Customer Success Stories

We were delighted recently to receive the following story from Jeff Snell regarding some custom stainless steel parts we waterjet cut for him.

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Less than a week before I was leaving on multi-week trip to Mozambique / Swaziland / South Africa, I broke a sideguard holder on my wheelchair. This is a super important piece: in optimal environments it keeps my clothing from rubbing against my wheels and getting dirty, in less ideal environments it keeps my hips from rubbing against my wheels and causing injury. Most of southern Africa falls under the less ideal environment for wheelchairs. The big problem for me was that this particular piece was out of production.

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I had used Big Blue Saw's regular speed services in the past and been pleased with the experience. I noticed the QuickSaw Rush Order option; so I quickly knocked out a model in Sketchup, exported to DXF using a Sketchup extension, and sent the email. Seven hours later I was contacted by Julie, who was very helpful in selecting materials they had on hand and staying on top of the QuickSaw shipment.

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The pieces were delivered two days later! I drilled out the holes to my specs and mounted the new pieces that evening. Because of Julie's quick turnaround, I had almost a full day to test out the mounts and was very happy with their precision and stiffness (the previous were constructed from aluminum and had been a bit floppy for years).

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I likely could have made due with the broken sideguard mounts, but the experience would have been more difficult and problematic. It was additionally reassuring having competent sideguards with my wheelchair taking a beating in the cargo hold of planes and hanging off the back of Land Cruisers for several days. I can't thank Big Blue Saw and Julie enough for the quick turnaround. I'm a permanent customer, but next time with a little longer turnaround time.

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Ghost Robotics, one of our customers, has been in the news lately because of their Ghost Minitaur robot. What makes this robot special? It's the first first direct-drive, legged robot, and it's available for purchase!

 

Gavin Kenneally of Ghost Robotics told a little bit more about the Ghost Minitaur via e-mail:

The motors have custom motor drivers and a microcontroller to control them. The legs each work in a plane (2 degrees of freedom), but the body has a sprawl angle, so the left/right pair are not in the same plane.

There are lots of gaits that it can do, and this is ongoing work. So far, bound, pronk, trot, and crawl are possible.
You can see some of the details of the robot below, including waterjet cut parts from Big Blue Saw.

It can even open doors despite its small size.

The video shows more of Ghost Minitaur doing a variety of other tricks like jumping and climbing a fence!

 

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We recently got the following message from Aptyx Designs, currently the #3 seed and a semi-finalist in this season's BattleBots.

Want to see how our frame was built? We designed all of our aluminum unibody frame to be waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw! The frame is all 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" 6061 aluminum plate. By designing the parts with interlocking puzzle tabs, there is a strong mechanical joint even before welding!

 

This method allows for super fast construction, accurate jigging for welding, and a strong mechanical joint by having the zig-zag weld area, and lots of filets for welding.

 

If you design parts, you can upload them to Big Blue Saw and get instant quotes, including the material costs, and see how your design affects the pricing! No need for sending out for quotes and waiting, they are super easy to work with.

 

After all of or parts were waterjet cut, we were able to do minimum fit up work, jig everything together, and get Applied Welding in Mountain View to weld everything up for us! Welding thick aluminum requires a very experienced shop to ensure proper penetration and minimal warping. Eddie Irlanda is our man for welding everything!


To learn more about designing assemblies for waterjet cutting, read our articles on construction techniques for use with waterjet cut parts.

 

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If you need custom parts for your robot, read more about how Big Blue Saw can turn  your ideas into real parts made of aluminum, steel, and more.

 

 

 

 

Shane Colton of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology e-mailed us to tell the tale of the fantastic electric go-kart that he and a group of students built with help from Big Blue Saw. It's electrically powered and features a massive steel flywheel for regenerative braking custom made by Big Blue Saw.

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I spent a while wondering how to machine a piece of steel that big and have it balanced. Waterjet makes the most sense because it cuts the center and the OD from the same reference. Anyway, we've got some really nice, clean data now from the regenerative braking circuit. (Imagine spinning those disks up to 3,000rpm and then pushing all that energy into a capacitor.) [...]

I and the group of high school students I work with appreciate the Big Blue Saw service. We've used it now for two summer projects (last year was a DIY segway scooter, which I think has been replicated a few times actually). We have six OMAX machines on campus, and I've used three of them, but it's still easier and cheaper (and often faster) from your site for many things, especially when you factor in material cost. More importantly, in terms of showing students that you can make pretty much anything without necessarily having to be an MIT engineer, it's a great tool.

Thanks for the kind words, Shane.

Shane further notes:

Flywheels this size are pretty dangerous. I wasn't that worried at 3,000rpm. But I wouldn't want somebody to go making a 10,000rpm version and have it fail. A containment is probably a good idea.

In other words, don't try this unless you know what you're doing.