i want to make a 3d zoetrope using a pulsing LED array and a stepper motor so I can get a precise RPM. I do not have much experience with stepper motors so my only question right now is what would be a good place to start? I have a few good bipolar ones laying around but no drivers. I was going to get a few of these: https://www.jameco.com/Jameco/Products/ProdDS/1054684.pdf

Will those enable me to get a smooth and endless 360 degree rotation?

thanks so much for any feedback

So long as your steppers have coil currents less than 1 amp that part would work fine. I've always worked with the Sparkfun easydriver. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10267

They also offer a bigeasydriver if you need more current. The control is reduced to a direction and step command and they support micro-stepping which is very good for smooth motion. Lastly, they are quite resilient even in the face of careless users who do things like reversing the input power and miss-wiring the motor.

One thing to note is that you can only step so fast before the stepper motor skips steps and stops moving altogether, so stepper motors typically are quite slow (hundreds, but not thousands of RPM). This may dictate some sort of gearing system or the use of a different motor depending on how fast the device needs to spin.

ah thanks. i blew out my other easy driver but now i ordered that bigger one so hopefully i won't have the same problem any more

If overheating is an issue, remember that the motor uses the most current when stopped, so if possible you want to sleep the motor via the controller and not leave it parked for long periods without heat-sinking. The chip should have overheat shutdown, but I wouldn't rely on it.