PRINTom3D N64 Bowl, Gears and Stick review: 3D printed N64 parts

Printom3d: Full gear set

Today I am fully covering PRINTom3D Prototype N64 Bowl, Gears and Stick (Also region converter) that they lovingly sent to me free of charge and with a lot of enthusiasm! Firstly, I want to say a massive thanks to Thomas who sent me these parts a while ago, literally when I was writing up the review. I told him about what I was doing and he threw these gears at me.

It’s been a little while since then given my personal circumstances (COVID positive/redundancy/moving house), so here we go!

This analysis is of the 3D printed gears, stick and bowl. Now I stress these are 3D printed and differ quite differently from traditional injection moulded gears and parts.


As you can see from the above, 3D printed gears lack fidelity and precision, once of the key aspects of a successful N64 part. The gears especially have to be as high fidelity as possible as without this movement in game will be jitterily and will not register properly. This makes movement and precise shots in Goldeneye… not optimal. Injection moulding does not have this issue as the plastic is injected directly in the mould and takes the form of the desired shape. Fidelity is maintained. Massive however, injection moulding is super-duper expensive and may require a lot of revisions before the mould is finalised. 3D printing is cheap, lead time is non existent and accessible by all due to cheap desktop printers.

I wont go into everything in depth here, you can find the full breakdown of pros and cons in the master thread here:

The above is very very important before I proceed with the write up. Expectation is very important when a casual player and a pro player looks at gears and replacement parts. You want a part to work and perform the way you have it in your mind. In the case of N64 gears and parts…. like OEM. Excluding parts that extend range for the pro Smash Bros 64 players (, the average player and competitive Goldeneye player wants 85 point ranges all round (Pending source for this :P). This is an OEM standard point range that should be standard. In conjunction, no deadzone, no wobble and a nice, smooth feeling stick.

Annnnnnnyyywayyyy (channel my inner ZFG… again), lets get into the full dissection of these gears and see where we land!

***28/09/2021 update: A updated section can be found below, also minor edits made to the mode of text

Getting the parts and first impressions

Edit 20/09/2021: I would like to stress that all the parts are printing using a resin material and not filament. The resin produces a smooth touch to the gears unlike the photo in the last section.

I reached out to PRINTom3D on Etsy asking about how the gears were made. From there we chatted about what he was trying to do with his project and one thing led to another, but he sent me a full N64 set up and a universal slot completely for free. It took about a week to arrive but this is not a surprise since the UK left the EU. Any imports take a tad longer but honestly the delivery was quick. Price for a set of gears is around the £5.00 mark and including UK shipping you’re looking at around £10.00. The bowl is also available at the £6.45 mark. The stick is not available at the moment.

Contents of the pack that Tom sent. Gears, bowl and region slot are for sale @ – Also pictured: graphite powder that is sold with the bowl

The first thing that struck me about the pack and the parts is that instead of traditional forms of lube that you use with a N64 stick and parts, Tom recommended graphite powder. At first I thought….. won’t this just add more wear to the parts. The graphite acts as tiny balls between the parts causing smooth movement. This kinda reminds me of how ceramic lube works, as this to has tiny balls which assist in movement… hmmm I may have to test these with ceramic lube in the future.

Needless to say that this baffled me as the parts could not be used with other OEM parts of mine due to the worry of possible wear of my primo parts, especially after prolonged play. Now, in the context of PRINTom3D printed part, this may actually help. as fidelity is decreased due to the printing process, graphite may act as a good lube (I hate saying this as powder is not lube but hey, lets roll with it) as it will fill in the tiny gaps on the print and make a nice, smooth movement!


Now, I want to give PRINTom3D these gears and parts the best chance possible, I will be testing different lubes, different combinations of parts, different sticks, OEM, not OEM. I will not however, be mixing graphite lube with my OEM parts, I will do this with Kitsch-Bent parts as these can be replaced with ease (Full review coming soon).

There is a lot to unpack here… like ALOT! I want to really give a good breakdown here as it’s so important to understand the interaction with these parts and how each of them interact with each other.

