I have always wanted a plasma cutter so around the beginning of February I went and got a Miller Spectrum 625 after much debating on brand, capacity, etc.
Go ahead, give me flak about the Miller -- I hear it all the time. I chose the Miller because I'm in good with the guys down at the local AirGas, and I'm partial to the power of blue.
I used the machine off and on to trim stainless sheet and mess around with, but it was aggravating to try and cut a straight line (even with the straight line roller guide I bought from Miller) without it looking like a drunk did it.
So ... I got a hairbrained idea to make a CNC plasma table.
My shop teacher from high school heard of my idea and showed me the PlasmaCam table he got the school to buy before he retired. The table, the machine, no computer, and two art CDs were $13,000. A little high for me, but I think those systems are designed for people with not much tinker time or down time to spare.
I had some basic designs sketched out that I thought would work until I started seeing what everyone online had been doing. Needless to say, my designs rapidly changed.
I typically will not even start a project until I have the entire design finished and all the kinks worked out (not in the typical government contractor fashion, of course), so it was the better part of a month of sketching, drawing, trashing, redesigning, researching, and thinking before I had a plan.
I eventually went from a full frame from 80/20 extruded aluminum to tube steel.
And so the project began.