For my final project I'm considering two plans. Plan A is the one I've been considering for some time. Plan B is a humorous art project.

Option A
DIY record-cutting lathe. Today's music culture has lost a valuable interaction with its creative products in favor of the convenience and quick access of mp3 playing. Among the hardcore music collectors, records are still the de facto format. The record cover is enjoyed as a tactile, aesthetically pleasing object. The production of vinyl, however, is a complicated and expensive multi-phase process.

A current vinyl-cutter produced by VESTAX corporation costs $19,000.00 retail. I propose to keep this project under $500 and open up this type of personal fab for music makers on a limited budget.
Home fabrication of vinyl as an item of personal expression could both renew popular interest in this medium and support and empower the dreams of bedroom-music makers who could not previously afford the means of production and distribution of their music. The project proposes a focus on the first phase of record cutting:

A geared, DC motor-enabled, precise speed-controlled, planar and heavy 10" turntable with options for 33 and 45 rpm operation will be constructed on a vibration-dampened platform. Optical encoders will be used to provide precise feedback in a closed control loop. A three-way switch will be wired to a micro-controller that enables the user to shut the turntable off, or set the speed to 33 or 45.

A stable, horizontal stage hovering above the turntable containing a drivable lead screw connected to an armature containing a "cutting head" is driven by the microcontroller.
The "cutting head" module is an inexpensive speaker whose cone have been replaced by a metallic rod driven by an 1/8" audio input (the music to be recorded). In turn, the metallic rod distribues the vibration of the sound to a small needle placed at a 45 degree angle engraving the media.
At this point in planning, it is uncertain if the media will be clear sheets of acetate or the more widely accessible generic blank CD. Care will be taken to pre-EQualize the incoming sound to fit the dynamic range properties of the record cutter.
Finally, a user scenario will be explored in which a young man puts a spin on "making a mix tape for the girl he likes" by recording it onto vinyl and further customizing the physical object for postal delivery.""

I am also considering how the above project could be executed as a modification of Jonathan's custom milling machine or if they differ enough that I should execute mine from scratch. The advantage of modifying Jonathan's machine is that I can focus my effort in providing his user community with a novel head.

Plan B

Art project idea to make my own PERSONAL STEPHEN HAWKING. It would be a miniature two-wheeled wheelchair robot desk toy measuring about 5 inches tall and driven by an embedded micro-controller. A 3D printed or cast and painted version of Stephen would adorn the moving chair which would be programmed to speak in his voice through a hidden speaker and recite interesting passages from his book "A Brief History of Time".

Xtra Credit
I'm interested in creating a procedural, parametric software interface for the emerging ecology of Machines that Make machines. The ideas is to work "backwards". When a part or piece of reasonably arbitrary scale is required, the system suggests which of the available machines to use. When the program finds that no machine exists (i.e. part bed is too small or the wrong dimenions), the system procedurally outputs a set of plans to build a machine that can build your part.