The iPhone camera spinner is a setup for using a drill to spin an iPhone really fast for the purpose of shooting video. To be honest, I got the idea to make this device from a Vimeo video I stumbled upon not too long ago. In the video they had zip tied a point and shoot camera to a metal disc. This was a nice solution, but I wanted to use an iPhone, off the shelf parts, and also be able to reposition the camera more easily. With that in mind, this solution was arrived at.
This setup creates some interesting videos and is fun to play around with, but it wobbles too much since it is not balanced. After experimenting a little, I decided to create a fancier well-balanced device. It is currently slowly progressing, but you can see it sooner if you help support my campaign on Kickstarter.
NOTE: Spinning a phone around with a drill at high speeds is inherently dangerous to you and those around you! I assume no responsibility for what you personally decide to do with any of this information. You do so at your own risk.
Special thanks to Becky Stern for help shooting the video!
Step 1: Materials
For this project you will need:
(x1) iPhone 6 (or similar)
(x1) 'Hook and loop' (i.e. Velcro) iPhone case
(x1) 4" wide 'hook and loop' strips
(x1) 8" 'hook and loop' sanding pad
(x1) 5/8-11 x 2" partially threaded stainless steel rod
(x1) 5/8" to 1/2" shaft adapter coupling
(x1) 1/2" x 3" steel shaft
(x1) Drill with a 1/2" chuck**
** For this project I prefer to use a Hitachi corded drill with a pistol grip to help keep is stabilized. For portability, I have found that a Ryobi cordless drill works well on its slower gear setting.
Step 2: Create the Adapter
Unfortunately, the 5/8" partially threaded rod wouldn't fit directly into the chuck of my drill.
Instead, I got a 5/8" to 1/2" shaft adapter.
To make this work, essentially slide both the 1/2" steel rod and the 5/8" partially threaded rod into the appropriate end of the adapter. Lock both of them in place by tightening adapter's set screws.
Step 3: Twist
Thread the 5/8" rod into the back of the 8" sanding disc.
Step 4: Cut a Hole
Cut two 11" sheets of Velcro from the 4" wide roll.
Cut a small hole in on of the pieces of velcro where your phone's camera would be should you center the camera on the sheet of Velcro.
Step 5: Attach the Phone
Line up the camera port on the Velcro phone case with the hole that you just cut in the sheet of Velcro.
Insert the phone into the phone case, and open the camera app.
Step 6: Attach the Phone
Attach the phone to the sanding disc such that the phone's camera is as close to the center of the disc as possible. Stick as much of the velcro as possible to the the surface of the disc.
Place the other sheet of Velcro perpendicularly over the phone. Be careful not to cover the phone's camera. However, try to make as much contact as possible between the strip of velcro and the surface of the sanding disc. The more contact the Velcro makes, the better the phone will be held to the disc, and the less danger there is of it going flying.
Step 7: Attach to the Drill
Insert the 1/2" steel rod into the drill's chuck and lock it down.
Step 8: Hit Record
If you have done it right, you should see the record button of your camera sticking out over the edge of the 8" sanding disc.
Press the record button when you're ready.
Step 9: Spin
Make sure that no one is standing next to the spinning phone (i.e. to the side). Standing a few feet in front of, or a few feet behind it is safer since the phone will launch out sideways if it comes loose.
Also, make sure that the drill is set to spin clockwise. If it spins counterclockwise, it might unthread itself when it stops.
Slowly get the phone up to speed, film something interesting, and then slowly ramp the speed down when you're done.
Step 10: Experiment
The only thing left to do is experiment.