These two phrases are sometimes used to mean the same thing. In reality, they are two separate processes, but both are important to produce a properly performing camshaft.
Cam profile design is my main focus. This is the actual designing process of the cam lobe. Most of the information in this blog section describes what is involved in designing a cam profile. Hopefully, you have read all of the posts so far, and have a good understanding about cam profile designs.
Camshaft design is different from cam profile design. Once the cam profiles are designed, the next step is to make the camshaft. Obviously, making the camshaft is much more involved. There are many stages in the camshaft manufacturing process. From the material to make the camshaft, heat-treating, indexing the lobes, gear cutting, machining and grinding equipment used, quality control, all the way through to the packaging to ship the finished camshaft. I’m sure you will be glad to hear, that I have no desire to describe in detail, the manufacturing process. It is easy enough to imagine all that is involved.
The part of camshaft design that most of you are interested in is, what camshaft do I need for my application? That will involve the choosing of the correct camshaft core, the proper profiles, lobe separation angle, and the camshaft indexing in relation to the crankshaft. All of these choices have to be correct, or the camshaft will not perform as well as it could. No doubt, a big task for the person picking the camshaft. If you find someone that can routinely choose the correct camshaft for the application, stick with that person. There are also software programs written to do this. From my experience, the programs that really work are expensive. They are marketed more towards a company than an individual.
As you can see, cam profile design and the camshaft design, must work together. You can have the best cam profiles, but if the camshaft design is poor, the camshaft does not perform well. The cam profile designs are blamed along with the camshaft and the manufacturer. You can also have cam profiles that are not correct for the application, but the camshaft design is good. The camshaft will generally perform ok, but not as well as it would with the proper cam profiles. This is the most common problem with camshafts today.