Introduction: Paper Iris Glasses

Picture of Paper Iris Glasses

 Iris mechanism  glasses out of paper and string.

The above video was made in Autodesk Inventor publisher, and the model was made in Autodesk Inventor.

The attached PDFs are for 11x17 printing, outline of pieces are included to cut out with dimension to scale.
If you have access to a laser cutter there is a dxf ver attached as well. 

3-6 hours
Get your geek on.

xacto knife
paper glue (i used soba brand)
string - thats thin and strong ( i used book binding string)
Bristol paper- 100lb 
hole punch -or something that punches 1/8 in holes or less
Mailing tube - 2 15/16" inner diameter (got mine at fedex)
heavy chipboard/cardstock (mine was 1/32 thick ) 

Step 1: Cut Your Pieces

Picture of Cut Your Pieces

Everything you need to cut is in the pdf EXCEPT the mailing tube rings--cut two 3/8" high rings out of the tube. 
The 36 "leafs" are cut out of bristol paper, everything else (except mailing tube rings) are out of chipboard.
You don't really need a hole punch but having one goes much quicker, and the hole doesn't need to be exactly 1/8in hole, a smaller hole is fine.  

Step 2: Leaf Bending

Picture of Leaf Bending

Take the bristol "leafs" and score along the line at the end. Be sure your leaves are facing counter clockwise.
Then bend forward to 90 deg and back flat to apply some glue, then bend foward again. Turn up your headphones and do this for all 36 leafs. Be sure to periodlically bend them to keep them all at 90 degrees as they dry

Step 3: Attaching Leaves

Picture of Attaching Leaves

Next take your leafs and double tie a knot to the piece that has 18 holes in it. Be sure to loop the inner side of the ring and not the outter and make sure the folds you made in the previous step are facing up.

Snip off the excess string, get a close cut but not too close as to undo the tie, then push the knot in the hole do this for all 36 holes
*hint when tieing pull on one side of the string to drag the knot into the hole then snip*

Step 4:

Picture of

Take your mailing tube rims and  mark/measure 2.5"  diameter from one edge to the next.  Cut  out a 1/16" high channel between your marking.

Step 5: Mechanism Assembly

Picture of Mechanism Assembly

Glue your flower ring piece to the bottom of the rim of your tube ring , with the channel you just cut facing up(left pic)
Let it dry and flip it over. Insert your leaf bundle with the bent pieces sticking up between the flower ring(middle pic). Test drive how the mechanism works.  When inserting the leaf bundle be sure the tab is close to the right side wall of the channel you cut(right pic) 

Step 6: Glass Frames

Picture of Glass Frames

Take your glass frames and score lines where the legs of the glasses will bend 

Step 7:

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Now attach your mechanism to the glass frames.
Be sure you keep the tabs at the right corner of the channel you cut out of the mailing tube ring. 

And your done!


alkalah74 (author)2017-07-20

Perfecto muchas gracias un excelente trabajo

zyck (author)2017-01-14

One could steampunk it and be part of a costume.

istrokes (author)2013-05-28

como se puede ver el archivo "final_drawing.dxf"?

kleffa (author)istrokes2016-03-28

autocad o cualquier programa de CAD (dibujo técnico) en cualquier caso solo sirve si quieres modificar el proyecto

istrokes (author)kleffa2016-04-09

gracias eres muy amable

JuliusS13 (author)2016-03-31

Where can i find the dxf-file with the cutting templates?

TaftC (author)2016-03-15

How about a battery-powered aperture controller? It would be a great addition to a costume application. Or use a cable release with the plunger concealed in your sleeve. The goggles would be bulkier, but so what?

mary.beheler (author)2016-03-15

What do they do, besides look very interesting?

Chain N Sprocket (author)2016-03-15


Mark 42 (author)2016-03-15


Najn_arte (author)2016-03-15

I think you can also use empty adhesive tape rolls. I guess you use what you have and transform it to suit your purpose, which is good too. It's awesome. I would like to see the principle applied to other objects. It reminds me of a camera diafragm.

joselucianorc (author)2016-03-15

Amazing ! Thanks for sharing !

MerzyArtist (author)2016-03-15

Brilliant! Thank you for sharing!

Digital Flame (author)2014-11-22

Brilliant, I will try this, exactly what I have been looking for, bit late but these would be amazing for appeture shooting glasses which is what I will use them for!

As soon as I saw these I thought the same thing...peep scope and eye blanker, Just make the dominant eye black the other white!

errrr got air?

marciot (author)2015-04-26

These were a hit at the steampunk party I went to last night :)

ruth.s.nyaboke (author)2015-01-16

I'm thinking of making a large size to act as a door with a 2 foot opening but I need it to occupy less room (from hole to structure). Your design does a good job of this. Could you help me work out the dimensions needed for such a size? I will use a laser cutter and may try making the blades out of thin metal or plastic.

Thanks a bunch!!

raf.linux (author)2014-08-15

where can i find the pdf file?

raf.linux (author)2014-08-15

where is the pdf file?

yaly (author)2013-10-21

I did one lens but used normal paper for the leaves and cardboard for the rest, its nice but I may need to reinsert the flaps every few uses

shelbeeray (author)2012-08-30

I know I am old and completely UNCOOL, but what is the purpose of these? Are they just for fun? I know this is a mechanism similar to camera lense functions...but I know I am missing something here...please help a confused old lady....

