The software was complex and so instead I bought the Trend Mini to begin my learning process, much easier to get to grips with. I will still use the Mini for small work and mould making but I wanted to do larger stuff so I have gone back to the Stepcraft. A quick phone call to the supplier revealed that the construction was fine and all that was need was a fine tuning of the 'y' axis - the grotty noises disappeared. At the same time I purchased upgrades to the machine adding new spindle, spindle speed control box, a 4th axis with tailstock and an enclosure which I am still waiting to be delivered.
I had to partially deconstruct the machine to do axis tuning and to install the 4th axis control board. I had some help to alter the software installation. After a few teething problems the machine is set up and ready to go.
I can now extend my work to include smallish 3d sculptural pieces, textural panels and experiment more with bowl forms. A couple of pics and a quick vid below show parts of the new setup.