Pre-test thoughts

I have found a defect in the bowl very early on. I have also found this on the Kitsch-Bent parts.

The X-axis encoder slot does not fit OEM encoders in properly. This is a massive problem as they have to sit nice and flush in the slot, otherwise the gears can’t turn the encoder, causing no movement in game. It did not fit a 3rd party encoder nor a OEM one. However, I managed to (kinda) fix this by drilling (crudely with a small screwdriver) on the encoder slot arm to open it a bit more, however when the encoder was in place, the gear was stiff when turning, however it was turning.

I have my thoughts about this which I will delve into on a separate thread which is a wider issue that extends beyond this text.

Game: Goldeneye 007 (Archives, Train, Silo) for playability and Neoflash used for ranges

Test 1 w/Superlube

All Tom’s parts (Gear/Bowl/Stick)

As soon as I got the parts together I wacked on Silo for an initial play and to get the Superlube moving. What was apparent form the offset was the drift on the stick and the feeling of roughness when moving the stick around. Because of this, overcompensation of movement had to be employed to ensure correct lines. Fine movement was tricky so this led to errors when running Silo, which is characterised by fine movement and fluid movement.

There was minimal dead zone and stick wobble was not bad, however, the off centre readings did come up on the testing software, very minimal though (See above for findings).

When slowly moving the stick back to centre from an outer position the stick will often sit off centre. This is probably due to the lines of the 3D print of one part getting stick to other part.

The range readings were, ok. Mid 70s to low 80s. Some of the readings looked like the whole range was being pulled down to the bottom left. This would be a problem for specific movement or combos in games. Some of the range readings were defiantly acceptable, so in theory the parts were the correct shape at least.

Overall, not the strongest combo on this one, an i suspect it’s due to using lube on the 3D printed parts and not the graphite included.


Test 2 w/Superlube

Bowl used: Tom’s bowl

Gears used: OEM 9/10

Stick used: OEM 9/10

From the offset a Grindy feeling when using the stick is present in this combo, especially when pushing further on the joystick. The stick does not sit perfectly on centre, but this isvery minimal complaint.

The range analysis for this combo is very good. High 70s to mid 80s which is what you want to look for in a replacement part set.

No stick drift which was lovely and the playability was very good. The grind that is present is part of the deal when using PRINTom3D printed parts, my only concern is that the 3D parts may wear your plastic/abs OEM parts over time, however lube should mitigate this and it may just be me being suspicious.

To test precision I played a test ROM on Everdrive64 and did some locks on Train, and my experience was not bad at all! I think the bowl is 100% worth your time if you are looking for a replacement. Its not OEM standard, but if you want a bowl to mess around on and get some good Goldeneye times, or even play casually, then this is the way to go!

My only big issue is an inconsistency on one of the gear arms which does impact the score, this is present on the top gear arm. I had to bore my small Philips screwdriver in there so the encoder gear would fit in there. Without this the gear just did not fit and the arm would not fit the encoder in there. I am fully aware that I may have just gotten unlucky, it’s just unfortunate that this was present.


Test 3 w/Superlube

Bowl used: Tom’s bowl

Gears used: Tom’s Gears

Stick used: OEM 9/10

Tighter combination of parts with a little bit of stick wobble and a small deadzone. However, the stick does not flick back to centre very well and rests off centre normally.

Solid range readings high 70s to low 80s, decent for replacement parts, however the readings are off centre which can cause issue for movement. The pattern of readings are very boxy which is more typical of a Gamecube controller, just with a lot less sensitivity that a GC controller).

Like the above, the feel of the set up is grindy, however the OEM stick did help slightly with this.

When pushing the stick up and down lightly, drift was very prominent. A massive issue as it can affect movement and precise shots and warp attempts. It was especially easy to get drift on the stick when pushing down very very slightly.

Despite the above, playability with this set up was not too bad, the grindiness again is not ideal as you really want smooth movement when speedrunning. The combo is great for big movements. To test this, I attempted some Train locks and they were difficult to complete as I had to overcompensate for movement as the cost of an uncomfortable hand.

