I've just recently discovered an incredible interest in building my own circuits and my own logic. I'm in a computer architecture class and we're learning how to make ALUs based on a set of instructions.
Last year, we would create logic circuits on a breadboard using NAND and NOR chips. This year, we're using Altera to download circuits we build in software to download to a circuit board. This stuff gets me so excited, it's not even funny.
I've been collecting certain parts (some logic gates and LEDs) and I have a breadboard. I'm also thinking of buying an (or a couple) Arduino(s). However I want to build more complicated circuits with other components (variable resistors, sensors, etc). Is there a good online source where I can buy these on the cheap (maybe even bulk)? I've also heard of companies giving parts for free (as long as it is for education purposes, which I believe it is).
I'm a student and I can't afford to spend significant amounts of money on a part collection, but I do want to learn and explore.\
(On a side note, I've read Which electronics components should I always have on hand?. Does this apply to a student as well? Any advice on WHAT components I would benefit from?)