home

Big Blue Saw understands the need for speed! That’s why we’ve honed our manufacturing and ordering processes for maximum efficiency and fast turnarounds. We can cut and ship most parts in just 1-3 days*. With our Quick Saw overnight shipping option, you can get your parts delivered right to your home or business the very next day. We make it our goal to go the extra mile for our customers when they need parts fast. But our speed and focus on fast turnarounds doesn’t mean we sacrifice on quality. Our efficient rapid manufacturing process guarantees accurate, precise cuts, and our customer service team is focused on your satisfaction regardless of your order size. Whether you’re a manufacturer who needs a fast turnaround on parts or an inventor who just can’t wait to see your design transformed into reality, Big Blue Saw’s Quick Saw Program will get it there when you need it.

*Turnaround time may be affected by the amount of material we have in stock and the size of your order. Our most popular materials tend to be either in stock or are rapidly available from our suppliers (6061 aluminum in 0.125-inch thickness, and clear acrylic 0.118-inch thickness, for example).
 
If you are outside the U.S. or Canada, contact us for a custom quote on shipping to your location.

Big Blue Saw has a large variety of materials to choose from, over 70 at last count. Many first time customers have a hard time deciding which material to choose. Aluminum 5052 or Stainless Steel 316? Black acrylic or acetal?

The truth is most projects can be done with 6061 aluminum, 304 stainless, cold roll steel, or clear acrylic. Our customers have found that each of these four fills a unique niche.

Here's a chart that ranks the four materials against each other in terms of cost, appearance, and specific strength (also known as strength-to-weight ratio). 4 is best, 1 is worst.

  Cost Appearance Specific Strength
Clear Acrylic 4 3 1
Aluminum 6061 2 2 4
Stainless Steel 304 1 4 2
Carbon Steel 3 1 3

 It's worth noting that though we've ranked them against each other in terms of appearance, none of these materials look particularly bad. Stainless steel is more durable than aluminum, and thus holds its finish better. If you need a transparent material, then, of course, a metal won't work at all and you need a plastic like clear acrylic.

Cold roll steel doesn't come out on top of any of the above categories, but it's still useful. Why? It is harder (good for sliding or wearing parts), denser, and can be welded more easily than the other materials. It's also magnetic.

Acrylic is the least expensive of the materials on the list, in part because it can be laser cut. The metric thicknesses, like 3 mm (0.118 inches) and 6 mm (0.236 inches) are less expensive than their inch equivalents.

If you're considering But Need Try
Aluminum 6061 Better formability (ability to bend the material into shape) Aluminum 5052
Aluminum 6061 Better electrical conductivity Copper 110
Clear Acrylic Higher strength Clear Polycarbonate, Acetal, or UHMW-PE
Stainless Steel 304 Maximum corrosion resistance (like in salt water environments) Stainless Steel 316
Stainless Steel 304 Lower cost Aluminum or one of the metallic appearance acrylics (Brushed Bright Nickel, for example)

Of course, there are a few materials we offer that that don't appear on any of these charts: various kinds of wood, leather, and fabric. If you're considering these, you probably already have a good idea of what you need.

As always, if you don't see your material on our list, just ask, and we'll try to accommodate your needs.

Upload your design and get an instant quote on any of our materials.

 



Multiple Materials

Acetal

Aluminum

Brass

CR Steel

HR Steel

Stainless Steel

Black Foam

White Foam

Open Cell Foam

Carbon Fiber

Clear Polycarbonate

Silicone Foam

Polycarbonate

 

