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Preassembled Iris Box

by emmett Oct 6, 2016
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Didn't work for me. I scaled it up too. At least I have a bowl... Is there an easier version to print?

48h later and more than 100g of PLA used. and.... it doesn't work. Just a waste of time/money.
I'll try another file from somebody else :'(

Hi! I would like to print this as a gift, but I would like o make it smaller, any tips on scaling?

Do you think it will work if I print it with a .5mm nozzle?
have anyone tried?

I have my Ender-5 pretty well dialed in at this point. I have been able to print some fairly hard-to-print models. I have had 2 failed attempts at this print. It gets to layer 38 (@0,2mm layers in Cura) and then starts getting strings. After closely examining the model, I realize that the bottom of the outer shell has nothing to print on. It tries to print in mid air. What is supposed to support that first layer? I see that several people have had this same issue. How are some people able to successfully print this?

Encore une pièces foireuse, beaucoup de temps passer pour rien, impossible a la faire fonctionner,a moins de lui balancer un coup de masse dessus, ou finir a l’hôpital avec un coup de cutter dans la main

Hi Emmett, I tried printing this 3 times on an UM2 (settings: infill: 100; layer hight: 0.1mm; no support, ). It always seemed to go wrong slightly above the place where the base ends and the outer sphere shell begins. So I inspected it in CURA 3.6.0 and discovered that at about layer 74 there is a spot where the outer sphere actually lies on nothing so it begins printing it in the air. After this point the print is unable to continue correctly and it just starts making a terrible mess. May you please tell me how to fix this? Thank you.

I am having the same exact issue while printing at 0.2mm as others have suggested. Did you ever figure out a fix for this?

Try 0.2mm layer height - this leaves a 3 layer gap between the base and the outer sphere which should print okay

Finished printing this but cannot get it to move. We inserted thin plastic blades through all the openings to make sure there is enough room between the walls and everything seems to be fine. What would you suggest we do before we give-up on it?

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Nice design, does anyone have a 200mm version of an iris box?

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i wish you would upload .step files so i can modify it for my uses.

The openscad source is right there. There is no step file.

Hello, I would like to credit Emmett, again, for this quality model.

Ironstrom then remixed this file, softening the base. Here is a pic showing Ironstrom's box scaled up 50% and down 50%; and, while the small one was challenging to get the slice just right, they all function great:


Thank you Emmett for such a well-designed box with tight, but doable tolerances.


Hi, just built my mk3 in July, so very new to 3d stuff, but I have had some success with iris boxes. I found this modified Emmett, without the killing star base https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2551047 and successfully printed it using PLA and Slic3rPE at .15. Temps were 220 and 70, with 50% fan. Also, the best tool I found for freeing the object post print is a set of long feeler gauges (around $12 Amazon). These allow you to get in between inner and outer shells all the way to the base, and increasing the stiffness as needed.

Anyway, here are some pics, the first showing the print standard size and 150%, and the last showing a problem area between the outer shell and base - doesn't affect functionality, but haven't figured how to avoid stray strands and roughness:


Hope this helps.


Preassembled Iris Box by Emmett without sharp base
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Tried to print it, possibly with too much speed.

The curcial point for me was around 7.4-8mm height, when the very thin outer ring gets printed to make the top loose enough so that it can move separately. When printing with too much speed (and maybe a fraction too little extrusion), the loop shortcuts, and fuses the moving parts to the inner and outer shell. Maybe it would have come loose, but I stopped the print early. (and resuming from pause, the 'pinda' probe hooked behind what had to become the outer shell and that seriously the end of the print.

To get the bottom layer correct, the Z-layer adjustment for the first layer is crucial. As AcE_Krystal mentioned, you may have a fused first layer. I raised the nozzle 0.05mm to get a good adhesion and a thin enough extrudate so that the parts were loose.

All in all, a very cool thing that is a challenging print!

Tried to print it a few times on Prusa I3 MK3.

With PLA the bottom is fusing way to muche. I have been cutting away 3mm from the underside of the outer shell, but it is still fused a bit more and the whole print is destroyed now so much that its not worth anymore to continue.

With PETG I got it to move, but I wanted to have a glow in the dark ring, but glow in the dark is PLA witch doesn't bond well with PETG. So I can't print this print so far because it seems its not printable in PLA.

Dubble checked the PETG one, but turns out here some fins are also still stuck. and the PETG is bent inwards on the free fins what cause the free fins to get stuck again.

Everything looked free at both ends and was able to slip an Exacto blade into it but still couldn't get it to move. Printed with PLA in my Prusa Mk3. Too bad because it looked very good.

