Out of a 4mm multiplex wood, laser-cut (see files) :
- bottom layer : screw head holes
- 2nd bottom layer : cavity bottom + screw threading holes
- cavity slices (here 6x)
- big ring gear
- 5x small inner gears
- 5x blades
- one more cavity slice to retain the hexagonal nuts
- hexagonal nuts holder slice
- top ring

- 5x screws : M4, 4x40mm
- 5x hexagonal screw nuts
- 5x large washers
- 5x small washers


- wood glue
- flat screwdriver, medium size
- sand paper (120-180)
- some weight (heavy book), or clamps
- optional : cutter

Step 1: Top Rings

Assemble the top rings:
- Put glue dots on the hexagonal holder slice (image #1)
- Place it on the top slice
- Place the hexagonal nuts in their holders (image #2)
- Put glue dots on the hexagonal nuts retainers slice (one of the 7 cavity slices) (image #3)
- Place it on the hexagonal holder ring (image #4)
- !!! Make sure that the holes are aligned !!! Try to insert M4 screw into the holes to confirm that it is actually possible to screw into the nuts.
- While the glue is drying, press the assembly under some weight (heavy book or so), or use clamps (image #5).

TIP: if you use clamps, do not press to hard to avoid distortion.

TIP: make sure to keep all the slice aligned while pressing, and wipe off the glue that might drop off the assembly, otherwise it will look like a pile of pancake covered with maple syrup (image #6, mmmmmhhh, nom, nom,...) :-)

Step 2: Bottom and Cavity

Assemble the bottom layers and cavity slices.

A word about the number of cavity slices.
Their number depends on the wood you're using, and the length of the screws.
The screw threading must go through 5 slices + N cavity slices, and 2 washers:
- 2nd bottom slice : cavity bottom + screw threading holes
- Nx cavity slices
- washer, about 0.5mm thick
- the gears slice
- blades slice
- washer
, about 0.5mm thick
- one more slice, similar to the cavity slice to retain the hexagonal nuts
- hexagonal nuts holder slice
This model is using 4mm multiplex wood, and 40mm screws (threading, head excluded).
Making the calculation gives us: (5+N).4mm+2.washer = 40mm --> N = (40-1)/4 - 5 =  4,75 --> 5 cavity slices
But the wood is actually a bit thinner than 4mm (3.6mm or so), so an additional 6th cavity slice is needed.

As a summary : make a test first; pile up the wood slices and compare with your screw length to determine the correct amount of cavity slices.

- Put some glue dots on the bottom slice (image #1)
- Place the 2nd bottom slice (cavity bottom) on it, so that the screw holes are aligned (image #2)
- While the glue is not dry yet, insert the 5 screws (image #3)
- On each cavity slices, put some glue dots (image #4), and stack them on the bottom slices (image #5)

Then, use a weight (need to remove the screws) or clamps to keep all together while the glue is drying.
You can also screw in the hexagonal nuts, but that will not keep the very bottom slice in place !

Step 3: Blades and Gears

Assemble the blade and the small gears.
!!! This part needs to be really cautious about the position of each gear relative to the blades.

For easiness, we will use the screws to align the blades and the gears.
- Place the first blade on one of the screws
- Put some glue on the blade, around the axis
- Place a small gear on the blade. Observe carefully the (rotational) position of the gear relative to the blade. ALL the other gears will have to be in the SAME position. For your convenience, you are free to choose which position you can reproduce more easily, but it is important that, in final, ALL the gears have the SAME position.

- Do the same for the other blades and gears
!!! Pay attention to place all the gears on the same side of the blade !!!
On image #1, I placed them in a row on the same screw, but you can use one screw per blade.

Let the glue dry.
Later, when we will place all the blades together on the box, we will see that some gear teeth will obstruct the assembly and the blade will not fit side by side. We will have to cut out some of the teeth.

When the glue is dry, remove the blade/gear from the screws and make sure they form a SOLID assembly.
Use a sharp cutter to cut the extra teeth of and/or use sand paper to sand them off. Do not be afraid; we do not need these bits.
See image #2 and #3.
The result should look like image #4 and #5.

Then, make sure the hole is clear.
To do that, use a screw as a thread and move it back and forth into the hole to scrap off any excess glue (image #6).
In result, the screw must move freely into the hole.

Step 4: Final Assembly

Image #1 shows what you should have achieved by now.

- Place the big washers on the screws/box
- Place the big ring gear on the box
- Place all the blades/gears, ALL in the same position
- Place the small washers
The result should look like image #2.

