A live center is held in the tailstock of a lathe and supports the unchucked end of the work while allowing it to rotate easily on a bearing, as opposed to a standard "dead" center that does not rotate. If the point of the center is not in perfect alignment with the shaft, or if the center mark on the part is not dead-on, the part will "run out" (vibrate or wobble), making precise machining impossible.
Though the tailstock is not adjustable on a Sherline lathe, an adjustable live center allows you to precisely position the center point. The center is attached to one plate, while the shaft is part of another. Two slightly oversize holes in one side allow adjustment screws to be loosened, the center located and then locked down where you want it. In this manner, highly accurate centering can be achieved. If the ultimate in accuracy is your goal, the adjustable live center will help you achieve it.
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