One of the most-anticipated products of the year, Valve's Steam Deck handheld gaming PC won't ship for months and will cost you at least $399. However, if you don't have the money or patience, you can 3D print a non-working Steam Deck right now. Today, Valve posted CAD files of the outside of the Steam Deck on its GitLab page for anyone to download.
It almost goes without saying that even if you have one of the best 3D printers, you will not be able to make a working game console with these files. Instead, they will print as one solid piece of plastic, without the required internal components, screen, or thumbsticks. Also, note that most 3D prints are single color, so your printout likely won't look authentic enough to fool anyone into thinking you actually have a Steam Deck.
Valve posted the designs, which are available as an STL file, an STP file, and a PDF so that members of the community could design their own accessories or mods for the Steam Deck. In a Steam Community post announcing the download, Valve describes the release as "good news for all tinkerers, modders, accessory manufacturers, or folks who just want to 3D print a Steam Deck to see how it feels."
The files are available under a Creative Commons license, so users can use and modify them without explicit permission from Valve. The company is even providing some degree of technical support, encouraging users to contact SteamDeckExternal@valvesoftware.com with questions, feedback, or examples of their creations.
Unlike some companies (Apple cough cough), which do everything to prevent users from hacking their hardware, Valve encourages users to experiment. However, the company probably has external modifications in mind.
"You have every right to open up your Steam Deck and do what you want with it," the company writes on its GitLab page. "That said, we highly recommend you leave it to professionals. Any damage you do will not be covered by your warranty – but more importantly, you might break your Steam Deck or even get hurt!"
If you want to print a full-size 3D model of a Steam Deck, you'll need a competent FDM or resin 3D printer with a build plate with at least 300mm of X-axis, which is larger than most mainstream models provide. For example, the Creality Ender 3 Pro's bed is 220 x 220 x 220mm.
The entire model is 298.3 x 118.11 x 49.80mm at 100 percent scaling. Of course, you can also scale it down to fit on your print bed, but then it won't be "life-size."
Prepare to be patient. When we ran the STL file through FlashPrint, the official slicer for our Flashforge Adventurer 3 Lite printer, it estimated a print time of 22 hours and 6 minutes with supports enabled. However, since it wouldn't actually fit on on the Adventurer 3 Lite's build plate, the actual time on a printer that's big enough would likely be even longer.