Mar 25, 2016 | By Alec

The gaming community is a close friend of the 3D printing community, perhaps because there is such a large overlap. That’s why we’ve already seen countless 3D printed video game tributes, such as Kirby Downey’s recent 3D printed 'Gjallahorn' rocket launcher from the Destiny video game. These close links between the two hobbies have evidently not gone unnoticed by video game giant Valve, who has just released the CAD files for their Steam Controller and encourages users to download, modify and 3D print a controller at home, for instance to incorporate a USB wireless receiver dongle.

Valve, of course, is best known for their online and excellent game distribution platform Steam. A piece of software that essentially allows you to purchase, download and install a very diverse library of games, it has become the premier vessel for reaching a PC gaming audience nowadays. Late last year, they released their Steam Controller, which even allows you to play games from your Steam Library on the TV. In particular, it has been designed to work for your entire collection of Steam games, even those built to without controller support in mind. Highly customizable and featuring a touchpad-based haptic feedback, it is a very fun hardware addition to a gamer’s arsenal.

But Valve also cherishes a reputation of being close to the gamers, and perhaps this CAD release should be seen in that light. “We are releasing the mechanical CAD geometry for the Steam Controller and are eager to see the accessories and variations that come from your creativity. We are making available, under Creative Commons licensing, the geometry of all externally visible parts,” they reveal on their website. Valve further encourages gamers to create and reimagine their controllers to their heart’s content. You are also welcome to share your 3D printable designs online, but selling will only be possible in collaboration with Valve.

But it does seem that this release truly accommodates gamers and makers of all shapes and sizes. Whether you have an idea for changing the controller’s ergonomic fit, or want to change the button layout to a more arcade-like style, for instance, it’s all possible. The official design files are also compatible with all types of regularly used software and 3D printers, so this is a fantastic release for the experienced maker/gamer. For troubleshooting during design and assembly, they even invite you to contact their Hardware Feedback service.

The downloadable archive, which you can find on Valve’s website here, contains several eDrawings viewer files, including for Creo Express and native Modeling, neutral exchange and 3D printing. At that same page, you can even find a few suggestions for some alterations, including a design for a battery door that can accommodate a USB wireless receiver dongle. “You may need to revise the geometry for your particular printer, but it’s a great place to start,” they say. This makes it a very promising release that definitely makes the Steam Controller even more interesting. Knowing the ingenuity of the making community, Valve’s design work for the follow-up controller might even be done for them.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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