"Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance."
That is something one of my sergeants in the Army was fond of saying. Why am I bringing this up? Before you do ANYTHING, have a plan. I don't mean "Have a plan that cannot change no matter what," as that is rigid, inflexible and will only lead to your head hurting.
So, you want to build something. What purpose does the thing serve? What loads will it see? What functionality does the thing need to have? How much space will it take up? What are the size constraints for moving parts? Is weight a concern?
All of these questions and more should be asked of yourself or your customer. Here you can see a pile of aluminum that was purchased after doing a CAD drawing with the express purpose of figuring out how much material to buy:
I got the saw horses out and laid out the first pieces to cut:
When you buy material, NEVER assume that lengths are the same:
If you were relying on these ends to all match up to make something square, you would fail horribly. NEVER ASSUME. ALWAYS MEASURE!
I marked the correct length on two sides of the box tube:
Making good progress:
Stacking all the like parts together:
I was getting tired after a very long weekend full of lots of traveling and busy-ness, so I stopped cutting after I made most of the major cuts. The last thing I did was bust out the biiiiiig Sharpie:
And marked up all the surfaces I will be laying out lines for holes and trimming pieces to fit:
Ready for final layout in the morning: