Introduction: Cardboard Aperture: V2

Picture of Cardboard Aperture: V2

After a little more research, I have managed to improve my Cardboard Aperture greatly!

This Instructable is based off of a project of mine to design a working aperture out of around-the-house materials. I had just seen an awesome set of Steampunk goggles by Gogglerman that had a very nice brass aperture in one eye. I set about trying to figure out how it had been made, and my resulting project went through two design iterations before I had anything working. I then posted that as my first Instructable.

So, instead of just editing my first Instructable, there's enough different to create a new one, which I have done. This time I'll be posting some instructions sheet downloads (in *.psd and *.pdn format for compatibility with your checkbook) and more pictures. Perhaps even a video!

Step 1: Designing Your Parts

Picture of Designing Your Parts

While not really the hardest part of this build, designing the parts is a crucial one. I've attached some files that should really help you out. I mainly used a compass and a protractor to design the parts.

The first part is the holding and hinging ring. Since my aperture was designed for six 'arms' I set the hinge holes 60 degrees apart. If you want more arms then you'll need to reposition the hinge holes. Use this widget to calculate this angle if you are lazy like I am don't want to do the math yourself ;)

The next part (looking like a rib) is one of the actual arms that swings in and closes the aperture. Each one should encompass about 100 degrees. You'll see how the hinging and swinging pegs are attached later.

The last part here, the one shaped like the hinging ring but with notches instead of holes, is the adjuster ring. The notches will 'grab' the pins on the upper face of the arms, pulling or pushing them around the ring.

Step 2: Choosing Your Materials and Tools

This step is pretty straightforward. For all of the flat parts, I used a thin cardboard/tag-board from the back of a school notebook. Cheap, fairly study, but not hard to cut or shape.

For the hinging pegs I used a thing wooden dowel (I think it was actually a round chopstick :D )
To hold the pegs to the arms I used Zap-a-Gap. Amazing stuff, that. :D Only takes about 30 seconds to dry, and holds on like no one's business.

Finally I used a combination of scissors and a craft knife to cut the parts out (after transferring my design to the cardboard.

Step 3: Attatching the Hinging Pegs

Picture of Attatching the Hinging Pegs

This is fairly straightforward. Cut the dowel into segments about a half-inch in length, and glue them into place on all six arms. (So, 12 pegs are needed altogether)

It doesn't matter really which direction the arm extends off to (left or right) it just determines whether the aperture will appear to swirl clockwise or counterclockwise. Just make sure all of the arms are glued in the same way!

Step 4: Attach the Arms to the Hinging Ring

Picture of Attach the Arms to the Hinging Ring

Cut out the hinging ring and make the holes for the pegs to hinge through at the places marked. Make sure the pegs can turn almost effortlessly in the holes!

Then just slide the pegs through the holes and your arms are in place.

Step 5: And You're Done!

Picture of And You're Done!

Just place the adjuster ring over the pegs and (carefully at first, until you're sure nothing's going to break) twist. This design is perfect, as far as I am concerned. It has resolved the problem of the arms getting caught up on each other, as well as turning much easier in either direction.

Step 6: Some More Pictures...

Picture of Some More Pictures...

Just some more pictures for your reference... I hope you enjoyed my second Instructable! Happy building!


andiukas223 (author)2011-02-04

yeah mine kingda failed but looks cool o_O by the way its youre first design anyway thanks :)

Sidneys1 (author)andiukas2232011-02-04

Not bad, actually! What material did you use? Try out my new design, it will work much better :) Also, you have to make sure that each 'arm' overlaps the next arm. So that bottom-right arm in your picture should be over the bottom arm.
Like I've said, though, my old design doesn't work very well. I'd love to see my new design in this material though!

Have a nice day,

mccubee made it! (author)2015-11-19

heres mine but to does not work correctly. :(

tridecagon (author)2015-02-21

I made an AutoCAD file based on this. I had to hand-trace the lines so expect some things to be misaligned. I also gave it some thickness (about the thickness of a CD) and the leaves have the hinges as part of the model.

pdemicco (author)2014-07-17

Does this remind anyone of the James Bond opening

D00M99 (author)2011-02-05

How do you make the arms? Can you post a plan for that? Or is there really no preference?

St Jimmy (author)D00M992011-02-06

I think it's really just a section of a circle spanning 3 holes, slightly thinner than the holding ring itself

Sidneys1 (author)St Jimmy2011-02-07

More precisely, it spans about 100 degrees of the circle.

Have a nice day,

heathbar64 (author)Sidneys12011-12-04

So how did you come up with 100 degrees? Just want to know the nitty gritty of how it was actually designed.

heathbar64 (author)heathbar642011-12-04

And what are the notches for on the outer part of the adjusting ring?

Sidneys1 (author)heathbar642011-12-04

The notches were just there because I repurposed a part from an prototype that didn't work :)

As for 100 degrees, if I remember correctly it was so that when the arm arced around the center of the ring (closed position) it would reach the other side without being too long. Or it was because it needed to be over 90 degrees without being too long as to be unmanageable, I don't remember exactly lol. should have kept notes..

Sidneys1 (author)D00M992011-02-07

In my design plans there is a scale representation of the arms.

Have a nice day,

D00M99 (author)Sidneys12011-02-12

On the plans I never saw a scale for the arms; I only saw it for the rotating ring and nothing else.

Sidneys1 (author)D00M992011-02-13

If you're using the psd or pdn files, the different parts are on seperate layers. If you don't want to mess with that, then download the PDF.

vanadium chrome (author)2011-08-22

Y'did a really good job

rawromg (author)2011-02-15

When I assemble it, the pegs just slip out of the groves inwards

Madmartigan95 (author)rawromg2011-08-14

The same thing happened to me. I have no idea how to fix it... yet.

