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In this work, the fabrication of metal nanostructures by a combination of atomic force microscopy nanomachining on a thin polymer resist, metal coating and lift-off is presented. Nanodots with sizes down to 20 nm and nanowires with widths ranging between 40 and 100 nm have been successfully created by nanoindenting and nanoscratching. The results exemplify the feasibility and effectiveness of the present technique as an alternative to e-beam lithography. The localized surface plasmon resonance properties of the fabricated nanostructures are characterized. The chemical sensing capability of a single nanowire based on resistance increase is also demonstrated.