Introduction: 3D Printed Cell Phone Lanyard and Tripod Mount

I've been known to be a bit clumsy, particularly when it comes to expensive gadgets and gizmos. When my fiance' bought me a very nice Fossil watch for our 2nd anniversary I accidentally dropped it on concrete the first time I tried to put it on, (Thank goodness for that warranty). Cellphones are by far the worst, maybe it's because they're just the most available thing to drop (I use mine for everything) or maybe it's because they've become so honking big, but I drop my cellphone is a heart stopping, time slowing sort of way at least once a month. So to solve the problem I started looking for a phone case for my Samsung Galaxy 5 that had a lanyard attachment, something I could wrap around my wrist for a bit of extra security to save my phone from the screen shattering drop of doom. After a bit of looking I wasn't able to find anything that suited my needs so I decide to make my own. But of course adding "just" a lanyard wasn't enough, so I designed a phone accessory that allows you to transform any phone into a lanyard ready, tripod mountable, kickstandable super phone.

In this Instructable I'll be showing you how I designed and created a 3D printed lanyard and tripod mount for my cellphone. This is a super useful project for anyone who doesn't have hundreds of dollars to spare to replace a fancy smart phone. It's an easy build requiring a minimum of parts and takes only an hour or so to put together.


Slim, 7mm thick design allows for the 3D printed Lanyard and Tripod Mount to be added to your phone without adding a lot of extra thickness.

Rounded edges allow for the mount to slide easily in and our of pockets.

Easy and strong attachment via 3M VHB (very high bond) tape.

1/4 x 20 threaded insert allows for universal tripod mounting and the flat backed design provides a strong mounting surface.

Printed using strong and resilient ABS plastic.

Lanyard attachment with the ability to customize and swap out lanyards.

Ability to kickstand your phone via the option kickstand accessory (step 19). - 3D Printed Cellphone Lanyard and Tripod Mount

Step 1: Tools and Materials

This is a pretty low budget project and if you have a 3D printer on hand you can put this together for only a couple of bucks. Most everything you need can be purchased at your local home improvement store.


  • 3D Printed Component - This is the body of the Lanyard and Tripod mount. It's design and creation will be covered in steps 3-6.
  • Square 1/4" X 20 Nut - You can pick these up at any of the name brand home improvement stores. They come in 4 packs for about $2.
  • 3/4" D ring - These can be had at home improvement stores but I found they're more widely available at sowing stores like JoAnn fabrics. a 4 pack will run you about 3 dollars.
  • 3M VHB Tape - This stuff is awesome. you can but it at most office supply stores. it can be purchased a few blister packed single cut pieces ($3) or a whole roll ($10). If you have the extra money I suggest picking up a roll of the stuff as you will quickly find a billion uses for it, in fact it has been a key component in my last two instructables.
  • Thin Clear Plastic - You only need a small 1/4" X 1/4" square of this. The type of plastic used for blister packaging is perfect.
  • Paracord - Paracord is great for making the lanyard as it is very strong and doesn't wear out or get brittle.
  • Rubbing Alcohol - For cleaning surfaces prior to mounting the VHB tape.
  • Super Glue - for fixing the 1/4" X 20 square nut into the 3D printed Lanyard and Tripod Mount.


  • 3D Printer - for this project I used an UP Mini 3D printer and white ABS plastic.
  • Computer with 3D Design Program - I use Google's free 3D modeling program, Sketchup, but if your more familiar with other programs like AutoDesk's 123D they will work equally well.
  • Pliers - Used to bend and close the D rings.
  • Calipers - For taking part measurements for the 3D model.
  • Dremel with Cut of Wheel (or Hack Saw) - used to modify the D rings so that they can be attached to the 3D printed Component.
  • Lighter - For finishing the cut ends of the paracord.
  • Pin - helpful for making the paracord lanyard, (see step 17).

Step 2: 3D Design: Part 1

Tools and Materials

  • Computer
  • Google Sketchup

The design of the part was largely a form follows function problem. I knew that I wanted the lanyard and tripod mount to be strong so I did my best be engineer the part so that the 3D printed layers would provide the most strength to the point where the D ring and lanyard would attach. I also wanted the mount to be slim and rounded on the edges so that it wouldn't be uncomfortable in pocket or hard to draw from a pocket because of sharp corners catching on fabric. A large flat surface area for the tripod mount was also important in order to reduce the amount of strain on the 3D printed part as it supports the weight of the device while attached to a tripod. lastly the VHB mounting tape I planned to use to attach the lanyard and tripod mount to my phone was roughly an inch wide so I designed the 3D printed component so that it had a mounting surface of 1" X 1", this saved me from having to cut the VHB tape to custom dimensions.

