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Big Blue Saw Blog General Updates

Spring Design Contest: the Winners

We're proud to announce the winners today of Big Blue Saw's Spring Design Contest. The contest was close because all of the entries had their strengths, but in the end our judges were abe to pick the winners.

 

First up, the Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:

 

2nd Place and winner of $150 in services from Big Blue Saw waterjet or laser cutting:

Spring Flowers by Ian M.

Ian designed this lovely vase and flowers so that nearly all the pieces could be made using Big Blue Saw. Says Ian:

In honor of the spring design contest, I decided to create a centerpiece which shows spring in two ways. The first is thematically with a fresh bouquet of flowers with butterflies flying around. The weather turns warmer, and the flowers start to bloom. The second is by construction technique for the vase. The vase is cut from three sheets of copper which are then stretched upwards to form the vase, one large spring.

Read more about it and download the CAD files from Ian's GrabCAD page.

 

Grand Prize Winner $300 in services from Big Blue Saw waterjet or laser cutting

Luma Scissors by Jeff K.

Barely edging out Spring Flowers to win the grand prize by a hair is Luma Scissors, by Jeff K. Luma Scissors are a moving sign for hair salons. His cause was no doubt helped by his detailed video explaining exactly how he puts together the Luma Scissors signs from parts made by Big Blue Saw.

Jeff is a big fan of waterjet cutting. He writes:

By taking advantage of the water jet process’s ability to make precise and intricate designs, I am able to reduce the cost of my parts and reduce the cost of assembly.

Read more about the Luma Scissors on their website.

A big thanks to everyone who entered and our esteemed judges!

 

Nesting Files for Optimum Pricing With Big Blue Saw

Rufous hummingbird (female nesting)

"Nesting" refers to packing multiple shapes together.

As many of you know,  you can get a much better per-part price if you put multiple parts of the same design in to a single file to upload to our instant quoting system.

I'm often asked by customers looking to order multiple parts in a single file how to correctly arrange the files together in order to get the best possible price. In the majority of cases, the answer is "don't bother". Sometimes it does make sense, though. We'll take a closer look at when you might want to pack your parts closely together and when you shouldn't worry about it.

Note that this information is current as of the date of this article, and we may update or improve our instant quotes in the future.

When nesting doesn't matter at all

Let's first take a look at a case where it does not matter how you nest the parts.

In this design, four rectangles are spread out over an area about 31.4 inches by 15 inches. If we pick one of Big Blue Saw's most expensive stock materials, Stainless Steel 304 at 0.75 inches thick, we get a single set price of $247.90.

So we pack them closer together. Now the rectangles are squished into 18x7.1 inches. The single set price with the same material as above is now... $247.90.

Finally, we'll really pack them in and get rid of almost all the space between parts so that they're now 17.5x7.1 inches. The price then becomes... $247.90 yet again. So for all of our effort to get a good nesting on these parts, we've saved no money.

When nesting matters a little

But nesting DOES matter in some cases. Take a look at these two parts within a single file. They are approxmately 11x17 inches and 1.4x8.4 inches. When you get a quote for these with aluminum 6061 in 0.125 inch thickness (one of our most popular materials),  you get a price of $97.60 for quantity 1 set or  $23.34 each set in quantity 10.

Now let's fit the two pieces together as shown here. The  price comes down to $96.80 for each set of 2 or  $22.49 in quantity 10. So you'd be saving 80 cents off of your total price in quanitity 1 or $8.50 in quantity 10.

Why did this nesting change the price when we saw earlier that packing the shapes closer together didn't affect the price? The online quoting system looks the rectangles measured horizontally and vertically which enclose the parts and uses those to calculate the amount of material needed to make your parts. If the rectangles don't overlap, you have the case we saw earlier, where the nesting did not affect the price. However, if the bounding rectangles overlap, we can probably use less material to make your parts, and thus you will save money.

Note that if nesting two parts together gives an enclosing rectangle with an area larger than the area used by the parts separately, the quoting system will add the two bounding rectangles together in order to give you a lower price.

When nesting matters a lot


With that in mind, let's take a look at an extreme example. In this case, the parts are 10.9 x 17 and 12 x 8.6 inches. When we choose an expensive stock, like 0.75 inch thick stainless steel 304, the price for 1 set is $479.10 for the separate pieces and $366.80 when the pieces are closely nested. Here, the difference is between two enclosing rectangles 10.9 x 17 and 12 x 8.6 inches  or 288.5 square inches vs. a single enclosing rectangle 11.5 x 17 inches or 195.5 square inches.

Part orientation

Here's another case where how you position the parts in your design can have an impact on your final quote. The pieces on the left and right have the same dimensions, but the one on the right has been tilted almost 45 degrees. The piece on the left has a measurement of 0.9 inches X 15.9 inches. On the right, it measures 12.5 inches horizontally by 11.1 inches vertically. When made with stainless steel 304 0.75 inches thick, the price goes from $96.90 for the piece on the left to $250.10 for the piece on the right. This is because the enclosing rectangle for the tilted piece is significantly larger, so the quoting system thinks that it will take a lot more material to make the part.

