The Sherline lathe comes equipped with two dead centers. One has a #1 Morse taper and fits the headstock, and the other has a #0 Morse taper and fits into the tailstock. These centers are used for holding parts that are mounted "between centers". This system of mounting work in a lathe has been in use for many years. However, since the tailstock center is held stationary and does not turn with the part, it is a point of friction and requires frequent oiling and attention. Also, because of thermal expansion caused by friction-generated heat, the pressure of the tailstock center must be checked frequently. This is especially important for parts made from thermal plastic materials which have a tendency to soften and even melt as a result of the heat.
The Sherline live center is designed to eliminate these problems. The center is ball bearing mounted so that it can rotate with the part. This reduces wear and heat and makes machining much more pleasant. The sealed bearings are permanently lubricated and require no maintenance.