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I spotted a YouTube video this week with someone setting up and using a Ryobi entry level lathe. I can’t find an official listing on Ryobi’s site for it but it got my wheels turning about getting started turning and if these cheaper sub $500 lathes are worth their metal. Any advice?

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I've been considering the Jet one myself. Delta's has terrible reviews...I see them on craigslist all the time for pretty cheap.

 

There was a Delta 12" with stand locally here, looked new $250 asking price. Right now I can get even a couple metal lathes under $500...wish I had the room. There's also an old Craftsman lathe for $75. I think used is the way to go, maybe you can score some accessories thrown in too.

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