Introduction: Cheap and Sturdy IPhone Tripod/holder

Since I bought my iPhone, almost a year ago, I'm using it on daily basis. Except for a telephone/messaging use, I'm playing games (iPhone drastically prolonged my time sitting on toilet bowl), finger painting, listening to music/audio books, surfing while on public transportation etc. Since my compact camera broke (my schizophrenic cat did it!), I'm also using it as a camera.

There are a lot of useful photography applications for iPhone (like Pano, StopMotionRecorder, Camera Plus, Photogene etc), but I'm still trying to make the most of them. Trust me, it's pretty hard (and frustrating) to take a full figure shot of yourself with iPhone - without some kind of tripod. Not to mention making a series of photos for stop animation. Improvisations with cigarette box, book or something similar also resulted as failure. :)

So, I decided to make an iPhone tripod. Searching Instructables I found some really good ideas, but nothing really usable (for my needs). Or, if it is usable, it's pretty expensive (I'm a bit skimpy :), or it's impossible to find materials (looks like, in my country, no one ever heard of a segmented hose).

This instructable is my (successful) attempt to make usable tripod :)

Some of ideas that helped me (that I stole?) are: Wine cork stand, Tripod adapter for iPhone, Make your own Gorillapod etc.

P.S. As you probably noticed, I'm not native English speaker, so excuse me for grammar errors. ;)

Step 1: Tools Needed

For this project, you'll need a few tools that you surely have in your home (or, you can improvise with something similar). These are:

- small screwdriver (you can also use phillips screwdriver)
- measuring tape (although, you can make everything without it, just by heart :))
- pliers (for cutting wire, or maybe removing wire insulation)
- sharp knife (i used snap blade knife. Really weak and cheap one)
- superglue
- small awl (or something pointy :))
- iPhone tray (from original package)

Step 2: Materials

As the title says, materials are really cheap. So, you'll need:

- a hard insulated wire. I used 3 meters (9.84 ft)
- wine cork
- 2 way double light switch (i bought it just for 3 small wire fasteners inside; see photo)
- 3 wire rope clips (yeah, there are 5 on photo :))

So, my expenses were around.. 3.5$
(not counting bottle of red wine :) - after all, half of that bottle ended in a stew, and other half in my stomach)

Step 3: Let's Start!

Cut wire into nine parts, each long about 30 cm (11.8 in). Of course. It isn't necessary to be very precise. With three parts, we'll make one of tripod's legs.

Fasten three wires with one wire clip. I also took off the insulation using knife (just thought it would look cooler :)) Wire clip will also be the base (foot?) of this tripod. Fasten other two "legs".

Step 4: Braiding Wires

Now, you should weave wires into braid, just like braiding someone's hair. This shouldn't be particularly hard, but you can always help yourself with pliers.

Braiding? Pretty simple, in fact.
Take a look at the scheme (image is from Luis Ortega's Rawhide Artistry)
- begin by pulling wire A over wire B.
- next pull wire C over wire A. (Fig. 2)
- then pull wire B over wire C. (Fig. 3)
- repeat steps

As you can see, the pattern is like this: the outside wire always crosses over the middle wire.

Continue with braiding half the length of wires. If you carry yourself away (like I did), just unweave the wires.
Repeat with other two "legs"

Step 5: Putting It Together

Now, when you have three separate "legs", it's time to combine them.

Bend each leg around the middle of braid, or make  an arc. Bind six loose wires together into one big lump (or, you can make it a little less messy... try for yourself), leaving the longest one for "neck", and two other for hands. Arrange it to look like on photo.

Uninsulated wire ends, on "feet" of tripod, bend outwards (or cut them off). Now, it has toes :)

Bend legs as needed to ensure stability. The idea is that, by arranging and bending legs, you can mount tripod on either flat or on some uneven surface.

Step 6: Making the Head

You can perceive how the final tripod will look like. "Arms" will hold an iPhone on the bottom, and "head" will ensure stability and allow landscape orientation.

Using knife cut out a slot in wine cork, like on photo, til around the middle of the cork. Be careful, though, not to break it. You should probably measure the depth of an iPhone (google says it's 0.46" :)) and cut out the slot according to that. I was too lazy, so I did it approximately, trying out pretty often.

Take off about 1 cm (0.4") of insulation from upper wire (neck).
Using awl, make a small hole on the cork, and put the upper wire into it, pushing it inside around 1.2 cm (0.47"), so that both uninsulated and insulated parts of wire are inside the cork. Mark the approximate location of the end of wire on top of the cork (1 cm), a place for wire fastener.

Take the wire out and, using the awl, dig a hole on marked spot, on the top of the cork. You should be pretty pedantic - not to break the cork, to take out all the small, torn pieces, to make hole wide and deep enough for wire fastener. Try to dig a bit, then put the wire in to check out if you can see it. Then take the wire out, dig, check, pull out, dig, check... I'm sure you got the picture. Check out the photo... you can see through (unfinished) hole the uninsulated part of the wire.

When you finally succeed digging the hole, put the fastener in, and finally put the wire through. Put the screw in and fasten it. "Head" is complete!

Step 7: Making the Pocket

After the "head" is complete, it's time to make a holder, or the pocket. Take the tray from iPhone package and cut it in two parts, a little above the hole. That upper part will use as a holder. But, since it's a bit too big, cut off a little more from upper part (Check out the photo). Save that piece of tray (for experimenting purposes)

Next, using superglue, glue together lower part of the tray and the upper part - making the pocket. Be careful when gluing - you don't want to have pocked misaligned. Leave it for 10 minutes, for glue to dry.

Heat up the awl (or find a small drill) on a flame (hold it for a minute, or even less). With heated awl, make two small holes (be careful not to make them too big - it should be big enough that the uninsulated wires can go through) on the bottom of the pocket you made earlier. It's not a bad idea to try on that tray part that you saved (experimenting purposes! :)). That way you'll be sure you heated the awl enough, and learn how much of force is needed to make a hole. Since it's more "melting" hole than piercing, you'll have some leftovers around the holes. Cut them off with a knife.

Take off the insulation from "arms" of tripod, around 1 cm (0.39", or a bit less and put "pocket" on them. Secure wires with remaining two fasteners, as close as possible to the pocket. If you want, sou can return the insulation back on wires.

Step 8: This Is It!

Congratulations... the iPhone tripod is complete.

Lab testing showed that iPhone is stable enough in pocket (when in portrait orientation), and when secured with upper cork holder (the head), it can be put under other angle or landscape oriented.

Since "arms" and "head" are pretty long, you can manipulate them and rotate the iPhone as needed. Adjust legs as needed to mount it on non-flat surface. Take care when bending for iPhone to stay in balance.

Hope you'll find this instructable useful!

Here's one short movie, made with StopMotion Recorder app (using this tripod :))