Let me get something straight right up front.
I am not an engineer. I'm not an electronics or mechanical design degree student. I'm not a welder, machinist, rocket scientist or nobel prize winner. I don't hold any patents, nor have I ever considered applying for one. I'll probably never fly a space shuttle, eat an ostrich burger or launch a nuclear missile at a small unsuspecting country. I couldn't tell you how to build an H-bridge electronic circuit or how to determine the meta-key-balance-resistance of your thermonuclear thingamajoggle. I'm just a guy with some tools, who likes to take things apart to see how they work and can barely put them back together.
I build robots for one reason- It's a challenge. Okay, two reasons- its pretty darn FUN too!
Almost all my tools can be purchased from your local hardware-store, and I build from scrap materials whenever possible. I don't concern myself if a line isn't straight or a hole doesn't line up perfectly, most of the time it really doesn't matter and I can make it work around a flaw. I work in my garage, living room, back porch- or wherever, at least until my wife kicks me out. When I need a special component, I can usually find it in a catalog somewhere, I don't have to make it from scratch on a $50,000 machine with ultra space-age materials.
My point? If I can do it, so can you. Don't think that you need to be a complete egghead to build cool robots. There are TONS of resources out there to help you along the way. Take advantage of them! Read my tips page and the tips other builders have posted on their own sites, and don't feel intimidated because you can't afford to buy the best tools and parts! Sometimes the best part is the part you find in a scrap heap, barnyard, corner of a garage, or in a dumpster.
Good luck! Now get to work. See you at the next battle!