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I'm mainly a furniture maker who, now and then, needs a round component - anything from a knob for a drawer to a leg for a table. I dont have a lathe, but at last I have space for one.

Since this will be a "need to" rather than a "want to" purchase I would like to keep the cost down. What is the best way to go ? Budget machine of possibly poor quality sounds risky, if I buy a mini lathe, will I end up frustrated with it and buying something full size anyway ?

What do you advise ?
 

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Since you won't be making bowls, you won't need a large swing or high HP motor. Not too say there bad to have anyway.

You should look into a midi lathe with a bed extension. The delta is loved by most who have it. It really combines the features of a full size lathe with the smaller size.
 

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I agree a mini/midi lathe will probably meet your needs.

For electronic speed I would look at the Nova Comet2, about $600 with the extension. I purchased one from my daughter.
Rikon 70-100, manual speed change but about $450 -$500 with extension. The local turning club has about eight, I am not sure they are this exact model.

If you keep an eye on craigslist a smaller lathe may turn up, just check to make sure the bed extension is available.

If you make items as you said a mini should be fine, if you get interested in bowls you will probably become frustrated. WC still has the Nova 1624 on sale and with bed extension probably about $1100 but all the lathe you will ever need.
 

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I have another vote for the Rikon.Mine is the 70-100 with a bed extension
with the stand and stand for the ext..After 21/2 years I have no complaints.
 

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Only you know what you need, but remember sometimes we under buy what we'll use/need in the future. I'd look around on CL. I recently bought the 10X18" lathe from HF and couldn't be happier with it for its size. If possible stay away from the cheap reeves drive system, I own one and it broke. I ended up converting it to a 4 speed pulley, so far so good. I turn all sorts of things, so speed selection is very important. If all you're turning is spindles or small knobs then the cheaper higher speed lathes will work fine. If you're planning on turning bowls or large diameter objects then low speed is a MUST. Don't forget the tools they can end up costing more then a lathe, plus you'll need to learn how to keep them sharp. Almost forgot, safety equipment is also a MUST, face shield, safety glasses, mask, etc......
 
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