Big  Blue Saw


General Updates

claw arm

If you're like many of our customers, you have questions about ordering from us. We've put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions to eliminate uncertainty and banish bewilderment. This has been a feature of our website from early on, but thanks to the diligent work of Customer Advocate Julie Simancek, we have recently added answers to many more of the most common questions we hear. Check them out:

And be sure to visit our full list of FAQs for the answers to more questions. Need to know something that's not in the FAQ list? Just email us at or contact us via our contact page.

Motorama testbox

Jonathan and Duck Yeah at Motorama 2017

 Before he became world famous as the builder of HUGE, Jonathan Schultz was a senior in college who had never built a single robot. In 2016, he turned to Big Blue Saw to provide the parts for Duck Yeah, a 30 pound robot which fought at the Franklin Institute  and Motorama events.

I designed it after similar robots like Shaka that also compete in the 30lb Featherweight class in the northeast. The main difference that I tried to go for was to not pack electronics under the front wedge like similar competitors, but to have it be a breakaway wedge leaving smaller wedgelets underneath. And to have the wedgelets be breakaway from super thick front panels. 

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Duck Yeah in the assembly phase

 This worked well in competition, keeping all opponents from digging into the main chassis at all, leaving the internals untouched even though it suffered some fairly brutal losses. I just didn't account for how little grip the tires would have, resulting in opponents not being able to actually climb the wedge to get to the disk often. And a motor exploded just from general shock and vibration of combat.

Franklin Workbench

 Duck Yeah's 2016 appearance

 I brought it to the 2016 Franklin Institute event first, but it was unfinished and suffered reliability problems. I then brought it to Motorama 2017, and did well, getting a 3-2 record. 

Duck Yeah in action vs Poncho at Motorama in 2017


Robot Presentation

Who says fighting robots aren't educational? Jonathan's Senior project presentation.

 In its final fight, its disk got smashed to bits and I've spent the couple years since focusing on Huge-related stuff. I may drag it back out in the coming months, it still runs and drives fine, just needs a disk.

Broken Disk

The price of experience

Duck Yeah and HUGE

 Duck Yeah and Huge (not HUGE)

6061 T6 Aluminum .375 Assembly Sized.DXF.dxfS7 Tool Steel .750 Disc.DXF.dxf UHMW PE .250 A Sized.DXF.dxf UHMW PE .375 B Sized.DXF.dxf

Various CAD designs for Duck Yeah's parts

Big Ripto

Here's Big Ripto, Kyle Singer's 30 pound combat robot. Big Blue Saw helped supply the business end of this machine: the cutting disc low-taper waterjet cut from ⅞ inch thick S7 tool steel.

Since S7 is not a material we typically offer, Kyle sent us a piece to work from.

He designed the entire robot using Alibre Design CAD software.


Have a look at Big Ripto's big disc doing its thing against Duck Yeah! at Motorama Robot Conflict in 2017. Incidentally, Duck Yeah! also was built with parts custom made by Big Blue Saw.

A closeup of the disc and some of the damage it did: FB IMG 1538860573729

Can we cut metals for you like S7 that are not on our list of standard materials? Usually, yes! Just contact us to get the process started.


Luke Faulkingham wrote in to tell us about his fighting robot Shake 3. It's made with custom aluminum parts in 2 thicknesses, waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw! Here's what Luke has to say about the robot's design and manufacture:

The design is inspired by bots such as Sewer Snake and Tormenta 3 armed with a lifter that also operates as a front hinged flipper when run in reverse. The bot is made out of 6061 Aluminum, mostly 1/4” thick with some 1/2” parts in the weapon system for added strength, and uses NutStrip to hold the pieces together with tabs and slots for added strength. The bot also runs on two brushless motors for drive, allowing a high top speed and lots of pushing power. From the beginning the bot was designed with the intent of using waterjet cut pieces to make up the entire bot, using the precision and low tolerances to allow for added strength while also saving weight in the bot.

