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Big Blue Saw Blog General Updates

Sound Designer Clay Benning Interviewed by Big Blue Saw

In this podcast, Big Blue Saw interviews Clay Benning of the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Clay is a sound designer and recently worked with Big Blue Saw to build a portable sound console. In this interview he talks about his background and the experience of working with Big Blue Saw.

Listen to the MP3.

Clay says:

I was very pleased with the say everything came out. I think the anodizing... worked very well and really gives it a nice look to it. I was very happy with the waterjet cutting... I've seen the pre-manufactured ones that you can get from the manufacturer and I think [the custom waterjet brackets] hold up just as well.

See Jaws Fight!

I will be competing at Robot Battles on Monday, September 6, 2010 (Labor Day). The event will be held at Dragon*Con in the Hyatt hotel in downtown Atlanta, GA.

This is my robot for the event. It is called "Big Blue Saw Presents Jaws".


The custom parts on Jaws are made using Big Blue Saw's laser cutting, laser engraving, and waterjet cutting services. This includes the frame, the aluminum weapon gears, the gearbox, and the weapon forks.

Video of the machine in action.

Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape

Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape

At Big Blue Saw, we get files from our customers in a variety or formats: from AI to ZIP. Our online quoting system and waterjet cutting machines really work best with DXF format files, though. Inkscape, the open source vector graphics editor has proven extremely useful in dealing with a variety of file types.

This Big Blue Saw DXF Export for Inkscape is based on Better DXF Export and Better Better DXF Export.

It has the following additional features:

  • Fixed Python version incompatibility crash on Linux.
  • Inches supported as the measurement units.
  • Curves are converted to smaller, more accurate line segments. This improves the final part quality.
  • Color output was supported.
  • Layer names have spaces converted to underscore for improved compatibility.
  • It has been tested on Linux as well as Windows.


To install:

On Linux or Windows:

  1. Close all open Inkscape windows.
  2. Download the ZIP file containing Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape using the link at the bottom of this article.
  3. Unpack the ZIP file into your Inkscape extensions directory: typically C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions on Windows or /usr/share/inkscape/extensions on Linux. You will need to overwrite the file with the version included in the ZIP archive.
  4. Restart Inkscape.

  5. Hints for the Macintosh platform, courtesy of John Markham:

    The extensions folder is: /Applications/

    A dependency will be noted when attempting to save as DXF the first time:

    "The fantastic lxml wrapper for libxml2 is required by and therefore this extension. Please download and install the latest version from, or install it through your package manager by a command like: sudo apt-get install python-lxml"

    Which can be installed with pip.

To use after you've installed Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape:

  1. Create your drawing as normal.
  2. Ungroup all items by selecting everything (Ctrl-A or Edit | Select All from the menu) and then ungrouping repeatedly (Shift-Ctrl-G or Object | Ungroup) until all groups are broken apart.
  3. Convert all objects to paths. You can do this items by selecting everything (Ctrl-A or Edit | Select All from the menu) and then pressing Shift-Ctrl-C or choosing Path | Object to Path from the menu.
  4. Choose File | Save As from the menu. In the dialog box that appears, choose "Big Blue Saw DXF Output" and click the Save button.



One more thing, for those reading this far. Most of the time when I, personally, want to get a DXF from a file loaded in Inkscape, I save it as an EPS, and convert to DXF using the pstoedit package. This preserves splines and curves, which is nice, but requires the use of a command-line tool, which isn't for everyone.

More information on using Inkscape with Big Blue Saw for laser or waterjet cutting. Turn your Inkscape drawings into real metal or plastic parts.

Ready to turn your Inkscape designs into real parts made of metal, plastic, or other materials? Sign up for our FREE e-mail course.

Learn about:

  • The easiest way to order parts based on your Inkscape designs
  • What kinds of metals and plastics to use in your project
  • Getting the best prices on waterjet and laser cutting
User Registration

Update 0.2: Bug fix based upon report from commenter blackfox. Download the new version of Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape Here.

Learn more about how Big Blue Saw can turn Inkscape designs into real parts.

Move to New Server Complete

If you're reading this, our move to the new server is complete. Let us know if there's anything that's not working.

Reminder: Down Time This Weekend

Big Blue Saw will be moving to a new server this weekend. There will be some downtime between 10 PM and 2 AM on Friday, August 20, and Saturday, August 21.

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Waterjet and Laser Cut Custom Parts.
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3522 Ashford Dunwoody Rd NE #145
Atlanta, GA 30319
Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294