Mechanical Iris Will Make You Want a Laser Cutter Even More

Mechanical irises are very intricately designed mechanisms that are mesmerizing to see in action — and if you have a laser cutter, you could make one in less than 10 minutes.

Our “Teacher of Science”, Instructables’ user [NTT] has revised a previous Instructables design on a mechanical iris to improve it. The original design used three layers of components and dowel pins for every joint. What [NTT] has done is reduced this to two layers, and eliminated half of the pins required by designing clever circular cutouts. The result is a very slick mechanical iris that is very easy and quick to build — provided you have the tools.

Stick around to see the original iris open and close — unfortunately there’s no video of the new design — but we think you can imagine the differences.

Or alternatively you could 3D print a version of it!

No laser cutter, or 3D printer? We feel your pain. Luckily there is also a cardboard version of it you can make without any fancy tools!

35 thoughts on “Mechanical Iris Will Make You Want a Laser Cutter Even More

      1. That won’t work because you won’t actually go through it; just occasionally walk past and shoot whoever/whatever is on the other side.

          1. Indeed it is. But better than that, it’s not just “supposed to be” a picture of the inside of a gun barrel, it actually *is* a photograph of the inside of a gun barrel, taken by a custom pinhole camera. (Or at least it was before they started replacing it with drawings and CG. Bleh.)

    1. Nah, then you’ll need a Nehru jacket, a persian cat, a henchman with metal teeth, once you start it’s just a vicious cycle.

      1. With a very talented dentist, he might be able to chew that metal doorway out of a sheet of steel for you. Or you could laser-cut it. With your watch.

    1. Good ol’ fashioned chemical milling is always a possibility for doing a brass or copper version of this, if you don’t have a laser cutter.

      1. Good ol’ fashioned cutting and grinding and sanding also works….anywhere is walking distance, if you have the time.

          1. Your not thinking on a geologic scale, Hawaii will eventually drift and make contact with other land or vise verse, or the water level will drop, or freeze. etc. :)

    1. Yes it is. This is not an Iris. This is what is known as a leaf shutter, as was used on large format lenses.

  1. I saw this thing today at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire! It was essentially the sales pitch for hourly laser cutter use at a makerspace.

  2. I don’t like this model, as it can only open or close.I like the one where the leafs overlap a lot more as they allow you to keep a round hole but with different sizes.

    1. Could you do that by taking a normal iris, and sort-of letting it melt, while balanced on top of a solid sphere?

    1. Probably best to ask some photography experts. Vaguely pentagonal, if you used this one with a gigantic camera and film frames the size of bedsheets.

  3. Guys… Do you realize what this is REALLY for?

    Complete control over the HVAC registers in my home. No more whistling, no more loss into unused rooms, and completely easy to automate!@#!!!

  4. I did one of these a while back when gizmofo reposted it and i laser cut it (its def not 10 minutes BTW unless you have an expensive one) and i posted a video of it

    The one i got was based off a flawed design that doesn’t fully close and it always bugged me and i wanted to go back and recut it. maybe i should do that….

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