Introduction: Lego IPhone Camera

Be the life of the party when you start taking real photos with a Lego camera!!!  In reality, this is just a case for an iPhone 4, but the iPhone 4 is a very capable picture taker and its small form factor makes it ideal for serving as the guts of this Lego camera.

Difficulty Level:  Easy
Approximate assembly time: 30-45 minutes

This design features an ornamental lens made of a wheel, a viewfinder, and a fake shutter release button.  As you can see on the front of the camera, there is an opening for the actual lens of the iPhone.  The back of the camera features a large opening which allows you to access the home button and the entire touch surface of the phone.  An important convenience feature is the hinged door on the side fo the camera which allows for easy insertion and removal of the phone.  While the volume and lock buttons are not accessible when the phone is in the case, I am able to easily lock the phone by opening the side door and gently pressing the phone inward so that the lock button presses against the opposite wall of the Lego case.

For this instructable, I have included a build photo of each layer of the case with the required pieces for each step.  I have also provided a complete list of pieces used to build this camera at the tail end of this instructable.

Please leave any questions or comments about how this instructable could be improved.

I hope you enjoy this project!

Mike

Step 1: Layer 1 - the Foundation

This step requires the following pieces:

2 - 2x16 flat bricks
5 - 1x4 flat bricks
1 - 4x4 flat brick
1 - 2x4 flat brick

Assemble the pieces as shown below.  Obviously, in this step the bricks are not actually held together by anything.  The second layer will take care of that.

Step 2: Layer 2

This step requires the following pieces:

2 - 1x4 flat bricks
2 - 1x6 flat bricks
1 - 4x6 flat brick
1 - 4x4 flat brick
1 - 4x10 flat brick
1 - 2x4 flat brick

Simply match up the pieces as shown here and press them down against the previous layer.

Step 3: Layer 3

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x8 standard brick
2 - 2x6 standard bricks
1 - 2x4 standard brick
1 - 2x3 standard brick
2 - 1x6 flat bricks
2 - 1x3 standard bricks
1 - 1x2 flat brick
2 - 1x1 flat bricks (I didn't have the square ones so I used the 2 clear blue round pieces)
7 - 1x1 angled bricks (the clear green ones below)

This step is where we begin to leave a space for the phone and also create the wide opening on the back of the camera for accessing all the touch controls of the iPhone 4.  The angled bricks are used to provide a snug fit to the phone when it is inserted into the case.

Step 4: Layer 4

This step requires the following pieces:

2 - 2x6 standard bricks
3 - 2x4 standard bricks
1 - 2x2 standard brick
1 - 1x4 standard brick
1 - 1x3 standard brick
1 - 1x2 standard brick

As we start to build up the layers, we'll have the 1x3's creating a post that may seem a bit unstable at first, but when we cap the structure and add the hinged door, the post becomes fairly solid.

Step 5: Layer 5

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x8 standard brick
1 - 2x6 standard brick
2 - 2x4 standard bricks
1 - 2x3 standard brick
1 - 2x2 standard brick
1 - 1x3 standard brick
2 - 1x2 standard bricks

Keep up the good work!

Step 6: Layer 6 - Post for the Lens (wheel)

This step requires the following pieces:

2 - 2x6 standard bricks
3 - 2x4 standard bricks
1 - 1x4 standard brick
1 - 1x3 standard brick
2 - 1x2 standard bricks
1 - 1x2 brick with post (this is for the fake lens)

Step 7: Layer 7 - Start the Opening for the Real Lens

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x8 standard brick
1 - 2x6 standard brick
1 - 2x4 standard brick
2 - 2x3 standard bricks
1 - 1x3 standard brick
2 - 1x2 standard bricks

Notice the gap on the front of the camera between the blue and white bricks - that is where the real lens of the iPhone 4 will be looking out.

Step 8: Layer 8

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x6 standard brick
4 - 2x4 standard bricks
2 - 1x4 standard bricks
1 - 1x3 standard brick

This layer is the last for the grip handle portion of the camera.

Step 9: Layer 9

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x8 standard brick
1 - 2x4 standard brick
2 - 2x3 standard brick
1 - 2x2 standard brick
1 - 1x3 standard brick
2 - 1x2 standard brick

This the last layer for the lens opening.  I know that the opening is much larger than the actual lens of the iPhone, but this was the smallest I could make this opening without obstructing the image taken by the camera - trust me.

Step 10: Layer 10

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x16 flat brick
1 - 2x10 flat brick
1 - 2x8 flat brick
1 - 2x3 flat brick
1 - 2x2 flat brick
1 - 1x2 flat brick

It's starting to look like a camera now!

