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!


Parts cut on an abrasive waterjet are generally made with a tolerance of 0.005 inches (5/1000 of an inch). This means that you should not depend upon edges of features to be more accurately placed than 0.005 inches. Holes may be up to 0.01 inches smaller or larger in diameter than your specification.


Kerf is the cutting width of the tool used to make your parts. We typically cut parts with an abrasive waterjet with a nozzle width of 0.040 inches. Features smaller than this size may be lost. Also, inside corners have to be able to accommodate the width of the nozzle, as seen in the picture below.



Parts cut using ordinary waterjet cutting will have a slight taper along the cut edge of the part, typically between 0.0005 inches and 0.01 inches. Our low-taper waterjet cutting service eliminates this taper for an extra charge.

You can see the effect in the photo below. Both parts are made from aluminum 6061, but the one on the right is made using our low-taper waterjet cutting process.


Surface Finish

Please also see our FAQ on surface finishing options.

Our abrasive waterjet cut parts have a slightly rough surface finish on the areas where they are cut. You can see this effect on this part, cut from 0.25 inch thick Aluminum 6061 alloy:
Waterjet cut aluminum  part
Close up:
Closeup of waterjet cut aluminum  part showing surface roughness

All parts are cut at "Quality 3", which is good enough for most purposes.

Note that clear plastics made on the waterjet will have a frosted appearance along cut edges, which can be removed with appropriate chemical cleaning and polishing, if desired. Note that laser cut parts have much smoother edges. Here is what 0.125 inch thick clear polycarbonate plastic looks like after being cut with a waterjet:
Polycarbonate plastic cut on waterjet showing edge frosting.

Waterjet entry/exit points

You will occasionally see small indentations where the waterjet stream begins and ends cutting a piece. Image


Your part may have a small tab where the part was held to the stock material. You can remove this tab with a file or a similar tool.



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