Source: My Train 1:08 locks (


Test 4 w/Superlube

Bowl used: OEM 9/10

Gears used: Tom’s Gears

Stick used: Tom’s Stick

Stick Wobble and X/Y axis dead zone are present with this combo, but is minimal on first use.

The PRINTom3D range analysis on the test 2 looks very good. 80s to mid/high 80s. Maybe a tad too sensitive on some axis, regardless these results are great. However, on subsequent tests, the right range sensitive really suffered, dropping to low 70s.

All in all on Silo, Bunker and Caverns the runs were quite solid, the grindy feel is still present but is mitigated by the bowl. All in all its a solid combo.


Test 5 w/Superlube

Bowl used: OEM 9/10

Gears used: OEM 9/10

Stick used: Tom’s Stick

A lot of dead zone with this combo with very minimal to no sensitivity readings.

The range analysis is skewed with this combo, mid 70s to low 80s. I think it is due to the gears themselves having imperfections. I suspect the print design they are using is based of El Mans gears and of so, these designs have imperfections present. This could not be the case though and its a point to mention if improvement is to be made to the parts.

When pushing the stick up to the top right its very stiff. The fine movement requirement of Silo bested this combo as they are very stiff and finer left and right movements were hard, making quick turns very very difficult. This is demonstrated again by the locks on Train which were very very very hard to pull off with this combo.


Test 6 w/Superlube

Bowl used: OEM 9/10

Gears used: Tom’s gears

Stick used: OEM 9/10

Initial impressions are good, but lots of wobble/deadzone was present. The feeling of the stick is good though.

Range analysis yields fantastic results, no doubt helped by the OEM parts (All over 80), however, the reading when the stick is in the left position is VERY sensitive, hitting 93 on one test (perfect range sits at 84/85). The cause of this is caused by the T3D stick being thinner than OEM, causing the range increase. El Man has a replacement stick which is thinner for the purpose of being played with Super Smash Bros 64 so certain move sets can be pulled off easier (I think, I know nothing about SS64, I just know El Man’s stick is used for this purpose). However, for Goldeneye this is not ideal as oversensitivity means that certain shots and movements cannot be done properly. Surface 1 locks being a great example:

My Surface 1 1:03 locks (Source:

PRINTom3D playability is good. The dead zone to the left of the stick when pushed is compensated by the massive range readings and kind of works. Overall Silo testing was a good experience.

One thing to take into account, the stick is jagged and has rough edges on the cap, amazing for grip… however, my thumb did start too hurt after a while. If any obvious improvement is to be made, it would be to smooth the edges on the top of the sticks or have a layer of paint to do a .

I quite like this combo of parts even though on paper is should hate them. This is a great example of how playability can trump range analysis readings when playing.

If the dead zone cloud be fixed and the top smoothed out, it would be a great replacement stick. Very impressed.


Test 7 w/Graphite

All PRINTom3D parts (Gear/Bowl/Stick)

I followed the instructions as PRINTom3D directed and got to testing. minimal dead zone, edging toward the left.

Range analysis looking good, all in the 80s or very high 70s to 80s, however the stick was off centre in a few readings, this could be due to 3D print on 3D print making the stick not align properly.

There was some drift present when touching the stick upwards, its not easy to achieve and is more of a nit pick.

When playing I am exerting more effort to make those sharp turns on Silo. However, on archives I was able to pace 17 seconds and I fully think you could get 16. Doing this would be very hard and your thumbs would hurt die to the jaggedness (not sure if jaggedness is a word).

Its a toss up as you need to crank more on the stick but can hit tight lines, this may cause fatigue on your hands or it may be something to get used to over time. As a rule of thumb (sorry about the pun), any over exertion is a problem, you should also be comfortable when playing as to not cause any health related issues.

