Strike a Pose

New Smartphone Photo Studio from the 3DBenchy Team

smartphone photo studio

Guest post from Paulo Kiefe, CEO of Creative Tools, about the inspiration and development of their new smartphone photo studio.

Released last week by CreativeTools, the amazing smartphone photo studio is a 3D printable camera rig for smartphones that allows you to photograph the famous 3DBenchy model at fixed angle positions and lighting.

The base frame and phone shelf are easily adjustable to fit most smartphone models. A sliding fixture holder allows for adjustment of the object-to-camera distance, as well as the focus and framing of the image.

An included turntable attachment makes it is also possible to record 360° videos. A rubber-band activated lever makes it easy to insert and remove the smartphone from the shelf and keeps it in place during photography.

Paulo Kiefe, CEO of Creative Tools, tells us in his own words about the design and inspiration of this fantastically functional print, plus information on where the STL files can be downloaded.


The initial reason for us to design the smartphone photo studio was the desire to easily document many different 3DBenchy prints in a reliable and repetitive way.

We use this sample part a lot when helping 3D print operators get the best results. To be able to compare two different 3D print settings, it became obvious that it was necessary to create some kind of fixture, to hold two #3DBenchy boats in the same position against the camera.


In the beginning we just made a simple stand to hold 3DBenchy on a fixed position in front of a camera in our photo studio in the office. Gradually we evolved the design with the following features:

  • A conical star-shaped quick-release fixture for positioning3DBenchy at fixed 45° orientations.
  • A telescopic rail to be able to maintain the optimal fixed position to the camera lens.

After realising that we were happy with our own photo fixture that we attached with a glue-gun to a wooden board, we thought that it would be nice to give everyone the possibility to take photos of their #3DBenchy prints. So we redesigned the concept as follows:

  • We made all parts 3D-printable
  • We realised that everyone now has a capable camera in their pockets. So we made it possible to attach a smartphone to the fixture.
  • We added the backdrop paper holder so that it would be easy to remove the background clutter from images. At the same time we realised that funny or inspiring backgrounds could be achieved by using a photo or a landscape postcard.
  • We realised that video is so easy to produce and share nowadays. Therefore we designed a turntable driven by an electric DC motor and a battery to be able to record 360° movies. We quickly dropped the idea with the motor and replaced it with a simple crank. This would make it much easier for anyone to rotate the boat at the desire speed. Now anyone can record a video on their mobile phone and immediately share it on Youtube, Vimeo, Instagram, Vine, etc.
smartphone photo studio

Illumination is Key

People love to show show and share what they have 3D printed, but unfortunately lots of photos do not reveal the full beauty and detail of a 3D printer’s result. One of the main reasons is that the parts are not illuminated well enough.

Therefore we added the universal flashlight holders and the extra bouncers to the kit, to facilitate the photography of the prints. We know that our photo studio is a very simple representation of a real photo studio, but it has the most important ingredients in creating a better photo experience.

smartphone photo studio

The Purpose

The very reason we adapted our initial design and made it public, is that we love 3D printing and sharing stuff. We hope that this design will make it easier for anyone to document their 3D printer settings and at the same time spread the word about 3D printing by sharing their images and videos.

We also wanted to inspire everyone out there who is new to 3D printing, that anyone can create 3D printed objects that fulfil a specific purpose. So far we have not seen such a product that anyone can buy in stores, and the really cool thing about 3D printing is that it makes it possible for anyone to use products that can’t be bought in stores.

Two Bonuses

When beta-testing the photo studio we quickly realised that obviously not only 3DBenchy boats could be a subject of photography. Anything small that you want to document and glue it on a stick, you can do so with this device.

The other thing was that it became natural just to use the photo studio as a stand for smartphones when watching video. Several times I found myself lying on the sofa, with the photo studio on my belly and just watching movies on my phone!

Smartphone Photo Studio Downloads

Please click on any of the following websites to download all the necessary files to 3D print the smartphone camera studio.