I'm always improvising a smart phone tripod. These improvised tripods were unstable and it was always difficult to access phone's touch screen. So I walked into my shed and figured out how to make one. This design is a simple, stable, functional, easy to use, smart phone tripod mount. Best of all it was free to make!
- scrap wood. I used a bit of cypress pine fence picket measuring 8" x 2 5/8" x 3/4", any similar sized piece will do.
- 1/8" bolt, nut and washer.
- Hand saw.
- 4 8g x 40mm wood screws.
- Wood chisel. I used a 1" chisel but other sizes would work fine.
- Drill and wood drill bits.
- Vise or clamp.
- Countersink drill bit. (Will just make the screw flush with the wood.)
- Wood finishing oil and sand paper.
- Chisel mallet. Pine is soft enough not to need a mallet, but if you use a bit hard wood a mallet will be needed.
Tools that might be needed to correct errors:
- A hand plane
Step 1: Watch the Video
Please take a few minutes to watch the video.
If a picture says 1000 words how many words does a video say...
If you have issues watching the video inline in the browser here is the YouTube link.
Step 2: Mark the Length of Your Phone and Saw the Pieces
Use the phone as a template to mark the height of the back piece. You want a snug fit so bring the line closer to the top by 5mm. The reason for making the back piece smaller than the phone is so we can create a snug fit. We do this by creating a groove in the top and bottom pieces.
Knife-walls are used to create very accurate lines in the wood. They are made by several passes of a sharp knife along a metal straight edge. Knife-walls and a chisel can be used to make dead straight grooves in wood. They also help to prevent saw tear out.
About chisel safety
You could shave with a good sharp chisel. If fact shaving the back of your hand is a chisel sharpness test. So good chisel safety is important. My rule is always keep your hands behind the chisel blade when using it, never in front.
Make the saw groove
Make a knife-wall on the pencil line and transfer it around the piece on all 4 sides. Use the knife-wall as a guide to chisel a small groove on the waste side of the wood. This groove makes a good guide for the hand saw. Saw along the groove and you now have the back piece
Repeat this process to make the bottom and top pieces, measuring 2" long and 1 1/2" long respectively.
Step 3: Prepare for Chiselling Out the Groove in the Top and Bottom Pieces
Place the back piece on the bottom piece flush with the back edge. Draw a line on the bottom piece using the back piece as a straight edge. Then use the phone as a template and draw a line on the bottom piece along the phone. These two lines will be your guide for the phone's groove. Next make a knife wall along the line that was flush with the back piece. Repeat this whole step for the top piece.
Step 4: Chisel Out the Phone Groove
Pace the bottom piece in a vise or clamp it to the table. Take a chisel and chisel out a shallow groove between the knife-wall and the phone's pencil line. Remove any wood flakes still attached to the knife-wall with a knife. Make a matching groove on the top piece.
Time for a trial assembly and fitting. Assemble the mount using a vise or clamps to keep it together. Try to fit the phone in the grooves you've just chiselled out. You want the phone snugly fitting, but with enough give to wiggle it in and out. If the gap is too tight make the two grooves slightly deeper and re-test the fit. A little trial and error is needed here.
If the phone is too loose in the gap, you have a couple of options to correct. If you have a hand plane you can plane down the end grain of the back piece, until the phone snugly fits. Alternatively saw a couple of millimetres off the end of the back piece and start the groove again.
Once you get a nice snug fit for the phone its time to drill the holes.
Step 5: Drill Holes for Bolt, Guide Pin and Screws
Take the bottom piece and mark the centre of the area that will be in front of the phone. Find a drill bit that will produce a hole that will allow the bolt to easily fit. Because the mount is designed to be easily removed from the tripod you want a loose fit for the bolt hole. If in doubt be conservative, it's far easier to make a hole that is too small bigger than a too large hole smaller. Drill the hole for the bolt.
Time to drill pilot holes for the wood screws. Assemble the mount using a vise or clamp to keep it together. The screws will be going through the top and bottom piece into the end grain of the back piece. When selecting a drill bit size, it's better go a little larger then you think is needed, as the wood can crack when screwing into a small hole.
At the end of the video, I also drilled an additional hole in the top piece. This is to store the tripod's screw when I'm using this smartphone mount.
Step 6: Screw It Together and You Are Done!
Use the wood screws to assemble the top and bottom to the back piece. Some minor adjustments to the screws might be need, to make sure the phone still fits snugly. All that's left to do is attach the smart phone mount to the tripod's mount and attach it to the tripod. My fit was good enough to use in both landscape and portrait mode. You are now done.
If you want a more polished look you could plane, sand the surfaces and use a finishing oil.
Thanks for reading this instructable and I hope you enjoyed the video. All feedback welcome.