After countless paper and wooden templates to get the motor mount shapes and hole patterns just right, it was time to give it a shot on the real stuff. I ordered a chunk of 3/8" aluminum plate. Using the CAD drawings, one of the guys at work helped me cut the basic profiles on the CNC Plasma cutter. I was totally stoked looking at this complex geometry that took about 60 seconds to cut out.
Unfortunately, my elation was short lived. Several edges of the pattern were severely tapered, so even though the shape was perfect on one side, it was off by almost an 1/8" on the other side. I knew the shape cut by the plasma would be a little rough and had adjusted tolerances accordingly, but it hadn't occurred to me that the plasma would cut at an angle. It's possible something needs to be fine tuned. If that's the best plasma can do, I may need to rethink the manufacturing process.
Once the outer and inner profiles are cut correctly, I will use a mill to precisely drill the mounting holes for the motor and frame. Just for kicks on this piece though, I drilled the mouting holes using a paper pattern as a guide. Of course the holes for the motor didn't quite match up, so all I could do was bolt the bracket to the frame to see if it's close.
A little dissapointing, but not too bad for the first go round.