Big  Blue Saw


General Updates

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You may have seen our list of standard materials which are part of our online quoting system. But for many of our clients involved in making jewelry, fine art, or interior design, these materials aren't what they're looking for.  For them (and anyone who wants a material not on the list) we do custom orders. Popular materials in these fields include copper, brass, and silver. On these projects, the thickness of the material is frequently specified in gauge, rather than inches or millimeters.

At Big Blue Saw, we turn raw copper, brass, and other stock into custom parts from YOUR designs made using waterjet cutting. For an instant quote on your design, try our online quoting and ordering system.

In an earlier article, we took a look at the standard gauges for steel sheet. Gauge when applied to copper, brass, or silver means a different set of thicknesses, however. It's based on the American or Brown and Sharpe Wire Gauge standard. As with steel, as the gauge gets higher, the thickness gets lower. Unlike with steel, I can't find a set standard for tolerances for sheets of this material. This means that you're at the mercy of the manufacturer and distributor for tolerances here. (If you know of such a standard, please let me know.)

260Brass GlassBlast Resized

Here's a chart showing wire gauges in inches and millimeters.

Copper, Brass, Silver, etc. Gauge Thickness, Inches Thickness, mm
8 0.1285 3.264
9 0.1144 2.906
10 0.1019 2.588
11 0.0907 2.305
12 0.0808 2.053
13 0.072 1.828
14 0.0641 1.628
15 0.0571 1.45
16 0.0508 1.291
17 0.0453 1.15
18 0.0403 1.024
19 0.0359 0.912
20 0.032 0.812
21 0.0285 0.723
22 0.0253 0.644
23 0.0226 0.573
24 0.0201 0.511
25 0.0179 0.455
26 0.0159 0.405
27 0.0142 0.361
28 0.0126 0.321
29 0.0113 0.286
30 0.01 0.255

Get an instant quote on your custom metal design now.


Also, galvanized steel sheet also has its own set of gauge thicknesses:

Thickness, inches Thickness, mm
10 0.1345 3.4163
11 0.1196 3.03784
12 0.1046 2.65684
13 0.0897 2.27838
14 0.0747 1.89738
15 0.0673 1.70942
16 0.0598 1.51892
17 0.0538 1.36652
18 0.0478 1.21412
19 0.0418 1.06172
20 0.0359 0.91186
21 0.0329 0.83566
22 0.0299 0.75946
23 0.0269 0.68326
24 0.0239 0.60706
25 0.0209 0.53086
26 0.0179 0.45466
27 0.0164 0.41656
28 0.0149 0.37846
29 0.0135 0.3429
30 0.012 0.3048
31 0.0105 0.2667
32 0.0097 0.24638

Zinc sheet has yet another gauge system for thickness. I can't recall a single customer who ever wanted us to make something out of zinc sheet, so I'll leave that for you to find on your own. Machinery's Handbook is an authoritative source, and has a chart which includes zinc sheet gauges.

If you're having trouble picking out a thickness, take a look at our page on deciding on a material thickness.

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Keep in mind that some manufacturers, distributors, and end users get the gauge thickness wrong. They might use the wrong metal's gauge chart or pick an obsolete standard when labeling a sheet of material. That's why we suggest working with thicknesses in common, unambiguous units like millimeters or inches.

Finally, if you're ready  to order custom parts from your designs made from copper, brass, or silver, try our online ordering system. Or email one of our friendly customer advocates at


If you're looking for custom brackets, braces, bearing blocks, clamps, base plates, or similar one off parts, this is your chance to save. From Monday, April 17 through Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Big Blue Saw is having a sale on custom waterjet cut parts.



During this sale, parts ordered through our online quoting and ordering system will automatically receive a quantity discount. That means that if you order as little as 1 part, you automatically get the same price as if you had ordered 10! During the April event, the discount applies to aluminum 6061 alloy in 0.1875 inch thickness. That's 3/16 inch or about 4.8 mm. 


