When it comes to proprietary hardware, companies are understandably guarded about releasing such information because they don’t want the competition copying what they’re doing. However, in Valve’s case, it seems that they are ready to embrace modders for the Steam Deck console.
So much so that the company has announced that they will be posting the CAD files for the Steam Deck online so that users can 3D print it if they want. However, and this is pretty obvious if it wasn’t already, these CAD files are only for the chassis of the console, not the actual components that are used to make the console.
Good news for all the tinkerers, modders, accessory manufacturers, or folks who just want to 3D print a Steam Deck to see how it feels: We've published CAD files of the external shell for download: https://t.co/pSDhTfDL9n
— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) February 11, 2022
This means that while you can 3D print a Steam Deck chassis, you won’t actually be able to 3D print a working unit yourself. According to Valve, this seems to be aimed more towards modders and accessory makers who might want to do something for the Steam Deck, like maybe make a carrying case for it or additional accessories or peripherals.
We imagine that more ambitious modders might even try to make their own Steam Deck chassis with their own customizations, so having the official dimensions will no doubt help ensure that it fits properly. Users will of course need to pry open the console and transplant the components, so it’s definitely not for your average gamer to do.