Introduction: Capture Stand (& Tripod) Cell Phone Mount

This is a companion project for my 3D Rotating Model Capture Stand, as well as a cell phone mount for any standard tripod.

In the original project (Rotating 3D Model Capture Stand), I designed the camera mount for a DSLR, which worked well enough. However, what will most likely work better is using a cell phone to get the pictures for the 3D model captures straight into the Autodesk 123D Catch app. That led to this Instructable since I didn't find the design I was looking for. At first I was looking for the simplest mount I could possibly find, which eventually evolved into this...

Step 1: Tools and Materials


Combination Square

Utility Knife


Circular Saw

Radial Arm Saw


Drill Press

Various Drill Bits



Tee Nut


Dowel Pins

Nails (Spikes with ferrules)

Step 2: Lay Out Your Dimensions

After measuring the platform on my 3D Model Capture Stand, I laid out the dimensions for my Cell Phone Mount using a combination square and a utility knife. The utility knife gives very crisp, thin lines compared to a pencil or pen and even better than a scribe (if the blade is sharp).

I cut the overall exterior shape out of scrap plywood with a circular saw.

Step 3: Camera Base Groove

I wanted to put a groove in the base for my phone to rest in. I used my phone in its case as the basis for my dimensions.

After getting the width of the groove determined, I chose the depth. The depth was set by raising the height on my radial arm saw, simply eyeballing it since it was not critical.

Step 4: Camera Top Layout

The piece that goes on the top needs to have a similar groove to the base, so I matched them up and transferred the layout to the top piece as well, and cut a groove in it with the same process as the bottom.

After cutting the groove in the top, I set them up together and marked four hole centers. In my scrap stash of hardware I had some spikes and ferrules. I figured that I could use a couple of the ferrules to act as stops so that the top doesn't come down too far. Originally I had planned to put rubber bands on the assembly to hold the top onto the phone and I may still need to do that in the future, but as of yet it isn't necessary. The hole centers are for the spikes to act as guides to keep the top groove in line with the base groove.

Step 5: Drill the Column Holes

Once the hole centers were laid out the top and bottom were clamped together and drilled at the same time on the drill press. Drilling them both at the same time has the advantage of (hopefully) keeping the alignment between them all the same, and using the drill press gives me a better shot at them being all the same angle through the workpieces. I drilled a hole smaller than the diameter of the spike through both pieces, and came back and drilled clearance holes for the spikes in the top piece. The clearance holes are in the same location as the first four smaller holes in the top, so I let the bit center itself on the original holes and the drilled the rest of the way through. This way the spike still has material to hold in the bottom and the top holes are big enough to let the top move up and down and in theory they will all four line up.

Step 6: Cut Your Stops

The spikes I had came with ferrules, so I decided to cut one of them down and use the two pieces as bump stops. Actually, my original plan was to cut two of them in half and have four stops, but they were so uncooperative that I made the executive decision after a trial that two would be plenty : ) Even though it was a lazy decision, it really doesn't seem like it will have much if any affect.

I used a cutting wheel on my Dremel to cut the ferrules, and then ground the rough bits on my bench grinder. Sandpaper would just as easily have done the trick.

Step 7: Phone Stop

Because of the width of this piece in relation to the camera and buttons on the side of my phone, I decided to add a stop for the phone. I put my phone in the groove and made sure there was clearance (sorry for no pictures, I was using the phone for all the pictures...) for the buttons and made a mark at the end of the phone. I drilled a hole tangent to that mark and put in a dowel pin, making sure it did not stick out from the bottom.

Step 8: Add the Tee Nut

I debated and finally decided to use the same wing bolt that I had made for putting the DSLR camera on the camera mount to mount the cell phone stand, so that meant I had a limited length of bolt to work with- it is a fairly short bolt because the threads on the camera are not terribly deep. What this meant was added complication because the Tee nut couldn't just be hammered into the clearance hole from the top- it would need a counterbored hole. So. I measured the depth of the counterbore by putting the Tee nut at the bottom of the camera mount and measuring to the underside of the top of the Tee nut.

With the depth marked, I used a forstner bit in the drill press and set it up to be just shy of the depth to the bottom of the Tee nut head. After drilling that hole, it needed the clearance hole for the Tee nut. I put in a drill bit that cleared the entire width of the Tee nut shaft (but just barely so).

Using a 3/8" socket extension turned upside down, I hammered the Tee nut into the hole and flush with the flat bottomed hole of the Forstner bit.

Step 9: Add an Alignment Peg

Taking a cue from industry I used one fastener and one alignment piece- I added another wood dowel pin to the underside of the cell phone camera mount. I measured an inch and a half over from the Tee nut hole and drilled a corresponding hole in the capture stand camera mount as well. The hole in the capture stand camera mount is a clearance hole for the dowel pin so make sure this hole is big enough to be loose on the dowel pin. This allows the camera mount to be attached with one screw but aligned by two fasteners.

Step 10: Nail the Nails and Trim

Now that the camera base is mountable, it is time to make sure that it will actually hold on to the cell phone so it is time to attach the top. With the dowel pin sticking out on the bottom, you have to nail the nails in with the base supported. My spacing luckily allowed e to use a piece of 3/4" plywood for a support.

Initially I started nailing the spikes in on my wooden work bench, and that was infuriating- when nailing, nail on the hardest thing you can so that all your hammering isn't absorbed. After moving from the wooden workbench to the concrete, the spikes were in in no time flat. Make sure to not hammer them in too far because you need to be able to lift the top a little to fit the phone in.

Once the spikes are in it is time to trim the spikes. I used a multitool, but a Dremel or a hacksaw or sawzall or the tool of your choice would work equally well. Just to be safe, I sanded the cut off spikes down to make sure they were absolutely flush with the base.

This is where the rubber bands were going to come in, attached by a couple of trim nails hammered in half way and bent just so to hold a rubber band over the top of the top phone mount to squeeze the phone ever so gently. However, with the slight tension of the four spike posts against the top mount, it doesn't seem necessary just yet. As the top mount wears I am sure I could benefit from having them on in the future, but for now I think I have added enough complication to a design that started out as a piece of wood, a dowel and a couple of nails for holding the phone and rubber bands. There may still be use for that design, and if so it may become a two step Instructable : )

Step 11: Mount the Camera Mount

Now you are ready to use your camera mount on your 3D model Rotating Capture Stand (I hope you've made one) or your tripod. If your top mount leaves you feeling like you need rubber bands, you can put them around the whole stand or you can add nails or some other mount for them just to be safer. I feel confident in the tension in mine to keep the phone in, certainly at least while being used in the capture stand.

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