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Big Blue Saw Blog General Updates

What fighting robot is Big Blue Saw sponsoring now?

 

Big Blue Saw is proud to announce we're sponsoring a robot created by Paul Ventimiglia and his new team, Aptyx Designs, for the BattleBots robot fighting competition.

As a sponsor, Big Blue Saw waterjet cut the robot's  aluminum frame based on the CAD drawings provided to us by Aptyx Designs.

The 2015 BattleBots competition will be televised starting on June 21. Until then everything remains TOP SECRET! We cannot even reveal the name of Paul's robot! We will say that we think it's pretty amazing

But here is a EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at the design of some of the waterjet cut 3/8" thick aluminum parts you'll see in this new powerful fighting robot:

battlebots robot


How do those pieces fit together to make a robot? If you've read our article on tab and slot construction, you should have a pretty good idea. Or you can read more articles about how to design parts for waterjet cutting.

 

Useful new materials in white

We're happy to announce 3 great new options for white plastic. Many loyal Big Blue Saw customers have been searching for better options for white keyboard plates, enclosures, control panels and the like.

First up: we are now offering white acetal plastic in 0.03 and 0.062 inch thicknesses. Acetal is a tough, durable material for machine parts, bearings, washers, and the like. We also offer acetal in black and in a variety of other thicknesses.

Next, we are pleased to offer white ABS plastic in 0.06 inch thickness. ABS is also tough, but less suited for wearing applications than acetal. It's also easier to glue, form and shape, and has better chemical resistance than acetal.

All of these new options come in white. But is white really white? Listen to the sonorous voice of poet Ken Nordine answer these questions far better than I ever could.

As always, if you don't see the material you need for your project in our online quoting system, please contact us and let us know what you're looking for!

Tips for Fixing Problems with CAD Files

We are often asked to diagnose problems with CAD files that don't work with our online quoting system. There are a couple basic rules for formatting CAD files: enter only the outline of the design you want us to cut, and make sure that the endpoints of all segments meet.

But some problems with CAD files can be tough to diagnose.  Let's take a look at a few common problems and their solutions.

Hidden overlapping lines

The CAD file shown below seems simple enough: a rectangle with two round holes.

But when we upload the design to the online quoting system, the system shows the circles as positive space. The rectangle is nowhere to be seen!

 

 

To diagnose this problem, we'll need to take a look at the diagnostic view. On designs with unclosed lines or other problems, there will be a link to the diagnostic view.

 

The diagnostic view shows something unusual: an endpoint on the upper segment of the rectangle. This indicates that we may have an extra segment in the outline.

Selection 245

To find the extra segment, we will open the design in our CAD program, QCad. We'll  use a selection box to select the entire corner area.

 


 

QCad highlights any selected segments by showing blue squares as its endpoints.  You can see in the image below an extra segment that overlaps the line at the top. We'll delete this and try the online quoting system again.

 

Success! The online quoting system now shows the correct outline of our file.

 Selection 248

 

Endpoints not meeting correctly

  Occasionally, you will see a message like the one below.

Selection 249

This message can be due to a variety of problems, but typically this is due to the outline not being complete. Let's take a closer look using the diagnostic view as mentioned above.

Selection 250

The green circles indicate endpoints of segments. Where a green circle appears, the quoting system was unable to match the endpoints of two segments together. So it makes sense to zoom in to check each of these areas for problems.

Opening the file in QCad and zooming in on the area in the upper center shows a section that doesn't look like a smooth outline. We can correct this by deleting any extra segments, and making sure that segments meet at their endpoints.

Selection 251

 

After deleting the unnecessary lines and making sure the remaining segments meet at their endpoints, the online quoting system can now correctly deterimine the shape of the piece to be cut.

Selection 252

Self-crossing contours in thin areas

Let's take a look at another kind of problem: self-crossing enclosures. These show up as orange areas in the online quoting system. The image below is typical of a certain kind of design we see from customers.

Selection 253

From experience, I know that the long thin cutouts at the bottom can be a problem. Remember that the kerf width of the waterjet is about 0.04 inches (1 mm) in diameter. So the narrowest areas in the cutouts likely won't be able to be cut. So I would guess that the these areas have not been reviewed correctly by the original designer.

Opening the file in QCad and zooming in shows that this is indeed the case. You can see in the image below that rather than meeting at a point, the lines making up the edges of the slots are crossing over each other.

Selection 255

 With some use of the "Trim" tool in QCad, the design can be cleaned up as shown below.

Selection 256

And now the design is ready for the online quoting system, as seen here.

Selection 257

 

Now that you've seen how to fix some of the more common problems, why not try uploading your design to our online quoting system?

May the Fourth (of an Inch) Be With You in Our Sale on Aluminum and Steel

Big Blue Saw sale on 1/4" thick aluminum 6061 and hot roll steel 1045 runs May 4-6.

On May the Fourth, Big Blue Saw strikes back with the revenge of low prices: a sale on custom CNC waterjet cut parts! This is not your ordinary holiday special: we're offering discounts on both 6061 aluminum and 1045 hot roll steel through Wednesday, May the 6th.

Every order placed online for these 3 days with waterjet cutting will automatically receive a quantity discount. Here's a trilogy of examples:

  • Our control panel example part waterjet cut from aluminum 6061 normally costs $103.30 in quantity 1. During the sale, the price will be just $46.00, a savings of over 44%.


  • The baseplate example waterjet cut from 1045 hot rolled steel has a regular price of $121.90 in quantity 1, but the sale price is just $32.40, saving you 73%.


  • Our butterfly example part waterjet cut from aluminum 6061 is regularly priced at $92.10 in quantity 1, but during the sale will be just $11.30, a savings of almost 88% off the original price!

If you've never used Big Blue Saw before and have a new project you're hoping to start, this is a great time to start without spending a lot of money. Those of you who need to clone an earlier project should attack the online quoting system now.

Use the share buttons below to tell your friends all about Big Blue Saw's latest sale!


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Big Blue Saw
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Waterjet and Laser Cut Custom Parts.
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3522 Ashford Dunwoody Rd NE #145
Atlanta, GA 30319
Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294