When it comes to preciseness, the Train locks were very hard, due to the need for pushing harder caused by the graphite “lube”, you ultimately lose the ability to make very tight small movements,

All in all, a good combo. The main complaint being the compensation to push the stick causing fatigue. In turn heavy games like Mario Party these would be great


Test 8 w/Graphite

Bowl used: PRINTom3D bowl

Gears used: Kitsch-Bent

Stick used: Kitsch-Bent

Tight stick with soft/dull wobble. None to nominal sensitivity issues when snapping the stick back to centre.

Range analysis looks respectable mid 70s to low 80s. The left reading does suffer on some readings, this is a Kitsch-Bent gear issue no doubt. Interestingly, the more readings I took, the boxier the results became. Good to see that there was no drift when starting to play.

The PRINTom3D bowl felt a tad “sticky” during movement but this can be gotten used too. Overall the playability is very good on Silo.

Playing Train, I found finer movement… weird. Sticky and dull were the best way to describe it. But it can be compensated for without straining your hands, again I think this is a KB issue.

All in all, a good combo to use


Test 9 w/Graphite

Bowl used: PRINTom3D bowl

Gears used: PRINTom3D Gears

Stick used: Kitsch-Bent

The sensitivity and wobble is bad with this combo and the stick is noticeably off centre.

Range analysis was concluded and the results are okay, down range is good (mid 80s), however, all other points are mid 70s. Good, but not ideal.

Drift is quite bad with this combo. I lightly shook the controller and the cursor kept moving down the screen, very loose and not hard to cause this.

Playability is not bad, managed to get get a good pace on Silo. The smoothness of the Kitsch-Bent stick helps a lot

Train locks went okay and general playability is fine very average combo which is let down by the drift. All in all not too bad for causal or low scoring times.


Test 10 w/Graphite

Bowl used: Kitsch-Bent

Gears used: PRINTom3D Gears

Stick used: PRINTom3D Stick

Dead zone is very pronounced, the stick rattles if controllers shakes, resting sensitivity is nominal.

The stick felt grindy when moving it to a bottom position. The ranges were okay, mid to high 70s however the OEM range shape is almost maintained.

Drift can happen, but very hard to actually get.

Playability is okay. Again the grinding is back and coming from the gears themselves. Grinding in general you do not want as it make make certain movements very hard to do accurately and you need to compensate for resistance. In this case, it does affect play making tight movement on Archives and the locks on Train very hard. Up and down movement is fine, just left and right where the gears suffer.


Test 11 w/Graphite

Bowl used: Kitsch-Bent

Gears used: Kitsch-Bent

Stick used: PRINTom3D Stick

Minimal stick wobble, just a little to the left. Y axis is very sensitive.

When it comes the range analysis, the shapes look very good with the ranges looking okay, sitting in the mid 70s to mid 80s, so quite a large spread. Overall the ranges are okay due to the cohesiveness of the shape.

Playability is very nice with these gears with a Silo 1:11 achieved. Again, the grip on the stick will end up hurting your thumb, but god I love the grip.

Drift is easy to achieve when slightly pressing up on the stick, which is a shame. But the combo is very solid.


Test 12 w/Graphite

Bowl used: Kitsch-Bent

Gears used: PRINTom3D Gears

Stick used: Kitsch-Bent

Acceptable amount of wobble to the stick, again grindy going left and right.

The stick and gears are not the best combo due to the printed parts on plastic parts. Slight off centre and sensitive on the Y axis. The range on the right side (Low 70’s) is really dreadful and bad on the left (High 60s). This could be due to the combo of parts used.

Due to the issues above I cant recommend the parts due to not getting the full range. It’s especially present on Silo where you need to push and crank very very hard to make the turns. You will strain your hand if playing competitively.

I somehow managed to get some tight turns on archives 17, but the caveat is you are putting more strain on your thumb and wrist and ultimately its not nice to play with. You can get times, but you will hurt your hand in the long run.

The combo is like having gum in your stick, do not use.


Final thoughts and analysis

When looking at the scores it’s important to realise that I am coming from a point of extreme scrutiny. I am looking for the best of the best, and after playing with the best N64 you can get at the moment, the bar is high. I was very sceptical when I got these parts as 3D printed parts have a problem with fidelity and using.. GRAPHITE AS THE LUBE METHOD… it baffled me.

