3D Print Your Own VR Headset

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Longing for the day the Oculus Rift becomes a consumer-available reality? All the new headsets being developed really whetting your appetite for some VR of your own?

There’s no need to wait. If you’ve got a 3D printer and a OnePlus One smartphone, you can have your own virtual reality experience right now (well, shortly).

The new design is based on Google Cardboard and was created by Rene Meeh, who founded his own 3D printing company in 2007 to work on photorealistic renderings and 3D animation. Meeh has also worked with Google as a business photographer for Street View.

The Headset

Sure, this isn’t the first VR headset to head to the market that relies on a smartphone. Samsung phones have been the primary option for some time.

However, Meeh decided that he wanted to go a different route. For his design, he opted for the OnePlus One for a number of reasons.

First off, it’s big. Second, it’s affordable (starting at just $300).

Finally, it features full HD resolution and a solid (fast) processor that will have no problem rendering VR environments in a resolution that meets with consumer expectations.

According to Meeh, “The OnePlus One has full HD resolution, an ultrafast processor and exceptional battery life. This makes it just perfect for a VR headset.

After having traveled recently on American Airlines with no video on domestic flights and one mini screen in the center row on an international flight without control, I thought this must be the perfect travel companion. Also, my wife was looking for a way to follow her spin classes without any distraction from the surroundings.”

There are other differences between this new design and existing VR headsets on the market. First, it’s one of only a few that offers an adjustment for pupillary distance and/or diopter for those who are slightly near or far sighted.

Second, the design is very lightweight, which ensures that it can be printed on your home 3D printer.

One of the most innovative features (other than the almost complete 3D printability aspect) is that users adjust the lenses in the headset via two adjustment knobs. These operate screws that turn the lens housing, moving them back or forward as necessary to get the perfect view for you.

The only drawback currently is that there’s no headset specific app as yet. Meeh designed and tested his headset using VR Player, which offers voice controls as well as other features, but there are other apps on the market and in the works that can do the job as well.

If you’re sold and ready to 3D print your own virtual reality headset, you can download the files from Thingverse, but you’ll need to purchase a few supplies first. Only the headset and controls are 3D printable, which means you’ll need to buy the straps to secure the headset to your head, as well as the magnifying lenses to install in the housing.

With that being said, it remains one of the most affordable VR headsets available, and one of the lightest.

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