True...it's pricey stuff....hey...why not use quality parts. (not sure Painless is quality).
I built both of my bumpers and swing gate because I wanted something custom..but it took me weeks of cutting, welding, grinding, machining and I had fun doing it.
I got what I wanted out of the project that someone else did not make.
Was it cheaper..hell no! I could have bought three sets of bumpers for what I put into mine. But if someone has what I need and it suits the bill...hey I will pay for it to free up my time to go wheeling.
My 1947 flat fender had kept me very busy..but there was not a lot of aftermarket goodies for it, so I fabricated parts for it. The same thing with my 1978 CJ-5..lot's of work.
But I will tell you, there are lot's of cool stuff for my TJ & JK out there and I could get off the trail and hit the road with air conditioning and cruise control on!
So what I am saying is, I to love to fab my own stuff. It gives me the appreciation for the guys who go ahead and make the aftermarket equipment (like the small guys like spod). I understand why things cost so much for these guys to build, especially if it's made here in the US.
I'm just standing up for the small guys..that's all.
Like I said, your project is very nice and it is what you wanted. Spod does not have what you wanted. For others, yes, maybe no, but to me the price for their system is justified my project.