What's new
What's new

camshaft grinder

Not sure even 2hp is enough to run a 10" wheel

My D1030 surface grinder uses 3HP for 10" wheels and i have never come close to stalling it with a 3/4" or 1" wheel.....
I think DoALL used the same with different pullies for the 12" wheel machines. Though IIRC 5HP was the usual option for 12" & 14" wheels, esp for plants running wide crush dressed wheels.

Consider: even if you go up in wheel size to 10", you are not going to apply a cut to the cam that absorbs 2 HP, unless it's an accidental wreck....

If you decide to make wheel arbor and flanges, the DoALL "cool-grinding" system would be ideal for your app. The coolant goes into inducer rings on each side of the wheel, and centrifugal force sucks it through the wheel and out the working rim of the wheel. It works very nicely.


PS: see pages 12 & 13 for description of inducer rings and "cool grinding"

Last edited:
I agree with Stephen 2hp should be plenty for sensible feed grinding.
Wheel spacer to 3" (or what) and the face flanges stout enough so they can' deflect(bend) at tightening with 1/4 to 1/2" flang face on the wheel blotter. 4000 to 6000 SFPM oK
With about 1500 to 2300 RPM putting you in the ballpark for a 10" wheel.'Very often what is on the wheel blotter is a good speed.
A free-cutting wheel will have the least push-away on a long part, so a white or pink AO would be a good choice if push away is a problem, but a brown or gray wheel can hold the dress longer.
I would likely stick with a 10" wheel having a 1 1/4 hole. That way you have more wheel choices and can use the wheel on a surface or bench grinder when it is worn.

A good wheel chart:
Last edited:
Might not still be true, but i found when shopping 10" x 3" hole NOS Norton and other name brand wheels on eBay, they were cheap because no one uses that size except industry, which can only buy new due to liability. Even got a number of nice diamond wheels cheap. Never found borazon, though. Often less than 7" x 1-1/4" by the box or partial box since everyone and his sister uses 7".
I have seen 3 and 4" diameter blotters on 8 and 10" wheels but have run them on the Cincinnati wheel mount with no problem.

Note full flat wheel flanges don't hold very well and a little bending puts the pressure at a smaller circle for less holding. the flanges should touch the wheel at a diameter away from the hole size.
Last edited:
I did some maching on the lathe bed. I cut some pockets for the bearings to fit in. I didn't really want to mill that much off the bed but I had to keep the height low and the bearing need to be mounted there so I can lean the bed back towards the grinder head while still keeping the spindle and the pivot point vertical when its in the middle of its rocking motion. I indated the ways in and ran a ball endmill back in the corner of the casting. Now I need to drill through the side of the shaft and bolt the shaft to the bed. I will need spacers under the pillow blocks maybe 3/8 thick.


  • PXL_20230922_232652670.jpg
    2.6 MB · Views: 12
  • PXL_20230922_232319531.jpg
    1.6 MB · Views: 12
  • PXL_20230922_232306527.jpg
    1.8 MB · Views: 12
If you intend to use the headstock and tailstock centers then
I think the alignment of the rocking bearings should be very closely aligned to those centers at the target length of the cam you intend to finish.
Re: spacers under the pillow blocks may be 3/8 thick.) +or - a tweak.
I indicated the ways until the bed was straight on the mill. The bed is machined on the bottom and I measured these pads up to the ways and it was perfect. I have the bed sitting flat on the mill. I machined both the seats for the bearing shaft at the same height and parallel to the ways. I'm going to mill off the bearings to be sure they are both the same height. If I put equal spacers under each bearing the bed should be true height wise with the grinder table. Just need to adjust the pillow block bearings in the y axis once I get in on the grinder to be parellel with the grinder ways.
I did this so that the lathe bed can lean back towards the grinder head. It will be centered when on the grinder table and when its operating. If I didnt do this it would have taken a huge wheel in order for the grinding wheel to actually touch the camshaft. The lathe bed would have hit the grinder head before the table was fed in far enough for the grinding wheel to touch the camshaft.
Here are a few more pictures. This cardboard is roughly the dimension of the grinder. Even with it leaned over with this 10" wheel it will only grind something as small as 1" without the lathe ways hitting the grinder head. The lathe spindle and the pivot bearing is straight up and down with it leaned over like this.


  • PXL_20230923_172021077.jpg
    2.1 MB · Views: 10
  • PXL_20230923_171937985.jpg
    2 MB · Views: 10
Just paging through this quickly, the op has many challenges ahead. I have rebuilt the berco grinders the precision involved is way more than any homebuilt grinder will provide. Standard bearings on your rocker table will not provide a quality grind. Sorry if others have mentioned this. Any error from the bearings will be exaggerated on the lobe. Berco grinders are considered a industry standard for precision grinding for a rocking table grinder. The master wheel is sized to the machine geometry to grind a lobe accurately to the master, which is formed from a “good” cam lobe of lift and duration with proper portions. So in order to make a proper master you really need a lobe to make one off of for your machine geometry. A storm master won’t grind the exact same lobe on a different machine and vice versa. And as far as making masters that is a job for someone with very sophisticated grinding and design experience. Then to put it on a cam to test it and find out it is no better than what you have. Not to poop on your parade, I wish you luck in your endeavors, a home made grinder is a cool project just too much reinvention to get to get the ultimate results your looking for.
Ps Ive been in the business of getting more out of these type engines for 30 years and seen a few things. Combination is everything not just one component.
And to say a gas engine lobe will not work in a diesel is just wrong. Many diesels have the same type lift and duration as ls Chevrolet or other factory cams, with different lobe center or installed lobe centers.
Thanks for the reply. What I meant was most cam company's don't have a lobe that is large enough for a tractor. The journals are larger on a tractor than on an ls motor. So if you use a master for an ls to grind a tractor the lobe will come out different.
I realize my homemade grinder may be flawed in many ways but its not costing hardly anything. As long as the rocker bearings have no play I don't see how they will induce error. I have a guy to design my lobes and he gave me the numbers for a sample lobe. I machined it on a cnc mill. I will do the same for my actual lobes and then make a master on this machine.


  • PXL_20230809_143730958.jpg
    1.9 MB · Views: 3
You will find to grind cams the main factor is the biggest possible wheel so wear isnt a factor.......like a 24" wheel ,or even a crank grinder wheel.............In fact most of the cam grinders Ive seen were extras on crank grinders ..........the actual mechanics of the cam rocking device is easily worked out to suit what you have in the shop...............One of the Prince type crank grinders with the wheel rocking back and forth would be easily used as a cam grinder.
I have a prince grinder, I've been thinking it would be adaptable to grind cams. The naismith cam grinding attachment for prince rocks conventionally I believe, so you'd think if the wheelhead could be adapted to work they would have done it it to start with.
I agree big wheels are favored and I have e set up 48"s and the like.
But they are expensive and require big motors to run.
To run a few special cams a year a year likely 8" to 14" wheel might be good/OK..
Grinding off a form master just getting down to size is the main factor.
3/4 to 2 hp would be OK for 8 to 14" wheels.
In the business of making cams, a professional cam grinder would be best.

Likely a CNC ball screw machine could outperform many of the old-school cam grinders because you might be able to program the cams rather than buying or making masters.