The Incredibly Useful Nintendo Switch Accessories Anyone Can 3D Print

Whether it's delivering chaotic cartoon violence, family-friendly co-op experiences, or both ("Super Smash Bros" anyone?), the Nintendo Switch has carved out an undeniable place in the current console marketplace. A major part of the Switch's appeal is its form factor: like the Wii before it, the Switch delivers gaming experiences available nowhere but Nintendo, reflecting the company's origin as a toy store rather than an electronics behemoth like Sony or Microsoft. For the Switch, it all comes down to portability, ease of use, and the simple joy of playing.

Of course, having a unique form factor comes with unique challenges. Anyone who's ever tackled a minigame in "Mario Party" holding just one Joy-Con knows that the Switch's small, simple profile can be a frustrating limitation. Thankfully, independent designers have come up with several beautifully simple upgrades to the console. Better yet, these accessories are available to anyone with access to a 3D printer.

3D-printable Switch stands and sun shield

Sometimes, the best innovation is just doing what the manufacturer did, better. The single flat prop on the back of a stock Switch barely manages to hold it up and limits users to a single angle. Thingiverse user Ospi has fixed both of these shortcomings with a solid adjustable stand, which is available to download from Thingiverse. The stand allows users to pick the perfect angle to play at, and an integral USB-C dock makes it easy to play in portable mode while charging.

Meanwhile, not every 3D build has to have a utilitarian use. ConcaveChest's fun arcade-cabinet Switch stand delivers a modern form factor with retro aesthetics, making it a perfect match for Nintendo's ongoing attempts to bring old-school gaming to its latest console.

Then there's the sun — the sworn enemy of the indoor kid. Gamers may grudgingly grant the sun's necessity to our existence, but we don't have to like it. It screws up screen contrast, interrupts late-night-unto-early-morning grind sessions, and generally reminds us of the inconvenient outside world. Nowhere is the daystar's hated influence more palpable than on one of the few gaming systems actually designed to go outside. This little 3D-printable sun shield is an elegantly simple solution to sun-muted visuals. Honestly, if we wanted to enjoy beautiful weather, we'd boot up "Breath of the Wild."

3D models to improve the Joy-Con experience

The dual-screen Wii U may have a rough history and questionable future, but some designers haven't given up on its core offer. Nathan Becker has built a holder designed to accept a smartphone while playing Switch, providing Wii U-style double-screen options as well as easy access to Nintendo's companion app. Reddit user Adkkid put together a similar setup for the Switch Pro Controller. Originally intended for portable play on defunct Google gaming service Stadia, Addkid's design now opens fun new options for Switch owners also invested in gaming on their phones.

Joining that is the one-hand Joy-Con adapter available on Thingiverse. Built to help a friend who lost the use of one hand, Vexelius has designed a working solution for players to take on even comparatively complex games like "Breath of the Wild" with just one hand. Vexelius has even done two separate designs to serve left- and right-handed users. 

Finally, the Switch is a triumph of less-is-more engineering. Simplifying and stripping back the "large box, large controller" paradigm made for a unique and versatile console, but it did come with some sacrifices. Hardcore gamers particularly regret the Switch's lack of a dedicated D-Pad and the comparative clumsiness of its joystick inputs. Ahmad Faiz has taken care of both with an elegant ease worthy of Nintendo itself. You can download his D-Pad plate and joystick extender from Thingiverse.