Step 11: Layer 11

This step requires the following pieces:

1 - 4x6 flat brick
1 - 4x4 flat brick
4 - 2x4 flat bricks
1 - 2x2 flat brick
3 - 1x4 flat bricks
4 - 1x4 flat bricks

Make sure to leave that empty space towards the top left part of the image.  This is where the hinged door will go when it is closed!

Step 12: Layer 12

This step will require the following pieces:

2 - 2x6 standard bricks
1 - 2x4 standard brick
1 - 1x8 standard brick
1 - 1x6 standard brick
3 - 1x2 standard bricks
1 - 1x4 flat brick
1 - 1x2 flat brick

The empty spaces on this layer are for the hinged door and the viewfinder.

Step 13: The Hinged Door

This step requires the following pieces:

2 - 1x10 NXT brick with holes through the side
2 - 1x6 NXT brick with holes through the side
1 - 2x6 flat brick
1 - 2x4 flat brick
2 - light gray posts

First put the 2 longer NXT bricks side by side then press the flat bricks on top of them to hold them together.  Next, insert the light gray posts into the sides holes on one end of the NXT bricks.  Then attach the 1x6 NXT bricks to the other end of the post.

Step 14: Installing the Door

If you've been following the previous steps correctly, there should be a spot on the right side of the camera (when viewed from the back of the camera).  Press the hinged door into place.

Step 15: Viewfinder - Step 1

The viewfinder is comprised of the following pieces:

1 - 2x4 Window
1 - 4x6 flat brick
1 - 2x4 flat brick
1 - 2x3 standard brick
4 - 1x4 standard bricks
5 - 1x2 standard bricks
4 - 2x2 angled piece

First assemble two walls using standard bricks as shown. Press them into the empty space at the top of the camera.

Step 16: Viewfinder - Step 2, 3, & 4

Steps 2 & 3
Add the 4x6 flat brick on top of the then use the 2x2 angled pieces along with the 2x3 and 1x2 to create the top of the viewfinder. 

Step 4:
This step will require the following pieces:

1 4x4 flat brick
4 2x3 angled bricks

The cap the viewfinder with a 4x4 flat brick for added stability. Lastly, add the 2x3 angled bricks to the sides of the viewfinder.

Step 17: Final Step!!!

This final step requires the following pieces:

1 - 2x2 cylindrical brick
1 - wheel of your choice

Simply press the cylindrical block onto the grip handle to serve as the fake shutter release and snap on the wheel to the post on the front of the camera to serve as the fake lens.

The camera is now complete!

Lift up the side door and insert your iPhone 4.  Your phone should be able fit in the cavity without having to remove the cover/case (I have seen a couple of really bulky protective cases for the iPhone 4 that probably would not fit).

Fire up your favorite camera or video app and shoot away!!!

Warning:  If you are shooting in portrait mode vs. landscape be sure to keep your hand over the hinged door so that the phone doesn't slide out.

Step 18: Parts List

Standard Bricks (these are the standard height Lego bricks)
4 - 2x8
11 - 2x6
16 - 2x4
7 - 2x3
3 - 2x2
1 - 1x6
8 - 1x4
8 - 1x3
17 - 1x2

Flat Bricks
1 - 4x10
3 - 4x6
4 - 4x4
3 - 2x16
1 - 2x10
1 - 2x8
1 - 2x6
8 - 2x4
1 - 2x3
1 - 2x2
5 - 1x6
11 - 1x4
6 - 1x2
2 - 1x1

Special Pieces
1 - square window with a 2x4 footprint (viewfinder)
1 - wheel (lens)
1 - 1x2 brick with side post (step 6)
4 - 2x3 angled bricks
4 - 2x2 angled bricks
7 - 1x1 angled bricks
2 - 1x10 NXT bricks with holes on the side (step 13)
2 - 1x6 NXT bricks with holes on the side(step 13)
2 - NXT posts (light gray)(step 13)

Obtaining The Right Pieces
Ok.  I realize that not everybody has a bunch of Lego kits and spare pieces laying around.  As far as I know, the easiest way to download just the pieces you need for this is to use the Lego Digital Designer.

If you go to the following address:  (there may be different links depending on what country you live in)
http://designbyme.lego.com/en-US/default.aspx?icmp=COFranchiseUSDesignbyME

You can download the Lego Digital Designer. It is available for both Mac and PC (although the Mac has to be an Intel Mac).

This program may take a little getting used to, but after a little ramping up, you should be able to drag pieces onto your design area. Simply drag the pieces you want from the menu of available pieces. Once you get the pieces you need, there should be an option to buy the pieces in your design. (Obviously, you don't need to actually build the camera within the Lego Digital Designer - you just need to have the right pieces.)

