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this has been something i've wondered about most robot builders. on one side i hear allot of people discouraging "re-inventing the wheel" as they call it while there's a few people like admin who've gone down to the basics to bring the famous $50 robot featuring pop bottle and cardboard accesories and a custom built mcu. so where do you fall? personally i like going as basic as i can in something because i always learn more about something when i look at it's foundation.
wow that is low level! how do you go about manufacturing your own parts like that? start making your own transistors and you'll REALLY be reinventing the wheel like this guy did it. http://hackaday.com/2010/05/13/transistor-fabrication-so-simple-a-child-can-do-it/