CategoryMaterialDescription Cutting processAvailable Thicknesses, Inch
AluminumAluminum 5052An alloy that is strong, yet can be formed and bent.Waterjet0.02, 0.025, 0.032, 0.04, 0.05, 0.063, 0.08, 0.09, 0.1, 0.125, 0.1875, 0.249, 0.375
Aluminum 6061A good general purpose, high strength aerospace aluminum alloy.Waterjet0.016, 0.02, 0.025, 0.032, 0.04, 0.05, 0.063, 0.08, 0.09, 0.1, 0.125, 0.16, 0.19, 0.25, 0.3125, 0.375, 0.5, 0.625, 0.75, 0.875, 1
Aluminum 7075 T6A high strength aluminum alloy.Waterjet0.063, 0.125, 0.19, 0.25, 0.375, 0.5
CompositesCarbon FiberRigid carbon fiber composite material with smooth finish, plain weaveWaterjet0.0625, 0.125
Acrylic PlasticAcrylic Plastic, ClearAn inexpensive plastic used for decorative purposes and where high strength is not required.Laser0.06, 0.08, 0.118, 0.125, 0.177, 0.236, 0.25, 0.354, 0.472, 0.708
Acrylic Plastic, WhiteOpaque white acrylic, suitable for various decorative, artistic, and architectural purposes.Laser0.06, 0.118
Acrylic, Opaque BlackOpaque black acrylic, suitable for various decorative, artistic, and architectural purposes.Laser0.118, 0.236
Acrylic, Frosted P95Frosted translucent acrylic.Laser0.118
Acrylic, Black/WhiteOpaque engravable plastic, black color with a white background. More info...Laser0.061
Acrylic, Brushed Bright Nickel/BlackOpaque engravable plastic, nickel metallic with a black background. More info...Laser0.118
Acrylic, Brushed Antique Gold/BlackOpaque engravable plastic, gold metallic with a black background. More info...Laser0.061
Acrylic, Brushed Copper Penny/BlackOpaque engravable plastic, copper metallic with a black background. More info...Laser0.061
Acrylic, Brushed Stainless Steel/BlackOpaque engravable plastic, stainless steel metallic with a black background. More info...Laser0.061
Mechanical/Structural PlasticABS Plastic, WhiteA heat resistant plastic with good tensile strength.Waterjet0.06
ABS Plastic, BlackA glossy plastic with good tensile strength and stiffness.Laser0.25
Acetal Plastic, BlackA plastic with good tensile and wear characteristics.Laser0.03, 0.06, 0.093, 0.125, 0.187, 0.25, 0.375
Acetal Plastic, WhiteA plastic with good tensile and wear characteristics.Laser0.03, 0.062, 0.1875
PETG Plastic, ClearA plastic with good tensile strength and impact resistance.Laser0.02, 0.063, 0.0938, 0.125, 0.25
Polycarbonate Plastic, ClearA clear, tough plastic used where tensile strength and impact resistance is important.Waterjet0.03, 0.04, 0.06, 0.08, 0.093, 0.118, 0.125, 0.177, 0.22, 0.236, 0.25, 0.375, 0.5, 0.75
Polypropylene Plastic, WhiteA fatigue and heat-resistant plastic.Laser0.125
UHMW-PE Plastic, WhiteA soft plastic with outstanding toughness and chemical resistance.Laser0.125
Gasket MaterialCork BlendBrown cork blended with Buna-N for gaskets or decoration.Laser0.063
High Temperature GasketOil- and water-resistant gasket for high temperature applications.Laser0.031
Treated Paper GasketPaper-based gasket with some resistance to oils.Laser0.016, 0.031
Buna-N RubberHigh temperature, oil resistant rubber.Laser0.0313
WoodWood Laminate, BlackA durable semi-gloss laminate with a high-density fiberboard core. More info...Laser0.27
Uncoated Wood Laminate, BirchHigh quality birch laminate, sanded smooth, around a high-density fiberboard core. More info...Laser0.23
CherryA moderately dense harwood with attractive grain and color. More info...Laser0.15
PoplarA fast-growing, flexible, light-colored wood. More info...Laser0.15
Red OakA moderately dense hardwood with attractive grain and color. More info...Laser0.15
HardboardA dark, dense, engineered wood product. More info...Laser0.135
Carbon SteelCold Finished Steel 1018Slightly less strong than cold rolled steel, but with a similar finish.Waterjet0.125, 0.1875, 0.25, 0.3125, 0.375, 0.5, 0.625, 0.75, 0.875, 1
Cold Rolled Steel A366/1008A strong general purpose steel with a clean surface finish.Waterjet0.0239, 0.0299, 0.0359, 0.048, 0.0598, 0.075, 0.0897, 0.105, 0.125
Hot Rolled Steel A36Typically more economical than cold rolled or cold finished steel, but may have a mill scale covering, and not as strong.Waterjet0.1875, 0.25, 0.375, 0.5, 0.625, 0.75, 1
Hot Rolled Steel 1045Typically more economical than cold rolled or cold finished steel, but may have a mill scale covering, and not as strong.Waterjet0.25, 0.375, 0.5, 0.625, 0.75, 1
Hot Rolled Steel A569/ASTM A1011Typically more economical than cold rolled or cold finished steel, but may have a mill scale covering, and not as strong.Waterjet0.06, 0.075, 0.105, 0.125, 0.135
Stainless And Alloy SteelStainless Steel T-304A good general purpose stainless steel.Waterjet0.018, 0.024, 0.03, 0.036, 0.048, 0.06, 0.075, 0.105, 0.12, 0.1875, 0.25, 0.3125, 0.375, 0.5, 0.625, 0.75, 1
Stainless Steel 316A stainless steel for marine and other highly corrosive environments.Waterjet0.018, 0.024, 0.03, 0.036, 0.048, 0.06, 0.075, 0.105, 0.12, 0.135, 0.1875, 0.25, 0.3125, 0.375, 0.5, 0.625, 0.75, 1
Chrome-Moly Steel 4130A high strength steel alloy.Waterjet0.125
CopperCopper Alloy 110A copper alloy suitable for a variety of electronic and decorative purposes.Waterjet0.062, 0.125
FoamEVA Foam, BlueA lightweight, closed cell foam for a variety of decorative and practical applications. More info...Laser0.22

Whether you’re an engineer, educator, student, or manufacturer, now you can order laser cut parts online with fast turnaround times and exceptional customer service.  From a one-off batch to mass production, your custom-designed parts will be delivered to your door in as little as 1-3 business days with our Quick Blue Saw Service.  

