I'm new to the forum and just getting into building and I've realized quickly that I need a metal lathe. Can some members that have lathes give me some advice on brands, sizes etc., that work well for them. Thanks!
1) How much room do you have?
2) How expensive is tooling going to cost?
3) How big a piece do I really need to turn?
For a medium size lathe at reasonable cost some of the Chinese lathes can work well once you get them dialed in. They're never going to compete with a nice Schaublin or Hardinge lathe but they cost a whole heck of a lot less. You can find older good quality Myford and Southbend lathes but you really need to know what you're looking at before you purchase one.
For a small garage workshop benchtop lathe I always recommend Taig lathes as they're pretty hard to beat for the price and the accessories are very inexpensive. Lots of people have them so there's a good support group for them too. You would be surprised what you can make with a Taig lathe.
I had a Chinese (Harbor Freight) lathe. Worked well enough, though 7x10 turned out to be a bit shorter than ideal - I was turning aluminum saber hilts, mainly. Something went wonky with the circuitry after a couple of years of sporadic use. I still have it, and may try to get it repaired, but I won't spend a lot of money doing so. If/when I want to do more turning, I'll at least look at just replacing it with something better.