Steam locomotive crankshaft. Close up. Full HD.
A crankshaft—related to crank—is a mechanical part able to perform a conversion between reciprocating motion and rotational motion. In a reciprocating engine, it translates reciprocating motion of the piston into rotational motion; whereas in a reciprocating compressor, it converts the rotational motion into reciprocating motion. In order to do the conversion between two motions, the crankshaft has “crank throws” or “crankpins”, additional bearing surfaces whose axis is offset from that of the crank, to which the “big ends” of the connecting rods from each cylinder attach.