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Importance and value of CMC

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by cjmst3k, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My family is now entering year 51 of framing. All without a CMC. I have an experienced framer who is good at manual mat cutting.

    With 4 frame shops closing in my area recently, I might be able to find a CMC for a reasonable price.

    -For a "high end" shop with very good results using a Fletcher, how would I benefit from a CMC?

    -Does anyone know actual recent selling prices of used CMC's for different models?

    My assumption is that with more and more frame shops closing, the lower the demand on used equipment, so it might be time for me to consider picking one up, if the price is right.
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  2. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Whether it is from local shops (which would avoid packing/shipping costs) or from other sources, you can definitely find good deals on used CMCs these days. Look on the commercial posts forum here for references.
    Even though your straightline matting skills are covered, a CMC opens up a whole new world of design possibilities involving combinations of straight lines, curves, and other shapes. It also provides added speed and accuracy for complex matting jobs. (Think: multiple opening collage designs with 1/8" reveal on double mat.) Personally, I like to use shaped v-grooves as design elements, which would be impossible without the CMC. If you can swing it, I would definitely add one to your "toolbox".
    :cool: Rick

    A few examples: 285351_10151359063694213_1054360951_n.jpg 1535498_10152021224804213_1625545832_n.jpg 11693912_10153435827859213_8099887516045869415_n.jpg 12419267_10153733316234213_2418575598669110035_o.jpg
    AaronF, Joe B, Ylva and 1 other person like this.
  3. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What would happen if you would not have that one experienced framer around any longer?

    My very first purchase was a CMC and I have never regretted it. I could not imagine cutting 5 double mats 8-ply by hand. Or a 30 opening double mat. Ovals, rounds etc.
    AaronF and Joe B like this.
  4. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It once took me a full day to design and cut manually a 52 aperture mount, it takes a fraction of that time with a CMC, for us the CMC is a time saver, ours works a good four hours out of every day, imaging how long it would take to manually cot a
    All those mounts, I am not overly keen on mounts that demand the attention over the picture but on occasion a rounded corner or something really works with an image
  5. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Translation: A 52 opening mat. :) Took me years to learn that "bespoke" equals "custom".
  6. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've survived 30+ years without a CMC.

    It depends on the sort of stuff you frame. If you want to do intricate cuts with curves and wotnot then
    it's of great value. Also thick matboard. And multi-aperture mats. And long production runs.

    Most of my matting is straight. Double mats hold no terrors on a manual cutter. V-grooves/inlays likewise.
    I don't cut as many mats as I used to. 90% of of my jobs nowadays are canvases/panels with no glazing.
  7. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    You'll benefit because you'll effectively have a new employee that apart from a few health checks, you only pay once - up front unfortunately.

    You'll find yourself pushing things you'd not have dreamt of before. 50 Cigarette cards? Sure, double mount with debossed lines around each aperture ... maybe an oval double aperture in the centre with a title? No worries - oh but you still actually have to mount the darned things! No, you don't, just have it cut a 50 aperture platform mount while you're at it and get on with something else at the same time.

    I do table plans for this business http://www.elegantstationery.co.uk/on-the-day-wedding-stationery/table-plans/ - it was them that made me take the plunge in 2009 and they alone have paid for the machine a couple times over.
    poliopete and AaronF like this.
  8. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm not sure if they still operate without one, but one of our customers as of about 6-8 years ago did not use a CMC. They are a pretty large company (about 50 employees) and turn out a fair number of frames. When I asked them why, they simply said they had looked at the 8-ply (99% of their work) quality, and run the numbers, and it just didn't work for them. May have changed by now, but they do predominantly museum/collector type art where a single opening with no frills is the primary requirement. With plenty of skilled staff on hand I doubt they have bothered. Adds to their cachet too...
    prospero likes this.
  9. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm on my 2nd CMC and I wouldn't be without it. Just for time savings it pays for itself but I do more than just the rectangle windows with mine so I make extra money for the designer mats that takes minutes now instead of hours. When you start selling v Grooves that takes seconds to cut perfectly, designer corners that some customers wouldn't be without, multi-window mats w/rectangle openings, multi-window mats with a variety of window shapes, and so on and so on it, it doesn't take much time to pay for a CMC. I plan on going to the WCAF just to see the new Valiani machines and also to look at Gunner just to compare. If I am impressed enough with the new Valiani machines I may have a darn good used Valiani for sale in the near future - just saying :rolleyes:.
    AaronF and Jim Miller like this.
  10. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Same here. It would be the first piece of equipment i would suggest any shop to buy. Then a double mitre saw.
    We do work for photographs and artist where we cut 100-200 mats at a time. I used to do them by hand and would be in the shop until midnight.
    Not now.

