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Big Blue Saw Blog

General Updates

Brass Semi-Acoustic Electric Guitar by James Jamison

To create something that's a marvel of functionality and beauty takes time. In fact, one customer let us know that he had recently completed a project using parts we waterjet cut for him all the way back in 2011. James Jamison finally finished the electric guitar you see here, and it's a beauty!

Here's what he had to say about this project:

The shape is based on a slimmed down 1960's Höfner Verythin guitar that I used to have.  I traced a photo in CAD and then sent it off to you. 

It was a very slow build it as it's not anywhere near a standard guitar.  I did a lot of thinking and assembling / disassembling as I was building it.

The top and back were done freehand with a polished ball peen hammer against a wooden board. I made a simple uke as a prototype to work out the technique.  It's tricky, as every strike makes a divot, but also twists the sheet.  Half of the pounding is taking the twist out.
Electrically it sounds great, just the same as any electric guitar.  I've also got a microphone inside that I can mix into the output.  The microphone system needs work.  Currently it's really great at making feedback at the resonant frequency of the metal top.
Big Blue Saw waterjet cut the top, bottom, and tail pieces from 0.02 inch thick 260 alloy brass from James's designs.
The inside was waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw from 3/4 inch thick oak plywood.

ECLIPSE Prices With a Sale on Aluminum and Stainless Steel

Starting Monday, August 21, Big Blue Saw will be offering deep discounts on custom aluminum and stainless steel parts. During our Eclipse Sale, custom waterjet cut parts made from 0.05 inch thick aluminum 6061 or 0.06 inch thick stainless steel 304 will receive a quantity discount. Place your order through our online quoting system from August 21 through August 23, and your parts will automatically show the sale price in the shopping cart.

Let's see how this sale can work for you. 

This is our example JD40 Keyboard Plate. During the sale, even when you order as little as 1 part, you automatically get the quantity 10 price, as shown in the table below. This means you save up to 72% off the regular price.

  Regular Price
Quantity 1
SALE Price
Quantity 1
Keyboard plate made from
Aluminum 6061, 0.05 inches thick
$92.10 $26.00 72%
Keyboard plate made from 
Stainless Steel 304, 0.06 inches thick
$99.80 $31.30 69%


Here's another example, a 21 inch x 21 inch robot baseplate.

  Regular Price
Quantity 1
SALE Price
Quantity 1
Robot baseplate made from 
Aluminum 6061, 0.05 inches thick
$96.90 $33.70 65%
Robot baseplate made from 
Stainless Steel 304, 0.06 inches thick
$119.80 $63.90 47%


Finally take a look at this, a 12x8 inch control panel

  Regular Price
Quantity 1
SALE Price
Quantity 1
Control panel made from
Aluminum 6061, 0.05 inches thick
$92.10 $18.20 80%
Control panel made from 
Stainless Steel 304, 0.06 inches thick
$99.80 $30.20 70%

Again, you can save 70% to 80% on this design!

We expect to ship sale orders August 30 to September 5. Upload your designs to our online quoting system to take advantage of the sale.




Sale Next Week: August 21-23

As you may know by now, Big Blue Saw regularly offers discounts on materials. But since it takes time to get a design ready for a particular stock material that's on sale, it can be tough to take advantage of the reduced prices.

That's why I thought I'd give you a heads up: starting Monday, August 21, Big Blue Saw will be having a sale on the following materials:

  • Aluminum 6061 in 0.05 inch thickness
  • Stainless Steel 304 in 0.06 inch thickness

You've got a week to get your designs ready. Remember: the sale starts the day of the solar eclipse in North America.

Partial Eclipse of the Sun - Montericco, Albinea, Reggio Emilia, Italy - May 1994 01

Solar Power Breakthrough Tech Built with Big Blue Saw

1336 Technologies is creating the future of energy electric power by reducing the cost of solar cells. A large portion of the cost of solar cells comes from the cost of the silicon wafers needed for their manufacture. And 1336 Technologies has figured out a way to reduce the cost of silicon wafers by a whopping 60%.

Big Blue Saw recently helped 1336 Technologies with a few waterjet and laser cut parts for their process control systems. Holly Gates, Principal Engineer, recently wrote to us about the parts shown in the image above.

The instruments with the pogo pins and magnetic retention (which we also design and make) are for measuring process parameters inside our >1400C silicon solar wafer making machines. There are many of them on a single furnace, and they need to be easily removed for cleaning and recalibration. Hence the pogo pin and magnetic coupling: each instrument can be removed and replaced quickly without connectors or fasteners. In past versions we did the magnetic retention with a magnet glued into the baseboard but this had some issues and was tedious to assemble. The new design flips all the components on the baseboard to the inner side for better environmental protection and uses the 400 series stainless plate on the outside for mechanical shielding, earth grounding, and to act as the magnetic target.
Why is this important? 

1366 has developed a technology for making solar wafers directly from molten silicon. The usual process uses a string of machines to melt silicon chunks, solidify a block, then saw up the block. That method wastes about half the silicon as non-recoverable sawdust carried in slurry. Our process results in a wafer at almost half the cost of the standard process, and presents unique opportunities for pushing efficiency higher in ways not possible with sawing. The solar market right now is about 15 billion wafers/year and growing rapidly.

Gates has a few tips for finishing the (special order) 400 series stainless plates.
For finishing waterjet parts, here is what I do:
- countersink for flat head screws (which I love, but are viewed with righteous hatred by my mechanical engineer colleagues). Nothing says you did it right like perfectly countersunk flat heads. On the other hand you feel like an idiot full of hubris when something needs to be scootched a little or doesn't align perfectly and you can't adjust it :)
- orbital sand all sides with 220 grit paper
- scotch brite pad edges and surfaces which will be visible
- wash with simple green and hot water, dry
- spray with metal cleaner/protector

Gates also commended Big Blue Saw's work.

Thanks for the great service. Having BBS around lowers the barrier to doing projects to test new ideas to such a degree that I have launched many more of them than I could before. The online quote/order system, low prices with material included, and short lead time is a breath of fresh air compared to the traditional quote back and forth, PO order, high minimum pricing, and lengthy and unpredictable lead time seen at regular shops. I really want your business to succeed because now BBS seems like an indispensable tool in my kit! 

Check out 1336 Technologies website, or follow them @1366tech on Twitter or 1336 Technologies on Facebook.



Commander Doom 2 from Team Doom Robotics

From Team Doom Robotics and Tyler Nguyen comes Commander Doom 2, an antweight (1 pound) fighting robot that really packs a punch.

Based on the Algos design, Commander Doom 2 was built using waterjet cut parts from Big Blue Saw. Here's a sneak look inside from during the build:

Commander Doom competed at Bot Blast 2017, winning 2 matches before the weapon caught on fire, leading Tyler to forfeit the next match.

Here's a look at Commander Doom defeating an opponent:

Tyler did end up winning the Sportsmanship Award. Congratulations!

The armor and frame panels were waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw from grade 5 titanium, while we made the disc weapon from chromoly steel.

Team Doom will be back at Hickory Bot Battles 2017 in Hickory, North Carolina on August 19, 2017. Be sure to catch them there. They'll have a few new surprises for their opponents, made with help from Big Blue Saw.




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Big Blue Saw
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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