Big  Blue Saw


General Updates


When using the online quoting and ordering system it's easy to accidentally add features to the CAD drawing that can't be cut by waterjet or laser. Take countersinking, for example. Leaving countersinking lines in a drawing can lead to an incorrectly quoted price and even parts that get made in ways that you didn't intend.

This is a simple problem to diagnose and fix, once you know what you're looking for. Have a look at the example design shown above. The creator of the design had intended the three round holes to be cut along the smaller diameter, then a countersink created at the larger diameter shown. Here's the preview image you get when you upload this to Big Blue Saw's online ordering system:

It looks reasonably close to the intended outline, and if you weren't looking too closely, you might think that this is the intended outline for the part. But let's take a closer look at the description on the quote page:

Notice that the description mentions 4 parts in the file, not 1. When you click the part details page, you should get a better idea of what's going on.

Here you can see that the quoting system is interpreting the original 0.109 inch diameter holes as being solid parts. This means that the original countersink lines are now counted as holes in the larger part!

The solution is to delete the countersink lines before uploading the design to the quoting system.

Now the Part Details show a description of the part the way it was intended it to be.

Note that we can handle countersinking in many cases as a special order. Please contact us with your CAD file, plus the material, thickness, and number of pieces you need, and we can give you an exact price.

Heads up all waterjet cutting and robot fighting fans: the season premiere of BattleBots airs this Thursday, June 23rd. BattleBots is back, and Big Blue Saw is sponsoring the returning champion!

Aptyx Designs is entering a completely updated version of Bite Force, the winning robot from last year's event. Big Blue Saw is proud to once again sponsor this mighty machine and provide waterjet cut parts for Bite Force's frame.

Not only that, but Customer Advocate Julie Simancek and I are members of Chaos Corps, the crew behind Bombshell and Short Fuse, who will also be appearing.

The show starts at 8 PM (7 PM Central Time) on Thursday, June 23rd on ABC. Invite all your friends over for a viewing party!


The Instructables website is a great resource for makers looking for a new project or for getting tips on improving your existing skills.

Julie did some digging around and found these 4 great Instructables that use waterjet cutting to create wonderful things:

C-Clamps? 25 Other Clamps They Don't Want You To Know About...

Grappling Hooks

Getting Metal Parts Laser- or Waterjet Cut: A Beginner's Guide

Paw Print Bottle Openers

On Wednesday, June 15 through Friday, June 17, save on waterjet cut parts ordered through Big Blue Saw's online quoting system. During the sale, all parts waterjet cut from 6061 aluminum in 1/8 inch thickness will automatically receive a quantity discount.

Big Blue Saw is the easiest way to turn your ideas and designs into real parts. This sale can bring huge  discounts, so now is the time to get started on your project.

Let's take a look at how much you might save with a few examples.

This 21x21 inch robot baseplate is usually $114.40 in quantity 1. During the sale, it is only $56.05, a savings of 51%.

The nameplate you see above is typically $92.10 in quantity 1. During the sale,  you can pick it up for only $10.60, for a savings of $81.50.

This gearbox side plate shown above normally costs $92.10 in quantity 1. During the sale, you'll receive the quantity 10 price: just $9.93 for one piece. That's 89% off!

All the parts above are shown on our examples page.

You will need to order online during the sale to take advantage of the low prices.  Read about how to format your CAD files for use with Big Blue Saw. Or, for decorative pieces, you can use a properly formatted PNG or GIF file with our online quoting system as well.

Wrapping Up

Big Blue Saw's sale is Wednesday, June 15, through Friday, June 19. Save as much as 89% off on waterjet cut custom parts from aluminum 6061 in 1/8" thickness.

Get your CAD or PNG/GIF files ready and place your order with our online quoting and ordering system.


You've just received your parts from Big Blue Saw. You've got some sharp inside corners, but the waterjet rounded them off! You could take a file to the parts to get rid of the excess, but who has time for that? Read on for hints on how to clear the corners so you never have to face this problem again.

When the waterjet cuts, it will come up just short of the inside corner. This is due to the cutting diameter (kerf) of the waterjet stream. Remember that the waterjet stream is round, and can't reach a sharp inside corner. Read more about that in our article on the limitations of waterjet cutting. The rectangle on the right in the image below shows rounding of the inside corners on 1/4 inch thick waterjet cut aluminum.

Many designers will remove some extra material to make sure that the inside corner gets removed. The most obvious way to do that is by putting an arc centered on the corner.


Taking a closer look, you'll notice that the arc has a diameter of just over 0.07 inches. This is so that the waterjet can enter the corner area through an opening that's 0.05 inches wide. We recommend at least an 0.05 inch opening to make sure that the waterjet controller software is able to identify an open area which the cutting stream can reach.

Here's the result of this type of corner clearance.

You'll notice with this that with this design we're cutting away a lot more material than is truly necessary. There are other ways that don't remove quite so much material.

If we simply extend the cut away from the long side, with an arc with a diameter of 0.05 inches, we get something like the shape shown below. (I've heard this referred to as "Finn ears" because it resembles the hat of one of the characters on the Adventure Time cartoon.)


Here the arc is 180 degrees and ends on the original corner.

Another way to go about the same thing: put the arc on the short side.





But we could still remove even less material and still snip away that annoying corner. If you create a 180 degree arc with an 0.05" diameter which passes through the original corner, and ends about 0.0354 inches from the corner. See the diagram below.

The result is a rectangle with much less excess material removed near the corner than with any of the other corner clearing methods.

The result is what's shown in the images below.


This corner cutting method gives the best lookng results and removes the least material. One potential disadvantage is that you might need one of the sides to be fully straight all the way into the corner for strength or stability.

To test these designs out, I waterjet cut a tab piece from 0.25 inch thick aluminum. It fits well into any of the slots cut with the corner removal techniques listed above.


Have a favorite corner clearing shape? Let us  know in the comments.