So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B. I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin. One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.