I have 2 of them! You need to maintain them a lot, they make the gears and cross feed block out of soft brass. They will wear out fast and then you get more play that you need. I replace them on my machines 3 or more times a year depending on how much I use them. And I use them every day. I take my machines totaly apart after each event I work just to check everything is in good shape. You dont need the rear chuck, thats a waist of about $500.00 IMO I made all the collets and inserts I will ever need with $20.00 worht of nylon rod. I have had my machines for about 15 years so I think I know a little about this machine.
As to your question No thay are not worth what they are charging for them now. There are to many machines out there for a lot less.
I used to have one an early model A converted to a model B replaced the bearings a few times and the brass gears several times. Other then that I loved the machine mine was atleast 15 years old my guides were pitted so i decided to sell then rebuild again.
I do miss the machine keep thinking about buying another one.
try to get one used in great shape takes a little to get used to it has some querks about it I used it for a solid 10 years myself and I bought it used.
All machines have something weird with them just find what feels good for you, once you buy one you will by others just the first purchase is tuff.
I personally think they are the best small lathes on the market hands down!!!!! Now, I mean no disrespect to anyone else, and I am claiming to know more than posters like ddcuerepair, who has about 11 more years using one than me. However, I purchased mine last December and I have seen first hand other model cue lathes being produced and sold, and they do not compare to my machine.
While like ddcuerepair said, the movement controls for the tool post do have brass gears, this was designed like a shear pin in a winch. To much torque can cause major component damage, so this way the gear will give before other damage is done.
There have also been many improvements over the last 12 years in the over all design, including all the electronics. This machine also has been upgraded to reduce vibration, and the center between the head stock and tail stock are so true that I can hold .0002 to .0003 tolerance cutting with my router on a 30 inch cut.
All I can say, is I love my machine, it fits my work space, and I can make some great cues with tight tolerances, so what more can I want.
No matter what you purchase, it is only a machine, and it can produce what you are capable of. As your experience grows, your products will also improve.
I have been using one for quite a while now, about 3 or 4 years. I learned on porpers that were already 7 and 10 years old. They are great little machines for what they are. No, they aren't metal lathes. My logans beat them hands down. But I pack up my porper on a portable table everynight I go to shooters to work and for that reason alone it's a really nice lathe. I don't use the back side chuck although I have, and it's a nice feature but not necessary at all and expensive. I added a quick change toolpost and a albrecht chuck and love it. They are a solid little lathe. overpriced, yes. But what isn't nowadays.