What caught my eye is that the 1127 is 575#, while the 1236 is 1250# in weight. The 1127 has a 1HP VFD vs 2HP single phase for the 1236.
Much depends on what you plan to do with the lathe. The 1236 is a much heavier, more substantial and more powerful machine; you are getting a lot more lathe for not a lot more money. I'm not impressed by the gap bed; it is likely that you'll never use it.
For a hobby guy, I think the 1127 is a great little lathe but the 1236 is a definite step up. Your call.
I wrestled between the two and went with the 1236. I agree with Bill that if the physical space and finances fit, you won't be disappointed with the additional mass and rigidity. In another post recently I mentioned that 90% of the stuff I do could be done on an 1127 but the PM1236 is rock solid and a pleasure to use on big or small projects.
You would give up the foot brake, which I know is a good safety feature, but I have yet to use it in practice. And you would gain a lot of storage space and probably some weight.
By the way - welcome and enjoy all the invaluable info you will find here. Also hang on to your wallet, if you spend too much time here and you'll be waking up in the middle of the night thinking "that PM1440GT just might not be enough machine for me"!
If you have the space and budget, it's hard to suggest not going bigger. I recently purchased an 1127 and I'm thrilled with it. But if the budget worked, I would have done the 1236. I haven't even had anything I want to do that doesn't fit yet. Though I'm sure I will eventually. It seems like everyone does, no matter how big their machine is.
I have a PM 12x36, and am mostly satisfied with it. My previous lathe was a Grizz 9x20.
I have had the 12x36 for almost 3 years; therefore, I am pretty familiar with it.
I will list the things that I really like (or find good) about it, and also the things I don't like (or find lacking) about it.
I will not even mention the customer service aspect, since we all know how well Matt & Company treat their customers.
Lots of power
Large spindle bore (1.5 inches, I believe)
Good speed range
Very heavy and rigid.
A lot of machine for the price.
NOT SO GOOD THINGS:
1. Pretty noisy--mostly when using power feed (I know, it's a gear head, but it is still pretty noisy.
2. NO NEUTRAL SETTING--This is really irritating to me. Hunting for a mid-way point between gears to be able to rotate the spindle so as to be able to indicate a piece is a real PITA!!
3. One bolt (on mine) that secures the headstock to the base could not be inserted--I finally inserted a longer bolt from below and used a nut on top.
4. Many of the ball oilers either didn't work, or worked poorly--this could be due to my oil container, but I tried a few variations with similar results. I have replaced many of them.
5. I experienced some finish issues for the first year or so. I tried several "fixes" with marginal improvement. I replaced the belts with high quality ones--no change. I removed one belt (they didn't fit the same with the same tension????)--a bit better (no flopping of one belt that way). I acquired the "link style" belts and created 2 (still had fitting issues)--removed one, and a bit better. Next the big step--VFD & 3 phase motor--big improvement (Big Bucks + lots of work) (the variable speed is WONDERFUL!!!)--finish better, but still not what I felt it should be (yes, I tried inserts, brazed carbide, HSS, etc ad-nauseum)--still not what I felt the finish should be. A few months ago, I tried an experiment. I attached a 0.0005 inch indicator to the far way, and made the pointer touch the end of a tool bit. I then tried pushing down on the far end of the cross slide. I observed nearly 0.001 movement on the indicator. Some head scratching followed. Then the A'HA moment. I removed all 4 of the way wipers and made a test cut. SIGNIFICANT improvement in surface finish. So, I obtained some felt, and fabricated new felt wipers. Still have the improved finish. I can only assume that the rubber or plastic material in the factory wipers was a bit thick, and raised the carriage very slightly. This might not be the case; however, the result is a much improved surface finish.
This is my second Chinese lathe, and fourth or fifth overall Chinese machine tool. So far, I have found them all to be functional after some (varying amounts of) tuning.
Am I satisfied with my 12x36 now? YES.
Would I buy it again? PROBABLY.
Would I opt for a smaller lathe? NO.
Would I opt for a more expensive similar sized Taiwanese machine? For my personal hobby use, NO.
These are my personal observations of my 12x36, and may or may not be typical of others.
Just a follow up. Received my PM1236 with preferred package a couple weeks ago. Found a few bolts that were loose and/or a little short so those were tightened or changed for some with proper thread engagement. Made first chips last night. I'm very pleased.
I had a Weiss WBL290F (11 x 29) which looks like the PM 1127 but has a 2hp BLDC motor like the PM1228. Was not happy with the quality of the lathe. Bought a PM 1236-T. Which IMHO is night and day difference in quality between Chinese and Taiwanese machines. So my vote if your going to upgrade to a 1236 go with the 1236-T.