Introduction: Mechanical Cam Toy

Here is a simple instructable on how to make a mechanical cam toy out of materials such as paper, cardboard or card.

Different uses for this Cam Toy:

  • A classroom display
  • A teaching aid to teach how a cams work
  • A teaching aid to explain why structural components such as gussets or brackets are important.
  • A classroom activity so students will learn how to make their very own cam toy.


Items that you will need to make this Mechanical Cam Toy:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • PVA glue
  • reasing tool (Optional)
  • Pattern 1
  • Pattern 2

Step 1:

On A4 paper print the Patterns (Pattern 1 and Pattern 2) of all the Cam Toy parts. Then stick them on a piece of Cardboard, Card (Kartoncina) or coloured Paper. When dry cut all the parts from the outer outline with scissors.

Step 2:

Cut the parts labelled “Gussets” from the diagonal line as well.

Step 3:

On “Side 1 & 2” Cut the circular hole with a craft knife or scissors.

Step 4:

With a craft knife cut the square hole on the part labelled "Top."

Step 5:

On the Parts Labelled “Gussets” crease the fold lines with a pencil (or creasing tool) and then bend the flaps inwards.

Step 6:

Stick the gussets with glue at the corners as shown to form a “Frame”. Glue must be applied to the flaps of the "Gussets".

Step 7:

With a craft knife or scissors cut the square holes from the part labelled “Crank”.

Step 8:

Crease the Foldlines of the part labelled "Shaft" with a pencil and ruler (or Creasing tool) then fold each side inwards. Then apply glue on the flap then close to form the “Shaft”. Do not apply glue on the triangles.

Step 9:

Repeat Step 8 to make the part labelled “Handle”

Step 10:

Attach “Handle” and “Shaft” with glue as shown.

Step 11:

Cut the “Cam’s” square hole with a craft knife or scissors as shown. Do not cut out the triangles.

Step 12:

On the part labelled “Flat follower”cut the square hole using a craft knife or scissors.

Step 13:

On the part labelled "Follower"crease the fold lines with a pencil (or Crease tool) then start folding the flaps, rectangles and triangles inwards.

Step 14:

Insert "Follower" shaft through the "Flat Follower" as shown. Please secure with glue. When dry stick the “Flat Follower 2” on the "Flat Follower" part as shown on the images.

Step 15:

Slide follower through the square hole located on the part labelled "Top."

Step 16:

Fold the “Slide” using the same methods of creasing with a pencil (or Creasing tool) and folding inwards. Then attach with glue the triangles of the "Slide" on the “Top” of the frame around the "Follower" shaft.Do not apply glue on the "Follower". The "Slide" is important to avoid having the "Follower" from falling to the Cam's sides.

Step 17:

Insert “Shaft” with “Crank” halfway through the frame then slide in the “Cam” as shown below. Do not glue the Cam.

Step 18:

Pick up the Cam’s “Shaft” and slide it through “Side 2’s ” circular hole.

Insert the “Stopper” as shown and apply glue to the triangles and stick them on to the stopper.

Do not stick the stopper to "Side 2" otherwise, the mechanism will not work.

Step 19:

Cover the "Stopper" with part labelled "Cover".

Step 20:

Align the "Cam" with the "Flat Follower" then test mechanism when dry.

Step 21:

Cut a "Character" out of card or cardboard. I personally cut mine from Cardboard and then covered it with coloured paper, you do not have to do the same. Then attach it with glue on the very top of the follower. Make sure to place it high enough to not interfere with the mechanism.

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