Sometimes, life gets like that old arcade game where you have a hammer and have to keep bashing the heads of gophers as they pop up out of their holes. As soon as you've got one, another pops up.
'nuff said
Where was I...
Oh yeah, I had finished bashing the greedy hacks at "pooch". So I won't re-visit that that... this time.
Here's where I'm at.
I currently have 31 boxes, an 8 port kvm, an 8 port gigabit switch and a half dozen gigabit cards, 50 feet of cat 5, a crimper and 2 dozen cat 5 jacks.
Total outlay so far has been about $325

Not a bad start...
I just wish I had more time.
The biggest obstacles right now are (in order of importance):
The cost of gigabit switches
The cost of gigabit NIC's
The cost of KVM cables
Space- 30 boxes take up quite a bit of room.
Actually, with spring coming, space really isn't an issue as I have 22x50 outbuilding that could be rehabbed for very little cost and used to house the project when it gets to that stage.
So, right now I'm cutting Cat 5 cable and crimping ends onto the short sections to connect up the boxes to the switches. This keeps costs way down, but gives me fits of boredom.
Some solutions I need to explore:

Is it possible to build a gigabit switch cheaper per port than it can be bought?

Gigabit nics are getting cheaper, so by buying bulk, maybe I can get the price down to the $5 range.

Is it possible to get a really beefy Powersupply and rig it to power a bunch of boards- saving space and money. (boards go for a lot less than boxes)- cooling would also be more efficient with open boards.

I need to check some suppliers like Markertek etc for multi-conductor cable that I can build KVM cords for. Multi port KVM's are pretty cheap on ebay- I bought the 8 port for $30 shipped to me.

I should also look into other options like a linux version of Apple's Remote desktop, Hard wiring the boards together using 6 pin firewire or something to get past the gigabit thing.

Plenty to think about.