To some people, gaming is a hobby or a casual pastime; to others it’s a way of life. Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll possibly at one point or another have thought to yourself, “wouldn’t it be good to turn this into a game room!”.
Yes, you may have a spare bedroom or family room where you go to play games but these then revert back to being used for other things. Imagine, having a whole room dedicated to gaming and your love of everything that goes with it. That’s the dream, right?
Well, with 3D printing and some clever designs, that dream can become reality. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you turf everyone out of the family room or telling Grandma she can’t come to stay for the holidays anymore, but if you have the space why not go for it?
In this article, I’ll show you some ideas you can use to get yourself started and some designs I’ve found which look great but will also enhance your game play. So, let’s have a look at what you can do with some creativity and a 3D printer.
The first thing to do is to know your space. By that I mean where the room is situated within your home and how big it is. This will then determine what can fit in the room, what you need to buy and what you can 3D print. Let’s assume that you have a blank canvas, so aside from windows, a door and flooring, everything is a bare space.
As I’m talking to you about 3D printing items for a game room project, I’ll only briefly cover the basics of things you may already have or need to buy. These could include:
· A Gaming Desk: A bit different from a standard office or study desk as it will tend to have more surface space and added shelves for your monitor etc.
· Monitor/TV: This can be as large or as small as you need it but obviously check weight limits for either wall mounting or the desk
· A Gaming Chair: You obviously need to sit somewhere so a comfortable gaming chair is essential. This could either be in the same style as a five-wheel office chair or maybe a floor chair like an X-Rocker
· Console/PC/Laptop: Obviously, this will depend on the type of gaming you’re into but I’ll assume you have one or more of these
· Sound System: Not essential but to give that immersive gaming experience, a decent sound system or soundbar would be good to have
· Lighting: To really give your room some style, LED lighting strips and bars are fantastic
Another consideration could be soundproofing but this would depend on where your game room is to be situated and how loud you like to play your games!
There are other items that you might think essential but I’ll be looking at those a bit later on when we get to the 3D printing part. It’s safe to say though that all of the things I’ve listed above can have accessories or improvements added by means of a 3D printer.
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to have in your game room in terms of furniture and hardware, it’s time to decide on a layout.
The main focus of your room is going to be the gaming screen which will in turn determine where your chair goes. If you get these and the desk in place first, then you can work out from that point. The general layout as well is going to be decided by what type of room you’re using. For instance you’re likely to have a bigger space to work with if you’re using a basement, garage or other outbuilding compared to a room within your home.
In addition to the items I listed earlier, you may need some shelving for both display and storage and even some comfort items like a drinks chiller. It’s therefore important to make sure things are placed suitably close to appropriate power outlets. This of course will also be true of placing your other electrical items within the space.
Ok, so you’ve set up your furniture and decided where the main features of your game room are going be. Now let’s move on to the fun bit of choosing and printing accessories to really make your game room unique.
When I’m talking about accessories its things that will either improve or enhance your gameplay. Additionally, these accessories will also add comfort and accessibility to items within your room that might not necessarily be game related.
So let’s kick off this section by looking at some actual objects that you can download for free and 3D print at home. The best places, in my opinion, to search for free items are Thingiverse and Printables. Pretty much any search for an item will bring results on both sites. There are a few other decent sites out there but the majority of them charge a fee.
The items I’m going to show you have all been printed with an FDM printer rather than resin as this gives you more size to play with and will cost less.
Let’s start with something fairly basic but ultimately a necessity if like me you can never locate your headset! This is a fairly simple design but that’s all it needs and it does the job. I chose this one as it has the added storage space incorporated into the hexagonal design. The designer here is Florian Kossack and this can be found on Thingiverse where you can also find a multitude of other headset holder designs.
This great design from seanj on the Printables site is a wall mountable controller holder which will fit pretty much any controller available today and most retro ones as well. The ingenious nature of this design allows for multiple hangers to be added to the one above it so you can print one every time you get a new controller.
This is another item that you’ll find in abundance on many sites so this is just one example I picked from the many. The design was done by Steve_AU on Printables and was inspired by another commercially available cup holder. Steve decided he could do better so adapted it to fir his own needs. That’s’ the great thing about 3D printing where you can take something and change it so its unique to you.
While I was searching online, I found this and just had to add it in here. The design is fantastic and was born from the designer’s need to have a controller hanger that he liked and that fit with the Mario theme. I think he’s managed it quite superbly and has expanded the controller hanger idea out into a complete wall hanging system for the Nintendo Switch and accessories. The designer that we need to give credit to here is Kora Ugowski and you can find this item on Thingiverse.
