Introduction: Making a Custom Stand for DSLR Camera

In this Instructable I will be showing my process for making a custom stand to hold
and present a Nikon D3000 digital camera. I am a DC at TechShop San Jose, and here
in our shop members make some amazing projects. We like to document everything to
show what an amazing place TechShop really is, and show off all the cool things our
members make. Our DSLR has the Eye-Fi memory card which automatically uploads our
pictures to our Flickr page. Check it out here!
So to make this stand to show off the fact that we have this great camera I used
just a few tools.

Flatbed Scanner
Autodesk Inventor
Up! 3D printer
Q-tip and Acetone

Step 1: Measure/Scan the Camera

I wanted this stand to fit our camera just right, which meant I had to figure out the
shape and dimensions of the bottom of the camera. I did this in two ways: first I took
some measurements using a machinist ruler, and second I took a digital scan of the
bottom of the camera using a flatbed scanner.

Step 2: Design & Model

Next step was to create the actual design of the stand. I used Autodesk Inventor to do
all of design process. I started by making a new part file, and importing the scanned
image of the camera's bottom. Using the image as a template, and my measurements to
make sure everything was designed at the right scale, I started sketching out the base
that would eventually hold the camera. After a few hours of Inventor work, and going
through a couple different design choices, I came up with this.

Step 3: Exporting .stl & Getting Ready to 3D Print

Once my design was finallized, the next step was to export .stl files of each component
so I could 3D print each part. Some of my parts, like the base and the camera holder,
however, are larger than the capacity of the Up! 3D Printer. Which meant that I had to
divide them into sections that could fit. I did this by opening up the part files of
the base and camera holder and then created a new solid body that I could use to cut
the parts into smaller sections. Once you have the cutting solid made, use the combine
tool to select the two solid bodies and either do a cut or intersect to create your
new part that will fit the capacity of the printer.

Step 4: 3D Print!

I exported all my .stl files and I am now ready to start making the actual, physical
parts. Make sure the Up! 3D printer is all setup, load the .stl files (one at a time
or however many you can fit on the print bed), and hit print. Depending on the size
and resolution you set this step may take several hours.

Step 5: Clean-up / Assemble

All the parts are printed, time to clean up all the support structure. Use a knife or
chisel to cut away the excess material. Then just snap all the pieces together. Now you
can leave them as is, and rely on the tolerances to hold the pieces together, or you
can fuse the pieces together for a permanent, more solid fixture. The best way to adhere
the ABS plastic parts to one another is by using acetone. I grabbed a couple cotton
swabs, soaked in acetone and generously coated all the connecting surfaces. This melts
the plastic and basically welds the parts together. Now it's all done, and I got a nice
presentable stand for the DSLR.