ENCO 9X20 lathe

I recently purchased a used ENCO 9X20 lathe and plan to change the motor to variable speed drive and X-Z axis to CNC with steppers.

My biggest gripe with this lathe is the sleezy drive train and lack of slow speeds. I really want variable speed if I can figure out a simple and inexpensive way to do it.

I am wondering if I can use a variac with a bridge rectifier to produce variable dc voltage to run a DC motor? Is there a better and affordable way???

The lead screws will be replaced with ball screws for the CNC conversion.  What I’m really concerned with is setting up a variable speed drive for the spindle.

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