I don't know whether or not I'll actually build one yet, as to do so properly would require ball bearings, metal working, etc and frankly the fund's just aren't available right now(have yet to purchase the previous circuit I said I'd build, although the design and concepts are as clear as day to me now thanks to your help) That said, I'd like yet more advice from you guys.
I found this excellent resource: http://homepage.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/step/types.html and concluded that If I was going to build one I'd build a variable reluctance stepper motor because the rotor wouldn't need to be magnetised and the switching would be 'relatively' simple. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no experience whatsoever with micro-controllers and integrated circuits, though I hear alot of good thing's about Arduino.
It come's down to this: As much googling as I do, fundamentally I know nothing(really) about micro-controller's and integrated circuits and such. While one 'guide' or 'tutorial' uses micro-controller XYZ, with specific code N, another could do it with entirely different code on micro-controller UWN. Worse still some just use discrete components (transistors). Even if I were able to follow the guide to the letter (of those that I've found), I wouldn't know much more than when I'd started and disregarding that I wouldn't even know how to begin to program a micro-controller (interpreter? what's this interpreter you speak of? visual studio 2010, right? I kid, I kid. )
I plan to at least purchase a stepper motor and drive it by myself as a gateway into these kind of components. I'd love to just read a comprehensive guide to these components, but of course no such resource exists. I therefore conclude that I should just decide to build something and build up knowledge that way(It's how I learnt to program and as gruelling as it was, It got the job done).
Some thing's to know: I have 3+ years of experience programming in C++. No experience with coding assembly or other such low-level languages. However it goes without saying I'd be fine coding most program's in C with proper documentation.
Finally, the question: What integrated circuits/micro-controllers, etc, etc would you suggest for me to purchase as a (complete) beginner. I've looked into Arduino but It's obviously not the only solution nor necessarily the best. In terms of number of phases, not sure yet, a controller with room to expand would be great. Also, let me know if this is too much as a 'starting' point. Thanks.