Engines are composed of many different parts. One of these, the crankshaft, is responsible for taking linear piston motion and turning it into rotating motion. The crankshaft, sometimes called the crank, works with rods and pistons and is typically connected to a flywheel, which is another engine component.
Crankshafts can be made in a single piece, known as monolithic, or they can be made from several pieces. The most common crankshafts are simply made from one piece; however crankshafts made from numerous pieces are sometimes used in both small and large engines. This engine component is made a couple different ways. The first method is forging it from a steel bar. Forging is a manufacturing process that shapes metal through the use of localized compressive forces. The next method used to create crankshafts is casting them with ductile steel. This method is a metalworking process where liquid metal is poured into a mold. In this case, the mold would be shaped like a crankshaft thus allowing this particular engine component to form. Crankshafts can also be machined from a billet. A billet is a long metal piece that may be circular or square-shaped. Of the three different methods used to make crankshafts, the most common type used is the forged version. It is lighter in weight and is more compact.
Once the component has been made, it must be balanced in order to ensure it will function properly. This is done using a crankshaft balancer. First of all, crankshafts work with rods and pistons. Each combination of these parts within different engines will require varying balancing work. Counterweights are used for balancing and are intended to offset the weight of the rod and pistons. Sometimes these are added to the crankshaft, but more commonly they are cast as part of the component. When these counterweights are the proper weight to offset the rods and pistons, the crankshaft is in balance. However, if they are too heavy, they must be lightened and if they are too light, weight must be added to ensure proper balance. A properly balanced crankshaft will allow an engine to reach higher RPMs and will also help it run smoother.
Among the many parts of an engine, the crankshaft is just one. There are a few different styles of this part that, as previously mentioned, is used for taking linear piston motion and reciprocating with rotation. This part works with a few other components to make this happen. It also must be in proper balance in order to function flawlessly.