Paper Mechanical Iris




About: 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 instructables yet...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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    145 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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

    8 years ago on Introduction

    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

    2 replies
    Win Guydombeef

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Question 1 year ago

    Hi, does this fully close?


    2 years ago

    Can anyone send me the pdf of this


    4 years ago

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

    Any one can help me?


    5 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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