With these considerations in mind I started the design process by sketching possible designs on a sketch pad. When I came up with a design that I felt met all of my criteria I moved on to Google Sketchup, a free 3D design program, and I modeled the part based on my sketches and on measurements that I had taken from the VHB tape, 1/4" X 20 square nut, and D ring. A pair of digital calipers allowed me to transfer the dimensions of these components into my 3D model so that everything would fit in place perfectly once the part was printed.

Using Google SketchUp's intuitive 3D design tools I was able to quickly create the foot print of my design, pull it into 3 dimensions, creature custom cut outs for installing the 1/4" X 20 square nut and D ring, and round the edges of the model to give it a more finished and functional appearance. All in all, designing the part took about 2 hours during which time 3 different versions of the project where created until I created the final version of the component.

Step 3: 3D Design: Part 2

Tools and Materials

With the 3D model finished in Google SketchUp the next step was to get it into my slicer program. If you're not up on your 3D printer lingo a "slicer" program is a program that breaks down a 3D model into layers that the printer can read and therefore print. My UP Mini 3D printer came with it's own program as most printers do; each program is different but they all work in basically the same ways, allowing you to change print settings like speed, layer thickness, and print quality, and some even allow you to do slight adjustments to your models like scaling or stretching. To make the model readable to the slicer program I had to export it from SketchUp in the STL file format which is the standard file format that most 3D printers are capable of reading. To export a model in STL from SketchUp you need to download a plugin called "SketchUp STL. Once download, you can save your model as an STL file and then open it for printing in the slicer.

Because I wanted this part to be as strong as possible I used some special settings when printing. I used the highest amount of infill that my printer would allow and I made the shell of the part 7 print layers thick. this created a very dense part with thick outer walls that should allow it to stand up to the normal abuse that a cellphone goes through i.e. hundreds of times in and out of a pocket, water, dirt, dust, etc.

With the model ready and the print properties set, all that was left to do was to hit print and wait.

TIP: For some tips on getting the best quality prints from your 3D printer make sure to check out this awesome Instructable by

Step 4: Removing Scaffolding

Tools and Materials

  • 3D Printed Component
  • Needle Nosed Pliers
  • Xacto Knife
  • 3/8" Drill Bit & Drill

Printing was pretty quick for this part taking roughly 20 minutes from start to finish. Note from the pictures the orientation in which the part was printed. by printing it in this orientation the layers provide a great deal of strength to the area where the D ring and lanyard will be attached. As a bonus this print orientation has very little scaffolding to clean up. Most of the scaffolding should pop right off but for stubborn pieces you can use some needle nosed pliers or an Xacto knife for a little assistance.

After the scaffolding is removed the part is basically done. The only other thing I did to modify this component was to use a 3/8" drill bit to clean up the center hole of the tripod mount.

Step 5: Installing the 1/4" X 20 Square Nut.

Tools and Materials

  • 3D printed Component
  • 1/4" X 20 Square Nut
  • Super Glue

The 1/4" X 20 square nut serves as the threaded insert for the tripod mount. Installation is pretty simple as the 3D printed part was designed with a recess in the back to perfectly fit the square nut. All you have to do is drop it in place and add a little glue to secure it.

Tip: before gluing the square nut into the the 3D printed component, it would be worth your time to test it on a tripod to make sure it fits. On one of the first versions of this project I installed a square nut with the wrong threads per inch which made it basically unusable.

Step 6: Applying the 3M VHB Adhesive

Tools and Materials

  • 3D printed component
  • 1/4" X 1/4" square of thin plastic (like the clear plastic used for blister packaging)
  • 3M VHB Tape
  • Rubbing Alcohol

With the 1/4" X 20 square nut glued in place you're just about ready to apply the 3M VHB tape. Before you do, cut a small section of thin plastic (like the plastic used for blister packaging) and set it over the square nut as shown in the picture. This small bit of plastic will seal off the VHB tape in this area so that dirt and dust doesn't collect inside the tripod mount. Next use a bit of rubbing alcohol to clean the area on the 3D printed part where you'll be attaching the tape. Once the alcohol is dry, cut a piece of VHB to approximately 1" X 1" and stick it to the back of the 3D printed part as shown. apply firm pressure to ensure a strong bond between the part and the tape.