Making things easy for us

We often get e-mails from customers wanting to change their nesting in order to "make things easy" when the parts are cut, wanting to fit into a whole sheet, and the like. This usually doesn't make sense, as we cut most of our parts from very large sheets and charge you strictly for the material used. Often, the sheets we're using have already had a few previous parts cut from them, so your nesting may not fit into the stock we have available.

If you happen to make the parts too close together on an order with stock material, this isn't a problem for us, as we typically end up re-nesting anyway.

The one case where having a nesting from a customer may make a difference is if we are cutting a custom material supplied by that customer. When you're ordering this way, should know the dimensions of the material you're providing. Keep in mind that for waterjet cutting, we need a 0.25 inch margin around all edges and a 0.125 inch space between each part. For laser cutting, we need an 0.25 inch margin, and 0.03 inch spacing between each part.

Summary

  • For designs with a mostly rectangular outline, changing the nesting won't change the price at all.
  • If you can fit one part inside another, it may help the price, especially on more expensive stock materials.
  • Rotate your parts to minimize the enclosing rectangle.
  • After you order, when it's time for us to cut your parts, we often re-nest parts on stock materials.

Judges in the Spring Design Contest

If you haven't heard, Big Blue Saw is giving away $450 in FREE waterjet and laser cutting services in our Spring Design Contest.

I'm proud and humbled today to announce our lineup of talented, accomplished, and good looking judges for the contest.

Valerie Hill

Valerie Hill is the current Director of the Dragon*Con Robotics and Maker Track. She has judged and helped organize many of the combat robotics competitions in the Southeast. Valerie is a graphic designer involved in the print industry, specializing in freestanding displays.

Shane Matthews

Shane is listed as inventor or co-inventor on more than a dozen patents with others pending. Best known for his work on the Nerf AirJet brand, Shane also has helped to develop manufacturing processes for lithium ion batteries. He is a mentor and coach to inventors through the My Inventor Club, which he established here in Atlanta. See more at http://atdc.org/bios/shane-matthews/

Marc DeVidts

Marc is the CTO and co-founder of Double Robotics. Launched in 2012, Double has sold thousands of telepresence robots and has been featured in dozens of TV shows, including NCIS Los Angeles, The Good Wife, The Colbert Report. Marc has also been an avid BattleBots builder since the age of 17, taking 2nd place at his first event, the 2002 inaugural BattleBots IQ high school tournament. Since then, he has continued to build robots and interesting gadgets, including the LED suits for the Black Eyed Peas and the LED Mau5head for Deadmau5.

Charles Guan

Charles is the mastermind behind the assortment of megalomechanical creations on etotheipiplusone.net, including robots, vans, and silly electric vehicles. He is an instructor and mentor for undergraduates in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the co-founder of Equals Zero Designs, manufacturers of innovative products for hobbyists, students, and amateurs in mechanical and mechatronic design, including the highly anticipated, soon to be released RageBridge 2.

Megan Kober

Megan works with smart, interesting people at Alii Healthcare, where her title is Manager of Everything. Alii has created Bond, an app to instantly connect patients to ER physicians via video connection. She is also a registered dietitian and blogs at thenutritionaddiction.com.

If you haven't entered our Spring Design Contest yet, it's not too late. Just click on over to http://a.pgtb.me/mhW3Q6 before March 13 to enter. And be sure to remind all your friends to vote for you!

Big Blue Saw's Spring Design Contest: $450 in Waterjet Cutting to Be Won

Spring Design Contest

Big Blue Saw is giving you the opportunity to show off your finest plans for creations to be made with waterjet cutting. The best design will receive a $300 gift certificate from Big Blue Saw for waterjet or laser cutting. Second place gets a $150 gift certificate. The theme for this challenge is "SPRING".

Read more about the Spring Design Contest and enter to win FREE waterjet cutting services from Big Blue Saw.

Announcing Big Blue Saw's Photo Contest Winner

motorcycle oil tank

Congratulations to DJ Kasch, winner of Big Blue Saw's first photo contest. His photo of a motorcycle oil tank emerged victorious with 78 votes to 64 for the 2nd place entry. (We'll have more on the runner up soon.)

DJ is in the middle of a custom motorcycle build in collaboration with Handmade Industries of Salt Lake City, Utah. The frame is a chopped Harley Sportster, and DJ models all of his custom parts in SolidWorks before fabrication.

I'm also quite pleased that the waterjet cut parts in the photo were created by Big Blue Saw. When I talked to him on the phone, DJ told me they're "right to spec" from the SolidWorks drawing.

Future contestants take note: he won the contest by using the contest Share button and asking all of his friends to vote for him on Facebook. It spread so that DJ's friends were asking THEIR friends to vote for him.

You can catch some glimpses of the bike in progress on DJ's Instagram feed, as well as the Handmade Industries feed.

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Waterjet and Laser Cut Custom Parts.
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Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294