Be warned that Lego does charge a bit of a premium for ordering pieces this way - their stated reason is that there is additional work required to assemble the custom order, blah blah blah.  I have never actually purchased anything through this website because I already had the pieces - I was just pricing out the cost if I wanted to build another camera.  If I bought all the pieces directly through Lego using this program, I believe the total prices was somewhere in the $50 range - not cheap, right?

You could obviously buy used kits and get pieces cheaper, but you might have to spend more ultimately to get all the right pieces for this build.  Using the Lego Digital Designer is the only way I know of to get the right pieces without having to buy a bunch of extra pieces that you may not need.  I think that the only piece that I was not able to find through the Lego Designer was the window piece. That may have changed since the last time I used it.  The cheapest way might be to buy a standard set (like #6187 or something comparable) then purchase just the remaining pieces.

I hope this helps!

Comments

author
menaifaiz (author)2017-04-02

Just wondering...I have an iPhone 5C, will it work with a 5C?

author
mkim00 (author)menaifaiz2017-04-02

With a slight modification, this will work for the iPhone 5c. Just make the body of the frame a little bit wider so that it can fit the phone. The height of the camera should not need any adjustment for the 5c. Hope this helps!

author
chadm93 made it! (author)2017-03-05

i had to substitute some pieces but all in all a great build!

Photo on 3-5-17 at 12.05 PM.jpg
author
wchan7 (author)2014-06-15

I love it!its very cool!

author
Pfarmkid (author)2012-04-19

One word: Glue

author
Krayzi99 (author)2012-03-18

Hey, I think I will make one with a real shutter release, because, ever since iOS 5 came out, you could take pics using the vol+ button. i would just need to make a lego press it, and voila! ible, anyone?

author
mo'neill1 (author)2011-09-11

This is great!

If you have a lego store nearby - they sell loose blocks. You can get a very large bin filled for $15. They may not have all these pieces available, but the Chicago store had most.

author
TheInsaneFanboy (author)2011-09-05

This is pretty neat, I'm going to try it whenever I can :)

author
splazem (author)2011-09-04

Wow, very cool!

author
merijnvw (author)2011-09-01

you worked this out very very well!

author
tsvlasuk (author)2011-09-01

This is Just.So.Awesome.

I think I got my first Lego set in 1977, when I was 6. One of the things I vividly remember building was a camera, which included a slot where I stored small square pieces of heavy paper, on which I had drawn pictures of various settings around our house and yard. I would aim the camera, make a very authentic "k-chk" sound, and *bing*! out would come the picture. Mine was a Polaroid camera, of course, but your design is remarkably similar.

I need to go out and find those NXT pieces and build this immediately.

author
mary candy (author)2011-09-01

nice project . :)

author
vishalapr (author)2011-09-01

5***** Totally awesome!
I especially like the part where you insert the iphone! So that it does not just fall of!

author
Mr Spoqui (author)2011-08-30

this is so cool! good job!

author
mkim00 (author)Mr Spoqui2011-08-31

Thank you, Mr. Spoqui! Best regards!

author
channyne (author)2011-08-30

My son is going to LOVE this! I'm sure he will complete it by the end of the day. Thanks!!

author
mkim00 (author)channyne2011-08-31

Thank you, channyne! Just be warned: you may be seeing a little less of your iPhone/iPod Touch unless he has his own. :-)

author
Chrisriley232 (author)2011-08-29

Cool idea! My kids are absolutely going to love this one.

author
mkim00 (author)Chrisriley2322011-08-29

Thank you, Chris!

author
DillyDog (author)2011-08-29

WOW!!

I just love this!

I'm going to delve into the kids cupboards immediately and see what lego I can find.

Great instructable!

author
mkim00 (author)DillyDog2011-08-29

Thank you, Dilly Dog! I would love to see what your camera ends up looking like. One of my friends after seeing my camera wanted to build one with all black pieces to make it look more like an actual camera.

Cheers!

author
Kryptonite (author)2011-08-27

Ah ha ha haa, that's pure genius! Love the idea.

It may have been better if you included the video within this Instructable, instead of having three of the same project.

author
mkim00 (author)Kryptonite2011-08-27

Thanks, Kryptonite!

As for the multiple instructables, I started with a simple photo instructable which can't be converted to a video instructable (at least I couldn't figure out how to do it). So when I finally got around to creating a video, I just created a new submission. Of course, when I finally got around to taking step-by-step photos of the build process, I ran into the same problem of not being able to convert a video instructable into a step-by-step instructable. And I can't seem to delete old instructables so while I'm excited about this project, I'm sure I come off as being overly so.

Ha ha.

Cheers!
Mike

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