The Arqball Spin is an app-slash-Kickstarter project that's simple yet brilliant in its use of looping video and HTML5 embedding. When I first saw it, my immediate thought was how it could be used for reviews, having an embedded spinning version of the product with highlights for ports and so on. It does require a base that spins at exactly 3rpm though, and that's not easy to get – which is why there's a Kickstarter project for one. The problem is that the stage hasn't been funded, probably won't get funded, and is expensive at $60. Enter DIY.
I started off ordering a battery/solar powered rotating base for $7.50 from Dealextreme. Even with battery power it fell short of the 3rpm, and the motor is also weak enough that difference in weight will affect RPM. I tore it apart to just the compartment with the actual rotating parts, then went hunting around my pile of junk for some parts. I pulled a potentiometer out of an old alarm clock, and tore down a third party Wii controller that never actually worked properly to get the battery compartment. Once upon a time I had both battery compartments and potentiometers designed for DIY for such use, but living in the city without a dedicated work shop has its drawbacks, and sometimes you just have to use what you have. I did have a proper power switch though, so a few minutes worth of soldering later I had the entire thing hooked up to twice the voltage (3V instead of 1.5V), with a power switch and potentiometer hooked up as well.
The resulting setup, while extremely ugly looking, allows me to turn on and off the rotating base as well as use the potentiometer to fine tune the RPM based on what's on the plate. The Arqball Spin app is iOS only for now, meaning the iPad 2 is the only thing I have that can do the recording. As such, image quality is absolutely horrible. If I had an iPhone, or even an iPad 3, things would have been much better, as the actual rotating base works fine. There's supposedly an Android app coming at one point, which is what I'm holding out for, as this setup isn't much use for me with only the iPad 2.
Below is my first attempt at creating a proper "spin". Image quality aside, the thing works great. Between the price and likely failure of the Kickstarter project, and the fact that the app is already available, I'm sure that there are others out there that would rather go the DIY way. If that's the case, you only need about $10 in parts.