Very much a personal choice. but fashionable machines like a Myford are generally a bit expensive for what you get. Ex industrial 3 phase machines are cheaper and generally more robustly built. You can run these with an inverter. Then we have different types of lathe. Most manual centre lathes are general purpose machines intended to give maximum capacity, even at the expense of a little stability and thus accuracy. As a side comment here, look with considerable suspicion at cheap “home” lathes that have a very tall headstock, so as to swing a bigger diameter, but where the bed is flimsy like a narrow gauge railway. A lathe type that is ideal, is the “Toolroom” type and this type has a wide vee and flat bed and the saddle has good length so it will not “Crab” I use a Smart and Brown Model A lathe that has collets as well as chucks. Smart and Brown made quality toolroom lathes untill some carpet baggers sold the factory for a nice profit to build a supermarket and thus finished the largest employer in Bigglewade at that time. Even if a good machine has a bit of wear, it can still produce better than a modern item built to the philosophy “Never mind the quality, feel the width” When my friend Eddie Shermer wanted to equip a workshop as he was to retire, I advised him to buy a S&B model A lathe and a Theil 158 miller. He bought both and drives them with an inverter. I am sure if you wanted to discuss these with either Eddie or myself, we would be pleased to advise fellow Scott owners. I also bought a bigger S&B lath, a 1024 VSL which is a 10″ swing x 24″ between centres with a mechanical variable speed drive via expanding pullies etc. A truly excellent machine. One final point to consider. It is far easier to turn or bore to tolerances of half a thou or better on a quality “Toolroom” type machine and as you are highly unlikely to buy grinding machines to cover these more demanding requirements, such as bearing housings etc. then a good lathe will enable you to extend your work range into these areas.
Once you have a lathe, you need to study tool geometry as are convenient to different metals with different “Machinability” If you enjoy useing your brain to follow logic and think out the best machining strategy, you will find that the whole subject of machining is a fascinating and infinitely stimulating subject. When you have created a new piece where none existed before, you will have great fulfillment and remember when, as a child you had made something and took it to bed and put it under your pillow! Kindest Regards Roger