L&M Newsletter

Camshaft Analysis & Validation

Take a quick look inside our camshaft lobe profile design and quality control processes. Every camshaft we sell is verified and checked for consistency for before being shipped out to our customers or installed into their engines.


Every camshaft we offer is put through a verification process before being sold or installed into a customer’s engine. Many people claim to be camshaft designers, but most of them utilize rudimentary methods. A “cam designer” will usually spec a cam where they want the valve events (usually two) at .050” lift and max lift; this simple approach only establishes valve position in regards to crankshaft position. In order to truly design a camshaft a full lift table must be used to establish all of the valve events … all 360 events not just 2. We are one of the few shops that can design OHC profiles properly and accurately.

Camshaft Analysis & Verification
Fig 1. Determination of a Camshaft Lobe Profile

The mathematics required to properly design a camshaft is complicated, but you would be well served in doing your own research; it is an interesting and important topic when dealing with hi-performance engines.

From Design to Finished Camshaft

The first step of the verification process is the creation of a design file that can be sent to the CNC grinder to create the cam lobe profile. Without a design file, we would not be able to compare the finished manufactured camshaft to the required design specifications. The design file consists of CNC control information describing the exact cam lobe profile that needs to be created. One thing to note, a camshaft is created using a grinding wheel that has a similar radius (tangential) to the follower radius that is to be used in the final engine construction.

Custom Camshaft Design
Fig 2. Final Camshaft Grind Deviation

The grinding wheel to follower radius ratio is absolutely crucial when manufacturing a camshaft. If the grinding wheel is too big it will not be able to grind curve features such as negative radii resulting in an improper final grind. This deviation would be analyzed in post-production and a regrind would need to be performed to correct the mistakes.

Camshaft Verification with Dimensional Analysis

A proper testing device is required to accurately measure the final manufactured camshafts dimensions. We choose the ez-cam device over other camshaft analysis tools for its ability to not only accurately measure the lobe profile, but also its ability to measure differences between the individual camshaft journals allowing us to check for conditions such as being out of square (bent camshaft). Bent camshafts and improper grinds will rob an engine of final power output. We consider analysis and verification indispensable when designing hi-performance engines.

Camshaft custom design, validation, and analysis
Fig 3. Camshaft Analysis & Validation EZ-Cam Machine

The analysis of the camshaft is a relatively simple process. A CNC process controls a mounted follower that moves from lobe to lobe then journal to journal where it is lowered against the camshaft’s surface as it is rotated 360 degrees. The CNC control software translates the follower’s movements into dimensional data that can then be compared to the CNC design file. In the simplest terms it mimics the lifter relationship to create a complete lift table that is then comparable to the desired lift table.