AMS Spring 2023

Make:Magazine’s Caleb Kraft 3D Prints Modular Thumbstick Extentions for Handicapped Video Gamers

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Caleb Kraft from Make:Magazine

Caleb Kraft from Make:Magazine

Many of us love playing video games. It’s a way to relax and take our minds off the everyday problems and concerns we all face. If you are a video game enthusiast, imagine suffering some form of injury that leaves you unable to utilize the traditional video game controllers we are all used to, like those from the Playstation or Xbox. Certainly it would be a very frustrating turn of events, and probably would complicate the already depressed thoughts running through your head.

For tens of thousands of individuals who were born with a handicap, or were unfortunate enough to suffer some kind of life-altering event, this is a reality. Early last year we saw how American console modder and internet celebrity Ben Heck was able to utilize 3D printing to create a one-handed modification for a PS4 controller. This was an awesome accomplishment, but didn’t solve every issue that every person with a handicap may run into.

This is where Caleb Kraft from Make:Magazine comes into the picture. Kraft, a long-time editor for several different internet publications, has a knack for covering the news related to 3D printing and other DIY projects, as well as undertaking many projects himself. Kraft had recently heard from a number of readers asking for custom modifications to game controllers at the thumbstick.

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“Since the beginning of my hobby of producing 3D printed parts to help people with physical disabilities play video games, the thumbstick has been an issue,” explains Kraft in his Makezine.com post. “Unfortunately, it was an issue I didn’t really have an elegant solution for. After some brainstorming, I believe I’ve come up with a useful modular system that will k3hopefully help a wide variety of people with special physical needs.”

Kraft has created several designs, which can be printed in multiple parts and glued together so that a number of people with varying types and degrees of handicaps can customize the extensions for their own personal needs. For now the parts, which consist of four different components, work on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers. The three main parts to any of these 3D printed modifications include a base which easily press-fits onto the thumbstick of the controller. Next there are extension pieces which can be stacked on top of each other to add whatever length to the thumbstick mod the user desires. An end piece then connects to the top of the last extension, which can be as simple as a rounded piece to make the control feel more comfortable, or more complicated like the lasso pieces which will suit the needs of different handicaps. There are also curved extension pieces which allow the user to mount parts at varying angles.

“I’m really proud of this one,” Kraft told 3DPrint.com. “The modular design should allow many more people to be able to customize with little effort. Just print, arrange, then glue together!”

k2Kraft 3D printed all the parts you will see in the video below on a LulzBot TAZ4 3D printer, using Glow PLA from Makergeeks.com. He set the layer heights of the prints at .22mm and only used support structures on the curved extension pieces and loops of the lassos.

What does Kraft have in store next? He’s working in his free time on creating new base pieces to make additional game controllers compatible with his 3D printed modifications, as well as new end pieces so that additional handicaps can be conquered.

If you are interested in having one of these made, you may contact Kraft at Makezine.com, or if you’d like to print the parts yourself, they are available on Thingiverse.  Let us know your thoughts on this incredible creation in the 3D printed Handicap game controller extension forum on 3DPB.com. Check out the video Kraft has made below:

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