Fed up of waiting for a Steam Deck? Why not 3D print one? It might not be quite as functional as the real thing, but tuck yourself away in the corner of a poorly lit coffee shop, and everyone will think your uncle works for Valve. Or maybe you’re Handheld Obsession on YouTube, who’s showing us how it’s done.
The YouTuber admits his print is a little rough, but all the parts are in the right place, and give a good idea of how the real thing will feel in the hands. He addresses the common complaint about the Deck’s thumbstick locations, with both sticks at the top of the casing, and concludes that they’re “perfectly fine,” ergonomically speaking, which will be a load off many people’s minds.
The only issues he does identify are in the placement of the B button, which sits in the Easterly position on the face button diamond, and in the touchpads that sit immediately below the sticks. The B button is a long way from the analog stick, and if you’re using the B and right bumper at the same time, there’s the potential for a bit of finger clash, as they’re relatively close. The touchpad, he asserts, will become uncomfortable after a long spell playing games with it.
He’s also able to use his mock-up to compare the Steam Deck’s size and thickness to its main competitors, including the Nintendo Switch, the OneXPlayer, and, er, the Atari Lynx. Overall, he’s positive about the size and feel of the device. “Big, chunky, and actually comfortable,” is his conclusion.
It’s not clear where the 3D-printed Steam Deck has come from, although a disclaimer on Handheld Obsession’s video states it was created by someone ‘not affiliated with Valve’ - so we can’t be certain it’s millimetre-perfect. If you want to have a go at printing your own, the files are available on Thingiverse via Scottish creator Wallmasterr. It can't be too long until someone edits the print models to accommodate a Raspberry Pi and screen.
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Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.