My biggest gripe with the Taig lathe is the minimum speed of 500 rpm. So I built the drivetrain for it described below.
Ever since I got my Taig lathe, I had thought of something like this to run it, but the cost of pillow blocks, pulleys etc. always killed the project. Then, in the summer of 2010, I came across an old squirrel cage blower that was about to be thrown away. It had a 1/3 horsepower, two speed 1725/1140 RPM motor belted to the fan at 4.2:1 reduction. I soon saw the possibilities for using this to drive my Taig lathe and I collected the motor, pulleys, and the pillow blocks that held the impeller and assembled them into my drivetrain. I also made a pulley that gave me a 1:1 ratio between the jackshaft and the motor so I could keep the standard Taig speeds as well.
Here are some views:
I am quite happy with the way this worked out. The low speed range is 78-1375 RPM, plenty slow for anything I need to do. If you build a system like this, one indispensible safety feature is that the speed control switch for the motor be located where it cannot be flipped from fast to slow motor speed accidentally while the the lathe is running. Otherwise, you could end up with a chuck that that is turning 200 RPM faster than the lathe spindle. (Don't ask how I know this)