About a year ago I blogged an alternative Z-axis for Darwin using four tin can steppers instead of one expensive stepper and a belt drive. The only thing missing was a source of cheap motors to make it economically viable. Some time ago Forrest Higgs pointed out a source of cheap 15° motors for $2.50 made by Airpax. I also found them available for $2 at Surplus Shed. That makes a z-axis for $8 possible, which is much cheaper than original motor, let alone the belt.
They are surplus stock, so when they are gone they are gone, but there does seem to be a lot of them around. Unfortunately it costs more than $40 to ship them from the US, so the economics don't look nearly so good this side of the pond.
They are 12V 0.4A per coil, so four wired in parallel will take 1.6A, well withing the 2A capability of the RepRap electronics. They are six wire unipolar motors, but they can also be driven from a bipolar drive by using the red and orange wires as one coil and the green and brown as the other.
The pull in rate seems to be about 200pps, which would give 200 × 15 × 1.25 / 360 = ~10 mm/s with M8×1.25 threaded rod.
The boss on the back of the motor is a bit bigger than the motors I used before so I have updated the bracket design accordingly. The motors come with a spiral drive screw on the shaft. I could not find a way of getting it off, so I made a new coupling piece that clamps over it. It has a pointer so that it is visually obvious if the motors get out of step with each other.
I have uploaded both of these to Thingiverse. The other parts needed are shown below: -
And this is how they go together: -