Picture of Iris Box


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
kit.zip116 KB
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Step 1: Top rings

Picture of 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,...) :-)
jdabbott12 made it!1 month ago

I made one of these this week at TechShop and it came out very nice! Thanks so much for the drawings!

Ernesto_realize (author)  jdabbott121 month ago

Good for you. It's always nice to have good feedback. Thanks.

phatorx10 months ago
Congratulations, this is also
That's an awesome project! Will it work with MDF?
Ernesto_realize (author)  dvillegas duque10 months ago
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.
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.
jdonato10 months ago
What does a laser cutter cost?
how long is a piece of string? depends what you want to pay really. mine cost £5k
Ernesto_realize (author)  jdonato10 months ago
You can find some cheap Chinese ones around a couple of thousand euros/dollars.
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)
LeeFogle10 months ago
It looks pretty but I have no idea what it's for. What is an 'iris box?"
TheGreatS LeeFogle10 months ago
It's a box (like a jewelry box) that uses an iris mechanism as a lid.
LeeFogle TheGreatS10 months ago
Oh, I see. Thanks! That's a pretty clever idea.
JBZG10 months ago
spyder202110 months ago
nice, but a video of it in action would make it 1000 times better.
jhall3010 months ago
Beautiful gear mechanism! Do you have cutting files available?

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!

Now, where might I find cut files?
Ernesto_realize (author)  jhall3010 months ago
I'll upload the files very soon.
Indeed, there is actually little effort needed to get the extra teeth out of the cut files.
I did exposed that on a Makerfaire and was in a rush to publish the how-to.
Yay! Files!

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).
foobear10 months ago
Wow, gorgeous box. But it needs photos of the finished box and a brief video embedded would be ideal!
Ernesto_realize (author)  foobear10 months ago
Coming soon !
How bout some photos of finished working product so we know what it is?
Ernesto_realize (author)  Jackoffmanytrades10 months ago
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.

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