Introduction: Smartphone Tripod Adapter
I shoot the majority of my videos with my iPhone. I had been using a cheap plastic tripod adapter and finally got fed up with it. My two biggest complaints with it were: If not positioned properly, the lower cradle would activate the buttons on the side of the phone and secondly, the adapter-to-tripod mating surface was too small to keep the adapter from spinning, even when tightened down. I'd seen several DIY solutions involving various office supplies. I even saw a pretty good one recently made from PVC, but I wanted something different. I designed this one to use cheap, readily available supplies and actually built it using common hand tools that can likely be found in most homes.
If you prefer watching a video, you can jump over HERE to watch. Otherwise, read on.
Also, I've entered this into a few contests. If you like it, I'd appreciate your vote.
- 2 x 4 (at least 2" long)
- 1/4-20 bolt (at least 4" long)
- 1/4-20 coupling nut
- 1/4-20 tee nut
- square or ruler
- drill bits
Mark your 2 x 4 as shown in image 1 and 2. Drill pilot holes on the marks on the top and bottom edges of the 2 x 4 (image 3). For the two holes through the side of the 2 x 4, I used a 3/8" drill bit. I chose this because it fits the iPhone 6. If your phone or case is thicker than 3/8", then use the appropriate drill bit and adjust other holes as needed.
I used a 1-1/4" hole saw to cut a knob out of the center part of the 2 x 4 (image 5). I only cut 3/4" deep. I'll cut the thickness of the knob in the next step. Don't forget to drill a counterbore for the bolt head to sit into (image 6)
Use the saw of your choice to cut along the 3/4" marks. The edge that has two holes in it can be cut free (image 2). The other edge that only has one pilot hole in it can be cut shorter, just past the large hole you drilled in the side (image 3). It can then be cut free from the 2 x 4 (image 4).
Flip the 2 x 4 up on its edge and cut the knob to the desired thickness (image 5).
NOTE: I originally cut my knob to be 3/4" thick. The 3" bolt that I purchased was too short. I later made a knob from 1/2" plywood so I could finish this with the materials I had. A 4" bolt would have been long enough to use the 3/4" thick knob.
Sand all the rough edges.
Thread the bolt into the knob. It will be a little difficult to turn, but will form it's own threads. If you happened to drill the hole in the knob too large to fit snugly on the bolt, you can glue (or epoxy) the bolt head into the recess in the knob.
On the top side (the side with the groove) of the base piece drill a shallow 3/8" hole. I drilled roughly half way through and stopped (image 3). This will make a shoulder for the coupling nut to rest against. Drill the remainder of the way through with a 1/4" bit. This will allow the bolt to pass through if needed. (image 4)
While you have the 1/4" bit fitted, drill through the shorter top piece.(image 5).
The underside of the base is where the tee nut will go. I decided to drill a shallow bore so the tee nut would sit flush. This is completely optional, but if you have a 3/4" paddle bit or forstner bit you might as well (image 6 & 7). The tee nut fits into a 5/16" hole, so chuck a bit up and drill the remainder of the way through the base (image 8). Once the hole is drilled, you can drive the tee nut into the bottom side with a hammer (image 9).
CAUTION: My lower piece started to split when I installed the tee nut. The 2 x 4 that I used was very old and very dry. A newer 2 x 4 may not split. I applied some super glue to the split and clamped it together for a few minutes. Just be aware that this is a possibility.
Flip the base right side up and position the coupling nut over the hole you drilled for it. Align it so one of the flats is parallel to the groove. Gradually drive it into the hole. The wood will form around the hex shape. Drive it in until it bottoms out.
Assemble as illustrated.
Step 5: Final Thoughts
I made a second adapter using my drill press and table saw. It turned out with much cleaner and straighter cuts. I was also able to taper the knob which turned out to work better since there is less contact area between the knob and top piece.
As noted earlier, I purchased a 3" bolt thinking it'd be long enough. I made it work, but had I purchased a 4" bolt, the build would have gone on without a hitch. I'm happy with how both of them turned out and they are much sturdier than the plastic adapter I had been using previously.