Or build an electronic lead screw - Clough42 on YouTube has a nice series on his project.
Truthfully, I would have a hard time spending $1800 or $2400 or anything close to that for a bench-top lathe - I'm spoiled by the fact that I snagged my 12.5 x 30 Cincinnati TrayTop (all 1800 lbs of it) for a mere $500, and as I think I mentioned above, I got my 7 x 14 minilathe for an incredible $50. Of course, both machines needed work ... that is so often the trade-off. I looked recently at a lovely Clausing lathe that is missing the compound and has some issues with the crossfeed screw (needs a new nut, at least) - available for $600. Despite the problems, the bits that I could test were smooth as silk.
But of course, machines like that require space, and 3-phase power to feed them. A rotary converter is easy to make, and I have one powering my Bridgeport, but it wouldn't be big enough for the 7.5 hp Clausing - I'd have to find a bigger idler motor. And moving this sort of machine is a major consideration - you don't just pick up a 3000 lb. Clausing and plop it into the garage! Sigh ... it really hurt me to walk away from that deal, but perhaps not as much as it would have hurt me if I had brought it home to my loving wife!
I am really interested in an electronic lead screw for my King lathe. Have to get some time and study those You tube videos. There is a nice series on installing a variable speed motor on a lathe. The fellow is using a Grizzly but it is identical to mine. What a pile of work. And a lot of knowledge to program the VFD.
I guess as the walls close in with the self quarantine and the toilet paper runs out we can always swap lathe stories. Many years ago I badly wanted a metal lathe to build model engines for my RC planes. Money was tight then. I ran in to a young fellow whose father was a machinist. He was building model turbojets. I dropped in for a visit to see their shop and met his dad. We hit it off and talked machining for hours. He had a beautiful metal lathe in the shop that he wanted to sell. They were buying a much bigger one. The one he was selling was about an 11" swing and probably 24" long in the bed. Perfect for a hobbies. It was a British machine, a precision toolroom lathe. Can't remember the make. It was unique in that the stand and the bed were all one big casting. The whole lathe was one unit, and must have weighed a ton. He wanted $2500 for it. I said I would take it but had to do a lot of scratching around for that much cash. I was considering asking him if I could make payments each month when he phoned and said that he was at the dealer for the new lathe and a customer standing beside him heard him talk about the lathe I wanted to buy. The customer bought it on the spot. I was devastated. To this day I wish I had just gone to the bank and got a loan. Of course I would be dead since my wife would have poisoned my oatmeal if I had loaded more debt onto the family. Such are the sad tales of the wannabe machinist.
All you have to do is make her something, like a hammer or mine's plastic rollers went out in the dish washer so I made 4 bronze one and got her ready to wash in an hour, I have 12 lathes, she is not happy with 12 but they do get over it, we were talking in the drive way the other day and she said no more lathes please, she said what I do if something happened to you, I told her sell them, Lady drive up lives close by and said I need some help, I have a lathe in the shop on a 16 foot trailer that my husband bought he stared taking it apart then admitted it to much work and not sure how it goes back together, she said if you come get it I will give it to you, "My Wife" spoke up quickly and said he will take it ???????? I followed the Lady home opened the shop there is sat on a trailer with four flat ties and it was a 21 inch South Bend with a 14 bed, ever attachment you could buy for a lathe is there, most still in the originally boxes, several chucks, I got it home it took two tractors with forks go life it, then pulled the trailer out, I am at present still taking it apart, cleaning all the pieces, prime, paint, when the bed it done back together we go, so have patience with her and she will let you play and we are out of there way.
packrat, thanks for that, that same Lady that gave the South Bend, gave a 9" Logan with a lot of tooling, helping her dispose of there estate, sold two tractors and a 14 foot plow, she come in the shop and was so pleased with the price that I got and said keep selling, she give me a good commission, the she looked at the Lathe and please that home, I thanked her and will get it here soon, I will like the others take care of them you know we really don't own them just borrowing them for the next fellow of a like mind.