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EM,
Lathes are great if you can afford the luxury of having one but, except for making wheels, you can do all the other jobs mentioned with hand tools, A Dremel and a vice. It takes a little longer but that's what I do then I take the money I saved and buy more parts to work with. Resizing motor shafts to fit pinions can actually be done faster with a Dremel.

Jim

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I have a Unimat PC fitted with modest CNC facilities (which I rarely use) I find mine to be absolutely essential to the type of building that I like:
Machining special sized wheels (for 30's GP cars)
Modifying wheels to accomodate different types of tires - either "rib" fitting tires or full cross section tires such as Ortmanns and EJ's
Cutting the inner diameter of wheels to fit inserts
Machining inserts from plastic wheels - Ninco wires in particular
Resizing Pittman motor shafts to accomodate modern pinions (0.093" > 0.078")
( I use a flexiible shaft tool with the handpiece held in a block attached to the tool post as a tool post grinder)
Boring plastic wheels to take 0.125" OD, 0.093" ID tubing so that they run true!
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