Marchetti 8-cylinder Cam Action Engine

By Wesley Peijnenburg

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!

1926 Marchetti Engine from Animation and comparison with a picture from

The original inventor, Paul Marchetti, unfortunately died in a tragic accident. His invention no longer had the chance of being implemented or become a success. His company was sold, drawings and prototypes have sadly disappeared. The top left picture 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.

For further information, see the sources below by clicking on each header.

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: AnalyticalDerivation.pdf.

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

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!