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A lathe is a machine tool that rotates the work-piece on its axis to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation, facing, turning, with tools that are applied to the work-piece to create an object with symmetry about an axis of rotation.
Lathes are used in wood turning, metal working, metal spinning, thermal spraying, parts reclamation, and glass-working. Lathes can be used to shape pottery, the best-known design being the potter's wheel. Most suitably equipped metalworking lathes can also be used to produce most solids of revolution, plane surfaces and screw threads or helices. Ornamental lathes can produce three-dimensional solids of incredible complexity. The work piece is usually held in place by either one or two centers, at least one of which can typically be moved horizontally to accommodate varying work piece lengths. Other work-holding methods include clamping the work about the axis of rotation using a chuck or collet, or to a faceplate, using clamps or dogs.