Before you decide to spend your hard-earned money on our computerized equipment, here's a simple guide that shows how to build a simple 360 photography turntable from scratch that may be sufficient for your initial 360 photography testing or a small hobby project. The good news, it will only cost you a trip to a hardware store, about $40 and an hour of your time to put it together.
What you need:
- 2 x 23" disks of round plywood (you can find smaller or larger ones depending on your needs).
- 1 x 12" Lazy Susan bearing.
- 1 sheet of white paper enough to cover the top of the turntable.
As you can see on this picture, our turntable is built from two disks of round plywood and a lazy susan bearing attached between the disks. The bearing provides smooth and steady movement even under heavy loads. It is tough enough to deal with weights of up to 400-500 lbs or even 1000 lbs depending on a brand and size. If you go with Shepherd's bearing (featured on the picture), they come with pretty good assembly instructions. The key is to find and mark the center of the disks. This is pretty simple as long as the disks are perfect circles:
First, you will need to find something that has a 90-degree corner like a large piece of a white paper sheet. Place the right-angle corner of the sheet at any point at the edge of the disk and mark the other two crossings with a pen. Then draw a straight line between the two marks. Now repeat the same steps using some other point on the edge of the disk far enough from the prevous one. Connect the two new crossings and the intersection between the two lines is the center of the disk.
The rest of the assembly is pretty straightforward - just follow the instructions that come with the bearing (they vary from brand to brand).
Once assembled, you will need to decide how many frames you will use in your 360 product views. We usually recommend going with 20 to 40 images (or frames) per 360 view as this provides a nice balance between the viewer download times and the smoothness of the product rotation.
To get 20 product shots, our turntable should be able to rotate in 18 degree increments. The key is to mark the top disks in such way that you can easily identify the increments during photoshoot. Our approach is to put numbered marks on the side of the top disk as shown on the picture. Since you already found the center, creating the 18-degree marks should be pretty simple with a protractor.
The final step is to attach a piece of white paper on the top of the turntable where you will be placing your products and put a count mark on the bottom base so you could track the steps. Now put your camera on, align it with the count mark at the bottom and also the center of the rotation. Then place your product on the turntable and you are good to go!
Once you have all 360 images ready, download our free 360 product viewer to package your images in a few simple steps and publish it on your website with hot-spots, zoom, full-screen, and more! You can download it HERE.
And if you plan to work on your 360 views often and prefer to use specialized 360 photography equipment with robotic control and extensive capabilities, check out our professional 360 product photography turntables that are built to simplify the process and save time.