A camshaft is a shaft to which a cam is fastened or of which a cam forms an integral part.
In internal combustion engines with pistons, the camshaft is used to operate poppet valves. It then consists of a cylindrical rod running the length of the cylinder bank with a number of oblong lobes protruding from it, one for each valve. The cam lobes force the valves open by pressing on the valve, or on some intermediate mechanism as they rotate.