3D-Printable Armor Protects 3dfx Voodoo2 Cards, Adds a Touch of Style

Jeff Chen's 3dfx armor
(Image credit: Jeff Chen)

3D printing and electronics enthusiast Jeff Chen has designed and shared some STL models which bring a natty coat of armor to 3dfx Voodoo2 cards for the first time. Now the ageing graphics card’s 1990s era PCB can get some 2020s clothes to wear, and they look quite stunning.

Launched in March 1998, 3dfx Voodoo2 graphics cards are so iconic, and made such a revolutionary impact on PC gaming, that they still stir emotions in gamers of a certain age. With 3dfx graphics cards also highly sought after, and commanding big ticket prices among retro gamers, the added protection provided by armor isn’t just for handsome points. We aren’t sure if Chen is also a fan of the old Nokia Lumia colorways, but 3D printer owners are of course going to output these in the colors of their own choosing.

(Image credit: Jeff Chen)

Chen provides the printable 3D file downloads via a dedicated page at printables, where you will also find some background information about the project and more lovely images. “I have personally seen too many Voodoo2 cards with missing components or crushed pins due to harsh handling or storage,” wrote Chen. “So here is an armor set to give my mind some peace.” He also admits, in a humble way, that the armor is quite visually appealing. Indeed, it is great to see the detailed layout work that Chen has done, and the results look very professional.

Those interested in following Chen’s footsteps and printing one of these armor sets will also need four sets of M2x6mm hex screws and nuts to install, and will be able to use standard 30x30mm heatsinks with no problems.

(Image credit: Jeff Chen)

There are a couple of cautious notes provided by Chen. Firstly, he says that the 3D printer files will produce armor that is compatible with most but not all Voodoo2 PCB designs. Secondly, it is worth highlighting that you will need a 3D printer with a sizable bed. For example, the Ender 3 Pro (which produced the examples you see) was only just big enough to do the job.

Chen has plans for further 3dfx armor sets, including a design intended for SLI card installations.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • Ivanpua
    The 3dfx Voodoo2 is 25 years old WOW!
    Reply
  • padrescout
    Yeah, that's my impulse as well, these graphics cards were designed without armor, they're a quarter of a century old and still work just fine. I should screw with them and add armor. I'm sure it will help ...something?
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    padrescout said:
    Yeah, that's my impulse as well, these graphics cards were designed without armor, they're a quarter of a century old and still work just fine. I should screw with them and add armor. I'm sure it will help ...something?
    It is/was a cool project.

    People with 3D printers do things like this.

    Likely he had a couple of these things around, and said "What if..."
    Doesn't have to be uber beneficial. Just cool.
    Reply
  • LabRat 891
    Very cool, and somewhat practical. Protecting the board and components makes sense; many nostalgic enthusiasts are often swapping (and storing) these cards. "Crap happens", and this simple plastic cover could save an irreplaceable artifact in a moment of 'human folly'
    (I'm reminded of the poor old dude that accidentally dustified a phonograph cylinder on Antique's Roadshow)


    I can't wait for companies to realize the 'retro' and 'nostalgic' markets "actually exist". (Silverstone in particular made a point to snub said market April Fools' '23)

    Seems like 'retro' is slowly worming its way into a solid sub-genre in what otherwise is 'the mainstream'.
    Reply
  • einheriar
    I had two cards in sli still sorry I did not keep them :-( cant remember which brand they were though. but they ran a wee bit faster than the standard 3dfx cards
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    LabRat 891 said:
    I can't wait for companies to realize the 'retro' and 'nostalgic' markets "actually exist". (Silverstone in particular made a point to snub said market April Fools' '23)
    During the last years they made a huge market bubble out of old graded console games with the high point being super mario for the nes selling for 2 millions...one of the most common games for the system....
    Lately, after console games deflated somewhat they are trying to do the same with VHS tapes...something nobody has ever cared about since DVD came out.
    The companies are milking nostalgia for all they can already.

    https://www.thenationalnews.com/arts-culture/2021/08/08/rare-super-mario-bros-video-game-sells-for-2-million-to-anonymous-buyer/https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/vhs-tapes-trigger-a-new-collecting-frenzy-175184
    Oh yeah, on topic, these are terrible. When I read the title I expected knight armor with shields and swords...I'm utterly disappointed.
    Reply
  • SyCoREAPER
    Don't know anything about these cards, don't they generate any heat that would get trapped?
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    Protect from what? Rust? Kinda old
    Reply
  • padrescout
    USAFRet said:
    It is/was a cool project.

    People with 3D printers do things like this.

    Likely he had a couple of these things around, and said "What if..."
    Doesn't have to be uber beneficial. Just cool.
    Yeah, I have a 3d printer. I get the leaping to "someone doesnt share my point of view because they're ignorant of the situation." It's kinda neat? In one of those ... don't consider the opportunity cost sort of way. They are very colorful. I hope he is happy with the thing he did.
    Reply
  • Vanderlindemedia
    Amdlova said:
    Protect from what? Rust? Kinda old

    You'd be suprised how much damage can be done to the PCB if you just store it into a box, and the next time you seek for something in that box you might shove things away. Its a OK gimmick; but if a card spends 3/4th in a 90's machine it's not needed.

    I'd like to see mods applied to a V2 generation such as a voltmod or clocks above 120Mhz or so. Things people have'nt done, with knowledge of today.
    Reply