Industrial design student workshop

I’ve recently started studying again for industrial design and I’m thinking of building out a machine shop for myself during my studies.
I already built a LR2 before, was very happy with that, but reused the components to build an mpcnc to hopefully cut aluminium for some simple moulds (unfinished at this point).
Now I’m getting interested in building a plasma cutter to do some sheet metal cutting for furniture with a LR3 base to start from.
What are your recommendations to keep in mind and what type of accuracy could I expect from a machine like this?
Meanwhile I’m also looking at omtech lasers like the k40. Is there any way to build a machine that has all of this? A co2 laser, router and plasma cutter? I know these machines have the same basic xyz movements, but keeping them separate seems more doable than making something that can do all three.
I have a pretty large shop here at home that could accommodate multiple machines, but to have a decent sized machine for all of these would take up a lot of space.
Has anyone built anything that has an easy to switch setup? It feels wasteful to build the same motion system 3 times just to use another tool.

Thanks for any help and guidance on this!

I built two LowRiders, one carrying a router (larger, for full 4’ x 8’ sheet cutting), and another one carrying a plasma torch (smaller, for cutting something like around 30" x 50" or so). I documented both builds here on the forum.

The differences between the two methods mean lots of differences between the two machines as well as between their two tables, and in fact, between the operating systems / firmware.

CNC router does not do auto Z probe on every cut path action; CNC plasma does.

CNC router does not do sparks, spit fire and noxious fumes, or require a metal table with some option for managing the noxious fumes; CNC plasma does.

CNC router needs a consumable spoil board, while CNC plasma needs consumable metal slats.

CNC router does not use auto tool height control (rather doing spoil board flattening as prep instead), while CNC plasma does do auto torch height control (THC).

My CNC router’s control board(s) and firmware have been “standard” LowRider type stuff (which is a re-use of stuff typically used for 3D printing). Started off with BTT SKR board and BTT TFT, using Marlin firmware, and I later switched to Jackpot board and FluidNC firmware.

My CNC plasma control board and firmware are very different from the router-based. For plasma I use a Linux “real time” kernel on an old laptop, running LinuxCNC (which is a “flavor” of Linux), and using the associated QTPlasmaC user interface, and all that driving / controlling things by use of an ethernet breakout board made by MESA Electronics, and also using a second MESA sub-board for auto torch height control.

My CNC plasma rig cuts using a stainless steel table and stainless steel water trays for catching sparks, smoke, and subduing some of the fumes.

Plus, all that said, a CO2 laser rig that is high power and high speed, comes with its own set of requirements that tend to make it better to have a standalone rig for it, dedicated just to that. So, I bought a standalone CO2 rig, rather than trying to get my LR3 with a router to do double duty. I think a lot of makers of MPCNC / LowRider have had success with diode lasers attached to their router-based CNC. However, there are some issues.

For me, in my maker space, I have three dedicate machines for CNC router, CNC laser, and CNC plasma. Also recently bought a dedicated CNC vinyl cutter machine. There again, some vinyl cutting has been done with V1 machines. But there are challenges. Flatness of the cutting surface being one. Having all these dedicated machines also means I’ve created a bit of a problem with lack of space. So maybe I should have said, “in my maker [lack of]space.”