Opinions Wanted Questions about Manual Pneumatic Mat Cutter

adjframes

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Right now we have a couple of table top manuals cutters and it's definitely time for an upgrade.

95% or so of our mats are rectangular windows, mostly cotton rag, lots of 8ply. For specialty designs, multiple ovals, custom shapes, etc., when they come up, Don Mar or local friends cuts them for very cheap.

I've got my eye on a Valiani Mat Pro-i 150 at ~$5k. I can't see paying around $20-25k for a comparable CMC that cuts custom shapes, etc. and may be a touch faster. I'm not really interested in the leasing programs, or the pay per cut.

Here's the catch, I've never used or seen one in person, and after talking with a rep, he told me they are NOT bringing one to Vegas, which I had been counting on! In fact, they only sold 1 of these machines all of last year in the US, which I find very hard to believe.

Questions:

Am I missing something here? Why aren't these more popular?
Does anyone in the greater Boston area have one of these I could take a look at?
For those that have used them, for rectangular windows, what's the speed difference start to finish of cutting rectangular windows between this and a CMC?

Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

IFGL

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because a second hand cmc is a far better option for around the same money, they are not a touch faster they are much much faster and more accurate.

P.S, I have seen and used a Valiani 150 pneumatic manual machine like what you are talking about, they are great, I still bought a cmc though
 

Bob Doyle

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What does the pneumatic feature actually do? Doesn't turn the head, doesn't drive the speed the cutter, what does s it do that a spring can?

Contact Esterly SpeedMat their manual prices must be lower or comparable to the Valiani. They are located in Southern Maine, easy drive from the Boston area.
 

adjframes

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I will look into Esterlys as well Bob, I didn't realize they were in Maine. I've seen a few in use and know they've been around for a while. Looks like they have a pneumatic version as well, with an end trimmer, looks very similar to the Valiani, but no pricing online.

One of the things I'm interested in is whether the pneumatics really make a difference over a spring powered version.
 

Bob Doyle

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Is Dave from DonMar your rep? Talk to him about valiana as he was pretty knowledgeable about them. DM no longer sells them but Dave may still be a good resource for you.
 

artfolio

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I test drove a Valiani Mat Pro a few years ago before I bought my Wizard and did not like it.

Quite a few very competent framers who I have a lot of respect for used this machine and were satisfied with it but I just found the whole operating procedure clunky and fiddly and I was not happy with the finished product. In particular, the blade cut on a very steep angle which made the matt look thin and at the trade night demo I simply could not get rid of a slight hook in all the corners. Apparently I was the only one who could see it but it turned me right off the machine.

Definitely try it before you buy it as no matter what anyone else thinks you will be the one who has to live with it.
 

adjframes

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Good eye, thanks Framestudio. I'm planning to get in touch with Esterly directly and will see what a new one goes for. I'm leaning towards 40x60.

Anybody else have experience with the Valiani version? Are the Speedmat and Valiani comparable machines?
 

Matthew Hale

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I can't comment on the Valiani (though i will say that their CMC's are excellent) but i did use an Esterly Speedmat for years and found it to be an excellent tool.
 

Jim Miller

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Am I missing something here? Why aren't these more popular?
Yes, what you're missing is that the older-technology of the machine you're looking for has been replaced by CMC technology. Regardless of brand, a CMC provides much better precision and versatility.

The fact that you don't "need" all the capabilities of a CMC doesn't necessarily mean such a machine wouldn't be a good investment. You might soon realize that the precision, speed, and added features can be quite beneficial to your business. To my knowledge, Wizard is the only CMC maker with the option of per-corner charges, and that deal never seemed good for my business. I ought both of my CMCs outright, and would do so again.

And, just so you know, there are lots of dependable CMCs on the secondary market for only a few thousand dollars. Maybe one of those would cost less than a new Esterly. Have you checked with CMC Doctor?
 
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John Ranes II CPF GCF

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adjframes said:
...Anybody else have experience with the Valiani version? Are the Speedmat and Valiani comparable machines?

ADJ, The 2nd version of the Esterly Speedmat (More robust) would be an equivalent comparison to the Valiani Mat Pro machine.

Both these machines sold quite well throughout Europe but as you observed, relatively not as well received in North America. Granted, there will always be a passionate fan of these machines but in the U.S. and Canada, framers tended to go low or go high - wanted the full hands-on experience of a manual tabletop mat cutter, or the full techno experience of a CMC.

As Jim Miller pointed out, "bang for the buck", you would be wise to consider a used CMC or even a new starter CMC, especially when you consider all the other things you can be doing. You also mention 8ply being a big part of your business, and the Valiani CMC just shines in that department.

Regards,

John
 
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