I made a lethal bowl, yay!!

I don't think this actually works. :) I think it is a "trap" by the author to see how many will slice their fingers over and over trying to get this to work. It is more of a weapon. Quite effective as a weapon. I could probably put my fist in it and slice people left and right with the base. Effective as a bowl. So far, not very effective as an iris box.

I think I have lost too much blood trying to make this work (I am getting woosey, haha). Open top candy dish it will have to be.

Seriously though, you should really consider putting rounded edges on the base.

What settings would you suggest?

I printed the remixed 4 leaf version at 60% size and 4 out of 4 came out perfectly and were easy to get moving, so I decided to try one of these. Not wanting to spend 11+ hours printing it, I scaled it to 75%, which was still 7ish hours. First, as has been mentioned numerous times, I dont understand why the bottom ring was made razor sharp and pointy, especially when you have to work so hard to get it to move... I ended up having to wear a glove on one hand, even after my attempts to dull it....
So, after two hours of working at it, I did finally get it moving, but during my attempts, which included a .015" thick, 1/2" wide shim stuck between leaves, I managed to sheer one of the pins... End result it closes just fine, but one leaf doesn't open, i have to manually push it back in.....
Still though, Awesome design... I would definitely try it again (at 100% scale) if a version without the hand shredder were available....

Also, It would be helpful to have an X-ray picture of it so we can see where NOT to stick blades/shims when trying to free things up....

I've printed two of these each on a slightly different heavily modded Monoprice printers. Both printers used the same size .4 nozzle and 200 microns resolution. One of the two was printed in my best PLA I have (AMZ3d) and the other in PLA + (Monoprice). Your readme gave no clues as to how you printed them or what settings you used.

The top and bottom of the base on both were not wiggleable at all. The PLA+ one was so fused that I never could get it to move at all even after using an exacto knife in the joints. The three walls at the top are very tight. On the base of it, the two walls do not move at all and are fused no matter what I do to try to pry them apart.

The AMZ3D one was standard PLA and the best printing stuff I have ever used. Its base was also fused to start with but after hours of applying moderate force to move the base, it popped loose and became one-half inch moveable. The base (inside wall) now rotates the half inch the tabs move in the bottom openings but the 5 middle walls don't move at all even though they appear loose at the top. They stay fully retracted between the walls. Yours seem to rotate a full turn or more. How is that possible? The tabs on the bottom of mine stop it from moving more than a half inch as the tabs are in the slots and would have to jump out of those slots on the base to move farther. Are the tabs supposed to be locked into the slots? Frankly don't see how this mechanism is even supposed to work as the models I printed looks like yours but does not at all have the ability to loosely move like yours.

I do lots of moving parts prints AOK (like the platform jack and Pandolin and hinges) with these printers but apparently your tolerances are extremely tight so will have to tweak some things. I think that not enough space is being left between parts and they are internally fusing in places? Probably needs more tolerance between parts to work on my printers. I'll try a 3rd print at 100 microns and maybe it will fair better. To be honest I dread trying this as the 1st two each took about 15 hours to print at 200 microns and Cura tells me it will take 28 hours at 100 microns. If I have a third print fail, I'll have wasted three days and a lot of filament printing.

Also, why such a horribly sharp pointy base? I literally tore my fingers and hands up on this print. These points are actually very sharp and dangerous to even handle. Definitely not a good base for something thats going to need working with much. I will need to change the base before printing any more of these. Don't let your kids print these.

Beautiful but fused. Anet A8; 60 degree bed, 180 deg extruder, 0.1mm resolution, 2.5 mm retraction, jerk control enabled (Cura). Pretty sure cooling flow velocity was pushing the layers together; I disected the part after it didn't work and found that the shells were fused together 180 degrees apart. The only parameter that changes at these locations are the cooling flow characteristics. I am going to print out a new duct that will lower the discharge velocity and direct from 2 different angles 90 degrees or less. Will re-post after.

Brilliant, just couldn't help but notice that piece of skin next to your nail lmao that's what teeth were developed for haha

so this is supposed to take a day to print at fine layer resolution?

Took 11 hours to print and it printed great except it will not turn. The bottom of the first outer shell is fused to the iris pieces. The gap between the bottom f the outer shell and the base is kinda weird. Even with small supports it still fuses. I'm using some pretty good flexion extruders at 0.15 mm and even tried 0.20 mm with no luck. Maybe if I made it smaller. I tried using an exacto blade but the blade will not push through letting me know the outer shell has fused with the iris pieces.

