Kickstarter Review: Iris Drawing Compass

Iris Drawing Compass

When I saw the Iris Drawing Compass pop up on Kickstarter, I was intrigued enough to back the project. I have backed enough Kickstarter projects to know that no matter how optimistic the creators are,  they will never hit their shipping date goals. So when it arrived right around the holidays, I was pleasantly surprised.Iris Drawing Compass

It came nicely packaged in a protective cardboard box. The brass ring is heavy. Heavier than I anticipated. The compass came with a wooden stand for your desk. Upon realizing that the Iris compass was considerably heavier than I anticipated, I realized it’s too heavy to be carried regularly. So, being a desk-only accessory, a nice stand makes sense.

Iris Drawing Compass

Iris Drawing Compass

Iris Drawing Compass

The wood base is fairly small and made of a light wood stained dark so the compass sits “just so”. If it isn’t seated perfectly in the stand or if its jostled, it will tip over.

Iris Drawing Compass

It looks nice as a desk accessory. At this point, my enthusiasm for this product has come to an end. The mechanism to turn and adjust the aperture to reveal the opening is very difficult to turn. I struggled with it. I attempted to improve the mechanism with graphite and household oil with no improvement. The leaves of the the compass are too tightly layered and the smooth brass exterior makes it difficult to grasp and turn. If I press down hard it’s no better than a light touch.

Iris Drawing Compass

Finally, when in use, the large brass ring, and the opaque aperture completely obscures whatever you are drawing. So, while the Iris drawing compass is a lovely piece, it does not function from a mechanical perspective nor as a functional perspective.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the brass oxidizes onto your hands… turning them grey. As if pencil graphite wasn’t bad enough.

This product was not provided free for this review. I purchased it with my own money.

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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This makes me feel so much better. I wanted this thing in the worst way. But the price! And, it bothered me that it couldn’t make larger circles. I’m getting over FOMO now. Whew. That was close.

  2. I saw this some time ago and thought of so many obvious problems lurking in the shadows. You have confirmed a few of the obvious issues, and there are others:

    The edge of the iris sits above the paper which makes it difficult to make a true circle unless the writing instrument is held perfectly vertical at all times (impossible). One result of this problem as seen in your drawing example are circles where the ends do not meet. Then there’s the issue of how the sharp edge of the metal aperture (opening) will eventually damage the ferrule on your precision writing instrument. And how am I supposed to precisely place the center of the circle? Then there is the issue of how to adjust the aperture of the diaphragm. I did not understand from the Kickstarter description and photographs how this would be a smooth and stable operation. Well, your review confirms it is not smooth and stable. Understanding just how a leaf diaphragm works helps here. See this link:

    And more importantly this animated .gif:

    The mechanical design of a leaf diaphragm by knowing all of the vector forces involved is a classic problem faced by new Engineering students studying Engineering Mechanics – Vector Statics and Dynamics. Obviously this knowledge was not used (or properly used) here.

    I could go on-and-on. But why beat a dead horse?

    Let’s look on the bright side: At least you actually got something physical from this Kickstarter, plus it was pretty-much on time. That alone is an accomplishment.

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