Sidneys1 (author)rawromg2011-02-15

Then the arms must be too short.. Are you sure they're 100 degrees long?

rawromg (author)Sidneys12011-02-15

I'm not sure, I printed out the PDF and cut it out on the same material you used.

Jo-dan (author)2011-07-26

im going to make one out of wood then metal

_Scratch_ (author)2011-06-14

Ahh portal = best game evar

Handiest1 (author)2011-06-11

I am really happy to see this design. A few years ago I rehabbed a church into a house and it had a big round window that caused all kinds of glare. At that time, I failed at designing an aperture for that, and didn't want to take my camera apart to study. so I gave up. I was going to make it out of plywood, about 7-8' in diameter, and 12' off the floor, and control it with chains or something. Thanks for posting, I think it's a really neat/interesting item.

gadjetralahami (author)2011-05-28

its nice and cool.thanx 4 da idea

twonkie12 (author)2011-03-06

could you make them small and attach them together to make some really weird glasses

Sidneys1 (author)twonkie122011-03-07

Not quite sure what you mean.. Could you explain a little more?

Thanks, and have a nice day,

9mvp9 (author)Sidneys12011-05-05

He means to make 2 of them and turn them into apeture glasses.

Sidneys1 (author)9mvp92011-05-05

Ah.. 'Twould be hard, the parts are pretty small as it is. I want to get some brassworking tools though and make a metal set.

Have a nice day,

9mvp9 (author)Sidneys12011-05-06

Metal aperture would be cool.

CobaltBlue (author)2011-03-31

Thank you, deyb1, for providing the link explaining Dumchicken's somewhat obscure but brilliant reference.

Anonyomus Duck Ninja (author)2011-03-28

Sweet! Making one now, will post when finished.

Dumchicken (author)2011-03-19

aperture sience doo doo doo doo doo doo ................................................................
....................................................................untill you make a neat gun for the people
who are still alive........................................................................................................
...................still alive still alive still alive still alive(fading sound)

dombeef (author)2011-02-19

You beat me to making an instructable. Mine was basically the same design but I made it out if foam core and credit cards.
I will make a slideshow about it later on.
Good job though!

Vick Jr (author)2011-02-13

I'm trying to use aluminum house-siding for the leafs. The Apature will be used as the housing for the evil robot eye of my evil robot turret. I'll post pics when it's done (could be a while)

...but look at me still talking when there's science to do.

D00M99 (author)2011-02-04

It's really awesome looking and stuff, but what is it actually used for? Or more specifically, what CAN it be used for?

Sidneys1 (author)D00M992011-02-07

Well, in cameras it's used to control the aperture size. It can be used to control the amount of light coming through a window. And it looks cool and is relatively easy to make.

Have a nice day,

D00M99 (author)Sidneys12011-02-12

I downscaled it and made it into a monocle. :)

Sidneys1 (author)2011-02-07

Thanks for the clarification! I'm not going to change it, though, since I think the term "Aperture" more readily describes the device to the passing member.

Plus it sounds cooler :)

Have a nice day,

Ratz (author)Sidneys12011-02-09

If you are looking this up in a mechanical design book, you will find it under "Iris" -- you unfortunately don't see them often in design books though. :(

bowmaster (author)2011-02-06

Sweet, I'm one step closer to having aperture doors in my house.

Sidneys1 (author)bowmaster2011-02-07

Nice :D I personally wanted to create a custom window shade with it. The device is, after all, designed with the purpose of limiting light passage.

Have a nice day,

bowmaster (author)Sidneys12011-02-08

A window shade would be pretty cool too.

featheredfrog (author)2011-02-04

Wunnaful wunnaful!

I'll bet that Chicago Screws would function well as the pivots...

Sidneys1 (author)featheredfrog2011-02-07

I've never heard of "Chicago Screws".. Would you mind posting a link or picture?

Thanks :)

Have a nice day,

featheredfrog (author)Sidneys12011-02-07

Won't let me post a picture.

They're cheap, and behave like rivets, except you can undo them.

Madrigorne (author)2011-02-07

Can you please save your plans as a PDF?

You can get very thin aluminum by cutting the ends off a pop can - and you can cut it with scissors - but BEWARE -- the aluminum is SHARP and you will probably need to leave an allowance at the edges to round them over or bend them over to keep your fingers intact.
You may also have to heat it with a torch or throw it into a campfire for awhile to make it soft enough to work with - though you may want it stiffer

Sidneys1 (author)Madrigorne2011-02-07

Thanks for the feedback! I've added a downloadable PDF to step one.. Enjoy!

As for a pop can, no one in my household drinks the stuff, so I don't have any. Feel free to try it yourself though!

Have a nice day,

carlpogi_11 (author)2011-02-06

can we paint it or not???

Sidneys1 (author)carlpogi_112011-02-07

Sure! Just make sure that the paint won't make unnecessary friction. Post a picture when you're done! :)

Have a nice day,

astrong0 (author)2011-02-06

Ok I made my own one but I've got a question, does yours lay flat when it's totally "closed"? Or is it thicker than when it's open?

Sidneys1 (author)astrong02011-02-07

No, it does not. When fully closed it's almost an inch thick. I was hoping to shoot a small video that would show this, but I haven't had time yet.

Have a nice day,

About This Instructable




More by Sidneys1:Cardboard Aperture: v2Cardboard Aperture
Add instructable to: