General CMC questions

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 25, 2002
Phoenix, Az.
Other than fancy designs, lettering, cutting ovals and circles, and outside/insides, please tell me what your CMC enables you to do that the manual mat cutter does not.

i.e. 1) Does the CMC have a 'magic eye' so it knows when to stop cutting, thus preventing over and under corner cuts?
2) With CMC machines, do you NEVER see a hook again?
3) Do triple mats, all cut in reverse bevels look fabulous?

I've started my list of pros/cons and I know there are 'things' that wouldn't even come to my mind since I've never used one.

It saves time!
Any employee can cut a mat with very little training.
It never calls in sick.
Multi hole mats are a piece of cake (worth the price of admission).
Oversize ovals.
And so-on and so-on.
If I were starting from scratch having a CMC would be a must for me.
Bunny rabbit mats. And elephants.

I spent the first few months cutting every shape I could think of. Since then, it's mostly regular double-, sometimes triple-mats, some collages (big plus) and lots of straight line, non-rectangular mats - the kind of thing you'd need to frame a newspaper article and notch around the ads and accommodate the different column lengths.

Perfect mats - no hooks or over cuts - are an attainable goal as long as the software is good, the machine is well-maintained and the calibration is correct.

I don't recall anyone ever saying, "I wish I hadn't bought a CMC." I know several people who wish they'd bought a DIFFERENT CMC.
A CMC is a great time saver.

As Ron said when properly calibrated and maintained they are extremly acurate.

You will sell more complicated mats without hesitation and therefor make more money.

They cut 8 ply mats quickly and easily.

Our Wizard does every thing we need. They offer payment options that make sense for a small shop.

Within a month you will wonder why you did not get one a long time ago.
OK, I've got one. I often cut a "ton" of 5x7 and 8x10 mats for an artist. Can I just put a whole piece of board in the machine and set the sizes and have it cut insides and outsides, or how is the best way to do those?

Also, these are double mats. Would I do all the outer then all the inner mats and manually put them together, or could it do both at once? I know recently there was a discussion about the CMCs cutting them separately then attaching was normally the best route.

Betty, normally you would presize the mat blanks.
You could enter them as though it was one big multi hole mat but in order to cut the outside you have to "trick" the computer.

Cut the inner and outer individually and then put them together.
That would be my method anyway, that is if I still had my Wizard. Sigh.

It seems that now that I don't have one I'm cutting an inordinate number of multi opening mats!
One of my favorite things is to 'trick' the Wizard into doing what I want it to. I frequently cut multiple mats. For mats that are equal all around, you just put them in as a multiopening double mat and don't change boards. Non-equal mats are done as two separate programs for multiopenings.. Is this somewhat even clearish?
Wizard allows you to set an "array" of multiple copies of the same mat, cutting both inside and outside. You can specify the distance between each mat and set the size (up to 40 x 60) of the sheet that you are using. there is a preview screen so that you can verify that your arrangement works.

One thing I'd like to mention that I noticed when I used to work at a frame shop was that using a CMC was a huge timesaver when cutting fillets since the left/right and top/bottoms of the openings are pretty much garunteed to be the same lengths...
Hi Sherry-I think a great poll might be something along the lines of asking how many regret ever getting a CMC.

I'll bet that you will find one or two, but the other 95% will vote in the affrmative.

Getting a CMC and finding ways to use it is the easiest decision most framers will ever make.

I hear some framers complain about using too many corners or having to buy more corners. That's kind of like complaining about buying more glass; you only have to do it when you sell more framing.

The toughest decision will be which machine to get. We use the Wiz and have since '95. We are on our 3rd machine. Do the numbers and see which program best suits your needs.

All the companies have good products and service, but we are partial to the Wiz. They have repeatedly taken care of all our needs. Please contact me offline and I'll tell you some things about Edd and the team that will help you make your decision.
Three machines since 1995? Why is that? What is the lifespan of a CMC? Perhaps the lifespan is based on corners cut?

(Too many questions? :confused: )
One thing I'd like to mention that I noticed when I used to work at a frame shop was that using a CMC was a huge timesaver when cutting fillets since the left/right and top/bottoms of the openings are pretty much garunteed to be the same lengths...
Roger that. If reverse bevels and multiple openings were the only thing the Wizard could do it would still be worth it.

Betty, as Pat mentioned, the new Wizard software does allow you to set up an array (I think they call it tiling)so that you can put in one big board and let it cut all the mats, inside opening and outside dimesnion both. But ou do lose just a little bit of material since there has to be at least some tiny distance between them. So if you're doing thousands of them, it may be a tradeoff between time or material.

Another cool thing the new software has is the continuous layer feature. Suppose you're cutting 20 double layer mats. Use continuous layer, and the machine will keep defaulting back to layer one instead of going on to the next. So you'd keep feeding in the top mat, cut them all, then go to the bottom layer and cut all of those. It sure saves a lot of potential confusion and error that might happen if you accidently throw the wrong mat in.
Originally posted by B. Newman:

1) I often cut a "ton" of 5x7 and 8x10 mats for an artist. Can I just put a whole piece of board in the machine and set the sizes and have it cut insides and outsides, or how is the best way to do those?

