trying to understand..

first, i would like to apologize if i posted this in the wrong topic (i'm still new here). secondly, i look at certain electronics they do not use Arduino's - so how do you build stuff (soldier, program, etc..) like that without Arduino's?

the reason i ask is - it can get costly to build stuff with Arduino's especially if they are for 1x use.. spend $40 on an arduino, program it and seal it up in a case - then to go buy another one for another project (constantly repeating this) - would definitely be expensive and wonder if it would be really worth it in the end.

just trying to understand.. because you can make stuff with LEDS without Arduino's.

You can certainly make circuits without the Arduino like this 555 LED flasher.

or you can make your own cheaper stand alone Arduino to embed in projects.

You can also use smaller and cheaper Atmels microcontrolers. Just program them using an ICSP programmer (look at the "how to load a bootloader" topic, and also "arduino on ATtiny" if you want to continue to use the arduino IDE / libs).

You may also want to use other microcontrolers than Atmel's one (Arduino uno use a ATMega328P microcontroler), but I prefer atmel's MC, because I started with an arduino and I don't want to buy a programmer, learn a new architecture, etc..

So if you don't know about ICSP, and wan't to use cheap atmel's MC, you can start by loading a bootloader on an ATMEga328P, and then load your own sketchs without the bootloader. And after that, switch to cheapers and smallers atmel MC :)

In my mind, there's a plethora of duino knock-off's that bring the price way down from Official Arduino's as well

I've had good luck with "dk-duino" off ebay

Here's a small list for you :)