    I also just purchased u600 alpha vnailer. While there are some things i do not like about it. The time it is saving is starting to out weigh the things i don't like.
    AaronF and Jim Miller like this.
  11. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Chris, like you,I don't have one, but....

    They have lots of great features and benefits, IF YOU USE THEM. I have framers that have them but they have not changed their designs and with only straight line windows, are they needed? When you get one, make a priority to redo you wall designs to show what can really be done! If you don't change your designs,It is kind of like having a Masarrati sitting in the garage, because you can't use it on the street - a complete waste.

    If you are a one person shop, and you are sometimes near capacity, a CMC will increase your capacity, and they are a much better investment compared to adding another employee. No Monday morning hangovers!

    On the down side: They are expensive. Your material costs will probably go up, because you get less utilization, unless you work smart. 90% plus of my mat work is on 100% solid cotton rag mats, and If I had a CMC I would be concerned about material utilization.

    For example, how many 16 x 20's will you get out of a 32x40 mat if you cut them on your CMC? [I believe the answer is 2, unless you precut on a wall cutter.]

    I know quite a few high-end shops pre-cut [pre-size / pre-square] their mats on a wall cutter before placing into their CMC for cutting windows. This makes sense to me.

    And for multi-openings they are great! But I don't do that many multi-openings. And I have a couple of Friendly Framers that will cut mats for me on their CMC if I really need something done.
  12. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    ALL very helpful advice. I'd guess that the majority of what we frame, of which needs matting, it is not multiple opening and usually a design which we use double or triple matting.

    Having said that, would a CMC noticeably speed up, or slow down, production for standard opening mats (lets say a regular single-opening double-mat)?

    Also, preference on manufacturer, and why?
    AaronF likes this.
  13. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My experience is only with Wizard. I guess it depends on how you are set up to work for the day. If I have a bunch of mats to cut for a bunch of jobs I'll fire up the Wizard and cut them all at once. That certainly does save some time, but if I just have one mat that needs to be cut that day I usually just use the manual cutter rather than waking up the machine and entering the data and hoping it doesn't eat the only sheet of that color mat board I have left (and it will because it knows).

    Kev@Frames likes this.
  14. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Multiple openings and odd shaped / anything curved or those lovely mats that spell out a child's name or location.........make a CMC a good buy. Among all the other standard framing feature......
    We have a store that came with a CMC and I had one at home - so now I have both (2 different ones) at the store.

    Wizard has fantastic software - artist/framer friendly and is the most frequent cmc to be found used. They have the majority of the market so it makes sense.

    Make sure you see the cmc in full operation before you buy (think used car pre-purchase inspection)

    I did a 40 opening mat for a local friend for his 9 year old boy that loves the old Batman series - I have a feeling Dad loves it and the little is his "Robin".......my table mounted Fletcher never crossed my mind other than to think of "that would take a while to do successfully the first, second, third, fourth or more times"

    CMC all the way.

    Flat files fit under some of them to "lessen" the impact on floor space.

    The CMC doctor is the best resource for repairs and or parts in most cases. He would also be a good professional cmc guy to ask about which cmc is more reliable than others & real costs of repairs down the road.

