Wood-cut Iris mechanism

by Stephen Hobley on July 11, 2011

I’ve been spending some time on the Thingiverse site just lately. The site is for owners of 3D printers, and allows the exchange of print files. The ‘iris box‘ mechanism looked interesting, and easy to adapt for CNC milling.

So I downloaded the object files and extracted the face details as a toolpath. I cut the pieces from 1/4″ birch plywood (a favo[u]rite of wooden clock makers). It came out OK, but probably needs to be shimmed with brass to get a smooth mechanical action. I bet one cut from HPDE would work very smoothly.

I’m still in two minds over the whole 3D printing revolution – it wouldn’t be too hard to fit a print head to my milling gantry, but the prospect of waiting for a tiny filament to build up the forms just seems like a false (time) economy. The filament itself seems a bit pricey too – reminsicent of the ink-jet cartridge pricing nonsense we’re stuck with now. There’s no dispute that 3D printing is well suited for creating intricate 3D parts, but I’ve been quite successful in slicing up complex shapes and just gluing the slices together.

Talking of raw materials – my local Rockler is selling off 6’x 1′ baltic birch panels for $1.99. These panels (normally $20+) are flawed in that some of the ply has knots in it – no real problem for CNC work, I just route around the knots.

Wotta bargain!

I bought about 25 sheets…


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lachlan May 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Can I download the files you adapted somewhere?

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