Step 7: Adding the D Ring

Tools and Materials

  • Pliers
  • Dremel with cut-off wheel (or hacksaw)
  • D ring
  • 3D Printed Component

The next order of business is to add the D ring. You'll need to use a Dremel with a cut-off wheel or a hack saw to cut away a bit of the back of the D ring as shown in the pictures. Next use a pair of pliers to slightly bend open the D ring so that it can be fitted onto the 3D printed part; (Don't bend the D ring to far open as you can deform it's shape). Once you have the D ring in place use pliers to squeeze it closed securing onto the 3D printed body of the Lanyard and Tripod Mount.

Step 8: Adding the Lanyard

Tools and Materials

  • 12" - 16" length of paracord
  • 12" length of paracord
  • Lighter
  • Pin

Adding the Lanyard is a pretty straight forward process with a lot of room for customization based on personal preference. Personally I prefer a little bit longer lanyard so that it is easy to get my hand through and so that it sticks out of my pocket for easy and quick access to my phone. I also use Paracord for my lanyards because of it's strength. To make the lanyard follow the steps listed below:

Cut a length of paracord in your choice of color approximately 12" to 16" long depending on your length preference.

Grab the inner strands of the paracord and pull them so that you create an empty section at one end of the paracord that is approximately 1" long.

Trim off the excess inner stands that you just pulled out and use a lighter to seal the end as shown in the picture.

Now take the end that you just sealed and thread it into the hollowed end to create a loop. you can use a pin pushed into the sealed end to help you push the sealed end deep into the hollow end.

Once you have the sealed end pushed in as far as it will go, use the lighter to melt the hollow end which should lock the cord together.

Next grab another length of paracord (about 12" long) and tie a cobra weave over the area where you connected the first length of cord as shown in the picture. You want to tie the cobra weave in such a way that it leaves a small loop at one end of the lanyard for attaching it to the D ring, and so that there's a much larger loop at the other end big enough to put your hand through. Tying the cobra weave over the connection on the first cord serves two purposes, first it hides the ugly connection point, and second it adds additional strength to the connection so that it will be less likely to come apart.

Step 9: Installation

Tools and Materials

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Assembled Phone Lanyard and Tripod Mount
  • Cell Phone

Once the Lanyard and Tripod Mount is assembled, installation is a piece of cake. Simply use a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean a flat surface on the back of your phone. Allow the area to dry completely and then remove the adhesive backing from the 3M VHB tape on the mount and apply it to the back of your phone. Apply light pressure while gentle wiggling the mount to assure a strong bond between the tape and the phone. And that's it, your lanyard mount is not attached and is ready to start making your device even more useful and secure.

If you install the lanyard and tripod mount properly it should be as strong as the one shown in the video.

Note: If you should ever want to remove the Lanyard and Tripod Mount from the back of your phone or another device all you have to do is use a piece of dental floss to slice between the phone and the mount as shown in the picture. this will separate the mount from your phone leaving you with a small amount of adhesive residue to clean off the back of your phone.

Step 10: BONUS! Kickstand!

Tools and Materials

  • 3" long 1/4" X 20 Thumb Screw
  • Key Ring
  • Drill with 1/8" Drill Bit

As if the Lanyard and Tripod Mount wasn't already useful enough, more utility can be added by combining it with a 3" long 1/4" X 20 thumb screw. Screwing the screw into the tripod mount as shown creates a quick, effective and strong kickstand that is great for watching Netflix or Gaming with a bluetooth controller. As an added bonus you can drill a hole into the flat thumb section of the screw and add a key ring so that it can be easily added to your key chain.

Step 11: End

Thank you very much for taking the time to check out my Instructable on the creation of a 3D printed lanyard and tripod mount for cell phones. This was a really fun project to put together and I'm pleased to report that after almost half a year of use it has held up amazingly well. In that time it has saved my phone from no less than 4 near disastrous drops, has been used to mount my phone for taking pictures of the DIY Dash Cam and Bubbling Pipe Lamp projects, and has been employed on numerous occasions with the kickstand for Netflixing and android emulator gaming. This is a fun and easy project and if you access to a 3D printer I encourage you to give it a shot! Thanks again, and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to get back to you asap. - 3D Printed Cellphone Lanyard and Tripod Mount

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