Our customers have used this material in hundreds of applications including robots, electric vehicles, farm equipment, packaging machines, signs, nameplates, motorcycles, sporting goods, and musical instruments. The 3/16 inch thickness that's on sale is the recommended material for the FarmBot CNC farming machine.

Aluminum 6061 is a solid choice for such a broad spectrum of applications because of Its good strength, corrosion resistance, and weldability.

To learn more about waterjet cutting, read our series on designing for waterjet and especially the article Why Waterjet Cutting?


With the quantity discount, savings will be up to 70% for smaller, one-off parts.

Upload your design now to our online waterjet quoting and ordering system to take advantage of the sale!




We're having a sale next week on custom waterjet cut aluminum parts. This early announcement gives you time to prepare your designs.
You can place your order online for aluminum 6061 in 0.1875 inch thickness (that's 3/16 inch or 4.8 mm in metric) and you'll automatically receive a quantity discount. The sale starts on Monday, April 17 and runs through Wednesday, April 19. To take advantage of the low prices, fire up your CAD software now and get your files ready to upload to our waterjet cutting quoting system.



You may recall our previous article showing the custom putter stand from Piretti Golf, makers of fine golfing gear. Bill Craig wrote in again to show  us a new rotating putter display, made with waterjet cut aluminum parts from Big Blue Saw. You can see the finished display above.

Let's take a look at how Big Blue Saw created the detailed design and aluminum parts. Bill started by sending us a photo of a template he made as well as a diagram showing the dimensions he needed.



There are very few features on this part that require high precision. The part doesn't mate with any others except for the hole in the middle. It was much more important that the piece look good and be able to hold the golf clubs.

From this sketch and the photo, we were able to come up with a CAD drawing for the putter holder, plus a couple other discs which were needed to complete the display.



Using the CAD design, we waterjet cut the parts from 0.25 inch thick aluminum 6061.

Bill and his team did the final assembly and finishing. The results look fantastic!



Create something new during Big Blue Saw's sale on custom aluminum and stainless steel parts. Any parts, no matter how audacious the design*, ordered online from the sale stock materials, will automatically receive a quantity discount. The sale materials are aluminum 6061 in 0.063 inch thickness and stainless steel 304 in 0.06 inch thickness.

If you're not sure what those thicknesses are like, note that a penny (US 1 cent coin) is 0.06 inches thick, or 1.52 mm, the same thickness as the sale stainless steel. The sale aluminum is slightly thicker.

The sale takes place on just 2 days: Tuesday, March 14 and Wednesday, March 15.

Both materials have a variety of uses including control panels, fan guards, stencils, drone parts, signs, robot mounting plates, and lighting brackets. But don't feel limited by what others have done: the flexibility of the waterjet cutting tool allows you to create parts for any application you can dream up.

The 0.06 inch thick stainless steel is particularly popular among custom keyboard builders, as it's the right thickness for standard mechanical keyswitches to clip in place.

If you're looking for some creative inspiration: Monday, March 13 is the 96th birthday of Al Jaffee, the Guiness record holder for "Longest career as a comics artist".

One of Mr. Jaffee's regular features in Mad Magazine are his inventions: solutions to everyday problems with an outrageously funny mechanism. There's the twist, though: some of his inventions actually ended up being made. For example, Jaffee imagined a self-extinguishing cigarette long before it became reality. His work is even cited in the patent. Another I noticed recently was the electricity generating sidewalk installed in Washington, DC last year. It relies on pedestrian footsteps to generate electrical power. But, of course Mr. Jaffee thought up the idea many years before. The Jaffee cartoon below is from a collection published way back in 1978!


Not sure what you'd like to create during the sale? Have a look at our example designs, projects made using Big Blue Saw, more projects made using Big Blue Saw, still more projects made using Big Blue Saw, yet again even more projects made using Big Blue Saw, and finally we've seen enough projects made using Big Blue Saw.

Have a design in mind? Get out your credit card and upload your design to our online quoting system now




* Well, as long as they can be created by waterjet cutting!