This is the 7 x 10 minilathe sold by Harbor Freight (HF 33684) under the "Central Machinery" brand. I started my metalworking hobby with this tool, since it was inexpensive and portable, yet had almost all the features and versatility of a standard lathe.
I've worked on aluminum, brass, and mild steel with excellent results. The photo below shows the piles of chips I made making the digital camera microscope adapter.
The unit is about 2 feet long, and weighs about 80 pounds. When it comes time to upgrade to something bigger, this unit is small enough that it can be shipped as a parcel to the next owner, rather than as a costly and involved truck shipment. This makes it very economical as a first lathe, since you can easily recover most of your investment if you get more serious and want to buy something bigger. The true cost of trial ownership, including a set of basic tooling, is really only a few $100s. As hobbies go, this is a great bargain.
The Web site LittleMachineShop.com has excellent reference information on this tool, and sells parts and accessories.