After reading all the options i'm lost as to where to start.
We can fix that. But I have to be very humble. Too many members can easily remember embarrassingly stupid questions I've asked along my journey. But your conversion will be simple due to the fact that others have already figured everything out.
I wold like to keep the cost of the mechanical parts under 5K if possible.
Unless I'm overlooking something really big you're going to do way better than that. I'm thinking about 2K.
I guess what i'd like to know is if anyone has converted this mill or does it really matter with a BP clone?
I think the experts on this forum would agree that it doesn't make any difference. You've got screws that move everything. You make brackets to mount motors that turn those screws. I think the biggest question for a mill builder is what to do with the Z axis, the up and down axis. Do you move the knee or do you move the quill? I know what I'm going to do with mine when the time comes. I'm going to do the latter.
So if anyone has a parts list or can give me the right direction to start on. I'll be using it in my home garage so it won't see daily use, but i would like to keep it robust.
I think you start with a decision for the motor size and go from there. You don't want wimpy but let's face it-- You have gear reduction so they don't need to be massive. I used 640oz steppers on my router project and I feel sure they'd work great on my knee mill.
So three steppers (unless you're going to go with servos). The steppers will tell you which Geckos to buy (unless you want something less, we think the world of those guys around here). The motor and Gecko selection will determine the size of power supply you'll need. A discarded computer with a parallel port and printer cable will be needed. Windows XP works for sure. A trial version of Mach3 will be needed. If I haven't done anything else I'll get people talking with you.