    Attached Files:

  15. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Grey Owl has raised an objection which often puzzles me: CMCs are no more wasteful of material than manual cutters so long as you pre-size your matts on a manual cutter first. I always did this because it takes no longer and enabled me to make the best use of my materials. I often had to cut multiple matts the same size and found that I could get more mats out of a card by pre-cutting them manually. Too often when I tried cutting them from a whole board on the CMC the machine would crumple the board at some point.

    If you are working close to your capacity now adding a CMC will free up a considerable amount of time and let you avoid the aggro of employing someone. It will also enable you to expand your repertoire of matting. You won't use a lot of the fancy openings and elaborate designs but if you cut a few for display purposes you can use them to upsell and set yourself a rung or two above the normal "hack" stuff available everywhere else.
    FM Framer and Joe B like this.
  16. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    90% plus of all the mats I cut with a CMC are straight cuts, but ........... there is a big "but" - and that is that they can be multiple opening, reverse bevel or 90 degree, 4 ply or 8 ply (or even thicker) single double or triple .... or any combination of all those and more I've probably missed.

    Some CMCs will cut the outside ("Glass size") with no wastage, mine doesn't as it has clamps but my rule is that I only get it to cut the glass size if I would toss the offcuts anyway, or, in the case of multiple mats out of the same board, if speed is a factor. The stops are set on the wall cutter for the glass, mounting board and backing anyway.

    It's one of those things, like pneumatic underpinner versus manual, or pneumatic point driver versus manual (or even automatic transmission versus stick shift), that once you have it you wonder how you ever managed without it.
    poliopete and AaronF like this.
  17. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Artfolio, I agree they are not more wasteful if you pre-size your mats. However, I have visited lots of shops, and I have been amazed how some of the employees just don't think [or at least not the way I think]. They feel it is faster to cut the outside and inside dimensions at the same time. And they may be correct in the dimensions will be more accurate because their wall cutter is out of alignment!

    In fairness to some of the manufacturers, some of the new ones can now cut to the edge, so this is NOT an issue with those machines. As with any piece of equipment, adjust the processes so they work for you.
  18. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yes! Finally driving a stick again and can't believe I was so accepting of a slushbox.
    AaronF, FM Framer and IFGL like this.
  19. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Most new machines have button clamps and allow edge to edge cutting, I also went for the vacuum bed with mine to stop the board being crumpled as it looses it's structural integrity, on top of that V studio software cuts the board to maximise that integrity, they have moved on considerably in the last few years, we cut every day eight 300 x 400 mm mats out of 1200 x 800 mat board, as theses fit perfectly there's no need for the CMC to do the top and far right external cut, we buy the mount board by the pallet so there's no damaged corners and the board we buy is always 1200 x 800 exactly, well within 1mm, the backings for the mats we cut two sheets at a time using the same mat board.
    poliopete and Grey Owl like this.
  20. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That's all awesome and I am going to keep it in mind for my next upgrade, but I think Chris is talking about buying a used machine from a local framer so I'd be willing to bet they don't have the latest version of anything.

    Waste is a consideration for older machines though. If you need to cut four 16"x20" frame size mats that are 1.25" mat width on a Wizard 8000 you are going to need two sheets or a lot of extra time. Hand cutting you will get all four out of one sheet.

  21. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I only have waste on 2 sides of the mat board and the waste is only 3/4" on each of those two sides. Like was said, if you don't pre-size the mats even with my Valiani you will not get the 4 - 16" X 20" mats from a 32"X 40" board. Having a CMC doesn't mean that you can stop using your brain, you still have to figure out the most economical way to cut mats, and the same is true with a table top straight line cutter. In most cases you will not have to worry about cutting 4 - 16 X 20 mats from 1 mat board, it just doesn't come up that often. Still, for me to size 4 - 16 X 20 on the wall cutter and then cut in the window on my CMC I will be saving at least 10 minutes time over the straight line table top cutter. Those 10 minutes add up so in my opinion anyway you slice it a CMC is going to save you time which is money. Add in all of the other features and you will make money with time saved and mat designs. Joe
    artfolio likes this.
  22. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    A 1.25" width on a pre-sized mat using a Wizard 8000 will be stopped by the guide bars. It is not physically possible to put the pre-sized mat into the holder and cut a width that small. It must be at least 1.5". I cut a lot of 16x20s for commercial jobs where I need to get as many as possible per sheet (honestly not that many that are that small a width.) Sometimes you have to do the math to see whether it is cheaper to sacrifice the board or the time.