Congratulations for the genius design.
Can you please upload a children safe version with a razor-less base?

I tried printing this with Wood PLA filament which recomments a .5mm nozzle. I think the extra width ate up the tolerance because I can't seem to break it free. Now I have a serated finger cutter / flower pot. I love Emmett's other work, but I'm very disappointed this one didn't turn out.

I scaled it down and I dont really know how to cut bottom slides arround. I saw another video where guy has a special tool for that. I jus use thist carpet cutter and scalpel. Also those knife edges make it extreamly dangerous and some people were hurt already.

Emmett, hate to ask, but I think on some printers this will be almost impossible because of the way the airflows. On my Prusa i3, because of the position of the cooling fan, it blows the airborne filament into the leaves on the sides facing the front of the printer. Would it be possible to add some small nubs/supports in the 0.2mm gap that could be easily cut away? I think that would make this 100% more printable and people could more easily enjoy your work. I suck with SCAD or I would remix it. Take care and thanks for all that you contribute to the community.

I disected the iris box after it didn't work. I agree with your assessment about cooling flow. Did you try using a different design duct that will lower the discharge velocity of the cooling fan and apply it at more than just a single angle? Just curious. Would hate to waste my time trying if I'm just going to end up with another fancy bowl.

I've printed two, one small and one large, both came out PERFECTLY.

If the parts are sticking together it's printer/print settings because using my Taz 5 to print them at .200 with no supports or raft, cutting the bottom, pushing on the doors free with a gentle tap of a screwdriver, and breaking the bottom free completely does the trick. Prying requires more force than I think most people are using. You need to hear some snaps and cracks during prying the base free or it's not working.

Which Slicer did you use? My whole thing prints perfectly except at the airgap between the base and the bottom of the outer shell. That ends up fusing with the inner pieces from the airprint. Everything else prints pristine.

Forgot to mention that, S3D which I've found to be the best slicer on the market.

Did a test print at 50% size, was pretty much expecting it not to work but with excessive prying and jamming a feeler guage between the bits it started to function. It falls apart at fully closed but I suppose that has to do with the size. I will have to say that I don't expect to print the full size based on just the razor base alone

Cut my thumb trying to open it. That base is Evil.

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Tried to print in ABS. There was no way to free it up. I did 0.1mm layers, took 17 hours on a Qidi Tech 1. Broke it off the base trying to free it. Would recommend adding a little thickness to bottom bit, almost cut my hand trying to free it because the base is so sharp.

Going to try it again with PLA on 0.2mm.

I tried it in ABS, too, with standard 0.2mm on a Prusa i3 Mk2s. (With ABS, the part cooling blower was off) I was even able to get a print removal spatula to slide all in-between the layers but couldn't get any movement. Oh, well. Should have read the comments before jumping in!

Take 2 - PLA at 0.2mm. Still wouldn't free up. Not sure where it's sticking. Printed the eyeball remix at 130% and it worked great.

I had the same problem... 13 hours and more filament than I care to admit that I'll never get back.

Just started a print job on an M3D Micro... 53.5 hours estimated, and that's at 75% size (largest the printer can do).

I can already tell my printer isn't accurate enough for this guy to function properly, but...

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Hey there. I'm new to this site and love this box. Looking to order one and put a ring inside of it for a gift. If i order one pre printed there is no assembly required correct?

Yeah, I thought, "THAT is the BEST object I've ever seen and I NEED to print one, especially to show my wife that my printer is NOT JUST A TOY." Well, it didn't print so well. It did actually look like it printed excellent, but it didn't move,so the bottom line, it didn't print so well. I ended up deconstructed to see where the failure was as I saw a number of spots that the inner pieces were welded to the inner she'll mostly. I a small section a small part was welded to the outer shell. Once I had it all apart and saw how small the pivot pins are, I imagined that this would not hold up very well for any real use. It really needs some more robust designing to make it worth my time to print another one. Even tweaking my machine to print it the way it is now, it still wouldn't be good enough to give away or for any real use. If I ever get the time and expertise to modify this, I'll post it and reference my design on this project. Good luck everyone else, but really don't bother printing this the way it is; it uses a lot of filament, takes a long time (12.5hrs.) and even if it moves, it'll be weak where it counts. Ciao for now.

That's just flippin' amazing!

Looks awesome, printing it now... You are literally the best designer on Thingiverse. Love your work man!

