3D Print a Steam Deck: Valve Releases Official CAD Files

Steam Deck 3D print
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

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."

Steam Deck Hands On

The real Steam Deck (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

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.

Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • ezst036
    This is quite amazing for the long term viability of Steam Decks. Valve surely has mods and experimentation in mind but I look at this as a "goldmine" for long term support. Having owned portable gaming systems in the past, the plastic body and bezels are usually the first things to get scuffed and damaged. Even if I never personally printed a plastic Deck body myself to replace one that had started chipping, it probably increases the quality of 3rd party plastic bodys/bezels for the Steam Deck as well so I could buy one online(even after Valve inevitably stops making them one day) and have little to worry about. Having also bought all sorts of plastic 3rd party parts which were not originally modeled,(And I don't even mean gaming gear here. Car parts and all sorts of things can be named here) I've seen my fair share of things that snap in weirdly and have a little overlap and other weird quirks.

    I wish more gaming companies did things like this over the past decades. It seems like just a few months ago Sony was raking some company over the coals for making panels for their PS5 consoles. I'm sure this will lead more quickly to 3rd party bezel makers for Steam Decks, since these look to be literal blueprints.

    Comparing Valve here, to Sony, it's just shameful. So shameful.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    Started printing one on an ender 3 max. 1 day, 6 hour print. wish me luck lol
    Reply
  • peachpuff
    btmedic04 said:
    Started printing one on an ender 3 max. 1 day, 6 hour print. wish me luck lol
    At whats speeds are you printing? I'm getting around 11hours on my tevo tornado at 80mm/sec with 0.3mm layers.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    btmedic04 said:
    Started printing one on an ender 3 max. 1 day, 6 hour print. wish me luck lol
    I just bought a Max, like a week ago.

    Abandoned my earlier CraneQuad.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    peachpuff said:
    At whats speeds are you printing? I'm getting around 11hours on my tevo tornado at 80mm/sec with 0.3mm layers.

    Im doing 50mm/s at 0.2mm layers, 10% infill. I just swapped out the stock motherboard for a fully silent 4.2.7 board earlier in the week, so i needed a stress test. I figured 30 hours of this would be a good endurance run
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    USAFRet said:
    I just bought a Max, like a week ago.

    Abandoned my earlier CraneQuad.

    it's an excellent 3d printer. basically, a bigger and nicer ender 3 pro that is mostly assembled in the box. you get the glass bed, anti-backlash nut on the lead screw and a partially silent mainboard. the x and y axis have silent stepper drivers, the z and extruder do not. one safety upgrade that you'll want to do as early as is convenient, is put ferrules on the high current cables in the motherboard section. they're tinned with solder before being put into the terminal block and over time that can lead to increased resistance and possibly even a fire.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    btmedic04 said:
    it's an excellent 3d printer. basically, a bigger and nicer ender 3 pro that is mostly assembled in the box. you get the glass bed, anti-backlash nut on the lead screw and a partially silent mainboard. the x and y axis have silent stepper drivers, the z and extruder do not. one safety upgrade that you'll want to do as early as is convenient, is put ferrules on the high current cables in the motherboard section. they're tinned with solder before being put into the terminal block and over time that can lead to increased resistance and possibly even a fire.
    What filament do you mostly use, PLA, PETG, other?
    With the CraneQuad (when it was working), I had great results with PETG.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    USAFRet said:
    What filament do you mostly use, PLA, PETG, other?
    With the CraneQuad (when it was working), I had great results with PETG.

    Awesome, I've been meaning to build one of those, but I haven't had the time lately.

    I primarily print in PLA, HTPLA and PETG while I'm slowly setting up my ender 3v2 for nylon and polycarbonate. I just need a higher temp thermistor or thermocouple, a firmware update with higher temp ranges and need to build a heated enclosure for it.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    btmedic04 said:
    Awesome, I've been meaning to build one of those, but I haven't had the time lately.
    Well, the company that sold them (M3D) is now defunct.
    Screwed over a lot of people during their initial kickstarter type rollout for the Quad.

    Some people got theirs, some didn't, even after they were selling them via the normal retail channel.
    Total lack of communication from the company.

    I had about an 18 month wait before mine magically appeared on the front porch.

    If this was 3 weeks ago, I could have sold you a whole box of parts.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    USAFRet said:
    Well, the company that sold them (M3D) is now defunct.
    Screwed over a lot of people during their initial kickstarter type rollout for the Quad.

    Some people got theirs, some didn't, even after they were selling them via the normal retail channel.
    Total lack of communication from the company.

    I had about an 18 month wait before mine magically appeared on the front porch.

    If this was 3 weeks ago, I could have sold you a whole box of parts.

    ooof, well i guess that means i wont be building one now :( c'est la vie i suppose. maybe ill do one of these guys to tinker around with

    The #NanoLongRange by Dave_C_FPV - Thingiverse
    Reply