Iris Greeting Card

by clide, published

Iris Greeting Card by clide May 25, 2011


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This is an iris mechanism built into a greeting card sized card (5" x 7"). For simplicity and to help keep the thickness low it only has 3 leafs. This particular design does not scale well to more leafs unless it is made much larger. The initial design did have 4 leafs and is built in a way that would allow it to scale to a different number of leafs more easily. If anyone is interested I could upload that as well.

This card has slots in the back that allow you to stick a 2" x 3" photo in the back and reveal it when the iris is opened.

I have this setup for 8.5" x 11" sheets, but if you have a bigger sheet you can combine the two files.


Cut the parts out of a sturdy paper (I use .014" thick card stock) and follow the video instructions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl4Lhaqy89c

Instead of the peel and stick adhesive you can just use any decent paper glue. Elmer's glue works fine, just be careful not to let any into the moving parts of the card.

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I'de love to purchase a few Iris Greeting Cards ASAP, but can't seem to find your contact information. If you could write me back, I'de greatly appreciate it. 

You can reach me at [email protected]

This is really super! Thanks so much for the files as well. I can't wait to make one! My son's wife is pregnant with their first child. This would be cool as a baby card for them to send out to others. I can't wait to make one! Thanks again!

I would love to make my own designs like this, How would I start learning?

Tough question because there isn't really anything specific that I can think of, but I'll try to answer the best I can.

Once to have an idea of something you want to make, just start thinking about it frequently and how you might make it. Don't get frustrated if you can't come up with anything immediately, sometimes it just takes time. Some people like to sketch out their ideas during this stage. I can't draw very
well at all so I keep them all in my head. Inspiration can come from anything even if it is not related to what you are trying to do, so when you are looking at anything and how it works keep your ideas for what you want to make in the back of your mind. Also seek out things specifically related to
your idea. Since an iris is a common mechanism I looked up photos online of someone taking one apart. I also looked through old patent drawings using 'Google Patent Search'.

Part of this process is also trying your ideas, seeing what does and doesn't work, making changes, and trying again. For this
part it is very useful to have some sort of CNC machine to do the cutting in a precise, fast, and repeatable way. A laser cutter is the easiest, but if that is out of your budget you may want to look into paper cutting machines. They are primarily aimed at scrap-bookers, but they are a relatively i
nexpensive CNC tool that is a good way to get started if you are working with paper.

To be able to quickly draw up designs and tweak them a program that allows you to add geometric constraints to the drawing is really a must-have tool. Even though my work is primarily 2D I haven't found a 2D design
tool that uses these constraints in a way that is intuitive to me (although I haven't looked recently, if anyone else has a recommendation please jump in). I use a 3D CAD program called Alibre. It is very similar to Solidworks. It's not quite as powerful, but it is MUCH more affordable.

That's all
I can think of for now and I hope it was some help. I know it was kinda vague especially the stuff about learning, but besides the basics physics knowledge of levers and such I think the best way to learn how to make anything is to draw on your collective knowledge of how other things around you we
re made. Always use a broken item as an opportunity to learn more about that item. Take it apart, see what makes it work, see what made it break, fix it if you can, but if you can't then it is no big deal because it was broken anyway and already being thrown out. Don't just stop at the big picture o
f how it works, look at all the little design decisions and work out a best guess of why they did it that way.

Thank you for your information. I am sorry for the vague question about learning.

I guess it would be:

What format do you export your design to from the CAD software?
Does it go straight to the software for your cutting machine? or Does it get processed into another software?

I can work with svg format i guess, there is always free software to do it. I know it will be a long
process and it will take a lot of time.

Thanks you for your time and patience.

I'm not sure about the Cricut specifically. The machine I had used software that could import .dxf so I would export from the CAD to dxf and then import that into the cutter program. If your cutter can only deal with svg then I believe the free program 'Inkscape' can import dxf and then save it as svg

Forgot to mention that I have a Cricut paper cutting machine. Thanks

man! You beat me to it!

I am almost done building a business card iris

Sorry dombeef. I think my heart dropped when I first saw your "Paper Mechanical Iris" Instructable because at the time I had all my cards made and was pushing back the release to work on a large order of one of my other cards. I was afraid it was going to make mine look like a ripoff when it came out. In fact when I posted this on Reddit one of the first comments was "I saw this on Instructables"

Good job though, i would have never though of making it like this, with the flaps holding it. My design is loosely based off of this : http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/showthread.php?t=795http://www.talkshopbot.com/for...

It kinda works,but it cant be put in a wallet or pocket without damage

I looked up the comment on reddit, and I actually made this over the summer last year, i was postponing when i would make an instructable on it.

Also can I use the design to make one that has 4 segments or 6 or etc...? It would be a cool challange.

You can't do more than 3 with this exact design, but by changing around those tabs that guide the rotation you can make it where it will accept more leafs. I'm not sure how many it could take before it would start having problems, but I originally designed both this one and the business card with 4 leafs. I can upload those if you are interested.

The iris in the business card would have to be made smaller to accept more than 4 leafs because there is not enough room for the guide slots, but this one could probably go to 6 or 8.

Can I see the four leaf design for the business card? Thanks!

also i forgot to follow...