Cam Design – A Primer

Now Available as Both a Softbound Book and as an E-book

Author: Robert L. Norton, Milton P. Higgins II Distinguished Professor Emeritus Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Publisher: Norton Associates LLC
Copyright 2020, 130 pp.
ISBN 978-1-64921-838-4 (Softbound)
ISBN 978-1-64786-004-2 (E-book)

An Introduction to the Art and Science of Cam Design

This book attempts to rectify a problem that the author has observed during his fifty years of consulting on cam design with many companies.  He frequently encountered situations where the cams with problems were not properly designed, which led to the bad result.  As a professor who has taught cam design and machine design at universities for over 40 years, he knows, first hand, that mechanical engineering students in most U.S. schools were never taught about cams and cam design.  Most of the textbooks on related subjects either ignore cams or present information that is both obsolete and wrong about cams in many respects. Proper cam design only requires the adherence to a few simple rules.  The mathematics involved only requires an understanding of algebra, trigonometry, and simple differential calculus.  Calculation of cam mathematics really requires the use of a computer.  At a minimum, a spreadsheet can do the calculations, but they are more easily done with an equation processor such as MATLAB, MathCad, or TKSolver, all inexpensive engineering tools.  This book also provides a free copy of the author’s cam design program, Dynacam Student Edition, which is also distributed with others of his many textbooks.  This program will allow you to create cams such as are defined in this book.

Covering introductory topics in depth, this primer provides the basic information needed to properly design cam-follower systems including:

  • How NOT to design a cam
  • How to properly design a cam
  • Good and bad choices of cam functions
  • Good and bad choices of pressure angle
  • Radius of curvature
  • Roller and flat followers
  • Translating followers