Crafting parts (newbie needs guidance)

Hi there, I'm starting in the world of electronics and computer interaction, building my own circuits connected to different input/output of the PC,
etc...
My main goal is to have the computer control something in reality. Robotics. And my main problem is I lack the skill about crafting robot parts that will be attached to motors to create movement. I don't have any tools and have no experience working with any kind of materials.
I'm looking to make a solid robot, something that can potentially survive a crash (in case a remote controled car!) or survive anything wrong that can happen to it, the structure would need to be solid. My budget is pretty low and yet, I'm probably able to make some money available for that hobby. I don't know what materials I can use that suits my situation and needs, something that would not require the whole workshop to make the part, something that could be light and solid (or heavy), yet it has to be easy to use.
My post is not directly about robotics and might have better feedback in other newsgroup, can you tell me which, and if you know a website that can get me started, please tell me!
Thanks for any help in advance! Simon
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OK, can I buy them ready-made?? ;-)
I would need the following: 1-axis articulations (shoulder), rods of a certain length, rod motor rotary around its axis(like a drill, but smaller), wheels and gears, pistons?, what else... sensors (that's for a different thread, I'm reading on it already).
Thanks for the help, Simon
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I am certainly not an expert, but since no one else replied, I will try to give you some useful info.
Of course a kit is the best place for you to go. There is a lot to learn in robotics and you can't learn it all at once. The right kit will let you use the knowledge you already have, and then stretch you a bit further.
I think your existing understanding of electronics will be a valuable asset.The computer hardware and software interface knowledge will be especially useful.
But, all that said, the best I can do is refer you to some on-line stores that a good selection.
http://www.hobbyengineering.com
http://www.budgetrobotics.com/
http://www.lynxmotion.com (they have an arm kit, plus a modular set of components)
Joe Dunfee
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Simon, Do you have the programming abiltity to do this project where building it would be your only short coming? ( the idea intrests me, but all my attemps at shared programs to run robotics elsewhere have failed thus far)
now, you say you have nothing? how much nothing? A screwdriver? Soldering Iron? hacksaw? anyways, what are you trying to do exactly.( I mean, describe the timing, motions and events you want to occur in a specific device.)
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Well, I'm an excellent C/C++ programmer and I've been reading about using the different ports on the computer to have interactivity with the outside, I'm thinking on using the parallel port for a start and my long term goal is to get to make my own PCI interface card.

Yea, kinda nothing. I mean, I do have one of those 10-in-1 screw drivers and that's about it, not even a hammer! (Yea, I'm still young!)
About the robotics I'm going toward, I'll be interested to try everything, starting from the simplest rotary motion like a wheel in a car, then trying more advanced mechanisms like transfering the rotation onto a different axis, a changing angle between the two axis of rotation, etc, etc, etc...
It all depends on the project, and right now, there is no "starter" project, I was looking for your comments and I think starting with a kit will definately be the way to go. It will work and I can possibly hack it to work my way, then try to interface it with my parallel port, eventually craft parts made of plastic or metal with the same design as the kit has, maybe bringing my own modifications...
So, yea, I'll invest in a kit, and... then, I'll have precise questions for you guys! ;)
Thanks a lot! Simon
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Simon wrote:

I am trying to get into robotics in a similar sort of way. I did a little research and ended up buying a phidgets interface (search for "phidgets usa") which plugs into the USB port and can control some circuits. This really saves a few hard steps in getting from programming to motion since there is already a library writeen that can be accessed from VBA (or C) to control inputs and outputs. As for building materials, I'm going to start with legos. My reasoning is that they already have premade gears and rack and pinions for linear motion and they all fit together nicely. If you need more strength you could glue them together or add parts of other materials. In terms of motors and circuits, radioshack has little motors and with lego gears you can reduce the gear ratio. To control the motor search for information on "H-bridge." I also found I had to use relays (or maybe MOSFETs would have worked) to get the required amperage.
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