Looking for hardware suggestions for running multiple steppers & switches.

I am toying around with the idea of automating part of my small garage based manufacturing business. I would like to build a machine that would be using at least 6 NEMA 23 steppers and 12 or so limit switches. I would like the ability to expand as well if needed. I was wondering if this is possible with arduino and what hardware (boards / shields) would be needed. I just need a nudge in the right direction.

Yes it is possible to control 6 steppers with an Arduino. You need a stepper driver for each motor. Typical stepper drivers need 2 pins (minmum). limit switches 1 pin each. A Mega might be a good choice. We cannot make recommendatations on drivers without knowing more about the steppers that you want to use. More details on what you want to do might get more specific help.

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When considering a large number of stepper motors you need to work out the total number of steps per second that the microprocessor will be expected to produce. If you need high step rates on several motors (for example for microstepping) a 16MHz Arduino may not be fast enough.

Stepper Motor Basics
Simple Stepper Code

I would only be using one motor at a time so I don't think that would be an issue. I also do not need high accuracy so the steps can be low. Is there a way to expand the number of ports if I run out?

You can use I2C expanders like the MCP23008, MCP23017 or PCF8574 or SPI expanders like MCP23S17 for more bi-directional I/O pins. Also shift registers like 74HC595 to get more output pins.

Is there a way to expand the number of ports if I run out?

I doubt if you will run out of I/O pins on a Mega and using it will be a lot simpler than using port expanders with an Uno.