Asee peer logo

A Teaching Tool For Design And Analysis Of Cam And Follower Mechanisms

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Statics and Dynamics: What's New?

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.124.1 - 13.124.10

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mina Hoorfar University of British Columbia Okanagan

visit author page

Mina Hoorfar received her Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2005. In the course of her graduate studies at the Laboratory for Applied Surface Thermodynamics, University of Toronto, Dr. Hoorfar worked in the area of surface and interfacial engineering. Her research mainly focused on the development of methodologies for accurate measurement of interfacial tensions, contact angles, and line tension. After completing her Ph.D. research, Dr. Hoorfar joined the Case Advance Power Institute at the Case Western Reserve University as an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research involved in the enhancement of water management in the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Dr. Hoorfar is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

visit author page


Homayoun Najjaran University of British Columbia Okanagan

visit author page

Homayoun Najjaran received his M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tehran in 1996 and University of Toronto in 2002, respectively. He worked on different research projects in the area of mechatronics at the National Research Council (NRC) Canada from 2003 to 2006. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. His area of research includes robotics, mechatronics and control systems.

visit author page


William Cleghorn University of Toronto

visit author page

William Cleghorn graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto. In 1980, he received his Ph.D. from the same department. He subsequently worked in industry. In 1986, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto. Dr. Cleghorn has authored numerous publications related to vibrations. In 2001, he was appointed the Clarice Chalmers Chair of Engineering Design.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Teaching Tool for Design and Analysis of Cam and Follower Mechanisms


This paper presents a software tool for teaching the kinematics, design and analysis of cam and follower mechanisms used in the undergraduate mechanisms course that is generally included in the Mechanical Engineering curriculum. The software tool has mainly been developed to enhance student learning, but it can readily be used to design and analyze cam mechanisms for industrial applications. The software includes numerous combinations of follower types (e.g., knife-edged, flat face and roller) and follower motions e.g., constant velocity, constant acceleration and harmonic. In order for the students to gain insight into the subject, the software generates detailed information about the displacement, velocity and acceleration of the follower in tables and graphs more so than the other cam and follower design tools used in industrial applications. It also provides graphical representations and animation of the cam and follower mechanism. Specifically, the emphasis of this work has been on having interactive software that can enhance student learning by exposing them to theoretical and practical aspects of the design of cam and follower mechanisms. The software provides design tips in the form of warning and error messages whenever the users attempt to enter invalid values of input parameters, and suggests fault-recovery steps that help the users optimize their designs. The paper includes two simple design projects, generated by the software program to demonstrate important problems such as elevated pressure angle and undercutting that can occur in the design of cam mechanisms. The software tool was used in a lecture where positive feedback from students enrolled in the mechanisms course has encouraged the authors to continue the development of such educational software tools for other applications.


Cam and follower mechanisms were traditionally designed using graphical layouts, intuition and experience. As a result, the measurement of the radius of curvature was often inadequate for modern machines1 where accurate contact stresses between the cam and the follower were required. Clearly, the problem is more complicated for complex machines with several types of follower motion in which the radius of curvature over every particular segment of the cam profile must be considered separately. Besides the practical issues, a major drawback of the traditional methods was in regard to learning of the analysis and design of the cam and follower mechanisms, which was often overlooked in the mechanisms course of Mechanical Engineering curriculum.

With the availability of digital computers, however, the design of cam and follower is more straightforward provided that appropriate mathematical and numerical schemes are available to evaluate all of the design criteria2,3. In general, the design of a cam mechanism involves the determination of the cam profile such that a full 360 rotation of the cam results in a full cycle of the desired motion of the follower. A powerful and versatile example of such computer-aided cam design tool is the CamDesign program4. This program not only facilitates the analysis and design of cam and follower mechanisms but also provides extensive feedback to help the user learn the steps of the design.

Hoorfar, M., & Najjaran, H., & Cleghorn, W. (2008, June), A Teaching Tool For Design And Analysis Of Cam And Follower Mechanisms Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015