I've been looking for a camera mount for my smartphone for some time and haven’t been happy with any of the commercial ones, even the ones I've seen on Instructables, so I thought I'd design my own using simple materials. I've been working on this design for some time and have been through multiple versions and I think it's to the point that it's worth sharing.
Objective: Create a tripod mount for my smartphone that was simple to build, simple to use, inexpensive and didn't take up too much room in my pocket or bag.
Results: Not only does this design meet the objectives but, with a slight modification it provides a sturdy mount that secures the smartphone around my neck for easy hands free operation. Great for working remotely or when you need quick access to your data.
For this project I'm using my Samsung Note2 smartphone in an Otterbox Defender case. Your dimensions may vary based on your model phone and/or case dimensions. If you are not using a case, this design will still work. You'll have to cut back the width of the cradle pieces more and shorten/lengthen the securing bolt to fit your model phone.
Step 1: Step 1: Materials
Materials for Camera Mount:
2 1/2" PVC "T" connectors [the halves of the holder]
1 1/4" x 3.75" round head threaded bolt [your length could vary based on the width of your phone's case]
1 1/4" hex nut 1 1/4" connecting coupler [attaches
2 pieces of threaded rod] 1 3/8" rubber hole grommet (optional) [gives grip to the holding bolt]
1 drinking straw [covers the bare threads for looks]
1 small can of Bondo and hardener
1 can of spray paint [your choice of color]
1 1/4" drill bit
1 13/32" drill bit
1 13/64" drill bit
1 electric drill
1 hack saw or better yet band saw or jig saw
1 hand files
1 sand paper
Materials for Neck Strap Modification:
2 #1 Nite Ize "S" biners
2 1/4" rubber hole grommets
1 1/4" x 3/4" round head threaded bolt [I cut one down from a longer size]
1 Lanyard or strap cut to your desired length.
Step 2: Step 2: Cut and Modify the PVC Pieces-
The idea here is to modify the parts to form a sort of a cradle, like squeezing the edges of the phone to hold it. The bolt placed through a hole in the top piece and threaded through the bottom piece creates a sort of a clamp. Since
the bolt doesn't go all the way through both nuts, it leaves extra threaded space in the bottom piece allowing it to be secured to a tripod. I'm using the standard 1/4" threads throughout.
Cut the PVC pieces as shown creating the "cradle". You'll have to do a bit of sanding here to get smooth edges and to fit your model phone. I've reduced the width of the cradle to lighten the weight. There may be a raised portion of PVC in the middle of the "T" (depending on the manufacturer) that needs to be removed for a snug fit to your phone.
Step 3: Step 3 Drill the Holes-
Once the PVC pieces are shaped, it's time to drill the holes.
Top piece: Mark the holes in the same position on both pieces so they will be aligned. Drill a 1/4" hole all the way through the top piece.
Bottom piece: Since the 1/4" coupler isn't long enough to go through both holes in the bottom piece, we have to stack the 1/4" nut on top and the 1/4" coupler underneath (which has a different diameter) creating a threaded area all the way through the height of the material, as I mentioned previously leaving enough room at the bottom of the piece for a tripod thread. So drill the bottom hole 13/64" and the top hole 13/32". Press fit the coupler and the nut in the holes. These should be a very snug fit. (Double check the size of your coupler and nut and change the drill size based on your dimensions). Make sure you run the threaded bolt through both coupler and nut while inserting to keep the threads aligned.
Step 4: Step 4: Now the Bondo-
Once the coupler and nut are snug fit in the holes of the bottom piece, mix up some Bondo to fill in the empty cavity around the coupler and nut. Make sure you use enough to go over all the edges so it can be sanded smooth after it
hardens. It's probably best to leave it overnight to harden to the maximum.
Step 5: Step 5: Sand and Paint-
In a ventilated area, sand all of the Bondo off and smooth the edges for painting. Don't forget the raised area inside the "T" (depending on the manufacturer). File excess Bondo with a half round or "rat tail" file. You might want to use 100 grit for a first rough pass and 400 grit later to finish to a smooth surface. Spray paint to your desired color. Mine is semi-gloss black.
Step 6: Step 6: Assembly-
Now comes the fun part. If you did everything right (fingers crossed) then you should be able to slide the 3/8" grommet onto the threaded bolt for grip (optional), slide the bolt through the hole in the top piece (cradle facing phone), insert a short piece of colored drinking straw (to cover the threads) in the top piece, back across the back of the phone sliding the bolt through another piece of color drinking straw, and thread the bolt through the bottom piece (cradle facing the phone). If all goes well you should have a little more than 1/4" of thread left in the bottom of the bottom piece. Depending on the shape of your phone/case, the edge of the cradle might extend over onto the face of the phone. If so, then mark and cut the excess off and smooth the threads.
Step 7: Step 7: Neck Strap Modification (Optional)-
If you don't intend to use this as a neck strap then you are done. If however, you want even more functionality from this holder then move on to the neck strap modifications.
"S" Biners: Insert the 1/4" rubber grommet into both of the biners as shown. Back off the threaded bolt that holds the 2 pieces together and slide the bolt through the 1st biner as shown. Re-assemble the camera mount snugging it tight. The bottom piece should still have the extra threaded space at the bottom. Slide the other biner onto the shorter 1/4" bolt that I mentioned in the parts list. Finally threaded it in the bottom and your ready to add any neck strap you want. Mine is rip-stop nylon.
Step 8: Final Thoughts-
Well that's it. The difficulty scale on this project is 4 out of 10 and the cost was under $10.00.
Please let me know how yours turned out.
Thanks for stopping by.