The question is also lacking what size of lathe you want. If it is a Midi then I would go with the Rikon suggestion but if you are looking for a larger lathe then the choices are far fewer. The Nova 14" DR is a good versatile lathe that falls in the Midi category but has variable digital speed readout and allows for bigger turnings due to it's larger swing radius but is around $600 - $650.
The lengths will probably be no longer than 8 to 10 inches. The diameter not much more than 6 or 7 inches.If you can meet up with Tony, sounds like his might be just the ticket for you. He can also provide a lot of advise on what other tools you may need to accomplish your goals.
Q: what lengths will you be turning? Some of the smaller lathes have bed lengths that might be limiting depending on your needs. Of course, most have bed extensions that you can purchase.
Keep in mind that although Midi lathes may say 10" or 12" you are going to loose bed length with any attachments like a chuck, faceplate, live center, etc... Therefore, what Tim said about bed extensions would be an option to look for when buying a Midi. That's one feature I like about the NOVA DR, it has the 14" bed length.The lengths will probably be no longer than 8 to 10 inches. The diameter not much more than 6 or 7 inches.
I think you will want the largest you can afford in a brand like nova. You can chuck small things in a big lathe but....I'm looking for something small, I am guessing. I am going to make table-top lamps with resin and wood and they will be cylindrical.
OK thank you, I will keep that in mind.I think you will want the largest you can afford in a brand like nova. You can chuck small things in a big lathe but....
And those table lamps are pretty chunky for a small (pen lathe) size. I forsee buyers remorse if you buy a mini for this project, but I have been wrong before.