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3D Printed Adjustable Cellphone Holder for Camera Tripods

Hello everybody!! This is my first Instructable!!

Please let me know your thoughts/suggestions/opinions in the comments below.

(Warning: Storytime ahead)

Some time ago a noted local reporter called me and my (high-school) students over to interview us about a high-altitude ballooning project we are developing here in Uruguay. We went over to the radio station and she asked a colleague to hold her cellphone so she could broadcast the interview live in Internet. She told us that she needed something to hold her cellphone with, because holding a cellphone for a half-hour long interview can be very tiresome, and she didn't like to keep bothering her colleague to help her with it. So my students and I decided to express our gratitude to her by making one ourselves. We figured that, surely, a commercial holder must exist, but we are makers, and we have a 3D printer at our disposal, and it's way more amazing to design and make one ourselves. And that's the reason this little project came to be.

Required Materials (please note that this is the denomination of these materials here in Uruguay):

  • One 1/4 NC nut, for the base
  • One 5x25 screw and nut for it, for the knob and gear system
  • Two 5x5 screws, for the base
  • EVA rubber sheets, they are cheap and easy to work with.
  • A small 4mm metal spring (optional), I salvaged a lot from an old keyboard, but similar springs are found in mechanical pens and toys.
  • Vaseline or a similar grease-like lubricant that won't corrode the model,optional but very useful, I choose vaseline because it's quite cheap and easy to get.

Required Tools:

  • A 3D printer (obviously)
  • Box cutter or any sharp and precise cutting tool, for cutting away support structures and any overflow from the piece after the print. (I read that in the USA you have X Acto knifes that should do great for these, well, we don't have them here)
  • Sandpaper, not too fine nor too coarse. I use a 320 with great results
  • Needle Files, they are great for fine corrections in the print.
  • Super glue or similar, basically, any good plastic adhesive.
  • Patience, this is a 3D printing project, it takes several hours just for the printing.


We are still quite new to 3D design so our main tools are TinkerCad and a lot of ingenuity and guesswork. I started by wondering how it could work, and it began as a fixed size holder, but then it came to me that a variable size holder with some gearing would be much more practical and would have a bigger awesome factor. And I do work in technical oriented high-schoolafter all, so I tackled the challenge. The final design has two handles: one for size adjustment and the other to fix it into possition with an embedded nut. A smaller issue was the base, at first I wanted to print everything, then, after some brainstorming we decided that it could be much more practical to design it so that it could be used with any standard camera tripod, and just buy a small gorilla tripod, so that our reporter friend could use the holder pretty much anywhere.

3D Printing

Not much to be said here, but a few notes:

We used PLA in a Ultimaker 2 printer which has a "fine" resolution of 0.06 mm and a "normal" resolution of 0.1 mm, so that's the "normal" and "fine" I mention here.

I suppose ABS should be just as fine or probably better.

Now, for the files provided:

  • Gear — Print 1 piece — As fine as you can
  • GearRail — Print 2 pieces — As fine as you can
  • Big Knob — Print 1 piece — Normal print should be fine
  • Small Knob — Print 1 piece — Normal print should be fine
  • HolderClamp — Print 2 pieces — Normal print should be fine
  • HolderBody — Print 1 piece — Normal print should be fine
  • HolderBase — Print 1 piece — Normal print should be fine
  • ConnectorBase — Print 1 piece — Normal print should be fine


Before you assemble anything, make sure that everything moves smoothly. Put the GearRails in the HolderBody rails and try moving them. If they are too tight, apply sandpaper and/or the files carefully and evenly until they move smoothly. The same goes for the Gear and the BigKnob, they should be able to be separated easily and smoothly. Also, make sure the 5X25 screw doesn't get stuck inside the BigKnob or the SmallKnob, enlarge those holes with the files carefully until they are big enough, don't touch the Gear's hole, though. Once that is done, Let's bring everything together.

  1. Take the HolderBody and the HolderBase, apply glue and join both pieces. You'll notice a ridge and a notch in those pieces, that's where they join. (Pictures 1 & 2)
  2. Take the EVA rubber sheet, cut two rectangles 1.5 cm wide and 8 cm long.Take both HolderClamps and glue the EVA rubber rectangles in the side with the protruding stoppers.(Picture 3)
  3. Take the GearRails, and glue their plain side in the small notch in the HolderClamps, so that the gear teeth point towards the big long notch. (Picture 4)
  4. Take the ConnectorBase and the 1/4 NC nut, the nut should fit very tightly inside the hexagonal hole but you can apply glue to be sure if you want. (Picture 5)
  5. Cut a circle in the EVA rubber, with a diameter of 2.5 cm (or just take the ConnectorBase to trace it), with a a hole with a diameter of 1 cm in the middle, glue it over the nut side in the ConnectorBase. (Picture 6)
  6. Now join the HolderBase to the ConnectorBase using the 5x5 screws in the holes in them. If you want, add some glue to be extra sure.(Pictures 7 & 8)
  7. Mount the clamps on the body, if they don't fit right, turn them around and try again. Both are symmetrical so it shouldn't matter. (Picture 9)
  8. Put the 5x25 screw in the Gear, it should enter very tightly, that's ok. (Pictures 10 & 11)
  9. This is optional, if you got a spring. With a plier, cut little more than a loop, push it up inside the hexagonal hole in the Gear. (Pictures 12 & 13)
  10. Dab some vaseline in the notch around the hole in the HolderBody and in the screw, just a little bit is enough. (Pictures 14)
  11. Put the gear in the hole of the HolderBody, so that it gets into position betwen the RailGears, making sure both clamps are at the same distance. Push it until it enters into the round notch around the hole. (Picture 15)
  12. Take the BigKnob, with the hexagonal axle towards the Gear, put it in the screw on the other side, turn it around until it fits inside the hexagonal hole in the gear. (Picture 16)
  13. Put the 5x5 nut inside the hexagonal hole in the SmallKnob. Put it behind the BigKnob and screw it until it gets tight. (Pictures 17 & 18)


Once the glue sets, the holder is ready to be used. Put it in a camera tripod as you would with a camera and you're ready to take social media by surprise (ok, maybe not that much)

To put a cellphone in it, just adjust the size with the big knob, and then set it tightening with the small knob.

It's not perfect and has a lot of room for improvement, but I hope it can be of use to some of you, or even inspiration to make something even better. Please leave any comment down here!!


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