In a tape machine, the tape is moved by the effect of friction between a rotating motor-driven pillar, the capstan, and a pinch wheel, also called the capstan idler, that holds the recording tape securely against the capstan when a tape transport is in record or play mode. The capstan motor directly or indirectly drives the capstan and moves the tape past the heads. The capstan itself may be the extended shaft of the capstan motor.

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