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5 Must-Have 3D-Printing Projects for Your Steam Deck

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(Photo : Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay )

Since its launch in February 2022, the Steam Deck has been one of the hottest commodities on the gaming market. Sadly, the launch of the new handheld gaming device from Valve was plagued by long wait times and low sales numbers. These delays were largely due to the global shortage of chips that has been affecting everything from video game consoles to auto manufacturing. However, Valve has recently announced that upcoming orders have been greatly accelerated and that everyone on the current wait list will have one by the end of the current year.

With more and more consoles getting out to users, there has been a growing community of modders who have been 3D printing accessories for their devices. In fact, Valve just recently released the CAD files for the Steam Deck, which allows you to print your very own replica at home. With these files, it's possible to quickly and easily design 3D-printable add-ons that will fit onto any Steam Deck.

Attachable Stand

One of the first complaints that users had about the Steam Deck was that it lacked a kickstand. This means that using the device for watching a movie or multiplayer games with a friend is uncomfortable or impossible. Further, gamers who wish you use an external controller such as a joystick are pretty much out of luck. Thankfully, with the new CAD files, DIY-ers are quickly whipping up a slue of 3D-printed stands for the Steam Deck.

This clip-on stand is a compact clip-on attachment that allows for tabletop gaming anywhere. Quick and easy to put on or take off, this attachment is slim enough to fit into the hardtop case included with every console.  Featuring a flap that snaps into place, the clip doesn't get in the way of handheld gaming making this an incredibly versatile attachment. Thanks to a series of registration marks that perfectly line up with the screw holes on the back of the Steam Deck, it's easy to make sure that the stand is in the right place every time. The designer was also able to provide more than enough space around the intake and exhaust vents to keep the air flowing and prevent overheating. 

If you're looking for something a bit more suited to a stationary desk, then this Steam Deck Cradle may just be the project for you. This lightweight and portable cradle is perfect for setting up your device at any workstation and features a port for a USB-C charging cable as well as space for up to four extra SD cards.

This last feature is incredible as Valve's base model only holds 64 GB and many gamers will quickly find themselves running out of storage. To assist with this, the handheld accepts any Micro SD card that fits the UHS-1 speed classification. A 1 TB SD Card for Steam Deck will cost you anywhere between $200 and $150, depending on the brand. With the storage in this cradle for an extra 4, the odds of not having enough space are pretty slim.

Maybe mention this one as well, this one has a charging cradle: https://www.printables.com/model/170877-steamdeck-usb-c-charger-cradle-with-built-in-stand

External HDD/SDD Holster

As mentioned above, the base version of Steam's handheld only holds 64 GB-that's not even enough space for several of today's biggest games. Even the largest version can only store 512 GB internally. That sounds like a lot, but when some games now require over 250 GB of hard drive space, even the biggest Deck will soon run out of capacity.

If swapping out SD cards isn't your style, then maybe an extra hard drive is right for you. 

This external HDD clip features two storage compartments: one for any hard drive smaller than 2.5 inches and one for a USB-C hub. These are first connected to each other and then to the Steam Deck's USB-C port. All you need is an old hard drive, a compatible USB-C hub (119x29x12 mm and has a USB 3.0 port), and a SATA to USB 3.0 cable. The entire contraption clips together in just four simple steps and is easily removed for storage and travel.

The designer has big plans for this model, including adding options for additional hard drive sizes, a USB-powered fan, and extra cable management.

If this solution seems a bit bulky, you might consider this model. This streamlined version is just large enough the hold the tiny Samsung T5 SSD giving you access to an extra 1 TB of memory. With the impressive read/write speeds of modern SSDs, it's possible to play games directly from the extra memory without any noticeable lag. It's worth noting, though, that using an extra hard drive will cost you some battery life, but

Repair Jig

The Steam Deck is easily the most modular and customizable handheld to date. In a video from October 2021, Valve showed off just how easy a teardown of their new console was. While Valve is quite adamant that you not actually disassemble the Steam Deck-they repeatedly warn that doing so could kill you if you mess with it too much, whether from an electric shock, an exploding battery, or a fire.

However, these warnings have largely fallen on deaf ears and the modding community has been quick to make their own additions to Valve's hardware. Users, though, were quick to notice that by taking the Deck apart, things start to slide around a bit, and-as anyone who has ever lost a screw can tell you-this is the last thing you want happening.

Enter the Repair Jig, a fully-functional replica of the device used by Valve in their teardown video. This build contains both a front and back panel to make sure that every part of your handheld is securely in place during any maintenance. Despite Valve's warnings, the console is quite modular with replaceable parts including the SSD, joystick, and battery. Sadly, Valve settled on a soldered Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modem though.

Cable Relief Attachment

While wireless has been the norm for over a decade now, we're still a long way from that dream actually becoming a reality. As a result even the most advanced devices still require, if nothing else, a charging port. In the meantime, cables will continue to place stress on our beloved electronics.

While the Deck only has one port-a USB-C input for power or extra storage-it's located on top of the console which can make for an awkward holding angle and put unwanted stress on the port. Enter the Cable Relief Attachment.

This simple but effective solution easily slips onto the back of your handheld and has a small clip for your power cable. The attachment even features a hole placed perfectly to allow the device to vent normally.

While this may not be the most impressive add-on, it is certainly one worth considering adding to your travel bag due to its slim form factor and more than adequate performance. The only drawback is that it does take some usable cable length, but with a properly long power cord, you shouldn't have any issues.

Extra Grips

Designed as a one-size-fits-all console, the built-in grips on Valve's handheld are pretty comfortable for the majority of users. However, those with larger hands have reported cramps from trying to use the device for too long. Even users with hands more appropriately-sized may wish for just a little more real estate to grab hold of. For anyone who just needs a bit more grip, there are 3D-printed grips.

These attachments offer a bit more space for users to grab hold of with the added benefit of keeping sweat and grease off of your console. With perfect cut-outs for all of the buttons, the handholds easily slide on and off without sticking or damaging the Deck at all.

Conclusion

Valve's Steam Deck is an impressive piece of hardware that is likely to shake up the handheld gaming industry for years to come. Are there any other attachments that you've created or would like to see? Sound off in the comments. 

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