Blinking Iris Goggles

by LoboCNC Oct 17, 2016
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my iris balls opens a little strong (on this model and on the original) . my soloution: i sprayd a little bit of silicone spray into all the slits on the bottom. now they open and close very very smooth :) i thonk WD 40 would work too.

@LoboCNC Could you post the cad file for the eyes as well? I'm thinking about adding some gear teeth to the circumference so that a small motor with gear can actuate the iris.

The CAD file for the eyeball (except for the hole in the bottom) can be found with the original Iris box model: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1817180.

Print-In-Place Iris Box (remix)
by LoboCNC
Comments deleted.

Funny how I could get this to work with ease but the original iris box was a pain. Thank you!

Edit: Waiting on the automation, hope to see it someday.

I brought my printer out of retirement for this.

This is awesome! Great job!
Has anyone tried automating the blinking?

YESSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it works so good faboo!

If you look thru the comments below, it sounds like others have talked automated blinking - you could check with some of them.

SLDPRT file does not match stl.

I think I had changed some details on the strap attachment. I've uploaded an alternate version of the STL (goggles2.STL) that has this change.


Does anything on the eyes need to be cut for the box them to open and close? I watched Neatherbot's youtube video and it looked like a few things were cut and then the ring was pried.

ya I cant figure it out eather

Does anything on the eyes need to be cut for the box them to open and close? I watched Neatherbot's youtube video and it looked like a few things were cut and then the ring was pried.

What type of filament?

I used PLA but I think other people have made them using ABS as well.

I am using PLA too, so great! Thanks.

How does it work? It looks like it is synchronized with when you blink.

There is a single loop of string going from one side of the spring to the other. When you pull on the loop in the middle, both sides get pulled at the same time.

Oh! Now I see that in the pictures! Thank you.

Check out my remix. Does anyone have suggestions for what the LEDs should show when the reed switch detects that the eyeballs are closed? Right now, I'm thinking they will both turn blue with brightness 50%.

Blinking Iris Goggles with Battery Holder

I printed the goggle frame in black and the iris boxes in clear (natural). Attached elastic and fishing line - they blink great! Next I'll add a 12-LED ring (WS2812) behind each eye, Li-ion battery, digispark (AT-Tiny85), and on/off switch.
Here's the battery I'd like to use
Size: 42 x 24 x 8mm
Weight: 17g

@LoboCNC any chance you would be willing to share the CAD file for the goggle portion of this build? I have a simple remix I would love to try out; just adding small external motors to automate the blinking action (no blink detection). And if that is successful taking on the full IR blink detection posted earlier in the comments.

I've just added the Solidworks file for the goggles. I'll look forward to your remix!

That was fast! Thanks.

Hey! I'm interested in automating it too, have you done any progress? I'd love to see what you've done.

Is there any chance this could be modified to screw onto those basic welding goggles that everyone and their mother has for their steampunk costumes?

Is there any chance this could be modified to screw onto those basic welding goggles that everyone and their mother has for their steampunk costumes?

Is there any chance this could be modified to screw onto those basic welding goggles that everyone and their mother has for their steampunk costumes?

Is there any chance this could be modified to screw onto those basic welding goggles that everyone and their mother has for their steampunk costumes?

Is there any chance this could be modified to screw onto those basic welding goggles that everyone and their mother has for their steampunk costumes?

Big respect! Very beautiful item! Tnx!!!

Ok, I thought you might be able to adapt it kinda like the venus box. Where the outer shell slides over everything and screws on. Thanks for the quick reply, guess I'll be printing one out for my friend who can't get this to work. He's got a serious case of printer complex and he just might snap if he doesn't get these goggles soon lol.

Any chance you could upload a file to print the eyes in pieces for those who are having trouble printing this as a whole? Would greatly appreciate it.

Congrats on winning. This is a great design.

Unfortunately, if you printed the inner petals or the outer sphere separately, there would be no way to assemble them. The eyeballs are based on emmett's diabolical iris box design:)

haha, so cool. possible one of the best things I've ever stumbled upon :)

Has anyone had luck printing this on an M3D? my first attempt failed, now im double checking specs before I try again.. also it took 10 hours to print one Iris.

tibuck: "printer complex" indeed! I've had that before. It's when everyone on the Internet seems to have no problem 3d printing something while I can't make it work. It's hard to avoid tinkering until I nail the settings!

In this case, though, it printed perfectly for me the first time. Sorry. ;-) I used a Prusa i3 MK2, Simplify3D, and green Raptor PLA from Makergeeks. I don't think the type of PLA was important, though. Coasting helps a lot, also fairly fast travel moves (120 mm/s) and fast retraction, with only moderate printing speed (30-40 mm/s). Be sure to enable high power mode to avoid skipping steps when moving quickly.

My wife wore the goggles during a children's Halloween parade and got lots of looks whenever she blinked. It was so fun! Eventually the spring broke in the middle, but with a replacement spring the goggles worked well again.

BTW, I also tried printing in PETG, but PETG flexes too much and the mechanism jams as as a result. Stiff PLA is much better for this project. Also, a little lubricant makes a big difference. I used DuPont Teflon silicone lubricant from a spray can.

Thanks for the info really glad it came out the first go for you and yes indeed that MK2 is a great printer, but if you are wondering why mine failed , scroll down , I give Lobo the reason why. Cheers

this thing is giving me printer complex! I use to thing my prusa i3 was well dead on as far as tolerance went ! looks like i'm wrong , I printed this thing two times. with little changes and tweaks to the slicer , both times the blades stay stuck to the most inner part, Any advice?

Same here - I thought my MakerGear printer was dialed in pretty well, but it took a lot of work to free the leafs. I tried printing cooler, increasing the retraction etc. but what may a huge difference was adding 1mm of "coast" before the retraction and then 1mm of "wipe" . I use Simplify3D, and I'm not entirely sure these settings exist in other slicers, or what they might be called if they do exist.

Little update, I will be printing my 4th one out and im sure this one will work. your thing really had me motivated so while going thought my teardown I notice that my x axis belt was not the same as the y axis for some odd reason I had orders some XMT belts probably by accident and while doing an upgrade at one point or another I must of grab that belt with out realizing it . its not a huge pitch different , one being 2 mm pitch and other being 2.03 but the 0.3 was enough to thought my x axis off by 0.50mils which explains the sticking blades. In any case hahahahha thank you for your help in recalibrating my printer lmao.

Funny you mention that, I am half way done my 3ed attempt and that is the new settings with only difference is a 3 mm wipe. nonetheless thanks for the input , hopefully it will work this time lol this thing is driving me nuts! I will print a working one even if I have to strip my printer to the bare wires and rebuild it from the bottom up loll but let's just hope it was nothing more then a silly slicer setting, I do like s3d but man! lots of tweaks to it lol maybe even a little to much .

This prints very well with PolyMax PLA on my Rostock v2 max. Minor cleanup done by sliding the thin end of a 6" nylon wire tie between the leaves and the shells. I would love to have the cad files so I could modify by adding gear teeth to the outer shell to be driven by a motor.

Congratulations to everyone in the design chain.

Thanks! The Solidworks source for the print-in-place iris box can be found at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1817180. It is the source for the "eyeball" parts.

Print-In-Place Iris Box (remix)
by LoboCNC

LoboCNC your Blinking Iris Goggles are Awesome!
Great Job, and a well deserved win on the Costume Challenge!
I've printed 3 and they have all turned out perfect! ( Taz 5 PLA filament). I bought some clear 2 1/2 inch diameter decorative christmas balls at Michaels and cut out a 43mm diameter circle for the "lens" add on! Also added some stick on nose pads to reduce the pressure on your nose when the fishing line is pulled for the blink. Thinking about some additional mods like adding neopixels! Fun! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks! Post a "make" of your goggles if you get a chance - I'd love to see what they look like with the spherical lenses.

Gave it a go on two eye pieces and couldn't get the blades to break free.. Upon deconstructing the layers it seems the inner blades fused to the inner ball.. even though you could see the layers I guess they just stuck together .. I May try to print a little cooler but I wonder if My Wanhao just isn't up to snuff to print such an "expert" print..

Printing cooler may help. Also look at some of the suggestions in the comments below.

Irises stuck for me too. Tried twice, gave up. It would be nice if there was more clearance between inner/outer walls and irises. Oh well! Great idea though.

Yes, this does require a pretty tightly tuned printer. You can try printing cooler, lowering your extrusion multiplier factor and increase the amount of retraction. I increased the clearances as much as I could from Emmett's original Iris Box design (the clearances are just about doubled), but if you make them any bigger then the iris leafs start to fall out.

