Smartphone Tripod Adapter From Found Materials




There are plenty of inexpensive tripod adapters for smartphones out there, but why buy? There's no fun in that!!!

For this instructable ( my first ) I'll be showing you how I built a tripod adapter for my smartphone from free, found objects for nothing more than a couple of hours out of my day.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Since this was made from found materials this part might not be very helpful to most. I used a scrap piece of 1/2" black "StarBoard " and the temporary license plate tag that came with my bike. You can substitute with whatever suitable materials you find.

Tools used:
-Square & Ruler
-Drill w/ 3/16' Drill Bit
-1/4-20 Tap w/ Tap Handle
-Coarse file & Sand Paper
-Saw (power or hand is your choice, I used both)
-Utility Knife
-Gorilla Glue

Step 2: Cutting the Parts

I opted to go freeform with the design so the only concerns to keep in mind were access to the shutter release button, the lens and, of course, fit.

Luckily, The "StarBoard" was the right thickness for my phone. I started by cutting an "L" shape out of it a 1/2" wide all the way around. As long as the ends of the "L" extend past the center of the phone on both sides by about a half inch you should be fine. 

Next were the front and back panels. Both were cut from the temp. tag. The back panel was easy, I just free handed some curves and cut them out. The front panel was a little more challenging for my phone. I wanted keep full access to the touch screen and home button so I had to cut enough away while still leaving something on the sides to hold the phone in. For this I oversized the panel and carefully trimmed it to final shape after glue-up.

Step 3: Prep & Glue-Up

Here, I started by sanding down all surfaces on the three parts. I wanted to get rid of the lettering on the front and back panels as well as give everything "mechanical tooth" for the glue to better adhere.

Once sanded, I thoroughly cleaned and dried all surfaces on the parts.

Next, I masked off all but the glue surfaces. Once activated, Gorilla Glue will expand quite a bit. The masking tape will aid in clean up.

Apply the glue according to the directions on the bottle and clamp the pieces together. I recommend clamps over weight placed on top because clamps won't allow movement between the parts while drying.

Once the glue has set, remove the clamps. With a new blade, lightly run your utility knife along the inside edges and proceed to remove the tape and any excess glue.

Step 4: Finishing Up!

This is where you clean up all of your edges, sand the piece down and finish shaping it. I have my final shape and fit the front panel around the touch screen. 

Now you'll want to find and mark the center line of the adapter. Next, find the centers of the side and bottom of your phone, place it in the adapter and transfer the center marks with your square down to the center line on the adapter. You now have your mounting points for both portrait and landscape modes.

This is where you have to make some decisions as to which way you want to go. Since I won't be using my adapter for anything rough I'm comfortable drilling and tapping the "StarBoard" to mount on the tripod. If you want something sturdier, you can go with threaded inserts for wood and some epoxy.

If you choose my route, drill a 3/16" hole on each mark and carefully tap the holes with the 1/4-20 tap.

Step 5: Enjoy!

You can use a rubber band to hold the phone in place for weird angles.

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    11 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    get a block of hard foam or wood, and cut a groove in it. Drill a hole in the bottom, and drive a 3/8" T-nut into it (this is a toothed nut designed to be hammered into wood, which can be screwed onto the tripod.)

    set your phone/ipod in the groove and hold it there with a rubber band or a strap made of scotch tape.

    works for me

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Sounds good, but the standard size for a tripod screw is 1/4" - 20 in which case a 1/4" T-nut should be used. However, if you"re going for looks I would suggest a wood insert nut.


    8 years ago on Step 5

    I saw like this that you can buy for 8 dollars on line. I am not sure how much the total you spent on material cost and several hours labor. I guess that you do for fun to build.

    I found my easiest solution for my iPhone for only 5 minutes to make and only cost me 50 Cent metal bracelet for specific camera mount and iPhone case cover $5.00. I will post it and how I did. Even I can add wide view Len on it. It is very durable and safe from fall out or vibration.

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I did do this for the fun of it. :-) Not including the drying time of the glue or taking the pics, the actual labor time I put into this was under 30 minutes. The materials I used were very easy to work with and the tools were already set up for another project I was working on. . There was no real cost to this as the 1/2" Starboard was taken out of my cut off bin and the temp tag came with my bike and was no longer necessary.

    I thought about adding something to secure the phone but my adapter is only meant for stationary shots at home so I'm not concerned about it falling out.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    I use a big blob of BluTack and stick my iPod Touch to a clean surface with it. I've done some time lapse stuff with this at work from my desk, and the gradual tilt in the shots as it slowly falls over is quite mesmerising.


    Yeah I was following the Glif development on Kickstarter. Its amazing that a good simple idea can raise so much funds!