The Switch, Nintendo’s new phablet console, was a big bet, but perhaps not a smart one. Despite being marketed as a step into the future, it launched with more hardware issues and irritating design flaws than playable titles. As such, fans who just plunked down $300 are already rolling up their sleeves to build solutions to make their shiny new investment work the way it ought to.
One of the biggest complaints about the Switch has been its flimsy, poorly-angled kickstand. The consensus is that it sucks. And because the charging port is located on the bottom of the console, it can’t receive power while propped in an upright configuration. Over on Thingiverse—a site for people to upload plans for 3D prints—there are three different stands that allow for charging, ranging from a pair of lightweight clips to a full-sized dock. (There’s an officially licensed stand from Nintendo, but that’s going to run an extra $30.)
The shallow joysticks and lack of a d-pad have also been frustrating for some Switch owners. Make these joystick extenders or this d-pad cover if that’s your gripe. (And these are legitimate gripes, especially for a hyped console where basically everything will cost extra.)
Detached from the main body of the Switch, many players found Nintendo’s pint-sized Joy-Con too small to hold comfortably. MyMiniFactory, another place to find 3D-printable designs, has plans for a more ergonomic add-on for people with adult hands who want to play Zelda without getting carpal tunnel. Of course, you could also ruin your Switch’s resale value by sawing the grips off the included controller holster thing and duct taping them to the console itself.
There’s been concern, too, that one of the major gimmicks of the 2-in-1 console—the Switch’s dock, which lets it seamlessly blend into a home entertainment setup—could end up scratching the screen. Luckily, the DIY fix for that doesn’t require owning a 3D printer, although it’s a bit silly to drop any amount of money on a product that damages itself, only to prevent it from being used as intended by adding pantyhose or a hand-made cozy.
As YouTuber JerryRigEverything shows, the Switch’s screen isn’t made of glass or sapphire like most cell phones—it’s plastic. Let me repeat that: this $300 console, which is intended to be fully portable and withstand the damage of being constantly lugged around, has a plastic-covered screen. Nintendo’s consoles don’t lend themselves to home repairs, and having such a shoddy screen feels like a huge oversight.
Our own reviewer had so much trouble even tracking down a Switch that it should not be surprising how many “replica” Switch 3d printing plans are floating around. At least a non-articulating hunk of plastic does exactly what it’s intended to do and costs a fraction of Nintendo’s asking price. Even if Switches are flying off the shelves, it’s a bad sign when less than a week after launch, fans are already having to unfuck your bad design decisions.