Some time ago I stumbled onto the Mantis CNC machine and have been plotting to build it for sometime now. I have long been interested in CNC milling, but I didn't want to make a $1000 investment to get into the hobby, and find out I was really not that interested in making stuff. I've done a fair number of metal projects over the years and have always needed to come up with a way to get more precise results then I was getting with hand tools.
The task of wading through all the different build styles and figuring out a BOM to source was daunting, and everytime I started I butted up against the same problem, where do you source the controller, and where do you source the motors. For a large scale CNC Router, I still plan on purchasing one of the plans from Solsyva, and getting the motor's, power supply and controller from Xylotechs but that is for when I'm ready to plunk down about $1000 for a large and accurate machine.
The Mantis build was different because it focused on something that could be made with simple machine tools, and the cheap materials. I printed out the parts, and cut and drilled all of the "pegging" holes to do the co-drills for parts that line up about a year ago, but just have waffled about pulling the trigger on buying motors and controllers. A recent project at work might have given me the catalyst I was in need of. While breaking down an old digital sign so that we can recycle and dispose of the parts I found this little gem inside.
I bought some motors that I'm a little sad about in hindsight, but they where cheap and will work. I'm sad because they are a five lead stepper that means they can only operate as uni-polar motors (bi-polar have more torque) you can see the difference here. Because the motors I bought aren't the NEMA body style I'm glad that I held out on drilling the motor mount holes. And without further adieu here is a picture of my controller.