEY" not just cost you money, you need to look at the ECLIPSE. We are leasing ours on a 60 months lease-to-own plan.
Originally posted by Bob Carter:
...if you don't have a CMC, you should. Yes,even you,Jim...for anyone still on the fence(Jim),make a decision based on your needs and I promise you'll never look back with either machine."

Ok, Bob -- your gentle prodding is well taken. Yes, I'm still on the fence, but the fence is getting wobbly.

First, I wanted to give the market some time to gel. Wizard, the "original" CMC marketer, offers a good machine. It was the *best* machine just a few years ago, but today Wizard has been surpassed by others (for my purposs, anyway). How much of the "war of the improvements" among CMC makers remains to develop? I'd like my CMC to be a mature design, and avoid the early generations.

I narrowed my choices down to Fletcher and Eclipse over a year ago; Eclipse seems to have better hardware, but Fletcher has better software and a better reputation in our industry -- that's important: Kaibab might someday decide to move on to more profitable enterprises & abandon framing equipment, but Fletcher is too committed to the industry to abandon framers.

The Fletcher machine is looking better all the time. And it will probably be leased, not purchased.
I have been absent from this board for a few months and wished I would have jumped on this one earlier. I just purchased in December an Eclipse CMC. I spent close to a year on this decision and the reason I bought the Eclipse had to do with the versatility of the software. A previous "Grumbler" mentioned that 2 years he felt that Eclipses software was inferior. Maybe at the time that was the case but as far as my opinion is worth, If you are in need of a machine that will work with odd shape and creative openings (which about 30% of our business has) then the Eclipse will fit you great. Either way you look at it, the industry is headed in that direction and if you dont get a machine(no matter the brand) it will become harder and harder to keep up.