Very good looking project! Thanks for creating and sharing this!
I have a Prusa i3 MK2 that seems to be pretty well dialled in but this was the first failed print, albeit the most intricate - standard settings at 0.1mm layer height. Prepared in Simplify3D.
Should I be using 0.2mm layer height?
The outer shell failed at 7.2mm height where there seems to be a 0.4mm layer gap with the next layer having nothing at all to sit on.
I'm pretty new to 3D printing - is there something really obvious that I have missed?
Many thanks for any help and advice you can offer :-)

as everybody said the base is the product of an evil genious. the gap between layers is only 0.3 outershell -> 0.3-> mechanism ->0.3 -> innershell this may cause many problems at the bottom of the sphere. This is partly because the overhang at the very bottom of the outter shell or excessive temp. its difficult to free the mechanism without inspecting with detay the design _: ie a wrong move and you may cut the inner pins holding/guiding the mechanism blades.

my suggestion is to being able to parametrize the gap between shells and the resizing of the appropiated pins. thx for the desing

Absolutely! I always include a parametric CAD file with my designs: it's the .scad file. It's plain text and compiles the shape in OpenSCAD. You can find the tolerance values in there. However, on a design like this, if it's fusing, making the tolerance larger usually won't help. Generally adjusting temperature, retraction, filament diameter, cooling, z-gap and belt tension will help more. Basically my designs end up as tests of 3D printer calibration and slicer performance.

The spiny design apparently appeals to my inner masochist. It certainly looks neat, but we're still locked up. An incurable optimist, I now so desperately want to believe in this print. I've lost almost as many fingers as I have hours in wrestling the layers apart with my slim spatula. The concept is hella cool, and I MUST make it work.

Could you post a cutaway view that will show the inner mechanism (pins and tracks) so that I can struggle more in the right direction? I feel like I'm almost there.

I came back to my print and tried a few other ways to loosen the mechanism. While I almost certainly stripped a couple of the internal pins early on, I finally figured out tonight that I could pop the bottom of the blades up into the sphere in order to free them. It suddenly worked! (minus the blades I had compromised...) This gives me hope that my initial problems are my own fault (i.e., user error) rather than a print calibration issue. It was a really nice two-color print, but I'm going to recycle it and try again.

Thank you, as always, for sharing the OpenSCAD file/script.

Out of curiosity what are your printrbot settings for this?

I printed this thing on a maker bot replicator , freed the leaves and freed the top but it still doesn't work. What can I do to make it work.

This is really amazing. Thanks for all the stuff you've designed and given to the world :)

I attempted a print but I believe I had the same problem as Julvr. My printer was set to .1 mm layers with a .2 mm base and it failed on layer 33 when the inner mechanism started to split. Though the print failed I could tell I would be facing issues with fusing. I had also had some curling issues around the corners but that is inconsequential. The failure came out quite sharp so though it failed, it looks cool. I will not try this print in the near future as it takes an entire day, but I love the concept so I've got to do it eventually. The fact that it's working and a single print is impressive.

I too attempted blood sacrifice. The print gods are not in my favour today.

Very cool concept. I had the same issues that were mentioned by other posters, where the bottom layer fused. I managed to wreck the bottom when trying to unfuse it (blah). A couple of quick suggestions: 1) bevel the bottom -- that is, create more space between the pieces on the very bottom .2mm. This will prevent the bottom layer from fusing (I did this to overcome the same problem on my wire clip). 2) For layer 76 (when printing in .2mm), there's an actual gap between the top and bottom sections. Different printers will handle this differently (my printer created some artifacts as a result). Instead of a gap, use a few concentric layers that are exactly .4mm wide (one strand for almost any printer), would allow you to easily run a knife around and cut the bottom from the top.

I would also add some thickness to the bottom of the container, and possibly make the container a bit smaller.

Currently on my 4th attempt at printing this box. First three were with black PLA. For some reason, the filament started acting like it was jammed when printing the external shell's perimeters, but not when printing the shorter pieces of the wings. But sure enough, each time it would "jam" enough that it would stop feeding. I'm now printing in red ABS, and haven't had any problems yet. There appears to be good separation between the three layers so far, so it should be easy enough to get working once it's done.

Edit: no luck. Fail #4. It got a little further along this time, though. More investigation needed.

It's a little hard to tell from your description, but look through the layers on the outer shell in the preview in your slicer; Simplify3d was switching from single shell filled walls to single shell hollow walls right around where the pegs are generated, which wasn't strong enough to withstand being broken loose. It also looked funky around that area on the outside, looked just like the filament starved a bit in that area.

