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Big Blue Saw Blog

Designing parts in Onshape for Big Blue Saw

One increasingly popular CAD tool is Onshape, a new 3D design software package. It's free for many uses and can run in a desktop web browser without extra plugins, or as an app for Android or iOS.

Big Blue Saw can make parts which are designed in Onshape, as long as the designs are compatible with waterjet or laser cutting. I'll walk you through the steps to create a part for Big Blue Saw from Onshape's "Hexapod" sample design. To access the Hexapod, click on "Tutorials & Samples" from Onshape's main screen, then click the name "Sample - Hexapod".

 Once this design is open, we will need to make a copy of it in order to make some minor changes. At the top of the screen, click the link that says "Make a private copy".


Onshape will show you a dialog box which allows you to create a name for the copied document. It also lets you set the new document as being Public (shared with all other users) or "Private" (only seen by yourself or people on your team). For this design we'll make it Public. Click the "Create public document" button to create the new document.

Selection 343

We now have a copy of the Hexapod which we can modify. The base of the hexapod looks like a likely candidate for waterjet cutting. Click the Baseplate tab to see just the Baseplate.

Now we can see just the Baseplate portion of the assembly.

Notice that it has a filleted (rounded) edge on the top face. Big Blue Saw currently has no good way to make this feature, so let's suppress it. Right-click the Fillet 1 feature in the Feature tree and choose "Suppress" from the pop-up menu.

Now we have a part in Onshape that's ready to be waterjet cut, as seen below.

To produce the 2D profile the waterjet needs, right click on the top face of the Baseplate and choose "Export as DXF/DWG" from the pop-up menu.

Onshape will show a pop-up dialog allowing you to choose the file type. Big Blue Saw accepts either DWG or DXF. We'll choose DXF on the drop-down and click the "Export" button.

After you click the "Export" button, Onshape will send a DXF to your computer with just the outline of the face we chose in the earlier step.

Once we have the DXF file downloaded, we can now upload it to Big Blue Saw's online quoting tool to get an immediate quote. You can choose a material and thickness as appropriate for the project. For example, we've chosen 0.5 inch thick aluminum alloy in the screenshot below.

Cody Armstrong conducted a webinar on 2D drawings in Onshape and specifically mentions our particular use case. The discussion of generating a DXF for waterjet and laser cutting begins at 51:22.

If you've been successful (or had any trouble) using Onshape with Big Blue Saw, let us know in the comments section below or drop us a line at To learn more about designing parts and assemblies for waterjet cutting, read our articles on designing for waterjet.

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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