Simple & Powered Machines Set


A cam is a shaped frame turning about an axis, like a rotating wheel. Cams can control the timing and degree of movement.

0-30 min.
Grades 6-8


(5-10 Minutes)

A cam is a shaped frame turning about an axis, like a rotating wheel.

Did you know?
Spring-loaded cams are used by rock climbers to tightly grip rock crevices so that they can then attach climbing ropes.


The profile of a cam allows it to control the timing and degree of movement of a follower. A cam can also be regarded as a continuous, variable inclined plane. Cams can be circular, pear shaped, or irregular.

Cams and cam followers are very prone to wear due to friction. Cam followers often have tiny rollers attached to them to reduce this friction.

Common applications with cam mechanisms include an electric toothbrush, an engine camshaft, and clamps.


(5-10 Minutes)

Build the following models. Use the Contemplate ideas below and on the Student Worksheet to learn about each model, one at a time.

Build H1 book III, page 26 to 27



(10-15 minutes)

This model shows a double cam mechanism. As the two cams rotate, their shape and size dictate a sequence of upward and downward movements of the follower.



(5-10 Minutes)

Try other cam lessons!
Now that you have mastered the principles of cams try some of the other lever lessons like the Hammer.

Teacher Support

Students will learn about:
The use of cams
Controlling timing and degree of movement of a follower
Double cam mechanisms

9686 Simple & Powered Machines Set (two students per set recommended)

Student Material

Student Worksheet

Download to view and share the student worksheet.

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