Big  Blue Saw


General Updates

Here's a behind the scenes peek at how many of our parts are bade here at Big Blue Saw. In this video, you can see custom parts being waterjet cut from 1/4 inch thick aluminum 6061 alloy, one of our most popular materials.

If you look closely, at 0:15 you can see a disc dropping into the catch tank. This region is a hole in the final part, so we wouldn't typically tab that part in place to prevent this.

This video shows the tremendous forces involved in waterjet cutting. A 60,000 psi stream of water and garnet blasting through an aluminum plate is a violent event.

By guiding this stream with servo motors under computer control, a waterjet cutting machine can make custom parts from metal, plastic, wood, and more.

You can read more about waterjet cutting or get an instant quote for waterjet cut parts on our website.



From Big Blue Saw customer Aaron comes the Royal E-field, an electric conversion of a 2005 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 motorcycle.

Aaron talks a little bit about how he got started using Big Blue Saw:

I transferred the drawing into a program called Inkscape, a freeware vector graphics program.  The program loaded easily and a 20-minute tutorial video was enough to get me started.

 shelves design

Aaron also has some great info on accurately bending 5052 aluminum using only hand tools. You'll note that he cut reliefs along the bend line (as described in our article on bending metal), bend at 90 degrees to the grain of the material, and also used a special waterjet cut jig  to make the corners the right radius.

bent lr

 How does it ride? Take a look at the videos below to see:


Jay Doscher told us about another great project he's built with help from Big Blue Saw. Read more about it here. You may remember his previous projects from this blog 1 2.

I’ve been working hard on a project that allows me to take a Raspberry Pi 2 into the wild outdoors. While there are many cases out there that work fine in a cabinet or on a desk, I couldn’t find one that would work outdoors. I became familiar with weatherproof enclosures when I started tinkering with my Solarbot a couple years ago, but I needed more than a small plastic box this time. This time around I wanted something that would support my Solar Robot 7 (which is live on Twitter here), a Raspberry Pi 2- powered solar tracker. More on that soon!

Read more about the RPFU at Jay's blog.


Parts from Big Blue Saw:



 assembled components 800

We are often contacted by our customers about making custom enclosures for their electronics projects. An enclosure might be needed for a custom keyboard, Arduino based game machine, radio transmitter, or any of the hundreds of other electronic projects built by imaginative Big Blue Saw fans.

Occasionally we'll hear from people who feel that Big Blue Saw's waterjet and laser cutting services can't make a custom enclosure. But those in the know realize that you can use the stacking technique to build a custom three dimensional case out of parts cut from thin, flat sheet.

Take a look at the CAD layout of the parts below. These pieces are intended to be stacked together to make the final enclosure.


You can see this design cut from 3 mm thick clear acrylic below.

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 The pieces stack together so that the piece with the circular cutouts for the controls is on the top and the solid piece is on the bottom.

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 The pieces in the center have slots in them so that there is an opening for wires or a connector.

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Components such as connectors, switches, buttons and indicator lights can be installed on the top piece. This panel can be customized with openings to match the components you need in your application.

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When you're ready with your own enclosure design, why not upload it to our quoting system for instant pricing and online ordering?

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There are a variety of construction techniques for use with waterjet or laser cut parts. We have profiled a few of them elsewhere on the website.

This new construction technique was suggested to us by a customer. It's a sort of hybrid between the tab and slot and the long bolt techniques.

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We've made the pieces in acrylic here so you can see how it all fits together.

Here's how this as yet unnamed technique works. One piece is placed perpendicularly to two pieces whose faces run in parallel. The perpendicular piece has tabs which match slots on the other two pieces. Unlike in the t-nut technique, the perpendicular member is not bolted to the other two pieces. It is instead held in place by compression. The two parallel pieces provide the compression by being held together with long bolts.

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This technique lets you use larger bolts than tab and slot for greater strength. The tabbed piece is also free to have other features on it without you having to worry about the location of the fasteners.

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We don't have a name for this construction technique yet. I feel it's very useful to give these things a name so we have a convenient shorthand to refer to when building this way. Any suggestions for a name? Let me know.