2) Also, these are double mats. Would I do all the outer then all the inner mats and manually put them together, or could it do both at once?
1) We also cut a "ton" of the same sized mats. With our CMC (Valiani), you can put in any sized mat, tell the CMC what size mat you're putting in, and it will automatically figure out the best configuration to get the maximum number of mats out; this way, we can use different sized scraps of mats, or whole sheets, whichever is more convenient ... it will cut the outsides as well (or not, if you prefer). Apparently, not all cutters have the software to do this (I'm not sure why... it would seem an obvious feature). The cutter "wastes" about 3/16" in between each mat.

2) With this CMC, you can ATG your mats together, and cut double or triple mats without having to (re)move. You simply remove the cutouts as they are cut; the CMC prompts every move so it's "idiot proof".

If and when you get your machine, you'll figure out the "best" and most efficient way of cutting multiples.

For what it's worth, with our CMC, I cut in a hour or two, what would easily have taken a week or more to do by hand (and I was fast cutter of mats!).

As far as what CMC to choose, this is an "interesting" question. Those of us who purchased a machine other than the mighty Wizard, each have/had our reasons. Aside from those who's CMC's were discontinued, given the chance to choose again, I suspect few, if any, would seriously consider getting a Wizard!

Having said that, the Wiz is, by far, the most popular CMC on the planet. I've only spoken with a few people who have been disappointed in their Wiz's; considering the large number of them out there, the % of malcontents is absolutely insignifant. By and large, those who have them, love them and, if they had to do it over again, would go the same route!

I'm sure much of the above has been said before. In any event, I hope this is of some help.

Best of luck!
I know several people who wish they'd bought a DIFFERENT CMC.
Enough people have emailed me about this that I guess I need to tell the story still another time. Those of you who have already heard it 12 times can fast-forward.

Four years ago, I was inches away from buying a Wizard when I got a call from Regal Crown Industries in Seattle. They wanted to tell me about their CMC - the Mat Maestro (later renamed iMat.)

In retrospect, I wonder if they had a mole at Wizard that told them I was in the market.

Anyway, I lied to RCI and told them I had already ordered my Wizard, and they persisted. They faxed me some specs and I was actually impressed.

A few weeks later, having not actually seen any CMC since the early prototype days, I sent off a check for $16,500 to RCI and began the very long wait for my new Mat Maestro.

Eventually it arrived (with a $900 shipping bill) and, the next day, Marvin Brecht - the president of RCI/iMat - flew into town to set it up and train me.

Marvin was pleasant, thorough and helpful, but he neglected to tell me that RCI was in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings. I was so pleased with the performance of the CMC that RCI put me on a referral list of happy campers and people were calling me from all over the country to ask me about it.

It was John Ranes who, as gently as possible, let me know that there might be a little problem with the company, and he pointed me to The Grumble so I could read what people had to say.

Holy Crap! People all over the world had paid in advance for machines and never received them. Others were tied into airtight leases - also without having received a CMC. One framer took delivery of a non-working Mat Maestro, shipped it back for service, and never saw it again. It is entirely possible that my machine was rebuilt from someone else's, with both of us paying for it in full.

The company is gone and Marvin has gone underground. Luckily, the machine uses Wizard blades and there are some industrious programmers who have updated the software. I am lucky, in that my machine works well (with plenty of tweaking from me) and I can't imagine working without it. Others were literally driven out of business by their experience and, to my knowledge, there are still criminal and civil cases pending over this situation.

I became the poster boy for reckless consumers. I complied a mailing list of other Mat Maestro victims - most of them much worse off than me - and we shared information and support.

I remember Vivian Kistler saying once that she would require a credit app from General Motors or Coca Cola before she would extend credit to them. My advice would be to check out any company thoroughly before you plop down $15,000-$24,000 (usually in advance.) And don't assume that you're protected by a lease. Have someone look over any lease proposal and see what your obligations are if the company disappears or the equipment is defective or non-existent.

I think it's worth noting that, despite the fact that I have, arguably, the worst working CMC in the world, I still love this machine and it has simplified my working day so much that I now have time to write epic posts for The Grumble. :D

[ 05-21-2004, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: Ron Eggers ]
Oh my stars!! I shared with you earlier, I think that you survived all of that aggrevation and had a decent outcome, soley because of your great sense of humor! Hats off to you!

Guess I won't be buying a Maestro!! ;)

Thanks for telling your story should save it in a file and just copy and paste next's bound to come up again since it's quite a journey.
My F-6100 is a good machine, and Fletcher's support has been excellent. I understand there's a secondary market for them, even though discontinued. Honestly, if I were looking for a second CMC, I'd seriously consider buying another, used F-6100. I have no doubt that Fletcher will provide the full seven years of parts & support promised. I've heard that Wizard and Eclipse software is adaptable, if the parties can come to terms and if the F-6100 users are willing to pay for it. But for now, the Fletcher software is dependable and nearly comparable to the others.

It does everything well, even a thing or two that the others can't. I only wish they had kept that model in the product line, and that we could look forward to cutting-edge upgrades of the software.
Good one Ron!!

Your price I'm sure would be attractive, but the shipping would be a killer - unless you needed a dose of sunny 92 degree weather!

Besides, all that you've put into your 'baby', I doubt that you could part.

Speaking of 'babies' (sidestep to a dog story)....our baby (the 5 yr. old cocker) just had her teeth cleaned today. I pick her up in a couple of hours. Sweet breath again...