These cams are principally used to convert rotational motion to linear motion parallel to the rotational axis of the cylinder.
A cylinder may have several grooves cut into the surface and drive several followers.
Certain cams can be characterized by their displacement diagrams, which reflect the changing position a roller follower (a shaft with a rotating wheel at the end) would make as the cam rotates about an axis.
This is continuous with a tangent to the tip circle.
In designing the cam, the lift and the dwell angle Several key terms are relevant in such a construction of plate cams: base circle, prime circle (with radius equal to the sum of the follower radius and the base circle radius), pitch curve which is the radial curve traced out by applying the radial displacements away from the prime circle across all angles, and the lobe separation angle (LSA - the angle between two adjacent intake and exhaust cam lobes).
a cylinder with an irregular shape) that strikes a lever at one or more points on its circular path.
A common example is the camshaft of an automobile, which takes the rotary motion of the engine and translates it into the reciprocating motion necessary to operate the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders.
Ideally, a convex curve between the onset and maximum position of lift reduces acceleration, but this requires impractically large shaft diameters relative to lift.