Our computers try to use the CAD drawing you upload to determine what your part will look like. But they can only do that if the file is formatted correctly. Here are some tips to help you become successful with Big Blue Saw.
Understand what kinds of parts can be made with Big Blue Saw
All of Big Blue Saw's parts are made with an abrasive waterjet. This means that two dimensional designs are cut from sheets of material.
Make sure that your CAD file is in the correct format
Currently, Big Blue Saw best supports version 12 DXF files. New version DXF files may work, but Big Blue Saw's online quoting system can't handle certain DXF entities found in the newer specification, ELLIPSE and TEXT in particular.
Cutting path and kerf
Design your part at exactly the size you want it, and we will do our best to make it that size. There is no need for you to compensate for the kerf or cutting path.
Outline segments should meet at their endpoints
Bad: lines on sides of area overlap
Good: lines meet correctly at the corners
Holes inside your part shouldn't cross each other
Bad: holes in the center of the part cross over each other
Good: two circular holes are joined together
Good: two circular holes are split apart
Your main outline shouldn't cross over itself
Bad: this outline crosses over itself in the center
Good: no lines cross in this outline
Don't let any two areas cross each other
Bad: the smaller and the larger triangle cross each other
Good: the two triangles are joined together
Make sure that segment endpoints meet correctly
Bad: segments in the center are dangling
Good: areas in the center are completely enclosed
Show only the part outline
Bad: Lines within the part outline
Good: Drawing shows only the part outline
Outline areas to be cut
Bad: the letters in the center will not be cut correctly from the rectangular area, as they don't form enclosures
Good: the letters "USA" will be cut from the rectangle. Also note the stencil style letter "A".
Remove the bill of materials, notes, charts, and other non-essentials
Bad: includes chart containing information about the part to be made
Good: includes just the part to be made, in a 1:1 scale
Don't include a scale reference
Bad: includes reference area for drawing's scale
Good: part is scaled 1:1 and formatted in inches or millimeters
Upload only the parts to be made by Big Blue Saw
Bad: complex assembly of many parts. Big Blue Saw can't determine which part you want.
Good: a single part that Big Blue Saw can make. It's outlined in purple in the previous example.
You can add engraving to your parts when using a DXF file. Just create a new layer called "Engraving" and add all of the things to be engraved to that layer. Note that we don't yet support the HATCH (filled area) or TEXT entities in DXF files.
For example, in QCad, just click the "+" button in the layers list to add a new layer:
You will be prompted to enter the name of the new layer. Enter "Engraving" (without the quotes). Your layer list will now look like this:
Finally, add any lines, arcs, etc. to be engraved to the Engraving layer by setting their Layer attribute (Modify -> Attributes -> Layer:).
Other CAD or drawing software may operate differently. Consult your software's documentation for more information about layers.
Read the FAQ on what kinds of parts you can make with Big Blue Saw.