Marchetti 8-cylinder Cam Action Engine

By Wesley Peijnenburg

After the first succesful flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, the aviation industry started developing rapidly. Pioniers all over the world developing planes and technology started advancing further after WW1 (1914 - 1918). Paul Marchetti (1889-1929) was eager to make a contribution to this era of creative developments. His goal: to develop a vibrationless airplane engine, having benefits for airplane lifetime and protecting the pilot and passenger from excessive vibrations.

1926 Marchetti Engine from Animation and comparison with a picture from

Paul Marchetti wanted to fly his own invention and started taking flying lessons. During his training, however, he died in a tragic accident. His company was sold, drawings and prototypes have sadly disappeared. The top left picture is from a newspaper and was used to design, calculate and build a model of this engine. This work is also intended honour the amazing inventor and engineer who's name is Paul Marchetti (1889-1929). His work will continue to fascinate others.

The Marchetti cam-action airplane engine is based on a fascinating principle. The mechanism is inherently balanced because every moving part is counteracted by an opposing movement. In the spare time besides my study at the University of Eindhoven I worked on modelling, developing and building this engine. The purpose of this website is to publish all work such that others may learn and build their own versions of the Marchetti cam-action principle. Enjoy!

Click each header below for more information.

A big thank you to Bill Todd and Chuck Fellows for their help, ideas and information!

Another big thank you to Falco, my brother, who helped develop the interactive calculator and introduced me to the programming language called Elm!

Below you can see a very clear animation was made by Bill long before I started my project:
Animation of the Marchetti Engine by Bill Todd

For more information, visit:

These webpages are archived here
Logo of the company owned by Paul Marchetti

I have restored the original company logo, the available formats are: Pdf Png Ipe Eps Dxf
Animation of the CAD model by Wesley Peijnenburg

Download the instructions:

Step-by-step instructions for Solidworks: CAD_Instructions.pdf.
The X-Y-Z coordinates necessary for the cam curve: CamCoordinates.txt

Calculate your own coordinates:

You can enter the desired dimensions of your own model and calculate them with the Interactive Calculator.
Animation of the mathematical solution by Wesley Peijnenburg


Step-by-step mathematical explanation: Marchetti_Analytical_Derivation.pdf.

How the mathematical solution is used to estimate the historical dimensions: Marchetti_Historical_Estimation.pdf.

Deeper into the mathematics, optimising the geometry: Marchetti_Geometry_optimisation.pdf.

Direct link:
Animation of the CAD model by Wesley Peijnenburg

Model built:

My first model of the Marchetti principle on compressed air:

Prototype marchetti front by Wesley Peijnenburg Prototype marchetti back by Wesley Peijnenburg

Video of the engine working already on two cylinders:

Special overhead valves:

This model runs on a specially designed (and registered) automatic exhaust and inlet valve. The inlet valve is actuated by the piston and the outlet valve is actuated by the pressure difference.

Animation of the double automated valve

If you find these details interesting, fascinating or even useful please consider making a helpful contribution. Funds will be used to buy tools, new materials, future projects and to keep this website online:

For any kind of historical information, please visit the websites mentioned above in the section "Credits, acknowledgments and sources". If you have questions about my project or technical details, feel free to contact me at which is actually my adress. If you are working on your own cam action project, I would really love to hear about it!