My 15 yo son purchased an arduino uno to create variable speed on a motor used to propel ping pong balls for a ping pong ball server he is building. He has spent a month with a breadboard and his computer and arduino uno and has made no progress. I am not a programmer nor electrical engineer so I have limited ability to help him. Is the arduino starter kit a worthwhile purchase to develop the skills he would need to do the ping pong ball server project?
A common cause of not progressing is trying to jump in at too advanced a level, neglecting learning the basics. If your son works through the projects in the starter kit and takes a little time to understand each of those projects, rather than just blindly following the instructions, it should give a good introduction to the basics, which can then be applied to the ping pong project.
If you or your son (preferably the person with the best programming knowledge) posts the best attempt at a program and details of the hardware connected to the Uno we will try to help.
I would not rush out to buy more equipment just yet.
I also always advise people to start at the start with the basics and the starter kit WITH INSTRUCTIONS - not all instructions are created equal. While blinking some LED's and lighting them in sequence may sound like dull - it is important to get the basics down. Also he should try some variations of the lessons to build up his skills.
I have an industrial controls background and still had to start with starter kits to get the feel of process control with a new language -
A ping pong ball server deserves some mechanical device. If that device fits the purpose, code can be written for it. But as long as we don't know that part of the project, no substantial advice can be given.