I never think my projects are going to be interesting, so I don't take mid-project pictures. So I apologize if my intermediate steps are unclear due to lack of pictures. Feel free to drop me a line and I'll try to explain what I did in more detail.
I've entered this project to the Epilog contest, so please vote for me if you think I deserve it. As a university student, I'd probably drag it on-campus, and set it up to allow other students to use it for free/at cost for their projects, personal and professional. I know I've got a whole bunch of ideas I've been sitting on without the extra cash to burn on laser/CNC cutting; I'm sure others here do too.
Step 1: How it works
Also, a key aspect is an intermediate color (in my case, grey-ish) in between the squares.