A robot arm kit is a great tool to learn and experiment with your first robot.
There are many cool projects you can build with a robotic arm, and you can really test if you understood basic robotic courses like forward/inverse kinematics.
Actually, robotics started mostly with robotic arms for the industry, and showing some experience in controlling robotic arms can be a good point on your resume too.
Now let's see some kits you could buy, as well some project ideas to get you started.
How much do you want to spend on your robot arm kit? Actually, you can find some very cheap kits that are well suited for children and adults alike.
The OWI Robotic Arm Edge kit is one of the best. It is shipped with a remote control for about $50, but you can get the programming software and a USB cable and make your own programs with it.
There is no soldering involved, but you have to connect all the motors to the circuit board controller and so on. It's very fun to build these kind of kits for kids. This robot arm is a really cheap way to start learning about robotics.
My first robot was a Lynxmotion robot arm kit.
Another maker of robotic arms for hobbyists is Lynxmotion. They make more serious kits, and you may need some soldering (I know I did). It will have a little more power, and the hardware is more accurate and all. It's also more expensive of course, but is a very good choice too. You can find them at Lynxmotion official website.
Okay, here is a short list of projects you can make with your robot arm kit:
I am pretty sure this list of projects can keep you occupied for a while, and most of them don't need anything more than your robot and a computer. Only the last 3 need an expensive addition like a Kinect or mobile robot.
If you make some of these projects, or have some other ideas, please share your pictures and videos on About-Robots.com Facebook Page. I would love to see them.
This robotic arm is 5m tall, can carry 1300 kg. Controls are mostly the same.
Other pages that may interest you:
How to choose your first robot? Need help sorting the options for your first robot? This is the best guide to choose it.
Choose the right robot motors. This basic guide present the 3 basic types of motors, how to control them and some shopping recommandations.
A remote control robot is easy to build and fun. There are many cases where a remote control robot is great to have. Also see how to build one.