Rick Johnston was working on his Factory Five Racing MK4 AC Cobra replica (shown above) and wanted an upgraded braking package. His solution: custom brackets waterjet cut from stainless steel by Big Blue Saw.
Once he's tested out the parts and worked through any bugs, Rick plans to make the designs public. For now, here's a sneak peek at the custom braking package partially assembled.
Rick gave us some technical details on the how and why of his design.
The design is modular and covers both the front and rear brakes. The outer bracket you see on the rear brakes is also used in the front. This is why there are 2 additional “outer brackets” (“L” shaped) in the part outlines [shown above].
This allows the mounting of front brake packages to the rear. Cobras are different than most production cars that the kit industry borrows parts from. Cobras have a typical front to rear weight balance of 55% - 45%. Additionally the center of gravity height is MUCH lower than a typical production car measuring approximately 15” in height. Also the tire Diameters remain quite large for such a low CG height. This means that this kit needs a lot more rear brake than the standard parts provide. My equations (not proven yet) should reduce the pedal force needed from around 150 lbs to about 40 lbs to lock all 4 wheels in a balanced manner (fronts locking slightly before the rears). I am working on another design very similar to this one, that would allow standard production 13” Mustang Cobra brake components to be used that would further reduce cost to builders.
Here's a project that brought Big Blue Saw closer to the final frontier.
Sherman Lam from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) wrote to tell us about how some of the parts from a recent order from Big Blue Saw are being used:
We’re developing a robotic gripper for the Asteroid Redirect Mission. This component (we call it a microspine) will have hooks embedded in it that adhere to rough surfaces. The [image] shows one subassembly of the gripper. This image only shows one microspine unit in the assembly but in flight, there will be 20ish microspines in the assembly. The spacecraft will have 1000s of these hooks on each gripper and it’ll use these grippers to grab onto a boulder.
Gavin Kenneally of Ghost Robotics told a little bit more about the Ghost Minitaur via e-mail:
The motors have custom motor drivers and a microcontroller to control them. The legs each work in a plane (2 degrees of freedom), but the body has a sprawl angle, so the left/right pair are not in the same plane.
There are lots of gaits that it can do, and this is ongoing work. So far, bound, pronk, trot, and crawl are possible.
You can see some of the details of the robot below, including waterjet cut parts from Big Blue Saw.
It can even open doors despite its small size.
The video shows more of Ghost Minitaur doing a variety of other tricks like jumping and climbing a fence!
Chris Einerson of Postmark USA wrote in to tell us about how they use waterjet cut parts from Big Blue Saw to save time and money and deliver a finished custom project in less than 2 weeks.
We have developed an industrial turnkey solution for high speed inkjet printers used in the mailing industry. Our inkjet printer can print at speeds up to 100,000 pieces of mail per hour and are usually used for printing the address and barcode for direct mail applications. Other applications outside of mailing for our industrial print heads could be printing barcodes, lot numbers, or serialization.
Postmark has developed a modular mounting system that allows our customers to order custom mounting solutions which can be tailored to any piece of equipment. The mounting system we developed uses a handful of waterjet parts to make an industrial linear slide with height adjustment that runs across a piece of aluminum profile. This slide allows for easy position adjustment of the single pass print head. The 1" thick waterjet brackets bolt down to a conveyor system and allow for the entire bridge mechanism to be hinged up for cleaning the bottom of the cartridges that are installed in the printhead.
The main reason for choosing waterjet on this project was the timeframe and cost. After looking online for quick turnaround vendors I found your website. After doing some cost analysis we determined that waterjet would be very fast and the online quoting tool was very helpful.
We designed the product around using water jet for the majority of the parts and we were able to make small adjustments in the design and get a quote on the fly. This helped us quickly design the system and we were able to have a system ready to ship to our customer within 2 weeks.
We were contacted by Saiful Islam about a part needed for a soap plodder, which is a type of extrusion machine for making soap. Our services were needed to keep a production line working.
In the photo below, you can see the part Big Blue Saw waterjet cut to keep the production line running. It's a round plate, about 4 inches in diameter, where the soap emerges from the plodder. The hole in the center is shaped to match the profile of the soap.
The shape varies depending on the product being made. Here's another shape we made.
Here's an overview showing a little more of the process.
Fresh out of my e-mail inbox comes this fixture from a customer who wishes to remain anonymous.
(Of course, at Big Blue Saw we keep your designs confidential. We also keep the fact that you're even a customer confidential as well. Many of the things we make end up in finished products, and our customers see Big Blue Saw's service as a competitive advantage. [Many are happy to provide testimonials, thankfully.] )
The structural pieces were waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw from 1/4 inch thick aluminum 6061 and assembled by the customer using off the shelf hardware. The design uses tab-and-slot with the pieces held together with through bolts as in tensioned plate construction.
The customer says:
These are medium-load holding fixtures. Using BBS for these type of fixtures saves us 50%+ on traditional tooling and also allows us to build instrument & medium load machines in a clean office! (No welding, milling, sawing, etc - -just a few fasteners and counter-sinks.) These fixtures are doing the job of machined 1/4" Al C-channel assemblies.
Got any parts you would like to show off or want to tell us how we are doing? Let us know!