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General Updates

Those of you who follow us know that we love to build custom parts for robots. No robots grab people's attention quite like the ones that compete at BattleBots. These robots go through some of the toughest conditions imaginable, having to stand up to deadly spinning disks, mighty hammers, flamethrowers, and much more.

The robots in the Big Blue Saw Custom Part Army all rely on parts made by Big Blue Saw. I'd like to highlight 2 returning members of the Custom Part Army who will be competing at BattleBots in 2020: Extinguisher and P1 Evo.

Extinguisher
This fire-engine-themed robot has an upgraded drive system and more powerful axe for 2020. Team leader John Flaacke is hoping to bring the championship trophy home to Florida.

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A fan drawing of the new Extinguisher by @calebrobotart

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The aluminum alloy axe arm, fresh off the waterjet.


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AR500 parts for Extinguisher being cut on one of our waterjet machines.

P1 Evo
In 2020, P1 Evo (formerly just P1) is created and operated by manufacturing engineer Brandon Zalinsky and mechanical engineering student Luke Bittenbinder. P1 Evo features a racing theme and is designed to be fast and toss opponents around with its front flipper.
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An early rendering of P1 Evo

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AR500 forks waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw.

20200208 222806One of our waterjets making parts from AR400 for P1 Evo.
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Aluminum and AR steel parts made for P1 Evo.

Need custom parts like these that will stand up to the toughest conditions like P1 Evo and Extinguisher? Don’t hesitate to upload your designs to our online quoting system and order them now! Or call 678-929-7294 to speak with customer advocates if you've got questions about custom parts.

 printer render

Postmark Inc., a designer and manufacturer of equipment for package handling and printing, recently let us know that they needed custom parts for a new printer they were devising. This printer is fed by a conveyor belt and uses an inkjet to print on cartons or other items up to 8 inches thick.

printer parts

From the CAD designs provided by Postmark's engineering team, Big Blue Saw was able to create a set of custom aluminum brackets using our waterjet cutter.

 Here's a photo of the finished product at a trade show. See if you can spot all the waterjet cut parts. 

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If you're making industrial automation equipment or prototypes, Big Blue Saw can help. Get started by uploading your CAD designs for an instant online quote. Need help? Call us at 678-929-7294 (678-WAY-SAW-4).

fullMoto

Recently, one of our customers, Mark Cushman, wrote in to describe the success he had with a custom aluminum part made using Big Blue Saw's services. In this case, it was a custom gas can mount for his Triumph motorcycle. Here's what Mark had to say about why he chose Big Blue Saw:

I've used your services before in 2016 and was happy with them (I did a mock-up acrylic plate for an aluminum project I was doing), so I was familiar with your services. 
He went on to describe his new project:
 Recently I had a need to create another aluminum plate that was a little simpler, you can see the attached photos for what I did with it. 
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It's basically a mount to add a roto-molded gas tank popular with off-road guys to the factory rack.  Since this was a simpler design I decided to go back to you guys and do the finishing myself.  [...] 
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Mark wanted to do some custom finishing on his own. Note that Big Blue Saw can add a finish to your parts, as well as countersink and tap holes.

A real machine shop would have been able to do a cleaner job than I did (see photo).  This part is much less visible than the first one I designed so I'm happy with the output and my finishing.
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 I'm very happy with how it turned out and your shipping was FAST!  I uploaded the file on Sunday and it was on my doorstep on Thursday, so that is a fantastic turnaround time.  Thank you!

 

fullMoto

Ready to make your custom aluminum parts with Big Blue Saw? Get started by uploading the designs now!

More motorcycle related projects created with Big Blue Saw:
Custom Chopper Turbo Bracket
The Royal E-Field

It's a whole new year, and a whole new decade. Welcome to the future, friends. With temperatures dropping here in the northern hemisphere, it's time to go inside and get to building robots. And there are also rumors that a certain fighting robot competition will be back for another season soon.

That’s why at Big Blue Saw January 2020 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 January 1 through January 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, 0.625, 0.75
 Titanium 6Al-4V, a.k.a. Grade 5 Titanium  0.032, 0.0625, 0.125
 UHMW Polyethylene Plastic  0.25, 0.5, 0.75

 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.

* Note: Our supplier's prices on 0.1875 inch and 0.25 inch AR500 are through the roof at the moment, so you'll probably want to go with AR400 in those thicknesses unless you really need AR500 for some reason.

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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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Four 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 January.

  • Monday, January 6 through Friday, January 10: save on aluminum 6061 in 0.125 inch (⅛") thickness
  • Monday, January 13 though Friday, January 17: save on aluminum 6061 in 0.25 inch (¼") thickness
  • Monday, January 20, through Friday, January 24: save on aluminum 6061 in 0.375 inch (⅜") thickness
  • Monday, January 27, through Friday, January 31: save on aluminum 7075 in 0.375 inch (⅜") thickness

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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 4 different stock materials. Each stock material is discounted during a different week. See the list above for material specifications and sale times.

    Low-taper is not discounted. The special high performance materials for January Robot Building Season are also not discounted.
  • 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 discount 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

Hope your new year is a great one, and Happy Robot Building Season!

We were delighted recently to receive the following story from Jeff Snell regarding some custom stainless steel parts we waterjet cut for him.

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Less than a week before I was leaving on multi-week trip to Mozambique / Swaziland / South Africa, I broke a sideguard holder on my wheelchair. This is a super important piece: in optimal environments it keeps my clothing from rubbing against my wheels and getting dirty, in less ideal environments it keeps my hips from rubbing against my wheels and causing injury. Most of southern Africa falls under the less ideal environment for wheelchairs. The big problem for me was that this particular piece was out of production.

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I had used Big Blue Saw's regular speed services in the past and been pleased with the experience. I noticed the QuickSaw Rush Order option; so I quickly knocked out a model in Sketchup, exported to DXF using a Sketchup extension, and sent the email. Seven hours later I was contacted by Julie, who was very helpful in selecting materials they had on hand and staying on top of the QuickSaw shipment.

wheelchair sideguard

The pieces were delivered two days later! I drilled out the holes to my specs and mounted the new pieces that evening. Because of Julie's quick turnaround, I had almost a full day to test out the mounts and was very happy with their precision and stiffness (the previous were constructed from aluminum and had been a bit floppy for years).

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I likely could have made due with the broken sideguard mounts, but the experience would have been more difficult and problematic. It was additionally reassuring having competent sideguards with my wheelchair taking a beating in the cargo hold of planes and hanging off the back of Land Cruisers for several days. I can't thank Big Blue Saw and Julie enough for the quick turnaround. I'm a permanent customer, but next time with a little longer turnaround time.

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