Would you believe me if I told you that there are around 2.8 billion gamers in 2021? This includes anyone from casual gamers, who play games in their downtime with friends, to pro eSports competitors, who have turned their gaming passion into a career. Gaming has evolved over the years, starting as a hobby for children, turning into one of the largest growing industries in the world.
There are now schools that have been established with the sole purpose of educating children and teenagers about video games. These schools ensuring their development as responsible and professional players. For example, Level Academy is Malta’s first video games and esports education and training academy.
Following our previous blog post about 3D Printing bicycle accessories, we have prepared a set of 3D printed gaming accessories. We have tested them out on their usability and functionality to ensure that they work as intended.
3D Printed Headset Accessories
One of the most important gaming peripherals is the headset. It is a crucial asset to any gamer, whether simply to listen to music while playing FIFA, or to listen to the footsteps or gunfire of approaching enemies in Shooter games like Call of Duty. A good headset not only allows you to hear your enemies and audible cues and the direction they’re coming from. It also allows you to communicate with your teammates via the attached microphone. Nothing is more important than communication in a squad that’s planning to be the winning team in a Battle Royale.
The Headset Stand
This headset stand, found on Thingiverse, is made up of 10 printed parts. It is designed to be printed in different colours, to match the theme of your gaming setup. In our case, it was printed using black PETG and orange PLA. It requires 19 M3 screws to be assembled, however, even when assembled with the M3 screws, it was quite wobbly. Therefore some handy superglue was used to reassemble and secure the final version of the stand.
Verdict: 7/10. Recommended if you have the time and space. While it is aesthetically pleasing to have this coloured according to your theme, it takes up some space on your desk.
Headset Desk Mount
If you do not have much space on your desk, the previously mentioned Headset stand may be too clunky for you. A nifty alternative is this small but effective Headset Desk Mount. This model uses its printed screw to secure the hook to the side of your desk and can be tightened to fit the thickness of your desktop. This was printed using black PETG.
Verdict: 6/10. Recommended. Very sturdy and with the headset right next to you, it’s easily accessible. Not the most visually appealing, but a pretty simple and effective design.
3D Printed Keyboard and Controller Accessories
There are two main platforms on which one can play video games. These are Consoles, such as PlayStation, Xbox, etc… and PC, or Computer gaming. While the debate about which is the best has been going on for decades, they each have their benefits and drawbacks. One of the main differences between the gaming experience using consoles and using a PC is the input method. A console uses a controller while a PC uses a mouse and keyboard for all in-game movement and other inputs. Keyboards (especially mechanical keyboards) and controllers can be modified and customized slightly, using skins or changing the colours of some of the keys to better suit your themed setup better.
Keyboard Custom KeyCaps
Keycaps are the individual key buttons on a mechanical keyboard. By default, most keycaps on a new keyboard will be monochromatic, based on the keyboard. However, some people might like to customize their keyboard slightly to add some colour to it. This is typically done on the most used keys in whichever game they play. For example, if playing a shooter game like Call of Duty, the W, A, S, D buttons are used to move around, while the R button is used to reload your gun. When playing a MOBA game like League of Legends, the Q, W, E, R keys are used to perform your abilities. This particular set of keycaps we have printed can be found here on Thingiverse.
These were printed using Blue PLA. When trying to fit them, we realised that the slots for the mechanical switch heads were not large enough. This print might have benefited from a reduction in the horizontal expansion setting.
Verdict: 4/10. Recommended design only if you can mess around with some settings and make it fit your keyboard. The design has various profiles that give a different shape to the keys themselves. While the print came out looking and feeling good, unfortunately, they were not usable on the keyboard, since they could not be fit.
It is good practice to remove all the keys from your keyboard and clean them and the keyboard thoroughly at least once a year. When it comes to replacing the previously 3D printed and mentioned keycaps, you could use your fingers and just pluck the key out. However, this technique might be a bit difficult with certain keyboards, as some keys are closer to other keys and you might not get a good grip on the keys. For this reason, and also to ensure the safe removal of the keycap, specific tools called Keycap Removers exist and are very easily 3D printable. This simple design was found on Thingiverse and was printed in under 30 minutes using Blue PLA.
Verdict: 10/10. Very easy to print and to use. Would recommend it to anyone who has a mechanical keyboard.
Controllers come in all shapes and sizes, depending on their brand, make and purpose. However, most controllers will have some things in common, such as analog sticks, and buttons. The most popular controllers nowadays are the Playstation 4 Dualshock Controller, and the Xbox Controller.
Controllers are most often thrown onto the console after your gaming session is complete, or at most placed in a drawer for ‘safekeeping’. However, one could also 3D print a stand for the controller. These are found all over Thingiverse, but this one that we 3D printed was chosen for the simple reason that it can be stacked. This particular model can be printed multiple times, and stacked on top of each other to allow for multiple controllers to be docked on it. This design was printed using blue PLA and was done in a very short amount of time.
Verdict: 8/10. Very easy and quick to print. It is designed in a very interesting modular way that allows it to be assembled with others of its kind and a whole display of controllers can be created.
Controller Analog Stick Mods
A feature that almost all controllers have is the Analog Stick. In most cases, there are two on each controller, one on the left and one on the right. These serve as omnidirectional buttons that allow for movement and aiming, depending on the game that is being played. For very intense gameplay and very precise movements, these are sometimes too small or might get uncomfortable for a long gaming session. However, there are multiple nubs that can go over the controller analog sticks to allow for an easier or more effective control over them. These designs that were found on Thingiverse were designed especially for the Playstation 4 Controller. They were printed using Blue PP.
After cleaning the brim and trying to attach them to the analog sticks, it was very obvious that they were not going to fit. These particular prints might be best printed using NinjaFlex material, or a more flexible material to have a degree of stretchiness to fit over the analog stick.
Verdict: 3/10. This score might go up if they’re printed with a more flexible material, however, with PP these are completely unusable. The grip and features of the parts came out detailed and nice, and would be good had the parts been attachable to the controller.
Whether you’re a casual gamer or you’re in the competitive eSports scene, you will surely benefit from some accessory or another. When it comes to 3D printed gaming accessories, the sky is your limit, and you can customize and design any accessory for 3D printing.
If you missed it, don’t forget to check out our previous blog post about 3D printed Bicycle accessories, as well as the one about 3D printing Camera Accessories, and stay tuned for more 3D printing of hobby accessories blog posts!