@Scott - Thanks. It's actually a four-op part, as it gets machined on four sides and I don't have a 4th axis, yet. Vimeo embedding didn't seem to work, but here's a link to a video showing the first two operations: http://vimeo.com/50729088
I'm close to moving to an extrusion for this part. The video shows the new machine, not the $2500 clunker
Soft jaws and carrier machining are godsends for short runs. The stock on the right is only held by .060" of material.
I was in the same boat regarding machine purchase after the Kickstarter project. Machine prices have really come down and you don't have to be selling that many units to pay for the tool. And as you pointed out, the CAD/CAM equation is becoming more user friendly as well (Sadly, my CAM is not associative with my CAD at this point...someday).
I think the real power of Kickstarter for product design is here. Rather than just funding a single product, it has the potential to get miniature factories off the ground. I funded the follow focus via Kickstarter, but the Barely Baseplate was self-funded because it was so cheap to do so once I owned the means of production (and because it's more stressful to move from prototype-to-production in public ala Kickstarter.) So when people support a design/manufacture concern, they're really getting multiple benefits: the original item, plus the potential of future products that might have never existed with multiple middlemen taking their cuts. That's my take anyway. I too have some background in CNC (worked in machine shops while in college) so I wonder how steep the learning curve would be for someone with no background in it whatsoever. I know when I was in school, you had to hang out in the engineering labs to get any hands-on cnc experience.
Cool furniture, by the way.