Introduction: Paper Mechanical Iris

Picture of Paper Mechanical Iris

I also got featured on HackADay! Link: 

Please rate and comment!
I posted a picture Instructable of this, and someone wanted me to make an instructable.
This mechanical iris has 6 segments, I plan to add more, it is "upgradable", as for that I can add more segments and fix broken ones. It can open and close smoothly, and it had a detachable strap to make it a monicle but I broke it a while ago

New thing: the first 2 people who make this will get a patch!
Edit: Win Guy already made one! look at the top comment and you will see it. There is only 1 patch left!

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Here is what you need:
-Printout, image below
-scissors and hobby knife(Xacto Knife)
-snippers or plyers
-foam core, I used 1/4 in
-credit cards or gift cards with no protruding objects( I don't know now many I used, but I guess i used 3-4)

Step 2: Print Out the Paper

Picture of Print Out the Paper

I suggest that you print out more than one copy, incase if you mess up.
UPDATE: I finally made a real thing that you can print out instead of this image. Just print that out instead

Step 3: Cut It Out

Picture of Cut It Out

Cut the paper out, for the "cam wheel" only cut out a circle like the "brass ring" it would be hard to realign then again.
For the "combined" only cut out the shutter part of it
also keep the "extra cam wheel"s , they are need for alignment 

Step 4: Glue It On

Picture of Glue It On

Get the foam core, the piece in the first picture is too small, it is only big enough for one part.
Using larger foam core, glue on the cam wheel and brass ring separately(far apart), also from the extra paper you have, cut out an extra cam wheel and glue it on, it is used later on to hold the cam wheel together.

Step 5: Make the Container

Picture of Make the Container

With the foam core glued on with the design, cut all the pieces out, except for the second "cam wheel"(Cut out the first one)
For the second "cam wheel cut it out like the "brass ring" a circle
Make sure to cut out the inside also, thats what the xacto knife is for.
When you are done cutting it all out, glue on the  "cam wheel" segments to their place on the second cam wheel(it has markings for where they should exactly go(I dont have any pictures of that because i made it a while ago(The second picture should help, you can see the lines)))
Then get a piece of paper and wrap it around the "cam wheel" like shown in the picture and glue it

With a pin poke holes in the "brass ring" where it is marked.(3th picture)(every other hole)

Step 6: Cut Out the Segments

Picture of Cut Out the Segments

Glue on the shutter piece to the gift cards or credit cards. Cut them out and with a pin poke a hole to the place where the paper shows as a circle on each end, try to get it near the middle of each hole as close as possible.

Step 7: Cut and Glue on the Paperclips

Picture of Cut and Glue on the Paperclips

Using the snippers, cut the paperclip into these sizes:
6 each and each about 7 mm(close to exact)
Another 6 each and each about 10mm(it could vary, but not much)
Sorry for the conversion(inches to milimeters) The milimeters are more exact

In the picture,the top one, the paper clip to the left is the 10mm and on the bottom one the one to the right is the 7mm one
Then put the paper clip pieces through the holes you made and use super glue to secure the hold of the paper clip to segment

Step 8: Put It Together

Picture of Put It Together

Put the segments on with the part with not rounded edge on the "brass ring" as shown in picture 2 to picture 4
Then put it in the "cam wheel" and line up the paperclip on the segment with every other line(this is meant for a 12 segment iris)

Step 9: You Are Done!

Picture of You Are Done!

Please tell me if there is an error and comment on how you like it!


LogicalParadox (author)2011-08-03

I made two. One full size and another 3/4 scale. They actually nest in a pretty cool way.

dombeef (author)LogicalParadox2011-08-03

Do you have any images of it?

LogicalParadox (author)dombeef2011-08-03

I tried to put some up but couldnt get the uploader to play nice with my phone. Goimg to post them tonight. I built them for a pair of steam punk goggles I am working on. Thanks for posting my inspiration.

dombeef (author)LogicalParadox2011-08-04

I think it is tomorrow where ever you are right now?

LogicalParadox (author)dombeef2011-08-04

I'm in the U.S. Central time zone. In about four hours I'm going to post the pictures. I had some other things come up last night that kept me from it. I'm going to post the pictures of the two irises separately and then I'm going to post the finished product picture. The finished product has a full size "brass bottom ring" and a 3/4 sized cam wheel. This allows it to slide into the eye socket of a pair of goggles I already own for a simpler modification rather than having to build an entire new socket for the iris.

dombeef (author)LogicalParadox2011-08-04

Ok, it sounds very cool!

LogicalParadox (author)dombeef2011-08-04

Here they are. Just a day late. And a couple of hours off.

dombeef (author)LogicalParadox2011-08-04

Wow, they look very good! The patch is coming up shortly!

How do they work out? It is really cool to see that the new plans that I made works nicely(it was originally an image but I changed it into a pdf a few weeks ago.)

Win Guy (author)2011-05-04

Totally awesome! I'm gonna post pics as soon as I'm finished. I'll be getting a Pro membership very soon, I'll let you know when.
Win Guy

dombeef (author)Win Guy2011-05-05

Good luck!

