have you read the recommended beginner tutorials? read every one and that will get you far. making the $50 robot will help you so much. google "beetlebot" which is a very easy robot that uses switches for wall avoidance. robot building for beginners is a great book. the website is robotroom.com and the sandwich bot is built in small parts throughout the whole book until you have a whole robot. it goes over soldering, safety, tools, where to get parts, multimeters and so much more. there is also a sequel which will advance you a lot further.