  23. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Actually, under the rail to where I can cut is 11/16" for the side and bottom rail of the Valiani. At 11/16" I am not running into the rail with the Valiani's cutting head and I believe I can adjust inside the program to cut so I only have 1/2" border - haven't tried cutting that close so I am not positive about that . Still, I have to size a 16 X 20 mat on the wall cutter if I wanted 4 mats out of a 32 X 40 board. I totally agree with you about doing the math to see if materials or time is more valuable.
    FramerCat likes this.
  24. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The way many mat sizes fit into a mat board any wastage is unacceptable on a commercial level, for instance we get a regular order for 400 x 400 mats with backings we get 6 with a 1200 x 800 mat board, any wastage even 1/2 an inch top and side would result in that dropping from 6 to 2!

    The order is between 300 and 1000 mats per order, so 100 sheets for 300 mounts and backs or 300 sheets for the samw, would not take long to pay for that vacuum bed in stock or lost time.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    poliopete, cvm, Jim Miller and 3 others like this.
  25. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    two points, my opinion. The time vs material argument applies to a very few framers; most aren't devoting time away from other profit centers and never seen a shop that didn't have mountains of short cuts, drop out and that full sheet of that, oh so, perfect color that need only an 16x20 mat. And it sits and sits:):)

    CMC arguments pop up every so often. Those who love it are effusive; those anti are militant:D

    Bottom line: the great thing about owning your own biz means you are free to do that which you feel works best. I remember local framer that when V Nailers came out he swore he could join frames on a vise more quicklyo_O

    My suggestion: if considering, pop into most any frameshop and watch it work. You won't have any trouble finding a shop with one

    Bottom line: never knew anyone that ever shipped one back

    just my opinion
  26. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I shipped our Wizard 8000 back a number of years ago. I calculated how many mats we cut monthly and determined it was way more expensive to cut our own than to job it out. We now outsource most of our mat cutting and get deliveries twice a week from our vendor.
    njw1224 likes this.
  27. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    hi Dave I stand corrected, I know of one:)

    It's an interesting analysis you made, but I'm not sure I have known a shop that outsourced all their mats (now, I do:)). Do they provide mat, also? Is that a common practice? I have know a few shops that ordered 'chop and join', too

    we had a few framers that we cut things like ovals and a few 'trick cuts' (they provided their own pre-cut boards and fee was usually things like Blizzards from DQ in Mall), but never all their mats thanks
  28. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree with you there Bob, we often cut mats in around mode when using fall outs or off cuts, around mode trims all edges, the thing is I did not really do very much commercial work before I bought the CMC, I fully examined all options and spent way more money than I had initially intended but with the Idea to chase more commercial work, each time I have invested in equipment I have found work for it and increased profits.
    poliopete likes this.
  29. AaronF

    AaronF CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Great idea! I was looking for ways to get my CMC busier and was coming up a bit shorter than I'd like. Under 12 hours a day is shorter than I'd like... =)
  30. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, we buy the mat board from them too at a discount from their distributor wholesale price. Cost is $ 2.00 per opening + cost of mat board + we get the blanks which they will pick-up and cut and deliver back to us. On larger jobs or on many opening mats they usually knock that charge down to $ 1.00 per opening. By the time I figured our rental cost, corner costs, insurance, electricity, space allocation, blades, material wastage and time it made more sense to farm them out. I design the mats on the software and email the mat files to them so I can get fancy corners, ovals, etc if I want and still retain the ability to visually design the mat in the software.
    Grey Owl and njw1224 like this.
  31. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You have the program and can electronically transfer it? What CMC company and what does that cost? I could have really used that kind of system a year ago.