- Place the top ring assembly (image #3)
- Hold all the pieces in one hand and start to screw VERY carefully (image #4). Turn a bit each screws at a time to be sure not to force or distort the assembly.
- The screw MUST remain loose, the blades MUST move freely. Screws are used the keep the top ring in place, not to tighten something. When you shake the box, you should hear the blades and washers move.

Make some opening/closing trial, adjust the screws, make more trials...
When you a satisfied with the screw position, you can put some glue dots on their head to maintain them in place (image #5).

Done !

Step 5: Finished

Here are photos of the final object and opening sequence.

You can also have look at a short video of another box here (a bit wider, and not completely finished).
This other box can be generated from the parametric OpenSCAD file provided in this post.
<p>So I used your design and made it for my boyfriend for his birthday! :D </p><p>I scaled it up by1.5 (he has abnormally large hands) and put everything together, but I wasn't happy with the amount of play between the gear and blade shaft assemblies and the rods (or bolts). There was also too much play for my liking between the gear teeth. I think this was all just a result of the kerf dimensions on the laser cutter - it just burnt away too much material. The blades would then open if the box was on it's side. So I just scaled certain dimensions up/ down to compensate for the kerf size. I also changed the design a bit to include aluminium tubing with smaller bolts inside them so that I could tighten them onto the tubing rather than the wood. This all made it more robust and gave better movement between the layers of wood while still being able to tighten the bolts. I also added a pattern on the blades which I engraved using the laser cutter. It came out beautifully. The wood was also stained and sanded to look old and distressed. </p><p>My boyfriend absolutely loved it and I had so much fun making it. Thank you so much for the design! Keep up the good work! </p>
<p>Your idea of placing alu tubing is indeed a nice trick. I'll think about it next time I have something similar to do.</p>
<p>This is awesome! I'm going to adapt it for a project of my own- iMadeIt to follow...</p>
<p>I made some of these as christmas presents and they worked awesome! I loved the SCAD file, it made it really easy to scale it up to about 120mm across.</p><p>I also made it out of 3mm wallnut, which lasers just as easily as mdf, it's just more expensive, I cnc milled the base out of 26mm wallnut so I wouldn't need so many layers and instead of using screws and bolts, I just glued in aluminum rod, which let me skip 3 of the top layers and makes it look a bit more streamlined.</p><p>there's a few more photos on my blog: http://buzzwordoverload.co.uk/things-i-made/2015/iris-jewellery-boxes/</p>
Beautiful work !<br>Thanks for the credits, and respecting the open source design spirit. I like your improvements to the original design.
<p>I made one of these this week at TechShop and it came out very nice! Thanks so much for the drawings!</p>
<p>Good for you. It's always nice to have good feedback. Thanks.</p>
Congratulations, this is also
That's an awesome project! Will it work with MDF?
Sure. <br>Acutally MDF could do better on the mecanical point of view (I didn't try, thought); remember that some parts need to slide on each other, and MDF is smoother than plain wood. <br>I find MDF is not that good looking, you can try to paint it but in turn that can affect the mecanical properties in the wrong way.
Beautiful work, I thanks for the dxf file, I might try one out of plex.
What does a laser cutter cost?
how long is a piece of string? depends what you want to pay really. mine cost &pound;5k
You can find some cheap Chinese ones around a couple of thousand euros/dollars. <br>This is no cheap tool, you'll better find a makerspace nearby to get your cut done, or there are a number online services (e.g. Ponoko)
It looks pretty but I have no idea what it's for. What is an 'iris box?&quot;
It's a box (like a jewelry box) that uses an iris mechanism as a lid.
Oh, I see. Thanks! That's a pretty clever idea.
nice, but a video of it in action would make it 1000 times better.
Beautiful gear mechanism! Do you have cutting files available?<br><br>I have a couple slight mods in my head. Since you're laser cutting the blades, you can etch a gear guide right on them to aid in alignment, and trim the unneeded teeth at the same time!<br><br>Now, where might I find cut files?
I'll upload the files very soon. <br>Indeed, there is actually little effort needed to get the extra teeth out of the cut files. <br>I did exposed that on a Makerfaire and was in a rush to publish the how-to.
Yay! Files! <br> <br>Thank you SO much! I just might play with this today at the office (ready to pause my carousel project, so this is a good filler).
Wow, gorgeous box. But it needs photos of the finished box and a brief video embedded would be ideal!
Coming soon !
How bout some photos of finished working product so we know what it is?
Yes, indeed. Well, this is my first post so I obviously made a nooby mistake. I'll add one photo of the finished object, but you mostly have it on the last step although the picture doesn't show very clearly the iris. <br>

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