Thanks, I did calibrate my printer best I could, but I'll try your suggestions also. Maybe my printer is just not good enough. I have a Reprap Prusa I3 (quite inexpensive and my first foray into 3D printing. This is the most 'advanced' print I've attempted.)


Before trying another print, have you cut open any of your failed prints to see where the fusing problem is? This can be helpful in diagnosing printer problems.

Yes, the first one I did cut open. The second one I killed after a little while. In both cases I saw the Iris blades being "fused" to the outer/inner shells in spots. As if the filament was 'jumping' the gap, or the extruder/nozzle was squishing filament over which stuck them together.

I did level my print bed quite recently but I'll check that again. Not sure what else to check.

I had to print out a better method of cooling the extruded filament. My blades were sticking to the inner sphere and when I watched it print a second time I could see the ends of my blades curling up because of the overhang and it not cooling properly. I have a monoprice select v2 which is a wanhao reskin more or less. Once I added the fan ring it printed just fine. Too bad I had already printed the entire assembly before finding this out tho.

If you are getting filament bridging the gap between the parts, that is either due to over-extrusion, inadequate retraction or possible just mechanical sloppiness in your printer. Check to make sure your belts are tight and that there is no play anywhere in the axes.

Congrats on winning.. Emmett

Yes, many thanks to Emmett for his original Iris Box design!

Those are great! What a hoot!

Great job!!

Thanks! It's very exciting to win, especially with the competition.

For those having trouble getting the irises to work freely, please look at the photos and instructions for http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1817180 which give a little detail on how to work everything loose.

Print-In-Place Iris Box (remix)
by LoboCNC

I printed it but the eyes are stuck

This is pretty awesome. Nice work and thanks for sharing.

Mine seems to have printed fine, but I too would like help with these two steps:

"After printing the eyeballs, you will have to cut way the small tabs that hold the bottom of each iris leaf in place. Then insert a small flat bladed screwdriver between the outer sphere and the studded ring to break away the outer sphere from the base"

Maybe the skirt messed up the bottom layer so it's not obvious what to do... - photos of the two steps would be great.

thanks - this is gorgeous!

I love it! I only found this because a friend sent me a link - if you add your two sources under "remixed from" I bet more people will see it.

Hey, thanks! I tried adding your original Iris Box to the "Remixed From" section but the browser tool to add it was broken. I'll try again using a different browser - I've been seeing some strange behavior with Chrome & Thingiverse.

Another TOTW! Actually a 3 way tie with the original from Emmett and the remixed box.

Very cool! Most of the credit belongs to Emmett for his totally inpired design.

As far as I am concerned, we have a winner :)

Thanks! There are a lot of pretty clever entries, though, and more to come.

Any tips for printing the irises so they do not stick?

You need to make sure that all of your belts are tight, and that your retractions and filament diameter are well tuned. If the parts are sticking together badly, try reducing the extrusion multiplier slightly (maybe to 98%) and increasing the retraction slightly. Also note that after printing, you need to cut away the small tabs holding each leaf in place. You may also need to insert a small screw driver into various gaps to help loosen things up.

1) Eyelid sensors
2) Hobby servos
3) Arduino (blog cred)
4) ???
5) Profit! or more to the point, controlled by actually blinking...

If anyone's eager to automate the blinking, I'm happy to design in sensor mounts inside the eyeballs and an RC servo mount. All i'd need are a list of the specific components.

Would you still be interested in doing this? I've got some ideas for which components I'd want to use for everything.

Unfortunately, I've gotten busy lately and wouldn't be able to get to this anytime soon.

For the goggles, I'd love to have a Li-po battery holder and some clips or grooves for running wire. I'll figure out how to glue on the digispark board.

Here's the battery I'd like to use
Size: 42 x 24 x 8mm
Weight: 17g

Have you gotten anywhere I would love to see the final. project. I am also happy to do some beta testing for you.'

-Luke Froeb

Hey I love this, but I would be extremely grateful if you uploaded a quick tutorial on building of this thing including the strings.. thank you

Have you read the Post-Printing notes at the end of the thing description? Let me know if you need more detail.

I did read them, but would it be possible to upload a video?

Let me know if you have any specific questions, but I'll see about making an assembly video when I get some time.

Idk how but im going to make this work at the InMoov head im making
Amazing one more time !

What an epic project this is.