I haven't tried playing with different slicers yet, but I did modify the SCAD original a little (tightened the junction between the outside shell and the base up quite a lot (1 empty layer only) so it'd print correctly) so that I could scale the whole thing to 150% with 2-shell-minimum walls on the whole print on my .5mm Rostock Max V2.

I'm currently 1/2 way through that 30 hour print. I'll post my results as a "Made" or possibly a remix if and when it finishes properly.

My 5th attempt did successfully complete printing. The change I made was to switch from 0.1mm layers to 0.2. Now I'm trying to get everything unstuck so that it'll move.

Edit: Well, I just ruined #5. In trying to loosen everything up, I thought the leaves were stuck near the top of the box, at one end of each leaf. So I worked and pried and scraped at it until they let go. I didn't realize that there are pins there for the leaves to pivot on. I just broke each one of those.

Wow. That's stunning. Thanks for sharing it!

My 1st try also failed. I simply could not free the outer shell and I was getting backwash clogging from the thin walls. Trying again. Using Simplify3D I did the following:

  1. I made 2 processes with the 1st process for the base only set to 15% infill, the second process which is the upper thin walled parts set to 0 infill. This should remove any backwash from the thin walls from clogging the extruder. Also in the second process i upped the filament diameter to 1.85 to lessen the extrusion for the thin walls.
  2. I decreased "Horizontal Size Compensation" to -.15. This increases the separation between the shell the leaves and the inner body.
    Printing now and i can see a lot more separation between the thin walls.
    Also... yeah this thing BITES! I mean that literally, not figuratively. OUCH! I will try to free the outer shell BEFORE I remove this next try from the build plate to avoid the spikes.

Nope... This time everything released but the leaves broke. Way too thin. Ah well.
It closed only once, then pieces fell out of the bottom! The leaves fell apart by the lower hinge area.

3rd try. set Horizontal Size Comp to -.09. Printed fine and seemed ok but one leaf broke even after all were released. The area at the bottom is way too weak for the thin walled design. Sorry. IMO this is not a printable thing.

I printed one, and got really close, however it was very stuck together. I used my 3d print removal tool to separate the layers a bit, and got it to turn, but in the process I broke off one of the hinge pins.

I think my issue is that my extruder doesn't cleanly stop extruding PLA when it switches between inner and outer layers (bad negative space tuning). Does anyone have any tips on what settings to change to improve that? I'm using Simplify3D.

Also, this thing cut me while trying to get it un-stuck. I'll probably tweak the openscad file to remove the sharp edges as a remix.

Yeah, sorry, I was feeling inspired by echinoderms and barnacles so it ended up kind of pointy. It sounds like you're having trouble with retraction, which is a very common problem (especially with Bowden tube extruders). The simple answer is increase the retraction distance and sometimes the retraction speed (as long as your extruder can handle it). However, the best fix I find is usually to drop the extruder temperature to where it stops stringing, but still bonds the layers well and extrudes properly at full speed. Every brand and color is a little different. Also, to keep the PLA from warping I point a huge fan at the print. No such thing as too much cooling for PLA.

Really? I just started printing with PLA. I thought cooling too quickly was bad, so I have my extruder fan turned off for it. My temp is 195. Would you suggest trying a lower temperature, adding the cooling fan, or increasing retraction first?


Yeah, cooling is bad for ABS, but great for PLA. I'd start there. Print some side-by-side cylinders and tweak the settings until you're happy with the result. Work your way up to a big print like this one.

great to see you back with such a great design. just printed the geared bearing last week when I got a new printer... always my first print!

I scaled it to 75% because its to big for my MP Select Mini Printer. says 7 hours to print.. hope it works :P

Oof, good luck. I printed one at 70%, and unfortunately the clearance between the moving parts scales down as well. It's rock solid. Hope you had better luck than I did.

Printer failed sent it back for RMA will try again once my printer gets here

Awesome design, Emmett!! One of the coolest designs for sure.

Yeah! Emmett!! Gottamakeit!
Definitely a thing of the week for 3D Printing Today!

Great job!
Thank you very much!

Unfortunatelly, my Openscad 2015 hangs when trying to open this file.
Does it happen to somebody else?
Any suggestions?

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Really? Like it won't even open the text, or it hangs when rendering? I'd highly recommend you reduce $fn to 30 or it'll take an hour to render.

You are right!
I changed $fn to 20, and it finally opened.

Thanks a lot

That looks great!

Emmett is back! Just what the 3D community needed!

Pretty soon we will see him and more of his work on youtube channels everywhere!


That is slick. I am going to print one and see .....