A device for converting regular rotary motion to irregular rotary or reciprocating motion. Sometimes the effect of off-centre lathe operations or the cam in an engine used to operate valves.

A simple animation showing the cam rotating with the follower and rod moving in a vertical motion.


The amount of time a camshaft causes the valve to operate, from ′beginning to open′ to ′fully closing′.


The distance a camshaft causes the valve to open.

See also: Cam Follower, Camshaft, Eccentric, Inlet Cam, Linear Actuator, Tappet.

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Subjects: Mechanisms

Weblinks: Animations of mechanisms and paper models. This section of the website is aimed at introducing pupils to mechanisms and how they work.