The Steam Deck Really Needs a Kickstand, So I Made One

    Dan Ackerman/CNET

    There’s no new gadget that has brought me as much joy in the past year as Valve’s Steam Deck. Yes, this handheld gaming PC from the owners of the Steam online game store is awkward and clunky in that first-gen hardware way. And yes, it requires a lot of troubleshooting and tweaking to get some games to run. But, it’s also satisfying to play complex PC games on something that looks and feels like an oversized Nintendo Switch.?
    Unlike the Switch, the Steam Deck lacks a built-in kickstand. So any time you put it down because your hands are needed elsewhere, it’s lying flat on its back, screen facing up at the ceiling. That’s not convenient, and also not safe for the screen. A docking station or stand was promised for the Steam Deck, but it’s still a ways off.?
    The original Switch had a wimpy little built-in kickstand that wasn’t very stable, but the newer OLED version of the Switch has an excellent kickstand, reminiscent of the ones on Microsoft Surface tablets.?
    My laser-cut Steam Deck stand.?
    Dan Ackerman/CNET
    When I first reviewed the Steam Deck, I built a couple of homemade stands, taking existing designs for generic stands and tweaking them to fit the Steam Deck. One I made on a 3D printer, the other on a laser cutter. You can get?the STL file for the 3D printed version?and the SVG file for the lasercut version.?
    But neither of those stands did exactly what I wanted, which was to let me prop the Steam Deck up anytime, any place. For that I did some more digging and found a great 3D printed project that fit the bill.?
    Unlike the two stands I made before, this design was exactly what I wanted, so I didn’t need to remix it or alter the design, which I found on the 3D model repository. This is a three-part design, with a clip-on base, the kickstand and a hinge. The three parts took about 4 hours to print on a 3D printer, and two 6mm M3 screws are required (which I was able to pick up at my local hardware store).?
    A couple of screws hold this kickstand together.?
    Dan Ackerman/CNET
    Get the file for this Steam Deck Kickstand.?
    My initial test was in non-toxic gray PLA material, but I didn’t like how it looked contrasted with the black Steam Deck body. So instead I reprinted it in black PLA, and now it sits on the Steam Deck full time, practically invisible.?
    The main downsides so far are that the stand has a single angle and when attached, it doesn’t fit into the Steam Deck zippered case. But having the stand attached has made the Steam Deck easier to use, especially when connecting an external keyboard and mouse, so I’d call it a big net positive.?
    I’m sure the next generation of Steam Deck hardware will be slimmer and lighter, and will probably include a kickstand of some kind. Until then, we’ll have to DIY our own solutions.?
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