L&M Newsletter

Custom Camshaft Design

A lot of shops claim to be custom camshaft designers, but what do they really design? A custom cam specification (i.e. Duration @ .050” and Lift etc.) is not a complete custom camshaft design; bottom-line, know your shop and their capabilities. If they aren't using design software or performing post-manufacturing analysis of their “designs”, they are most likely just telling a salesman the specifications they require and letting third-party salesman/engineers handle the dirty work. Why does it matter? You, as well as the shop, have no real idea what you are receiving after the camshaft is manufactured.

What We Do Differently

Every camshaft design we offer has either been engineered from scratch or adapted from a previous custom designed camshaft. Our design processes involves a full 360 valve lift event table and not just “X” lift at “Y” duration. This allows us to precisely control the curvature characteristics of the opening and closing flanks as well as the lobe nose. During the design process, we match the curvatures between the flanks, nose, and the base circle in order to have one continuous lobe profile without discontinuities. There are also additional design concerns such as the maximum pressure angle and overall curvature radius of the flanks (either negative or positive) of the cam lobe profile, which dictates the overall size of the camshafts base circle as well as dynamics. All of these design requirements and conflicts need to be resolved as a complete system, which sometimes can become quite involved and tedious. When we have a camshaft design finalized it is then converted to a CNC file and sent off to the camshaft grinder. Our ultimate goal is complete valve train control and a design that can be verified against after manufacturing … something that can’t be done with a simple two event specification.

Camshaft Analysis - Marker On Lobe Base Circle

Camshaft Analysis - Red box indicates magic marker on the base circle as picked up by the EZ-cam

After we have received the camshaft back from the grinder, it is then verified against its design file on our EZ-cam machine. The EZ-cam machine is a computer controlled camshaft verification device that duplicates the cam lobe profile to follower behavior that occurs inside an engine. As the camshaft is rotated, a probe is lowered against the cam lobes allowing it to measure the finished profile and compare it against the design file. It will also measure the individual journals and compare them against each other in order to measure effective run out and size. If the finished camshaft doesn't meet our tolerance requirements (.0005”) the camshaft is sent back to the manufacturer for a regrind.

That's Great, but Why Do It?

We are in an industry full of pretenders, plagued with “gut feeling” and “he did so I did” engineering. Throughout the last the 40 years, we have made it our mission to only offer sound and proper engineering decisions backed up by testing data; we live and die by the scientific method and why we say “Power is not a Guess”. We find camshaft design and analysis absolutely crucial when designing hi-performance engines allowing us to avoid power robbing situations such as improper grinds and bent camshafts. Taking shots in the dark is inefficient and often leads nowhere, that’s why we taking testing and analysis so seriously here at L&M Engines.

We Have Thousands of Designed Cam Lobe Profiles

We have been at this for a while and have accumulated thousands of different performance cam lobe profiles across many different Ford and GM engines over the years, so many in fact we have trouble picking out which ones to highlight and put onto the website! After a quick glance through our cam lobe profile database:

  • Ford 5.0L Coyote: 100+ different lobe profiles. Covering anywhere from N/A applications to turbo & supercharger setups.
  • GT500 5.4 & 5.8L: 500+ different lobe profiles. Multiple profiles for individual heads, supercharger (or turbo), and displacement combinations. As well as few “Euro” grinds where emissions compliance was a concern.
  • Ford 4V, 3V, and 2V: 1500+ different lobe profiles. Covering any possible combination imaginable.
  • GM LSx and Big Blocks: 50+ different lobe profiles. N/A, turbo, and supercharge applications.
  • Prior Work: numerous designs across small block Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, Chrysler, Pro Stock, Rules Limited Pushrod, Aviation, European, and Japanese applications.

Give us a call at (215) 675-8485 or email us at sales@lmengines.com if you need a custom designed camshaft. Turn around will depend on your specific requirements.

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