My first question! Problems w/Speedmat

j Paul

PFG, Picture Framing God
Feb 23, 2004
I've just completed framing school, and know I made my first mistake by purchasing a used mat cutter before going to school.
I purchased a 3240 Speedmat because it was a similar set up to machines I used in my cabinet business for routing grooves in cabinet doors.
But here is the problem. When I clamp the mat board down, with a slip sheet under it, and both pcs. under the clamp, the mat board slides on the horz. cut to the right and the vertical cut toward the top. It makes no difference if the slip sheet is under the clamp as well or not.
I can find no reference to trouble shooting this problem in the instruction manual that came with unit.
I now know that purchasing used equip. off Ebay wasn't the best idea, but would like to make this work if possible, until I can get a Wizzard.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks to all who read this.

[ 02-23-2004, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: j Paul ]
Depending how "easily" the boards are slipping, it may be the clamps themselves. If you have one of the older SpeedMats, I remember that the clamps were spring loaded. The springs may be worn out, so the clamps aren't clamping strongly enough. Also, on the clamps themselves, there should be a rubber strip that helps keep things in place. If the springs are fine and the rubber strip is there, then you should definitely call Esterly. Good luck!
Thanks Hugh for the prompt reply. I don't think blade depth is the problem, as it is just barely cutting through the top mat. Even withour engaging the cutter you can slide the mats with the palm of your hand when the clamp is engaged.
Definetly appears that you need the slipp mat under the clamp as well as the one you are cutting.
I think the problem has to do with a lack of holder pressure of the clamp, and it would need some sort of adjustment. Any ideas on how to do this, the manual is silent.
But what do I know, I am new to all of this, and this is the first time I have tried to use it.
Any SPEEDMAT owners/users out there?
Andrew, Thanks also for the reply. The unit was purchased new in 92 by the previous owner, and it does have spring on the clamp, I will check, maybe that is the problem. I had thought about adding some sort of additional gripping surface under the clamps, but will check the springs.
I spoke to soon. When I looked at the clamp again, the one that hold the mat in place to cut the window does not have any springs. It is simply a black plastic square about a 1 1/4" square and 3/8" thick that rotates 90 to lock clamping bars in place.
The clamp arm for cutting mat board and glass to size is the one that has a spring.
Ahh, that's a more recent model then. Our 40x60 version has the same mechanism. We never had any problem with it not holding properly though. There's a chance that it may have loosened a bit, or something. I actually just checked the book that came with it and it mentions this problem in the troubleshooter guide.

Problem- Rectangle or oval mat moves during cut.
Remedy- Metal part of hold down bar is warped. Place 1/2" block at bottom end. Press on opposite end to straighten.

Not sure exactly what they are referring to, but that's what they printed. Another thing that occured to me was: Is the 32x40 base of the cutter covered by matboard? And I don't mean your slip sheet. There should be a matboard attached right to the base, that your slipsheet would cover, and then your mat slides in. In the end you would have three layers of mat in the holding arm. There's a possibility that may have removed it due to someone cutting on it by accident without a slip sheet, and just never replaced it.

If none of that works out, definitely call Esterly. There number is 1800-882-7017. Hope that helps.

[ 02-24-2004, 02:57 PM: Message edited by: AndyPan, CPF ]
Thanks for the info Andrew,

I did read in my manual about the bar maybe being warped, and the fix was rebending it with the 1/2" wood block, but I believe they were refering to the hold down on the right side of the machine that you use for glass and for sizing mat board

Funny you mention an extra sheet of mat board under your slip sheet, because the clamps will hold with a total of three sheets inserted.

THIS MAY BE THE ANSWER FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: I called Easterly and the tech there said to pull off the hold down clamp while pulling up and too the right, and releasing the spring. Once clamp is off, apply a bead of silicone to edge of clamp bar and allow to dry for 24 hours and reassemble and that should do the trick. The silicone is drying now, I will report back as soon as I get a chance to try cutting more matboard.

Thanks everyone
Good luck, j Paul. Once you get your machine working properly, you're going to love it.
SUCCESS! After adding a "permanent slip sheet" then my disposable slip and my mat, for a total of three layers, as well as have put a bead of silicone on hold down bars as Easterly suggested, no more slipage. YEA!

I think that perhaps just the three layers of mat would have been all it really would have taken, as there was some residual silicone on bars already. I did not see the directions in the manual to use 3 layers. The advice of others users on the "Grumble" is priceless. "Don't leave home without it", and go into business.

I am really happy to report that after cleaning and adjusting my used, one previous owner, 11 year old "Speedmat" that within the first hour, I was literally cutting perfact mats, with no under/overcuts. Within that hour I also cut inlays(perfect) non-symetrical(perfect) weighted bottom (no problem, just set your border)

Am looking forward to trying double and triple mats as soon as my ATG shows in in a day or two.

I have to say though that the instructions for angle window openings and photo corners ect. do seem a little cumbersom in just reading the directions. Have not tried the oval cutter yet,
Will report back.

I have to say though, now that I have it working I am impressed. Maybe it is just because it works so much like my "Stanley" door routing machine.

Speaking of that, I have thought about using that machine with a veining blade to do some fancy v-grooves with the corner templates that I have. Has anybody ever tried "routing" mat board?

If that would work, my imagination tells me you could do hand carving with a "dremel" tool, or a "rotozip" Just a thought, maybe I will get around to trying it.
we use a speedmat for all production work 1e 11x14 dble mats etc. I understand ther is a fixed blade cutter head available for v groove, uses two blade @ 45 degree angles. Look up easterly web site