Would it be possible to have a stepper motor rotate a specified distance stop, have a air cylinder extend and retract, then continue that cycle till the power is cut off. I was thinking of using a air solenoid to operate the cylinder. It would also have be relatively simple to change how far the motor rotates. I am only looking getting into arduino because I am looking at automating a piece of woodworking machinery. Any help would be appreciated.
It is shurely doable.
Decide what size of stepper motor You need, get a steeper motor driver that handles that size of stepper motor.
Interface the things, valves, for the air cylinder movement and preferably have some end of stroke sensors read by the controller..
These links may help
also look up the AccelStepper library