Is getting a programmable robotic arm worth it? I figure it would be a good hobby. I have a strong background in hydraulics/electronics, so would the programming part be hard to pick up?
>also general robot thread
Not him but I program robotic welding arms which would be pretty similar to your pic. It has its own software which makes it really easy to create automated task, even moving it freely is like using a gamepad.
There's a dude over in >>>/diy/ (although I haven't been there for a while so things might have changed) who bought one for about $300, made some minor repairs to it and was using it to construct a sexbot with fleshlight and dildo attatchments
it wasn't a small robot arm either, it was a big industrial 3-phase powered heavy duty one, and everyone was saying it's only a matter of time before it kills him somehow (those things can do serious damage if you get hit by one since they move deceptively fast and weigh a lot)
Do you have something specific in mind for it? Programming them isn't hard but cheap hobby ones can be shit and prone to breaking and retarded sensitivity. I've used cheapo ones that act a bit like a retard janking around, so if you wouldn't trust the task to a five year old then maybe the cheap arms aren't for you.