How Laser Cutters Work:

In CNC laser cutting, a computer directs a high-powered laser to cut out the desired shape from materials such as acrylic plastic (Plexiglass), rubber, acetal, rubberized fabric and wood. The laser burns away, melts or vaporizes the material, leaving the desired shape behind. What makes lasers so effective for cutting are the highly focused laser beams for very precise cuts and smooth edges at faster speeds than other cutting techniques.  Using CNC laser cutting technology, we can cut very complex or small shapes with fine details.

CNC laser cutting also has many other benefits over traditional cutting methods as well, including lower energy consumption and reduced material waste. At Big Blue Saw, we are able to pass these savings on to our customers in the form of very competitive costs for our custom laser cutting service.

To order your custom laser cut parts online, upload your design or use the Big Blue Saw Designer to create your design. For more information on our laser cutting service, contact us.

Our online waterjet cutting services are customized for you, whether you need one simple part or a thousand complex parts. With the capability to cut from many different types of materials including metal, aluminum, steel, plastic and wood, you can convert your designs into real usable parts and products.

Waterjet cutting offers several advantages over other machining technologies:

Lower cost. Waterjet parts are typically cut from sheet or plate material and require no special clamps, fixtures or tool changes. This translates to quicker production and lower cost.

Wide variety of materials supported. Waterjet cutting can be used on most metals, many plastics, wood and stone. It can be used to cut many materials that would be difficult to machine using other methods, such as heat-treated alloy steel.

No heat-affected zone. Machining methods like laser cutting and EDM heat the material and the parts will need to be heat treated again after machining. Waterjet cut parts retain their heat treatment when cut. This means that you can start with pre-heat treated material and keep your costs down.

How Waterjet Cutters Work:

A waterjet cutter is a tool capable of slicing into metal or other materials using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure, or a mixture of water and an abrasive substance. The process is essentially the same as water erosion found in nature but accelerated and concentrated by orders of magnitude. Our customers use waterjet cutting to make robots, electronic parts and enclosures, scientific equipment, and much more.

To order your custom waterjet cut parts online, upload your design or use the Big Blue Saw Designer to create your design. For more information on our custom waterjet cutting service, contact us.

Simon Arthur, President and Founder

After a career as a computer consultant and web developer, Simon founded Big Blue Saw in late 2005. His experience building fighting robots for BattleBots, Robot Battles, and other robotic sporting events led him to think about was to make it easier for robot builders, inventors, and engineers to create a high quality, affordable custom parts using modern machining technology. Big Blue Saw is the result.

Channie Lovelace, Customer Advocate

Channie has worked as a freelance artist/Ggaphic designer for over 15 years, as well as in customer service for 8 years. This has lead to a career of helping people bring their visions to life. She has experience in teaching art and crafts to all ages. She loves making people smile as a result of helping them gain confidence through their own creativity. The mediums she likes to work in range from painting with acrylics, drawing with pen and pencil, making wire jewelry, and digital art, to making clay sculptures.

Julie Simancek, Customer Advocate

Growing up in the family tool and die shop, Julie knew from fairly early on that working with metal was where her interests were. She has a BFA and MFA in jewelry and metalsmithing, has worked as a bench jeweler, managed a university metal smithing studio, and has worked in various sales and customer service jobs. Introduced to combat robotics by her husband, Julie has been building and fighting robots for Battlebots, Robot Battles, and several other combat robot competitions in the eastern part of the US for several years. She enjoys creative and cooperative problem solving on projects as well as sharing her metal working knowledge with others.

Clint Sikes, Shop Manager

Clint has come to Big Blue Saw with close to 20 years CNC and manufacturing experience. He uses those skills on a daily basis ensuring part quality, finish, and performance meet or exceed the customers expectations. The joy Clint gets from knowing he is helping people make their dreams become a reality is what drives him.


A Word From The President and Founder:

I created Big Blue Saw in order to make it easier for everyone to have easy access to high-quality custom parts. For too long, it has been too difficult to get the machined parts you want at a fair price. I love building fighting robots and had a very difficult time getting parts made. Dealing with ordinary machine shops meant high minimum charges, sinking time into getting quotes, and often being ignored. I am determined Big Blue Saw to create an easy, friendly experience. You can ready more about why I started Big Blue Saw in my blog post from 2010 on the topic.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me at the e-mail address below. I wish you the greatest success on all your creative endeavors.

Simon Arthur
Founder, Big Blue Saw
simon@bigbluesaw.com