Seeking low-cost self-contained motor controller

I am seeking a basic programmable motor controller. I am familiar with the Elmo brand motor controllers, and they generally have the kinds of feature
s I want, plus more. But the cost for their controller is a problem, espec ially since I need to control 3 axes. My motors draw less than 1 amp at 24 v.
I would like to pre-set the following for a set of 3 DC motors.
1) Set Acceleration/acceleration speed. 2) Set max speed. 3) Go to preset points by closing a contact. E.g. press button A to go to position A. 4) Recognize limit switches. 5) Allow user to control position using a joystick.
I realize that I can use an Arduino with a motor controller, but as soon as you start adding quadrature encoders, it gets to be a pain. And, while I used to do some programming year ago, I would rather not have a major learn ing hump to get over.
Does anything like this exist at the hobbyist level?
Thanks for any advice.
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I found what will work for one part of the machine I am designing. It is a vailable from www.Northern Tools.com. They were designed to work with thei r linear actuators, with potentiometer.
One model, Item# 27313, costs $70, and will store 3 positions for a single actuator. Another model, at $100, will control two separate actuators and keep them in sync. These controllers, and the linear actuators they sell, are actually made by Concentric International.
I still need to get something that will work with rotary actuators. I know I could get a rotary potentiometer, but I really would prefer to avoid pot entiometer, do their poor reliability.
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