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Big Blue Saw Blog General Updates

Big Gallery of Signs and Stencils

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Numbers with a simulated bevel

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Miscellaneous Signs

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gavin-chan kaufman-name
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Inkscape Logo

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Turn a Logo Into a Custom Metal Sign

 

Masks

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For Guy Fawkes Day, a Laser Cut V for Vendetta Mask

Dog Tags

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Custom dog tags

 

Salon Sign

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See a quote on this sign

Four Different Ways to Turn a Logo Into a Sign

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Related:
Turning a Logo Into a Sign

 

Updates to Our Online Quoting System

Based on our recent surveys from our customers, we've added a few new helpful features to our online quoting and ordering system so that it's easier than ever to get custom parts made.

First up, you'll notice that we've rearranged the links on the upload page and added a link to the complete list of materials available online.

 

Next, the material selection page has 2 useful new features: the ability to see an extra large image of your design in order to verify that it's being interpreted correctly by our system AND a handy resize button for use if you need to re-scale the design.

On the quote page, we've given you an easy way to change the material so that it's easier to get quotes on multiple materials and thicknesses for the same design.

 

 

If you're logged in, we also made it easier to get to your order status and stored files. Note the link on the right hand side of most pages on the website.

 

 

This leads to an account status screen where you can get to your order history and saved files.

Do you like the new improvements? Any suggestions for other ways we can make things better for you? Let us know in the comments or e-mail info@bigbluesaw.com .

Realistic Mini Cannon Made with Parts from Big Blue Saw

From mini cannon tech Alex comes this wonderful 1/10 scale cannon. Modeled after 1841 6pdr field gun, this may be one of the most realistic minitature versions ever made.

Many of the parts of this masterwork of miniature munitions were waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw. You'll notice that the carriage and fittings are wood and steel. We made many of the steel parts. Oh, did I mention that it can actually fire? Check it out:

If you've decided that this would be a great Christmas present for you or someone you love, head over to the official website to order. But hurry, these are hand made one at a time.

 

Using Ball Bearings with Waterjet Cut Parts

A fellow robot builder once told me that using ball bearings in a waterjet cut base was "advanced waterjet mastery," which I thought was a little odd. To get ball bearings to work in a waterjet cut part isn't hard: just make a hole big enough to fit the outer race. It turns out, though, that there is a lot more subtlety to making this work the right way.

You see, without a precise hole to fit in, ball bearings tend to wear out early.  Choosing a fit is complicated, and depends on the type of load the bearings will see, among other factors. (See SBP's article on the subject and the MITCalc website), but typically what is known as an H7 fit is used. This would mean that, for example, that a the hole to hold a ball bearing with an outer diameter of 0.5 inches would need to be between +0 inches/mm and +0.001 inches (0.018 mm) oversized. This type of tolerance is impossible to achieve with the waterjet or even ordinary twist drills. You'd need a very accurate milling machine, lathe, or possibly a precision reamer in a drill press.

In practice, however, that kind of precision is often not necessary. For light loads, infrequent use, or short lived prototypes, you can get away with using a low-taper waterjet cut hole that's 0.01 inches oversized. Additionally, to fill in any gaps and hold the bearing more solidly, you can use a retaining compound like Locktite 638 or Devcon 68050.

I built the gearbox shown below for my fighting robot Jaws. The bearings for the larger shaft have a 3/4 inch inner diameter and a 1 5/8 inch outer diameter. The smaller shafts, at 1/2 inch inner diameter, ride on ball bearings that have a 1 1/8 inch outer diameter.

I used the more primitive technique for this: rather than going for an exact H7 fit, I oversized the hole and fit the ball bearing in place, holding it tight with retaining compound. You can see the robot in action in the video below. The ball bearing seems to run quite smoothly in this case, even though it has been placed under some brief, intense use. I don't know if I'd trust it to work under a heavy load for a year of continuous operation, though.

Let's take a look at how the waterjet cut pieces work together. The ball bearings in this case are 3/8 inch thick. Since the bearings are thicker than the main 1/4 inch walls of the gearbox they are held in place using 1/8 inch thick plates. At Big Blue Saw, we call this type of construction the stacking technique. I tapped 3 holes into the 1/4 inch wall for the screws to hold the stacked plates in place.

Here's a closeup of one of the the 1/2 inch shafts with the shaft collar removed. If you look closely, you can see there are two 1/8 inch layers stacked on top of the 1/4 inch wall: the inner layer supports the bearing much like the 1/4 inch wall. The outer capture plate layer keeps the bearing from sliding out axially. It has just enough clearance to allow the ball bearing inner race to move freely.

Here's the assembly with the outer capture plate removed.

If you're less worried about the efficiency of the rotating shaft and don't want to bother with getting a precise fit for a ball bearing, a bronze bushing is a good alternative. Bushings are also compact, light weight, and less expensive than ball bearings.

Find out how you can get free CAD software to start designing your waterjet cut parts with bearings today.

Building the Open Source FarmBot with Big Blue Saw

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You may have heard of FarmBot, an open source robot for automatically growing and managing the lifecycle of plants. It turns out that the first FarmBots are being made with parts from Big Blue Saw. Here's what Rory Aronson of the FarmBot project had to say about Big Blue Saw:

At FarmBot.io, we’ve been fortunate to work with a fantastic water jet cutting service provider named Big Blue Saw. Big Blue Saw is attractive for us to use because they are an online-first service that really caters to their customer’s needs. On their website you can upload a .DXF file of your parts, choose your material and quantity, and receive an instant quote for free. If the price looks right, you can place the order right then and there, and your parts will arrive at your doorstep within a week or two!

 

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Here's the FarmBot in action. See if you can spot the waterjet cut aluminum parts.

You can keep up with the latest FarmBot developments on their blog, or follow the project on Twitter. They recently got FarmBot to plant its first seeds!

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Waterjet and Laser Cut Custom Parts.
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Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294