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Big Blue Saw Blog

General Updates

Aluminum Alloy 7075 Now a Standard Stock Material

 

You've been asking for it, and now it's here. You can now order custom waterjet cut aluminum 7075 parts directly from our website.

I used this material in my robot Flipper for Robot Battles this year. You can see it in the photo above: the claws on the robot are aluminum 7075 in 3/8 inch thickness. It held up spectacularly when lifting opponents, falling off the stage, and being attacked by other robots. Flipper went on to win the final rumble in the 12 pound division.

Aluminum 7075 offers greater tensile strength than 6061 or 5052 alloys, so it's fantastic for any application where the parts will be undergoing mechanical stress. On the flip side, it's not weldable like 5052 or 6061, doesn't have the formability of 5052, and is more prone to corrosion in harsh chemical environments. But if you're looking for an aluminum with an ultimate tensile strength that's 85% higher than alloy 6061, 7075 is the way to go.

Order your parts in aluminum 7075 from our website today!

 

 

Wikispeed Open Source Road Legal Car

Wikispeed is an open source road legal car, for commuting and racing. They take the idea of open source seriously and everyone is invited to collaborate.

Above you can see Car #007, built for testing new part versions. Many parts on this car were waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw: the front pedal plate, the suspension corners, pieces in the engine module and interior, and more.

Being open source, Wikispeed collaborators make use of a variety of CAD software, based on the preference of the individual designer. The most used package is Geomagic, with some members preferring SolidWorks, FreeCAD, or AutoDesk Fusion. The design files are available for free download

This video shows the Wikispeed SGT01 100 MPG car.

Joe Justice of Wikispeed sent us a few photos of the Wikispeed parts made by Big Blue Saw.
 
Here is a stack of steering knuckles waterjet cut from aluminum 6061, 0.25 inches thick.
 
 

Waterjet cut suspension A-arms. These were waterjet cut from 0.25 inch thick aluminum 6061.

The latest suspension knuckle version in a subassembly. 0.5 inch thick aluminum.

 

Prototype windshield and wiper frame, waterjet cut from 0.25 inch thick aluminum.

In this video, Joe Justice of the Wikispeed project discusses why the easy ordering and quick turnaround of Big Blue Saw is useful for the an open source car design.

Check out Wikispeed's YouTube channel for the latest updates and videos of the car in action.

Brogue Motorcycles Lights Up the TU250

Brogue Motorcycles modifies motorcycles and builds custom bikes from scratch. But they wanted to reach a wider audience for their mechanical art, so they designed and created a product they could sell to customers: a lighting kit for the Suzuku TU250 motorcycle. Mike Schartz of Brogue tells me that this bike is a great choice for modifications due to its low cost and a large base of after-market accessories.

Brogue Motorcycles does their cutting, grinding, welding, soldering, bending, fiberglass, upholstery and powder coating in house. They were also able to use their experience in aviation and sheet metal repair to bring this product to market. They used custom waterjet cut parts from Big Blue Saw to speed up the creation process at a reasonable price. 

 

 

Brogue Motorcycles chose a combination of aluminum and stainless steel materials based on their weldability, formability, and strength. The waterjet cut parts were designed in AutoCAD.

 

 

Night Owl Industries Audio Amplifier

 

Seth Owlson of Night Owl Industries wrote in to tell us about the beautiful amplifiers he's building with the help of Big Blue Saw.
 
Seth described for us the origins of this project :
I’ve been playing and collecting small tube amps for almost 20 years, from modern ones to decades old eBay finds.  While there are a lot of great amp makers out there, I felt like even the boutique amps on the market were lacking the sound quality I was getting with vintage equipment.  Also, I felt like someone needed to build an amp that wasn’t a rectangular metal box inside of a rectangular wooden box.

He went on to describe the design technique, as well as how he processed and assembled the parts from Big Blue Saw  to make a completed amplifier.

I started with a sketch, then a cardboard version, and once that was all done it was time to start making them out of aluminum.  After cutting and drilling 6 by hand, I realized I would need to have the panels waterjet cut if I was going to make them in any kind of quantity.
These are the body panels of the chassis. Before the sides can be taken to the brake for bending, I use a bead roller to give each side two 1/8th inch beads.  

 

These are the face panels, which I use a 3/4th inch round wheel to add two large wells to.  The two heights correspond to the height of the EF86 input tube and EL84 output tube.  Then I add a 1/4 in bend on all sides to give it a bevel. Now they're ready for welding.

This is a welded and partially polished transformer cover, which will cover the power and output transformers, along with the filter capacitor.  Since the aluminum I source still needs to be welded, formed, shaped, sanded, and polished, it's nice to be able to have various types to choose from on the Big Blue Saw site.  

I wanted to do something special for the first run, so I took the extra step of taping of the tube wells and a few other sections, and polished them to a shine.  To tone everything down and not make it look like a car part, as well as to insulate and protect the chassis, I then had them anodized.  The anodize over polished aluminum is a cool effect, and I won't be repeating it since the next batch will be hydro-dipped.

 

 

The final step in the metal work is bending the custom grille I designed for the front panel.  These are tricky since the brakes can't do 30 degree bends that close together.  I decided to go with a thinner aluminum I could bend by hand and with seamers, and with Simon's help settled on long slats at the bend lines that would allow me to easily work the material.

 

Here is the final product, sitting on top of a beautiful speaker cabinet that was built for me by my woodworker to my specification.  These will be available together or separately from the amplifiers.

 

The parts you see were waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw from 0.05 inch and 0.025 inch thick aluminum 5052, based on the Night Owl designs.
 I scoured online for a company to [waterjet cut the panels], and that’s when I came across Big Blue Saw.  The ability to get quotes on their website, proof the image, then have it in your hands a short time later were absolutely integral in the realization of this amp. Julie and Simon were not only helpful, this literally could not have happened without them.
The first batch of 40 amps will be going on sale in October, and we’ll be making both guitar and hi-fi amplifiers.  Although the sound is wonderful (it’s a class A tube amp), what really sets this product apart is it’s design and craftsmanship, and that’s something that everyone should be able to enjoy, even if they can’t play the guitar.
Find out more more about these amplifiers on the Night Owl Industries website or follow nightowl.industries on Instagram.
 
 

Custom Aluminum Sale September 25-27

Big Blue Saw helps makers turn their designs into real parts. And beginning Monday, September 25, makers can save on custom aluminum parts.

 

The sale starts Monday, September 25, and runs through Wednesday, September 27. During the sale, orders placed online for waterjet cut aluminum 6061 in 0.375 inch thickness (that's 38 inch or about 9.5 mm) will automatically receive a quantity discount.

Let's take a look at how you can save during the sale.

Here is a 10x5 inch baseplate as seen on our examples page.

Regular quantity 1 price  Sale Quantity 1 Price Savings
$92.10 $23.30 75%

 

The split clamp from examples page, waterjet cut from 0.375" thick 6061 alloy aluminum.

Regular quantity 1 price  Sale Quantity 1 Price Savings
  $92.10 $14.90 84%

Remember, to save on waterjet cut aluminum, place your order online Monday, September 25, through Wednesday, September 27.

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