A brief tutorial and reference for the Big Blue Saw Designer, Big Blue Saw's online CAD (Computer Aided Design) tool.
- Basic Navigation
- Using the Toolkit to Design Your Part
- Combining Shapes
- Positive and Negative Space (Holes)
- Stacking Order and Negative Space
- Getting A Quote For Your Part
- Saving and Managing Your Designs with My Files
When you first display the Big Blue Saw Designer web page in your web browser, your screen will look something like this:
The following diagram shows several important features of the Big Blue Saw Designer, including the maximize and restore buttons, the main toolbar, and the floating toolkit.
To get more space to design your part, click on the Maximize button.
This will cause the Big Blue Saw designer to occupy your entire web browser window, as shown here:
You can bring the Designer back to its normal size by clicking the restore button.
The floating toolkit contains, among other things, buttons which represent shapes that you can use to make your part. For example, we might want to begin our design with a 2 inch by 2 inch square. To create such a shape, we will begin by clicking on the rectangle tool in the toolkit.
Notice that the rectangle button is highlighted in the diagram below. Next, we will click in the lower-left hand corner of our rectangle. As we move the mouse, the rectangle expands. Notice the blue control points.
When we have reached the desired size and shape for the rectangle, we can click again. The control points will turn green, and a rectangle has now been added to our part.
You can create more sophisticated designs by adding shapes together. For example, we can add a circle to the design from the previous section by using the ellipse tool.
The ellipse is drawn in a similar manner as the square: clicking in one corner, then clicking in the opposite corner. Notice that the design for our part is shown with a solid black line. We can still see the shapes that we added, but their outlines are continued with dashed lines when they are inside our designed part.
To create a hole in the part, you can use the button on the toolbar that toggles between positive and negative space. Select the element that you wish to be a hole and click the toggle button.
The shape you selected will now be negative space in the design.
Interaction between positive and negative space elements in your design can sometimes be confusing. Let us continue from the example above by adding a new rectangle. Notice that the rectangle overlaps the circular hole and that the bottom half of the hole is now covered. But what if we actually want the circular hole to pass through both of the rectangular portions of the design?
The solution is to bring the circle to the "front" of the design. Select the circle with the mouse and right-click. You will see a context menu appear. Choose "To Front" from the menu.
The hole will now pass through all elements of the design.
Once you have designed a part, you can get a quote for it by clicking on the saw icon button on the toolbar.
This will cause your web browser to display your part in Big Blue Saw's online quoting system. From here, you can choose the material and thickness of the stock you wish to have your part made from.
Your part design will persist for as long as you keep your web browser open and on the Designer web page. You can even navigate away from the Designer page to get a quote or check out other content of the Big Blue Saw website. But you might want to work on your design offline or keep a copy of your favorite design in long term storage to work on it later.
Big Blue Saw lets registered users store their files on our servers or download them to their computer. There is a login form on the Designer page. If you have maximized the Designer, just click the restore button to view the rest of the web page.
Notice that there is a form to enter your username and password, as well as a link to register a new account with Big Blue Saw.
Once you have logged in, the file that you are currently working on will automatically be stored in the My Files section of the Big Blue Saw website. To access this section of the site, click the My Files link just below the Logout button on the Designer page.
This will show all of the files you have stored on the Big Blue Saw website. Your latest working design will always have the name "Big Blue Saw Desiger - Recent.jpx". From this page you can upload files, download them to your computer and delete them from My Files. To edit your file once again, click the Edit link next to the file name as shown here: