Everyone involved in the maker movement today once started off as a complete beginner, and it's both fascinating and rewarding when you can watch the progression from neophyte to accomplished maker - as with Alex Weber, software engineer and self-described 'hardware tinkerer.' In his Halfbug project, Alex documents the eleven-month process of building his own robot - not from a kit, but from parts manufactured himself using a lathe, a manual mill and his newly-purchased ShapeOko 2 computer-controlled CNC mill. It's Arduino powered, naturally, and uses an ultrasonic sensor on a clever moveable head to sense its surroundings and modify its movement accordingly. While the Halfbug isn't exactly a beginner project, it's a great demonstration of what makers can achieve with time and effort - and Alex has released the source code and chassis design files under a permissive licence on his GitHub repository for anyone else who fancies building a Halfbug of their own.
This was one of my longer running projects and there were a couple of times where I had doubts if I would ever finish it. In the process I had some fails but mostly it was a matter of re-designing and re-doing a part. Then, the first time halfbug was doing push-ups on my desk, super cool. I learned a lot and have still a ton to learn.