almostscientific nautilus aperture door alan rorie "Nautilus" Art Car Pressure Door with Huge Mechanical Iris

Sculptor, kinetic artist, and longtime MAKE pal Alan Rorie is back with this beautiful “pressure door” built for a Nautilus-themed art car commissioned from San Francisco art collective Five Ton Crane.

The door locks and unlocks via RFID, and the huge, four-foot diameter mechanical iris in its center is motorized:

The motorization of the large aperture was surprisingly easy. I used two small DC motors with spur gears and nice torque mounted on either side of the cam ring. I then welded chain around the cam ring turning it into a giant gear. It worked the first time I tried it. I controlled the two motors with an Arduino and a motor shield, two limit switches and a few lines of code. I then modified an old positioner and inserted a set of buttons, so that when you pull the handle of the positioner it trips the buttons and turns the motors.

Rorie, who is a specialist in iris apertures, also built four smaller irising windows for the car’s body.  There are many more beautiful pictures in Alan’s Flickr Set.   [Thanks, Alan!]

More:

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


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