  32. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    that is fantastic. Everybody should do that

  33. njw1224

    njw1224 CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Listen to Dave. Unless you plan to do a ton of custom mats (beyond the typical rectangle opening, double even), then look into farming out your custom mat cutting vs. doing it yourself. You send your supplier your specs, and the mat comes in on your next delivery, done and ready to install. No time wasted on your end aside from communicating the specs to your supplier. But you'd have to do that communication internally anyway if you were producing it in-house. I'm in the same boat as you, do I "need" a CMC? The "want" side of my brain tries to convince me I do, but I really think I can work around it by using my custom-mat services from suppliers who have already invested in better equipment than I can afford.
    blueeyes likes this.
  34. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If I understand Dave's explanation correctly, it can be done using any professional CAD program, such as AutoCad, Adobe Illustrator, or Corel Draw (the one I use).

    I guess all CMC makers' software can convert at least one CAD file format into a cutting file. My Valiani CMC easily converts the PLT (plotter) files I export from Corel Draw into V Studio. I can't recall the formats for Wizard and Gunnar at the moment, but I have designed mats in Corel Draw, upon request, and emailed the files to other framers for both of those CMC brands.
    FramerCat and Joe B like this.
  35. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jim, I didn't know you made up files for other framers to export from Corel Draw into V Studio.

    I sure wish someone would give an extensive class at the WCAF about exporting files from one program into the operating program but I'm sure that would be darn near a week class in itself:eek::eek:. Joe
    FramerCat likes this.
  36. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, I have sent lots of cutting files to framers. Scalable Mylar spiders for coin/medallion mounting have been popular, as well as Platform Mounts, and mats with some complexity, such as traced-shape openings and multiple windows. If you need anything, just let me know.

    It isn't very difficult if you have a CAD program and some knowledge of its functions. I'm self-taught in Core Draw, and if I can do it, anyone can do it.

    You're a Valiani user, right? Just create the file in the CAD program (I use Corel Draw X6) and save it in CDR format in your computer for future revisions. Then, save it again in PLT format in the "PLT Library" folder of your Valiani program (probably C:\Valiani\VStudio\PLTLibrary). From there, open a new file in V Studio, click on "Openings" in the menu bar beneath the templates (left-center screen), click on "Insert Clip Art" and select your PLT file from PLT Library. Then you can configure the layers, tools, etc., cut it, and save it as a VDS cutting file in V Studio.

    I believe Chuck Terry's Valiani class for Intermediate to advanced Users, would cover all of that in detail; Session M281, 3:30 PM on Sunday.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
    Joe B likes this.
  37. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Jim - Yes, I know Chuck's class covers some of the Corel Draw. Hopefully, if I get caught up enough to be able to get a few days out of here, I will get the the WCAF and get into his class. Joe
  38. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Joe, don't wait any longer than necessary to register for Chuck's class and others you may want to attend. The best classes fill up quickly!
  39. MINIC

    MINIC Grumbler

    best employee I ever hired (purchased) If you can find a good deal on one you will not regret it. You can also call wizard (if that is the model you are considering) and give the license # of machine and they can give you info on it.
    JWB9999999 likes this.
  40. echavez123

    echavez123 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I did the art circuit for several years and sold 40-75 double matted 16x20 prints per week. I had to make the prints in the dark room, mount the prints, cut the mats and put it all together. I started to develop pain in my right elbow from the repetitive motion from mat cutting. When we opened our Gallery/Frame shop, the Wizard was the biggest purchase we made during the first 6 months. I still keep my manual mat cutter as a backup, but it mostly gathers dust. I cannot cut faster and more accurately manually as I can with the Wizard. I spent a lot of money up front, but this has kept me from having to hire a full time employee. Layout and alignment of multiple windows is easy and quick. When I have a complicated layout, I will burn the cheapest matboard as a test, especially if the final mat is a suede or fabric mat. There are other creative uses for the CMC as well, but i wont get into this here.
    AaronF and JWB9999999 like this.
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