To Wizard or not to Wizard, That is the question

JbNormandog

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Posts
3,751
From
NJ
Hi all,

I just visited the Wizard site (can't justify the expense yet but hopefully soon) and was a little shocked to see them advertising that they have placed 3,500 machines world wide.
I didn't think that was that much. (but what do I know)

I'm leaning towards the wizard but would gladly welcome any other favorites from the Grumble.
 

treeves

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Dec 15, 2004
Posts
218
From
SouthEast
Close to 60,000,000.00$ worth. I have the 8000 wizard and love the thing. Its the best thing I ever did for myself and frame shop. It literally takes the place of one framer, in my shop. I don't have to train someone for up to 2 years, learning all the intricate cuts you can do on a cirlce, oval, and straight line cutter, then they quit, and it start the process over.

One of my helpers, who had never framed, was up and cutting perfect mats in a matter of minutes.
V-grooves of all kinds, easy as pie, and perfect everytime. Lettermats, multi-openings up to 6 layers deep, with as many different openings as you can design, overlapping opening for unique and one of kind special openings. I just cut out a 6x32 mat of a train, with engine to caboose, using overlapping openings, and using the merge opening option.

You can tile, cutting out multi-mats such as the train above, I cut 6 mats, from one mat board using the tiling function.

I am still mad that I did not purchase one years ago. It has made framing incredibly cost effective, fun, and the creative potential is out of sight, the time saving factor, unbelieveable. Stress has virtually disappeared from cutting those tedious mats. Life is good wtih the right CMC.

I bought my Wizard, because I wanted to create lots of different mats combinations, and did not want to have to pay all the corner charges. Leasing is a option, with payments as low as a few hundreds dollars a month, for the jr program.

You probably have someone in your area that has one, or check it out at your local distributor, or one of the trade shows. You can really compare at the trade shows. Good luck and get one ASAP is MHO....
 

Frame Lady

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Posts
407
From
Seattle, Washington
I live in the town where Wizard had their first office. They contacted us because we have a fairly large shop (7800) sq ft. I could not beleive that a machine could do what they do, besides, I did not want to terminate an employee to a machine. BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY PICTURE FRAMING CAREER.

You should see their facility in Mukilteo, Washington, it is huge. We cut a pot load of mats on the spot for customers plus multiple other things. Now if I would only get some of that software out there for writing up orders......

Lynn
 

Bob Carter

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I am a big fan of the Wizard

I don't need to bore you with the mechanics; you have heard them ad naseum

But, to me the biggest advantage is the people.

I have never dealt with the other staffs,I am sure they are good

But two points have to be made on the people:

1) The people that service and sell them are exceptional. Problems are resolved with a quick phone call or a quick overnight delivery. Edd Pratt and the rest are true professionals.

2)The people that use them include some of the best in the trade including Brian Wolfe, Marc Bluestone, Jay Goltz, Rob Markoff and so many more. We have been on board since 1995 and have upgraded everytime. I think it is important to associate with people a lot smarter than I, and the above mentioned names all qualify.

I won't discuss the charity of Wizard except to say when asked,they responded in spades.

And they how to treat a customer. A couple of trade shows back, I called Edd and informed him of our phenomenal success with their product one Christmas. And I felt that they needed to have the Wiz limo pick me up at the Vegas airport.

Edd got my flight number and time and said he would send the Wiz limo by and keep an eye out. I would recognize it as all white with a sign on top of it that said "Penn and Teller."
 

Rob Markoff

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Joined
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Posts
5,179
From
San Diego, CA USA
I spent the morning with Edd Pratt and I echo Bob's feelings. Wizard has some very cool things in the works.

We bought our 8000 and with 2.9% financing. This week I see that Citibank is offering 1.9%.

With the extended warranty, constant software upgrades, Brian Wolfe on the team....and new education/classes with various certification levels in the works (imagine hiring a new employee who has credentials from Wizard as a "Certified Level 3 operator....etc.) this is truly a state of the art company.
 

printmaker

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Posts
356
From
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
A personal observation which probably won't be of consequence but here goes:

If I'm not mistaken, Wizard sells more CMC's (so far) than all the other companies put together. Does this make them "the best"?

Fletcher (for example) has recently made a deal with Valiani to distribute their range of CMC's (which, by the way, should prove an excellent arrangement for them both). If, by some chance, they manage to surpass Wizard in sales, will this make them "the best"?

We looked extensively at, worked extensively with, and spoke extensively with a number of owners of 6 models from 5 different companies: Wizard, Gunnar, Eclipe, Fletcher and Valiani.

The good news was that each owner with whom we spoke was happy with his/her choice and, if the opportunity arose, would purchase the same machine again...

Having said that, of the 5 machines we "tested", we eliminated 3 quite easily. They didn't suit our needs (Wizard, by the way, was one of the companies eliminated early on - again, this certainly does not make it a bad machine - just not the CMC for us!)...

Of the 2 remaining machines, we made a decision with which we are very happy; either would have been a fine choice for our needs. I strongly suspect that we would not have been "as happy" with the 3 we eliminated.

Just an observation. Best of luck!
 

Mecianne

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Posts
2,229
From
Alabama
I am very new to the retail frame business. Everything prior was home-based. I took a framing course and got very aquainted with my primary supplier & how they conduct business. He (the owner) said that I needed to buy a Wizard within one year or expect to soon close shop. My question is this....(and you guys are waaay more experienced than I) will I really price myself out of business in a suburb shop in which I don't even rquire any employees as of yet? I see it as too large of an investment right now. I can handle my workload, & any super-specialty mats, I can get cut from one of my suppliers for reasonable rates which I charge to the customer. ( Same prices I would charge if I were cutting them myself).

