Digital manufacturing doesn't have to be expensive or difficult, with an old computer, free software and a hiring a machine for a few minutes you can make things that would not be possible in a home workshop!
This is the first in a series of Instructables on how to use CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) and CAM (Computer Aided Machining)
The first project is simple and can be cut out of plastic with a cheap laser cutter, or If you want you can send your file to an engineering shop and have it cut out of steel, aluminum, or almost any material you can think of with, either a high power laser cutter, water jet cutter, or plasma cutter as the process is the same.
This will probably cost less than you think,as the CAD program featured here is free and it only requires an old computer to run. As computer tutorials don't translate to text very well, for this series of instructables most of the info is in the photos. So click on the first photo and use the arrows keys on your keyboard to go to the next photo. The boxes in the photos show the location of the icons and have have text in them when you hover the mouse on them.
If you download the Instructable as a pdf the photos will have numbers in different locations and the notes will be on the bottom of the photos.
Other projects are here Digital Manufacturing - project two desk name plate Digital Manufacturing - project three 3D printed box Digital Manufacturing - project four laser cut box Digital Manufacturing - project five printed toy car