Hi there 4lowie,
Only because I use this, I am of course biased in my opinion at least to the electronics, you could look at a local G540 unit for driving your stepper motors, you can get your breakout board if you need one, wiring, switches, and steppers at the same place. Mach3 will output step and direction signals via a printer port so you may need to get your local computer 'fixit' shop to wack one into you're pc for you and then if Mach is installed already, re-install it so that the printer port is recognized by Mach and configured. Don't think about using a laptop for output signals, 'cause the voltage levels vary too much for 1/0 logic. There are USB 'thingies' out there also, but cost $$ and may or may not be what you need. CNC is an endless money pit. Think of the dollars needed, compared to what you want to achieve. I used to wish I had the budget of NASA. I think their budget's been slashed, but I could still find a use for the few bucks they're getting now I'm sure of it, in fact I think I've spent it already, but I do have a warm feeling about it I reckon, I think... No, I'm sure... ah.. yeah.. well, I'm pretty sure anyway.
Just funnin', onya and go for it, have fun.