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Mechanical Iris Will Make You Want a Laser Cutter Even More

iris

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.

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Red Bull dispenser includes smokey presentation and rejects inferior drinks

The Eugene Maker Space’s entry in the Red Bull Creation contest dispenses cans in a mysterious fog through an iris opening. But it’s also capable of disposing of the Red Bull cans… and only those cans. If you try to put a different soda in it will violently reject it!

First off we must applaud the Eugene Makers for their prolific documentation of the project. There’s a day or two worth of fun reading/watching on that page so make sure you save the bookmark (and learn from their example!). Inside the mysterious waist-high enclosure there’s a hopper to store the energy-drink reservoir. As a can is dispensed its barcode is scanned to ensure this is an approved beverage. At this point the can is elevated through an iris in the case of the enclosure, al0ng with a theatrically timed puff of fog. The parts of the iris were printed on paper and used to cut out wooden pieces using a scroll saw. The fog blast is from an inverted duster can with a 3d printed nozzle that helps make it Bullduino controlled.

When done with your beverage the can can be placed back in the opening, where it is again scanned before going into the recycling bin. But as you can see in the clip after the break, trying to sneak a soda can into the machine will launch the empty right back at you!

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Paper Mechanical Iris

This functioning mechanical irs is made from paper templates, foam core poster board, old credit / gift / etc cards, paper clips and masking tape. First, patterns are designed and multiples are printed and laid out to make the 10 parts needed. Two rings are cut out of foam board and a third ring is cut into wedges to form a cam mechanism on top of one of the other two rings.

Twelve shutters are then cut from the credit cards, and small pieces of paper clip are glued to each end and both sides. One side rides the cam mechanism the other side is punched through the final ring.

We found it to be an interesting project that should be pretty easy for just about anyone to replicate (now that its all figured out for us), and besides, you never know when you might stumble across a small box of hotel key’s with a defunct pizza parlor’s advertisement on the back.