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Big Blue Saw Blog General Updates

I Smell a Sale Coming On

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CC License Image by Tambako The Jaguar

That's right, there's a sale coming up. It's been a while since our last one. Far too long, in fact. Subscribers to our mailing list have heard the details already.

From Monday, March 18, through Thursday, March 21, we'll be offering huge discounts on 6061 alloy aluminum ⅛ inch (0.125") thick. All orders, even tiny ones, will receive a quantity discount. This is a great way to try out our waterjet cutting service for prototypes, one-off projects, and unique art pieces.

To get ready for the sale, first learn what kinds of parts you can make with Big Blue Saw, design your parts, and then make sure it works with our online quoting system. Post any questions in the comments section below.

How are we able to offer such low prices on waterjet cutting during our sale? Simple. Our online quoting system does a lot of the work that most waterjet cutting shops will roll into your final price like checking the geometry of the file and calculating a cost. When we get a bunch of orders for one kind of material, then, it's easy for us to cut them all at once, and save the normal setup time.

By the way, if you're not already on our mailing list, you can use this link to subscribe in order to get the inside scoop on sales, as well as valuable tips on getting the most out of Big Blue Saw. We know you're busy and we don't want to clog your inbox, so we send out roughly 1 message a month.

The Atlanta Mini Maker Faire 2012

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I'm proud to announce that Big Blue Saw is a Sustaining Sponsor of the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire 2012.

What's a Maker Faire? Simply put, it's a gathering of creative individuals who like to make things. The organizers of the event note that this includes stuff like

R2 droids, wearable planters, book binding, live art installations, SMT soldering workshops, printmaking experiences, autonomous aircraft, blacksmithing demos, handmade jewelry, children artists, interactive art projects, mini welding workshops, make-your-own-soap demos, clean cookstoves, free art making stations, make your own animation setups, conductive electrical interfaces, art activists, mold making demos, Rube Goldberg machines, and budget screenprinting

Look for our booth where we'll be talking about Big Blue Saw, showing off samples of our work, handing out swag, and teaching people how they can benefit from our waterjet and laser cutting services.

Our goal is to help creative individuals (like most of you reading this blog post) turn their thoughts into their ideas into real plastic and metal things that improve the human condition in some way. So sponsoring an event like this Mini Maker Faire was a no-brainer.

The event takes place Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 10 AM to 5 PM on the campus of Georgia Tech. The event is free, but you need to get tickets in advance. Information about tickets, location and parking is on the AMMF website.

I hope to see you there.

Winning Costumes and Apparition Abolishment at Dragon*Con

Steampunk wings
Photo by Charles Guan

Check out these awesome steam punk wings from Chris Lee and Leah D’Andrea of the Apparition Abolishers.

Chris and Leah showed up during my dragon con panel to sure these off and demonstrate what can be with waterjet cutting. (You may remember that I mentioned these in my earlier post on Dragon*Con.) Chris made all the aluminum gears with Big Blue Saw during a recent sale.

The best part of this costume is that the wings automatically expand and contract on command, controlled through a touchscreen remote worn on the wrist.

Later on, Leah entered the Masquerade costume contest with Grant (Kickin Bot/Mythbusters) Imahara.
The costume won the prestigious Best In Show award.

This matches its intended milieu better than most creations a similar aesthetic, as the exposed mechanism actually functions, unlike most steampunk, which seems to simply use brass gears like decorative sequins.

Read more about it at the Apparition Abolishers website.

Photo by Charles Guan

Dragon*Con 2012 Roundup

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, this past weekend I was at Dragon*Con, one of the largest sci-fi/fantasy/comics/gaming conventions in the world. It's about so much more than just Star Trek, Marvel Comics, and the like (not that there is anything wrong with those). Not only it is it home to the world's second oldest fighting robot competition, but there is also an event track dedicated to robots and other "maker" topics.

My convention experience at Dragon*Con began on Saturday morning with a train ride down to the downtown Atlanta location of Dragon*Con. I was due to speak on a panel at 11:30 AM in the Sheraton hotel. Getting to the hotel was an adventure. When I exited the subway station, a thick throng of people stood gawking at various zombies, Cylons, and celebrities, all marching down Peachtree Street as part of the Dragon*Con parade. It turns out that I was on the wrong side of the street and it was impossible to cross. Fortunately, a kind MARTA worker let me cross back over the subway platform through the exit on the other side, and I arrived just in time for the panel to start.

My compatriot on the panel was Peter Abrahamson, who I haven't seen since I was the Robotics Track director several years back. We talked and answered questions about how to make things using waterjet and laser cutting. I didn't see too many people sneaking out the back door, so I think we were reasonably entertaining and informative.

A few Big Blue Saw customers were in the audience, including Chris Lee who showed off an iPhone controlled steampunk costume made with parts from Big Blue Saw. His creation really deserves its own blog post.

It was great to see so many people interested in learning more hearing about the projects they intend to build. Thanks to Valerie Macht to putting together such a great programming track.

Monday was Robot Battles, an event that I've been competing in since the mid 1990's. It was great chance to see some old friends and make some new ones as well.

And I actually won something this year! My robot, which I have given the shamelessly commercial name "Big Blue Saw Presents Jaws", took first place in the 30 pound division Battle Royale. Of course, all of the custom structural and mechanical components in this robot are made using Big Blue Saw.

To see more video of Robot Battles, check out the Dragon*Con Robot Battles 2012 playlist from Mike of Near Chaos Robotics, or you can check out this channel from Dale's Homemade Robots.

Meet Big Blue Saw's Founder At Dragon*Con

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A note for those of you in the Atlanta area on Labor Day weekend: I'll be appearing at two events as part of the Dragon*Con, “largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe”.

Some of you may know that I used to be director of the Robotics Track at Dragon*Con. In the years since I've left to dedicate more time to Big Blue Saw, the current director, Valerie Macht, has expanded the focus of this track to include more events for “makers” of all kinds, not just robot builders.

I'm excited to be appearing with two friends of mine whom I admire not only for their building prowess, but also for their wit and charm: famed special effects artist Peter Abrahamson and mad genius Charles Guan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We'll be conducting a discussion panel entitled “Digital Fabrication, Laser and Waterjet Cutting”. This takes place on Saturday, September 1 at 11:30 AM in the Savannah Rooms 1-3 of the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. We'll be talking about Big Blue Saw, giving demonstrations, showing off parts, answering questions, and even giving away a few freebies.

Also, on Monday, September 3 (Labor Day), I'll be competing in Robot Battles 44 with my robot Jaws at the Hyatt Regency VI-VII Ballroom. Most of Jaws's custom parts were made using Big Blue Saw.

For more information see the Robotics Track schedule at http://robotics.dragoncon.org/schedule/.

I look forward to seeing you there.

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