Says Rick Hedrick, "The Metal Lathe is not a necessary shop tool but is very helpful when making bungs, grips, pegs, spacers and other small parts. A large machine is not necessary for most projects - though small 'hobby' machines will not be heavy duty enough. A 7" to 9" machine will fit any bike shop just fine. Both instruction and experience will be necessary for successful machining of tapers and threads."
Here are a couple of quick tips
Lathes are top heavy, so if you are moving one around your shop, consider haveing a pal help you. Do it by yourself and you may tip it over and damage it, or something in your shop.
Keep your working area clear. If you trip on something and fall into a moving lathe, you better have a good plastic surgeon...or health insurance.
Wear tight fitting clothes. Be sure you clothes are nice and snug. Long hair? Cut it off..ok, you don't have to do that, but make sure it's well out of the way. If you wear a tie, jewelry, or anything that might have the slightest chance of getting caught, take it off. Getting these things caught in a lathe is a ticket to a long stay at a nice hospital...if you're lucky.
Wear protection for your eyes. This is pretty self explanitory.
Eastman has a very good 3 in 1 Multi Purpose Mill-Drill Metal Lathe. Or, Here is where to look for a used or good new metal lathe for your custom chopper or metalworking shop...