Lathe operational; no blood spilled.
Not the best of pictures, but here it is
It's bolted to a piece of 3/4" plywood. As PeterT mentioned in comments the other day, all by itself probably not rigid enough, but I've got a nice solid bench it'll be sitting on for use. For a free-standing bench, I'd probably do as he suggested and double the plywood on top of solid legs.
Here's the motor setup
It's a 1/2-horse 1725rpm washer motor, so right in the recommended speed and will have plenty of torque for anything you can do on this. It's a 'paddle', another piece of 3/4", with two good hinges bolted to the base and the paddle, with the motor bolted in place(no screws). I can adjust the motor up or down if needed, and the weight keeps the belt tight.
The white in the jaws is a piece of pvc(an Og suggestion for practice). The bit that was in it is somewhat dull, but still did a nice job of facing the end. I did a bit more fiddling with it, but not much. I'm going to stone the bit tonight and see if I can sharpen it(I'm always nervous
about starting on a type of tool I've never worked on before) before trying anything else. The thing runs very smooth and quiet, and I can detect no signs of the bearings being worn, for what visual inspection is worth on this. There's an oil fitting on each end of the headstock and I did remember to put some in yesterday and spin it a few times by hand. I engaged the backgear and tried that; it turns very slowly with that. It came with a plate that shows the gear arrangements to use for threading when I get that far, and all the gears.
Question to anybody out there: is there a way to oil or otherwise lube the backgear assembly? Or do you just leave it alone?
I guess I'll need to get a dial indicator for truing pieces in the chuck; doing it by eye... can get by with that on pvc or delrin, but I'd rather be a bit more precise for brass or steel. And I think I'll rig something to protect the motor from bits being thrown off the stock.
Happily, this belt seems to be in fairly good shape, so should last a while. 'Happily' because to replace it with another standard belt would mean disassembling the headstock. There's a belt mentioned that comes in sections and does not require that; I think that's what I'll use.
Those sawhorses are some light plastic ones I bought several years back. They're good for light work and not much else, and I hadn't used them in so long(been under a tree) that when I opened them and slapped them down to clear some dirt on the feet, spiders and crickets and ants fell out. Leading to a short session with the bug sprayer. And no, didn't try it on them; this was just for the pictures.