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


Regularly I get emailed by individuals, groups, teams, and events seeking sponsorship for their project. Typically Big Blue Saw's sponsorship comes in the form of free waterjet cutting or laser cutting services or as gift certificates.


Big Blue Saw has sponsored or is currently sponsoring a number of things:

Plus we've done a number of stealthier sponsorships: Big Blue Saw has helped people with their projects with the knowledge that they would give us a shout out in social media or on their web sites.

Given the amount of sponsorship we've done, I thought I'd let people know what we're looking for when we sponsor. We're looking for the same things as many other businesses, so these tips will also help you when searching elsewhere for sponsorship.


The #1 most important thing we're looking for is an existing following or fan base. This could be via social media like Twitter or Facebook, through online forums, a YouTube channel, mailing lists, or through your own website. Nearly all of our business comes through our website, so getting an online audience is absolutely critical.


For you, as a potential sponsored party, the great thing about this is that none of this costs you money. Social media profiles are free to create and so are blogs. Use those to build a following with people in your community. Similarly, if you're the one in a community forum who's the go-to person for getting help, we'd love to hear from you.


The #2 thing we look for is exposure in traditional media like television, magazines and newspapers. This type of exposure can be valuable if the audience is right: getting the name Big Blue Saw in front of people who are likely to need our services.


Sponsoring the winning robot on ABC TV's BattleBots brought us a little bit of national exposure, but it was really the social media work of the Aptyx Designs team that brought people to the website. Keep in mind that traditional media can be hard to count on as you're at the mercy of TV producers, editors, and so on. With social media YOU are in control. Also it doesn't bring the immediacy that most web exposure or social media bring; people are typically watching TV or reading magazines in a passive mode, not ready to jump on the Big Blue Saw website.


#3 is exclusivity. We'd rather NOT have our logo drown among a sea of other sponsors logos. Offer us something that no other sponsor gets.


Factor #4 is having something interesting for us to sponsor. Overemphasizing this factor is the top mistake that most people make when looking for sponsors. If you're passionate about your project, it's only natural that you would want to talk about it.


But there's a whole world of cool stuff out there, so why would we want to sponsor you in particular? Let us know what you can do for Big Blue Saw.


If your project makes good use of waterjet and/or laser cutting, that's something we can show off to potential customers via our own social media and website. If your event is dedicated to a popular meme, great!


Finally, #5 is live event exposure. Like traditional media exposure (#2, above), people who see Big Blue Saw's logo at the event aren't necessarily in a mindset to come to our website and get an immediate quote. Also, if you only control a small portion of the overall event, e.g. your own robot, putting our stickers where people in the audience or passersby may be able to see them doesn't do much for us. Putting a giant banner across the top of the stage where everyone will be looking is much better. Talking to hundreds of people and getting them to sign up for our mailing list is also very nice. Having the right audience at the event is also critical here: people with a need for custom machined parts.


Now, working on some of the factors above might not overlap with your skills. If you're visiting the Big Blue Saw website, chances are that you like building things a lot, and there's a good chance you don't care so much about having Twitter followers or documenting your build process with slick YouTube videos. And that's perfectly understandable. So if you don't yet have a solid online or media presence, you should consider adding to your team someone to be your media director.


Finally, when reaching out to us for sponsorship, make sure you're clear about what exactly you need. If you need waterjet machining and have DXF files ready for us to cut, it makes our decision much easier than if you don't have a design ready. Similarly, if you want gift certificates for prizes, let us know the exact amounts and quantity you require.


We're always on the lookout for great events, teams and even individuals to sponsor. Now that you know what we're looking for, you can e-mail us and let us know how we can work together to help each other: .



I wanted a steel multitool to show off to customers and potentially use as a giveaway. I found this clever design by seanmichaelragan on Thingiverse. The original design "incorporates 21 distinct wrenches for metric and SAE nuts, 3 flat screwdrivers, a serrated cutting edge, a can opener, a wire breaker, a centerfinding tool, and a lanyard loop hole." The design, available on the download page, included a DXF version, which made it much easier to work with for waterjet cutting.

I did have to clean up a few typical problems with the file: unclosed contours, overlapping lines, and the like. If you're familiar with Big Blue Saw, you probably already know what the final DXF should look like and how to clean up a problematic DXF for waterjet cutting.

After a little scrubbing in QCad, the design was ready for waterjet cutting.

There were a couple issues with this design, however. One was that the smallest wrench holes were too small to be useful after cut on the waterjet due to the waterjet's kerf of 0.04 inches (1 mm). The other was that there needed to be a place to put the Big Blue Saw logo. So, with some reluctance, I eliminated a few of the features.

The final piece, cut from 1/4 inch thick 1018 cold rolled steel, came out great, and has a nice spot for a Big Blue Saw sticker.

Using carbon steel instead of stainless gives it a sort of steampunk look. I can imagine Captain Nemo using one of these to repair the Nautilus.

If you have a multitool design you'd like us to waterjet cut, read our FAQ on CAD files, then upload your design to get an immediate quote and order online.

I recently came across via a Hacker News post. It's a nifty tool for showing animated gear trains and producing SVG gear outlines. I found it can work with Big Blue Saw to make custom gears out of aluminum, steel, plastic, or other materials. Before reading this, you might want to review our article on waterjet cutting gears to get an idea of what to expect when waterjet cutting gears.


In addition to allowing you to change the pitch diameter, number of teeth, and pressure angle of each gear, the website will send you a gear outline if you click the "Download SVG" button.

Here's what the SVG looks like when opened in Inkscape. Most of this stuff isn't used when making the gear, so you'll need to delete all of the unnecessary text, the pitch diameter outline, and the filled area so that you're just left with the outline of the gear.

img-polaroid img-rounded

Once you have the plain outline of the gear, you can use Big Blue Saw's DXF Export for Inkscape or pstoedit to generate a DXF file.

The vector outlines produced by are fairly clean, so once everything but the gear outline is deleted, the resulting DXF file works well with Big Blue Saw's online quoting system.


If you need advanced features like rack-and-pinion or internal gears, there's another tool which I discovered. Dr. Rainer Hessmer's Involute Spur Gear Builder offers many more options.

What's your favorite tool for creating gears? Let us know in the comments.



Numbers with a simulated bevel





Miscellaneous Signs

gavin-chan kaufman-name


Inkscape Logo

aluminum-1-finished Aluminum2-finished
ss-1-finished ss-2-finished


Turn a Logo Into a Custom Metal Sign




For Guy Fawkes Day, a Laser Cut V for Vendetta Mask

Dog Tags



Custom dog tags


Salon Sign


See a quote on this sign

Four Different Ways to Turn a Logo Into a Sign

Gym Sign negative space separate2 Gym Sign negative space stenciled
Gym Sign positive space joined2 Gym Sign positive space separate2

Turning a Logo Into a Sign


Based on our recent surveys from our customers, we've added a few new helpful features to our online quoting and ordering system so that it's easier than ever to get custom parts made.

First up, you'll notice that we've rearranged the links on the upload page and added a link to the complete list of materials available online.


Next, the material selection page has 2 useful new features: the ability to see an extra large image of your design in order to verify that it's being interpreted correctly by our system AND a handy resize button for use if you need to re-scale the design.

On the quote page, we've given you an easy way to change the material so that it's easier to get quotes on multiple materials and thicknesses for the same design.



If you're logged in, we also made it easier to get to your order status and stored files. Note the link on the right hand side of most pages on the website.



This leads to an account status screen where you can get to your order history and saved files.

Do you like the new improvements? Any suggestions for other ways we can make things better for you? Let us know in the comments or e-mail .