Call it art for art's sake. Conversation piece, etc.

JBantha (author)2012-08-09

This is great! :D So easy to do, even when I hand cut every part and made the cardboard cylinder. As you can see in the picture the cylinder is a bit more larger than what it needs to be, but that is because of reasons.
The only problem I have with my actual build is that the flaps keep un-flaping every couple of uses (let's say 30 or so), but I think this won't be a problem for the bronze and copper build I'm starting. thanks a lot.

markt1964 (author)2012-07-05

I'm finding the first part of step a bit confusing... with the pictures in that step as a reference, the "flower ring" appears to be entirely inside of the tube, and not actually glued onto the tube's rim. How do they attach to eachother exactly? Also,

Quiran Pup (author)2012-03-17

this is really awsome, its the perfect size for the hand thrusters of iron man.
(if you look well in the first movie of iron man 1 you see he closes the thrusters as the enemy uses civilians as a shield)

maybe (not sure) i will do a tutorial on that, but i wont promise anything at all.

anyways, thanks allot for creating this. its awsome

Dhuynh (author)2011-12-18

Great project. I made just one lens of it. But instead of using a mailing tube I created my own template for one out of paper. Its a little thicker than it need to be but came out great.

marciot (author)2011-10-28

I just finished making mine just in time for a Halloween party tomorrow! They are so cool; thanks for posting this!

Though I do have to mention, while I wasn't keeping track, I think this took me way longer than 3-6 hours. Cutting out all the parts with blade and scissors is no easy task. This project is a serious commitment if you're doing it without a laser cutter.

midnite17 (author)2011-10-04

instead of Bristol paper could i use just regular heavy paper?

art.makes (author)midnite172011-10-05

Dunno, haven't tried it with other paper, but you need a material strong enough for the flap of the blades to keep its form when its being pushed up against the "flower petal" piece.

See the illustration attached to get a better idea of the blade movement. The flap moving against a confined space dictates the proper rotation of the blades, the string connection lets them pivot freely, and the fact that the piece you move is attached to all the blades while the inward flower petal piece stays static, compensates for the amount of distance it travels. A bit confusing to explain/understand, the movement is counter intuitive and why its such an interesting mechanism.

Let me know if you get it to work with other materials

marciot (author)2011-10-03

The PDF file doesn't have any reference dimensions at all. How do you size the template so that the project comes out the right size?

art.makes (author)marciot2011-10-05

i've updated the pdfs with dimensions, the doc is still for 11x17 printing but you can crop as you like, but the frames of the glasses stretch out pass 11". You could always tape the frames together in the middle and up the geek status of this project!

marciot (author)marciot2011-10-03

Nevermind, I was able to get dimensions off the DWG using AutoDesk's free DWG TrueView. However, realizing DWG is an AutoDesk proprietary format, is there any chance you can export and upload an DXF? This would be better supported by other CAD packages.

Treknology (author)2011-10-02

I'm guessing these are the follow-on model from the Joojanta 200 Peril-Sensitive Sun Glasses?

roneisaqt (author)2011-09-29

Wow this is a great project!!!! I found the PDF file and was looking through it, but saw no templates. I dont have a lazer cutter, is there another way to get the templates? :)

art.makes (author)roneisaqt2011-09-29

final_drawing.pdf has the outlines you need to cutout, the file works on my end.

roneisaqt (author)art.makes2011-10-02

awesome thanks, i guess it was my computer. :)

EeLeLeCtRiC (author)2011-10-01

the pdf file is to small

deathnotx101 (author)2011-09-29

Spray painted mine silver and black. Thanks for the DIY, it's one of the bests I've seen and this is gong into my pile of interesting things.

joppyslow (author)2011-09-29

I'm having difficulty printing out the pdf file to a proper size. I can print at 200% but some of the leaves aren't complete pieces. I can only use 8.5" x 11" paper. Any suggestions?

art.makes (author)joppyslow2011-09-29

yeh i was hoping people could print 11x17. You could break it up in photoshop or wait till this weekend and make a 8x11 version pdf of the pieces.

joppyslow (author)art.makes2011-09-29

I saved the pdf file as a Word document and ungrouped the picture. The resulting sub-groups are small enough to move around and resize at will. I have Adobe Acrobat X Pro. I'm not sure if the viewer can save the file as a Word document.

Don H. (author)2011-09-29

Should be "leaves", not "leafs".

el_seppos (author)2011-09-28

this is awesome :D
gonna mike it when have time (and a Mailing tube)

art.makes (author)el_seppos2011-09-28

yeh you don't really need a mailing tube, if you can make a stiff enough circular wall with a inner diameter of 2.99" you're good to go

el_seppos (author)art.makes2011-09-28

okay :)
I'll try to do that

el_seppos (author)el_seppos2011-09-28

i mean make instead of mike :)

and a question:
can you use something else instead of a mailing tube?

T3h_Muffinator (author)2011-09-28

Awesome! Now mechanize it!

McM (author)2011-09-28

WoW really nice work!

dombeef (author)2011-09-27

Man! I was working on an updated version of my paper iris that would be thinner and have more leafs in it than my old one.

Good job though! You did a way better job than I was doing, I had not thought of paper because I thought it was too weak, so I was only able to get up to 8 using a thin plastic like material.

Kiteman (author)2011-09-27

Oh, goodness me!

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