TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE – 2c. Mechanical Systems (Cams)

cam is part in a mechanical linkage, it can rotate or slide.

How many types of cam are there?

Have you ever heard the phrase “How long is a piece of string?” Well “How many types of cam are there?” is one of those questions. There are standard shapes, such as snail or drop, egg or pear, heart, eccentric (circular with its axis off center) or any polygon or most irregular shapes would work.

How does a cam work?

Cams work by converting rotary motion into linear motion or linear motion into rotary. They will all consist of a cam profile which is the outline shape and a cam follower. You can have multiple combinations on one axle to produce some exciting results.​​​​​​​

Where are they used?

Cams are a little bit difficult to see directly in everyday life, though they are there. They are in the engine of cars to help with the timing of the engine. They are in electric drills, some food processors and old fashioned wooden toys that move.

Timberkits Drummer Wood automaton


Follow these hyperlinks to learn more:-

  1. Engineering Components
  2. Cams Explained
  3. Explaining Cams

Design Home Page

Icons - Copy


Click here for KS2 Curriculum Dashboard (All Subjects)