 W9W8 Y4G8 Shake 3 Frame.DXF

G9N1 E2B8 Half.DXF


What season is December? For most, it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. But for a select few, it’s the start of Robot Building Season. As it becomes too cold to go outside, it’s best to stay indoors and work on your robot.

That’s why at Big Blue Saw December is Robot Building Season! We’ve got specials just for robot builders to make their lives easier so that they can get the custom parts they need: high performance materials and sales on our most popular stock metals!

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 All Month: High Performance Materials

Whether you’re beginner building a beetleweight pushybot or a veteran vowing to vanquish with 250 pounds of vicious velocity, Big Blue Saw has you covered. From December 1 through December 31, we’re making the following high performance materials available on the website for instant online ordering and quoting:

Material  Thickness in Inches 
 AR400 Abrasion Resistant Steel  0.125, 0.1875, 0.25
 AR500 Abrasion Resistant Steel  0.1875, 0.25, 0.375, 0.75
 Titanium 6Al-4V, a.k.a. Grade 5 Titanium  0.032, 0.0625, 0.09, 0.125
 UHMW Polyethylene Plastic  0.75, 1

 Normally these materials are only available for a custom order, but during Robot Building Season, you can save time and money by ordering them directly from our online quoting system.

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  • Titanium 6Al-4V is one of the best materials for wedges, armor, lifting arms, and durable spinning weapons.
  • AR400 and AR500 are great for spikes, spinning bars and discs, and armor.
  • UHMW polyethylene has incredible toughness and energy absorbing properties that make it the right choice for armor base layers or giant wheels if you’re HUGE.

For more on the uses of these materials, and how to choose the best one, I highly recommend checking out the RioBotz Combat Robot Tutorial by Marco Antonio Meggiolaro. Chapter 3 discusses in detail the best use of each of these materials.

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Three More Ways to Save

But wait, you might say, fighting robots are not my thing, so these high performance materials are overkill. If you’re building a robot arm, research robot, or task robot, we’ve got you covered there, too with specials throughout December.

  • Monday, December 3 through Friday, December 7: save on aluminum 6061 in 0.25 inch (1/4") thickness
  • Monday, December 10 though Friday, December 14: save on aluminum 6061 in 0.125 inch (1/8") thickness
  • Monday, December 17, through Friday, December 21: save on cold finished steel 1018 in 0.25 inch (1/4") thickness


All orders placed online for the sale materials during the sale period will automatically receive a quantity discount. That means that when you order as little as one part, you get the same price as if you had ordered 10.


Questions and Answers about Big Blue Saw's Sales During Robot Building Season

  • What is on sale?
    Custom parts from your designs made using 3 different stock materials. Each stock material is on sale during a different week. See the list above for material specifications and sale times.

    Low-taper is not on sale. The special high performance materials for December Robot Building Season are also not on sale.
  • How much will I save?
    Orders as small as 1 part will automatically receive the quantity 10 discounted price. The dollar amount depends on the design and quantity ordered. 
  • How can I order with the sale price?
    Just upload your design to our online quoting and ordering system, and check out through the website shopping cart. You will automatically receive the discount price when placing your order. No need to use coupon codes or other tricks.
  • I don't have a design. How can I make one?
    Use your favorite CAD or vector image software. If you don't have this kind of software, check out our list of free or low-cost alternatives. Also, be sure to  read about how to format your CAD files for use with Big Blue Saw
  • I didn't hear about your sale until just now and don't have time to get my design ready. When is your next sale?
    Sign up for our mailing list to get early notifications about the next sale.
  • I have special requirements for shipping, secondary machining, or rush processing my order. Can I still get the sale price?
    To get the sale price, orders must be placed through the website. So typically we cannot accommodate special requests for sale parts.

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Wrapping Up

Please keep in mind that the Big Blue Saw offices will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day so that all of our employees can spend time with their families.

Happy Holidays, and Happy Robot Building Season!