Keep an eye on Kijiji and auction sites, it took me 2yrs to find one for the price I wanted to pay. Now I have two and a standing offer on a third one, lol. I have no idea how to utilize even 10% of the machines capability, they are fun to work with and learning a new skill is rewarding. The first serious job with mine was a special bolt for the combine that was going to be 3days getting to me. I had the machine running overnight and finished up harvest the day before the rain started, paid for itself right there.
The older made in Taiwan machines seem reliable, my main one is a 13x40 house of tools model. The second is a war vintage Atlas 6x18. I've never run a Grizzly but have heard lots of good stories about them. As said earlier the lathe is the cheap part, the tooling adds up quickly.
A quick change tool post is worth it's weight in gold, they can be purchased after market, so not a deal breaker on the initial purchase. A taper attachment is also a nice option, especially if you need to cut pipe threads.
If you run across a deal on a 3phase machine, VFDs (used for phase conversion) can be had for a reasonable price. They make speed changes a snap, twist the knob or push the button.
Just buy one, it may not be used often but is worth it's weight in gold in an emergency!
Last edited by Hillbillyreefer; 03-12-2016 at 02:21 PM.