Big  Blue Saw


Starting April 18, 2022, quoting and ordering will begin moving from Big Blue Saw to the Xometry website. You'll continue to be able to get fast service and instant quotes, in addition addition to a whole host of new materials and manufacturing processes!

General Updates



A quick note: the next sale is coming up on Monday, July 18 and will run through Wednesday, July 20. The material: aluminum 6061 1/4" (0.25) thick. Orders placed online will automatically receive a quantity discount. Watch this space or our mailing list for more details. Get your designs ready by trying them with the online ordering and quoting system.

I'm  always on the lookout for new design techniques for use with waterjet cut parts, particularly ones that let us make parts that break out of the world of 90 degree angles and flat planes. The curvy assembly you see above was made using only waterjet cut aluminum parts and off the shelf hardware.

If you haven't read any of our other articles on how to design parts for waterjet cutting, now would be a good time to read that in order to understand the limitations of waterjet cutting and some ways these limitations can be overcome.

The assembly takes advantage of the fact that the curved top plate is made from flexible yet strong aluminum 5052 alloy in 0.025 inch (0.64 mm) thickness. Since it's slightly thinner than a credit card, the aluminum rectangle can be bent by hand.

The flowing lines of the curve were created in Inkscape, then imported into LibreCAD.



The spacing of the holes on the rectangular plate was determined by drawing a spline curve along the support plate outline between two t-nut slots, then using the "Total Length Of Selected Entities" menu option. The holes were then placed this distance apart on the rectantgular plate.


Below you can see the unassembled support plates and top plate. The support plates are made from thicker aluminum: 0.125 inch (3.18 mm) thick aluminum 6061.

When creating this type of assembly, I recommend installing all of the nuts first before attempting to attach the screws. You can use superglue to hold the nuts in place during assembly.

I assembled the pieces one support plate at a time, but I suspect it would be easier to alternate attaching the screws between the two suport plates. It would also help to have the support plates held apart at a fixed distance from each other, which I didn't do.

Here is a view from underneath the assembled pieces.

Finally, I will note that it did require a good amount of finger strength to push the plate into place before screwing it down. This was mostly a problem as the curve reversed its direction. I suspect that a curve that went all to the inside or all to the outside would be much easier to assemble.


Tito Ferradans loves photography and experimenting with lenses to get the best images possible. This led him to creating laser cut inserts for a Pentacon 29mm lens to produce a wide angle image with close focus. Read more about it on his blog, or watch the video below.



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!