Would you spend $40–$60 on artisan buttons for your Steam Deck? What if they were cast by hand from custom resin molds, made by just one guy in the USA?
I imagine it would depend on how they look — but thankfully, they look amazing.
Today, Greg Leddy is following up his TouchProtect touchpad and button skins and custom-painted ColoredControllers with the new, a shop where he exclusively sells buttons and D-pads for your Steam Deck. Each one is cast in a custom two-part silicone mold of his own design, itself created from a master button he 3D prints from resin, hand-sands, and finishes to emulate the Steam Deck’s own slightly sandy shell texture.
Leddy sent me two full sets of his buttons, and they look and feel like the real deal. Not that I can light them as elegantly as he does in the photos he provided:
While they come inlike neon pink, blue, yellow, purple, and red, as well as glitter-infused purple and black, I just can’t bring myself to spend any of the real estate in this story on anything but the limited-edition holo set.
I particularly like the easter eggs: check out the slice of Portal cake I spotted on the back of my new select button:
If you’re interested in these custom buttons, a few things you should know:
First, you should be comfortable digging around in your gadgets! Even just swapping out the D-pad means meant removing 20 screws and two boards and disconnecting five ribbon cables. Thankfully, these ribbons are much more forgiving than the ones in the Nintendo Switch.— don’t forget to remove your SD card before opening anything.
Second, don’t expect these buttons to feel much better, beyond the grippier texture on the D-pad and some tactile bumps on the quick access and menu keys. You’re still fundamentally pressing down on the same membrane-covered switches inside the Deck.
Third, as you can see in my photo below, there’s a bit of a visible gap at the left of the D-pad. That actually exists with Valve’s original smooth D-pad, too, but because it’s a black pad atop a black surface inside a black hollow, it’s far less noticeable.
Oh, and you may need toif you’re using an ExtremeRate aftermarket shell.
Again, Leddy is just one guy, and it’s not clear how many of these he plans to sell. But he says he’s scaled in the past to meet demand, hiring help as necessary, with TouchProtect selling some 23,000 units on Amazon last year. He also tells me he’ll switch from buy buttons to preorder buttons on his website if there’s too much demand.
The holo buttons may not be around forever — they “take more time to do so you can’t do as many at once before the resin cures,” he says, but he plans to add glossy resin buttons with neat objects encapsulated inside,. He’s also working on a cold cast copper D-pad: “Real copper powder infused with resin that’s able to be patina’d.” He sent me a sample: it looks neat, but I still prefer the holographic.