We're thinking of spinning our own motor driver board to interface to the PXI-7358. I'm curious if anyone has any experience with a particular chip that interfaces well with the STEP/DIR or CW/CCW protocol.
Also, if anyone knows of any good 3rd party solutions that they decided to use I'd be interested. I've seen this: Drive Advisor and while useful I don't feel like it's completely comprehensive.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anything beyond the NI drives the third party drives that we sell. However, I do suggest that you look through these KnowledgeBase articles: "How Do I get the 73xx Controller and UMI-7764 to Drive a Third Party Stepper Motor?" and "How to connect the 73xx inhibit and command signal outputs to third party drives" which outline some important concepts to keep in mind when you do interface our motion controller cards with third party drives and motors. Hopefully someone in the community with more experience with 3rd party drivers can provide more insight. Feel free to post any new developments in your project.
I do not think that it makes much sense to design your own motor driver board, there is more to it than a plain power driver. You also need current regulation for two phases and - if you do not want to run your motor in full step mode, as I presume - intelligent control circuitry to set the phase currents.
We are using driver subsystems from IMS
They manufacture drivers in different form factors (with pin connectors, screw terminals etc) which can easily be integrated on your own pc boards as well as on panel boards. They interface easily with NI cards.