Win Guy (author)dombeef2011-05-05

I'm finished! I hope these pics get through okay - I used two layers of cardboard instead of foam, and it works great!
Win Guy

SatyamK19 (author)2017-02-05

Can anyone send me the pdf of this

MMSSS1 (author)2015-01-08

How are you all?
Iam study mechanical
I want to make mecanical lirs
I need help and size

Any one can help me?

asmith210 (author)2014-01-08

This site is very informative. Your site will be bookmarked for future reference.

___ (author)2012-09-02

You work at Sears?

dombeef (author)___2012-09-02

No I do not, I actually know a friend that works there and when these giftcards expired they gave it to me because it was no use to them and it was going to be thrown out anyways.

___ (author)dombeef2012-09-03

Cool, always nice to have some extra free stufff to play around with.

FrozenIce (author)2011-11-03

u wrote 3th, its 3rd

FrozenIce (author)2011-10-29

any patches or pro memberships left?? :D

dombeef (author)FrozenIce2011-10-29

Hmm... Let me check.... I do have a patch left!

heathbar64 (author)2011-10-12

Very cool!!
I'm definitely gonna play with this. Can you give more info on how you would actually design this, as in more than just print pattern and cut? Specifically, how to determine the size and shape of the leaves and the pin spacing, slot spacing etc. I want to design one to my own needs rather than just copy yours.

rojo.balloon (author)2011-07-05

Someone I know made this out of metal and showed me where the idea was from and showed this page. I was shocked. Pretty good. I like it. :)

dombeef (author)rojo.balloon2011-07-05

Wait, someone actually made this and told someone about it? They should have posted a comment, I would give them a patch

rojo.balloon (author)dombeef2011-07-05

well they are not really a member. That person just looks at the creations people have. :) And question: are you allowed to give people patches. That is cool.

dombeef (author)rojo.balloon2011-07-05

Yeah, but only if you are pro

rojo.balloon (author)dombeef2011-07-05

is a patch like a badge?

dombeef (author)rojo.balloon2011-07-05

yeah, it is on your page with you instructables on in

rojo.balloon (author)dombeef2011-07-05

OK. I will check that.

dombeef (author)rojo.balloon2011-07-05

But you have to be pro first, you arent

rojo.balloon (author)dombeef2011-07-06

oh ok.
So, pros give pros badges.

dombeef (author)rojo.balloon2011-07-06

Pros can give anyone badges

threefer (author)dombeef2011-09-15

Badges?  We don't need no stinking badges!    :)

rojo.balloon (author)dombeef2011-07-06

Understood. :)

Ojsmudge (author)2011-08-29

i made one but had to use card instead of credit or gift cards so the paperclip cuttings broke off

dombeef (author)Ojsmudge2011-08-29

Hmm, did you try layering the card?(I think you are referring to cardstock?)

Ojsmudge (author)dombeef2011-08-31

nope just a layer of card from a cereal box didnt work :( oh well

dombeef (author)Ojsmudge2011-08-31

Well if you get it working you will get a patch!

techxpert (author)2011-07-23

any one know a video

dombeef (author)techxpert2011-07-23

A video for what?

Unfortuantly I gave this to a very special teacher that let me work on this and many other projects and he was leaving, I am making another one and when I finish I will make a video.

techxpert (author)dombeef2011-08-09

yay :)

dombeef (author)techxpert2011-08-09

It might take a while, I have a few more projects ahead of it.

souichi (author)2011-06-20

what is this project for?

dombeef (author)souichi2011-07-04


It was a challenge because I was bored and i had nothing to do over the weekend

Also no one ever did this before, i had to do it

k.bipin (author)dombeef2011-07-16

is this project ... like IRIS in the human eye?? kind of?

dombeef (author)k.bipin2011-07-17

It is kinda like it, that the eye opens and closes, but the eye doesnt move the same way that this does.

k.bipin (author)dombeef2011-08-04


Travpena (author)2011-07-29

im still a little confused here, we print the PDF and make like 6 shutter pieces, the cam wheel like a circle to help with alignment and the top and brass ring on foam. maybe. also how are they layered? im thinking bottom, cam, then top.

dombeef (author)Travpena2011-07-29

You put the cam wheel the top ring and the bottom ring on the foam core. The top ring has the lines so when you glue the cam wheel parts on it, you dont get it aligned wrong. And yes, they are layered like this: bottom, shutter, cam, and then top. the top ring has the container attached to it, as in the step ahead.

I dont have it with me because I gave it to a teacher that left last year, so I cant post any new pictures or videos, but I can still help you with most of the other stuff.

Jo-dan (author)2011-07-26

i want 2 make a box with a iris on top so that u have 2 know where the switch is

dombeef (author)Jo-dan2011-07-26

Look at my paper diamond puzzle sketchbook, I am thinking of making that have 6 segments so it is more like an iris.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make inventions, usually out of paper and stuff I have. I have a few projects that i haven't put up on ... More »
More by dombeef:Claw Business Card v1Paper Diamond Puzzle SketchbookMini Diamond Puzzle Sketchbook
Add instructable to: