Was wondering what you guys thought the best "chassis" for robot development was. Not looking for electronics or a "kit" but just a platform with wheels (or legs or whatever). I like the idea of doing my own electronics (processors, sensors, power systems, etc.) and could/would eventually build my own from component parts, but I like the speed of starting with known motor/wheels/platform that are well matched and robust. I have already fried a servo trying to start with that. I also figure that by the time I bought motors, plexiglass, wheels, etc. and built it up, I would have spent more than a good base system (maybe not). I am finding that my "tinker time" is at a premium and I don't want to waste it.
There is no one "best"
There is no one “best” platform, but the Start Here robot will get you started quickly. You can make the platform as simple as you like, and add complexity later.
Others have used simple acrylic sheet, old DVDs/CDs, wood, and many other materials to bang together their own platform. Poke around the site for some ideas and see what appeals to you.
A suggestion, …
an old RC car from something like Goodwill, especially one that lacks a remote. The less expensive ones have a pretty standard receiver chip that should be relatively easy to interface with. I currently have two such RC vehicles, one of which I purchased from a thrift store. My plan is to piggyback on the receiver chip with a uC sending output to the proper pins on the receiver chip.