Of course any game room is going to need somewhere to store or display your games and once again, Thingiverse comes up trumps with this nicely designed PS5 game holder from Damyn Filipuzzi. The design is simple to look at but has had a lot of work put into it to get it right. You’ll see this from the download page as Damyn has gone through a few size tests of the holder. This is obviously for the PS5 but you’ll be able to find many similar ones to suit your particular console.
These are just a few ideas of items that you can print to accessorize your gaming room and hopefully enhance your gaming experience. Have a look on Thingiverse or Printables and indeed any other site that offers downloadable, printable files and I’m sure you’ll find something you need.
We’ve looked at just a few 3D printable accessories but having a gaming room isn’t just about the gameplay. Having an environment that makes you happy and gives you space to add your collectibles and treasured display items is all part of the game room experience.
However, as I’ve discussed before in the article “Creating Anime Figures with 3D Printing”, you can also make your own figures and display items using your 3D printer. Again, I’ve searched online and found you some interesting items. Firstly though, let’s have a look at a couple of ideas for display shelving and storage.
3D printing shelves in their entirety isn’t really practical given the sizes needed and their structural integrity. You can though 3D print parts which will allow you to easily construct a shelving system like this one from designer Gian Pablo Villamil. What he’s done here is use the natural tessellation of hexagons and created a series of joints which, when used with thin wooden sheets, can be built into handy display shelves. The added bonus is that these are easy to print and you can modify the sheet size to suit your own needs.
You may have guessed by now that I quite like hexagonal designs! Well, here’s another one but this time on a smaller scale. These little chambers are ideal for storing smaller items such as memory cards, thumb drives and cables etc. Each one slots firmly together with its neighbours to form a beehive complex which is both practical and looks good. The drawers are optional so you could have open sections to display printed miniatures or game pieces. The designer here is Dan O'Connell and again, the files can be downloaded from Thingiverse.
OK, last hexagon, I promise! This is a display piece which would fit nicely with the HIVE boxes we’ve looked at. It’s essentially a piece of wall art and is somewhere between the HIVE boxes and the shelving system. However, if you want to go the extra mile the designer, Roman Vaque, suggests adding some frosted polypropylene sheets cut to fit in the hexagons. You can then add lighting behind to really make this both stylish and practical.
OK, so moving away from shelving and storage, let’s now have a look at just a few ideas for display figures that might make your game room feel more personal.
We’re at Thingiverse again for this nice idea from designer, ShareAlike which captures the essence of some of Studio Ghibli’s most iconic characters. This model is made in the style of a Russian nesting doll so each figure is hidden inside the next size up to leave you thinking that Totoro may have a secret! You can therefore either show just one or two figures or all four at once, depending on your mood.
In 3D printing terms these aren’t the easiest types of figures to print and you’ll undoubtedly need to do some post processing to get the look and fit right but the effort will be worth it.
As you can imagine, there are a vast number of 3D printable Anime figures out there ready to be downloaded. It therefore wouldn’t be practical to list every one of them but to get you started, here’s a nice design of Goku in a fighting pose by designer, Robin 3Dverse. Have a good search around online for any Anime figures you might want to print and I’m sure you’ll find them. I’ve mentioned before other sites where you generally have to pay for files so give Cults and My Mini Factory a go.
In a similar vein as with Anime figures, there are of course a lot of gaming related figures out there that you can print. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a Super Mario World fan and after I’d been 3D printing for a while, I took on the challenge of printing and painting this massive model showcasing all of the main characters. In fact, it has so far taken me over a year to get to the final touches stage but it’s been a labour of love, mostly! I’ll be honest with you but this is a bit of a beast to print with just over 80 different files and a lot of assembling, post processing and painting. Its not a perfect job but looks great in my office/game room so if you’re a fan it might be worth the challenge. The files were originally on Cults so I had to buy them but they’re no longer there now. Luckily though, you can still buy them at Studio3DPrint and will cost you just over $9.
(By the way, the toy bus is just there for scale)
Sticking with the Mario theme here but this time with a more practical display item. The iconic mystery block often leaves you wondering whether you’re going to get a power up or be attacked by a spiny shell. In this case though you can be pretty certain that all you’re going to get is a really nice-looking lamp which would look great either on your desk or display shelves. This one is actually available for free on My Mini Factory and has been designed by Alessio.
Again, with items like this lamp, there are a number of variations out there such as specific games console lamps and printable film franchise logos such as Marvel or Star Wars. The choice is up to you.
So, we’ve looked briefly at some ideas as to how you can design a game room and what kinds of things you can add to it with a 3D printer. Whether you have a large or small space to work with, you can find the right look and feel for your gaming experience.
I’ve literally only scratched the surface here and I’m sure that, with a bit of searching online and some creativity, you’ll soon be printing your own models and creating a unique look for your game room.