I had a HF mini lathe that I bought for my son to play with and get teh "feel" of machining. He made lots of cool little lures etc.. out of wood and plastic. The thing would take a .02" cut in aluminum but wouldnt touch steel or ss. For what its worth I would spend a $1000 on a well used piece of old equipment and have something that will work when you need it to. Old horizontals like that go very cheep from eBay and machine brokers. Very few shops still use a manual horizontal machine for anything. Once we went CNC back in the 90's we never had use for a horizontal again.
Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.