A Milled Cam for Grinding Machines Project (1977)

The goals and objectives were to develop and manufacture mechanical cams that controlled the cross-slide of semi-automated grinding machines.

My analytical / engineering challenge in this project was to develop a mathematical model for a family of cams, then to compute it using a state -of -the- art mini computer of the time, and then produce the NC tape, and finally cut and test the part . (Note, that at that time there were no desktop computers, PCs, so I had to use a PDP minicomputer, a prototype CRT CAD screen and FOCAL to program the above job).

The method/ model was validated by designing and cutting various cams that were applied immediately by the company I worked for at the time.

The practical, industrial use: the parts and the method was used to cut several cams for a variety of different automated machine tools.

Major lessons learned included lots of innovation, since the job had to be done in an extremely short time, since the master cam they have used until then was lost and the new grinding machine had to go to an exhibition. Furthermore, the other major lesson was that the NC cut cam was made exactly according to the original design, whereas with the copy milling method the master cam and the drawing were different; something that nobody new about until I cut and tested the first accurate cam!


The photograph below illustrates the assembly of one of those "mission critical" accurate grinding machines I produced cams for in the company. (Note, that this hall was one of the largest air-conditioned manufacturing/ assembly facilities in Europe at the time).