The Steam Deck really needs a kickstand, so I made one

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There’s no new gadget that’s brought me as much joy in the past year as Valve’s Steam Deck. Yes, this handheld gaming PC from the owners of online game store Steam is clunky and clumsy in that first-gen hardware way. And yes, it requires a lot of troubleshooting and tweaking to get some games to work. 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 doesn’t have a built-in kickstand. So whenever you put it down because your hands are needed elsewhere, it lies flat on its back with the screen facing the ceiling. It’s not convenient and it’s not safe for the screen either. A docking station or stand has been promised for the Steam Deck, but that’s still a long way off.

The original Switch had a small built-in kickstand that wasn’t very stable, but the new OLED version of the Switch has an excellent kickstand, reminiscent of those on Microsoft Surface tablets.

Valve Vapor Deck

My laser cut Steam Deck stand.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

When I first reviewed the Steam Deck, I built a few homemade stands, taking existing designs for generic stands and adjusting 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 laser cut version.

But none of these mounts did exactly what I wanted, which was to allow me to mount the Steam Deck anytime, anywhere. For this I dug a little deeper and found a great 3D printed project that fit the bill.

Unlike the two supports I made before, this design was exactly what I wanted, so I didn’t need to remix it or modify the design, which I found on the Printables 3D model repository. com. It’s a three-piece design, with a clip-on base, the kickstand, and a hinge. All 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).

Two versions of Steam Deck support.

A few screws hold this kickstand together.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Get the file for this Steam Deck kickstand.

My initial test was made of non-toxic gray PLA material, but I didn’t like how it looked in contrast to the black Steam Deck body. So instead I reprinted it in black PLA, and now it sits on the Steam Deck full time, virtually invisible.

The main downsides so far are that the stand has only one angle and when attached it doesn’t fit inside the Steam Deck zippered case. But having the stand attached made the Steam Deck easier to use, especially when connecting an external keyboard and mouse, so I’d say that’s a big net benefit.

I’m sure the next generation of Steam Deck hardware will be thinner and lighter, and will probably include some sort of kickstand. Until then, we’ll have to tinker with our own solutions.

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