I'm coming to the conclusion that I need something comparable to the Flashcut 8300. I've also come to the conclusion that I'll never be able to foot the 18K to own one. My question... Is it realistc to consider something like this a DIY project? Could a regular Joe such as myself pull something like this off? What are your thoughts?
Building a moving gantry router/mill like the Flashcut 8300 is certainly doable, given access to the right tools and a bit of skill. Lots of people on this forum have built their own CNC, some basic, some very impressive. In the Photo Gallery under DIY CNC Machines you will find a good cross section of work done by the people on the forum.
You might want to start by looking at the plans available from Campbell Designs, Data-cut and many others, as well as ready to assemble units such as K2.
As with anything, the more skill and more money you bring to the project the better the end result.