I think a Wizard would be awesome.... I even fantasize about the day I get one...but how necessary are they, really in a small shop???

And....what makes the Wizard better than an Eclipse, etc.

Great thread....this is something I have been researching.

Curious as always,

Joy
 

Puppyraiser

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A long time ago, I sat down with the owner of a very small frame shop in somewhere like North Dakota. He already had a Wizard (I'm guessing this was like 1995ish). I asked how a small shop like his could justify having to spend so much on corners in what surely was not a production facility. He said that at that time he had over 100,000 corners 'in the bank', but that he didn't concern himself with that. He instad looked upon his Wizard as a very cheap and reliable employee that allowed him to run a small shop all by himself with a little help from his wife. The shades fell from my eyes and we signed up the next spring in New York. I think we have the 1576th Wizard. We have never looked back. Great machine, great support. This is probably true of the other machines as well. My point is: "Not when, but which one..."
 

FrameMakers

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Mar 20, 2001
Posts
7,395
From
Powell, OH
My new 8000 is to arrive on Friday. It is replacing my 2nd 5000 (first lost in a 3 alarm fire, no fault of Wizards).

The main thing I looked at 10 years ago was the programs offered by the CMC manufactures. Wizard's concept back then was not to sell machines but to sell corners. As long as their selling corners they will be in business to service their machines.

After years this has held true. Several CMC companies have left the industry and left many framers holding the bag. While there are many good machines available I believe that Wizard will still be around in 2015 taking care of my new model 15000
 

printmaker

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Posts
356
From
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Originally posted by FrameMakers:

Several CMC companies have left the industry and left many framers holding the bag. While there are many good machines available I believe that Wizard will still be around in 2015 taking care of my new model 15000
Your point is right on the money, Dave.

Even though I, personally, would not have purchased (or rented) a Wizard (although who knows what the "future" will hold), this certainly is and was a BIG (BIG!) consideration.

One would be foolish to ignore this when weighing in all the factors!!!
 
E

El Framo

Guest
Printmaker,

If you don't mind me asking, which machine did you choose, and why. No real reason, just curiosity.
 

Bill Henry-

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Printmaker,

Let me echo El Framo’s questions: What were your needs that the other three couldn’t meet?
 

Bob Carter

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This ought not evolve into a Chevy vs Ford, Boxers vs Briefs debate

Look at the machines, talk to the people that own/rent them, talk to the people that back them.

Then, for goodness sakes, do something about it

Had we joined up with Eclipse way back when, we might have been just as thrilled.

But, we didn't and have enjoyed the relationship since day one. There has never been a single thought of packing the thing up and shipping it back.
 

printmaker

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
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Posts
356
From
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Originally posted by El Framo:
Printmaker,

If you don't mind me asking, which machine did you choose, and why. No real reason, just curiosity.
I'll have to agree with Bob here: "This ought not evolve into a Chevy vs Ford, Boxers vs Briefs debate."

With one of my earliest postings here, and with the best of intentions, I presented some "inside information" on a particular (now defunct) CMC. I inadvertently ticked off a fellow grumbler (in a major way!), who owned one of these, and thought it was the absolute "cat's meow".

Getting back to Bob's comment, selecting a CMC is very much like choosing a car. Some of us look at style, some at function. Some ask friends. All of these are valid. I recall reading a study a while back, where Corvette owners were amongst those with the highest customer satisfaction rating - this, even tho' the Corvette was near the bottom of the heap for overall quality and dependability. But if someone is happy, who is to say that he/she should not be!?!

As we always buy new cars, I tend to research the h-ll out of model. I seek out "the experts", and ask independant mechanics. I'm not as swayed by happy owners who have driven their vehicles for 40,000 miles. I'm more interested in finding out how the vehicle will be at 100,000, or 200,000, or beyond. But that's me.

Back to your original question(s), El (and Bill), without going into details, of the 3 models (4 models, actually ... 3 brands) eliminated:

- one was eliminated because of (what I perceived to be, for OUR PURPOSES), basic design flaws in the machine, itself, and also software shortcomings (again, these "shortcomings" were due to a lack of things that WE needed the machine to do),

- one was eliminated due to overall quality of construction and "robustness" (or lack thereof),

- the third (and 4th) were eliminated due to obvious and blatant customer service problems (in our area).

The 2 CMC's we finally chose between were the Eclipse Pro, and the Valiani Future (now the "Fletcher/Valiani Future"). This posting is already too long, so I'll leave off by saying, if I still owned a custom frame shop, I'd have purchased the Eclipse. As 95%+ of the work we frame is my own artwork (for reasons specifically aaddressing OUR needs), we chose the Valiani...

Even though we are pleased with our choice, and would purchase another (under the Fletcher name) without hesitation, I have highly recommended the Eclipse Pro to a number of framers who have approached us...

And even though we will never ever own a Wizard, I have, in the past, recommended Wizards for particular framers for whom, IMHO (okay, it's not all that "humble" ;) ), this machine was ideal.

Back to work now - I have a tonne of mat cutting waiting for me. I'll be pressing my index finger to the bone :D .
 

Kevin Colbert

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Posts
122
From
Naperville, IL
I have owned the Wizard, the Fletcher and now the Eclipse Pro. I like the Pro the best. To be fair, I am comparing the new Eclipse to an old Wizard, and a discontinued Fletcher. I agree with the Car analogy. You will probably be happy with the one you get, just be sure to check them all out equally.

Just a note though... Bob said he especially likes the people at Wizard. I would like to say the same for those at Eclipse. They have always been very professional and enjoyable to work with.
 
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