Look at how cute my kids are.
Look at this deep, dangerous, uncovered window well.
Look at the window well covers I made to prevent the above simulated event from actually happening.
I was originally going to cover the frame with plexiglass, but to get enough of it that was thick enough to support someone standing on it would have brought the cost well above the $520 I was trying to beat, so I went with expanded metal mesh - still the most expensive part of the project, but it still lets in plenty of light to the basement and I don't have to worry about the covers breaking when the kids play on them (and they do play on them).
(Can you guess which one craves the attention and which one is still more interested in the bugs down in the window well?)
Expanded metal (Two, 4x8 sheets) - $148
Angle Iron (Bed Frames) - $45
Drill Bits, cutting wheels - $24
Nuts, bolts, washers, & other incedentals - $39
Rubberized spray (to make them look nice and to prevent rust) - $31
Total Cost: $288 ($336 if you count the grinder), or $72 each ($84 each if you count the grinder).
Time: I can't remember, but it was a lot - probably the equivalent of three full weekends non-stop.
After making my own window-well covers and understanding the time and materials that go into them, the $130-per-cover price doesn't seem so outrageous anymore. Would I do it all over again? Probably, but only because I got a power-tool out of it...