However….. it make sense. the scores below paint a picture of graphite being king when it comes to 3D printed parts, the superlube was just cut out. I was especially surprised by how the 3D parts held up under scrutiny. For me, I loved the stick due to the grip and the bowl was good. I think more work needs to be put onto the gears as grinding is very apparent, however as a base, these are great.

Of course they are not without issue, the gears are great for general refurbishment and play, however, in an competitive environment, they may struggle to keep up. The grinding, harsh stick cap and variable ranges causes the score to drop.

The creeping worry is that the graphite will wear down your plastic parts. Typically in every stick set up you want to use PTFE based lubricant on your parts and the constant wear, plastic on plastic, is the cause of bowl, stick and gear wear. So the thought of adding graphite into the mix instead of a lubricant scares me, especially if I have primo, OEM parts available.

The only way to test this is a long term test that extends beyond this review, however I may do this in the future if I get the proper equipment to do so!

Overall, good gears, stick and bowl. Expect a solid play with these but don’t chase the dream of the 10/10 stick. 72/100.

— Superlube tests —

Test 1 – All PRINTom3D parts (Gear/Bowl/Stick)): 65/100

Test 2 – Bowl used: Tom’s bowl. Gears used: OEM 9/10. Stick used: OEM 9/10: 72/100

Test 3 – Bowl used: Tom’s bowl. Gears used: Tom’s Gears. Stick used: OEM 9/10: 70/100

Test 4 – Bowl used: OEM 9/10. Gears used: Tom’s Gears. Stick used: Tom’s Stick: 72/100

Test 5 – Bowl used: OEM 9/10. Gears used: OEM 9/10. Stick used: Tom’s Stick: 69/100

Test 6 – Bowl used: OEM 9/10. Gears used: Tom’s gears. Stick used: OEM 9/10: 78/100

Average: 71/100 (71.16 Rounded down)

— Graphite tests —

Test 7 – PRINTom3D parts (Gear/Bowl/Stick): 75/100

Test 8 – Bowl used: Tom’s bowl. Gears used: Kitsch-Bent. Stick used: Kitsch-Bent: 80/100

Test 9 – Bowl used: Tom’s bowl. Gears used: Tom’s Gears. Stick used: Kitsch-Bent: 75/100

Test 10 – Bowl used: Kitsch-Bent. Gears used: Tom’s Gears. Stick used: Tom’s Stick: 77/100

Test 11 – Bowl used: Kitsch-Bent. Gears used: Kitsch-Bent. Stick used: Tom’s Stick: 78/100

Test 12 – Bowl used: Kitsch-Bent. Gears used: Tom’s Gears. Stick used: Kitsch-Bent: 51/100

Average: 73/100 (72.66 rounded up)

Total average 71.91/100

Full testing video below:

WTFParts ranking: 72/100;Okay (Starter Competitive)*


+ The full complete set together works okay together

+ The graphite works!!!

+ The stick grip is great

+ The bowl feels good

+ Great for casual play

+ Hardened, technical resin ensures longevity

+ Great customer service


– Does not play well with Kitsch-Bent parts

– I’m scared to use graphite with my OEM parts

– Almost every test had noticeable grinding

– I love the stick, but it hurts to use after a while

– The bowl has a defect on the upper arm where you slot the encoder in


Tom also included a region canceller/universal slot that you install inside the N64 so you can play region locked N64 carts on any console. For example, I have used this universal slot in my NTSC-J console so I can play American games on my Japanese console. It saves me having to swap the backs off different cartridges to play NTSC games.

The installation is very easy, you just need a 4.5mm Gamebit screwdriver (I used these All you need to do is unscrew all the Gamebit screws at the bottom of the console, flip it back round, carefully take off the top of the console and unscrew the existing slot. Then just replace it with T3D’s universal slot, making sure the flaps are in place first. I used this tutorial for the disassembly:

Put the top back on, rescrew bish bash bosh, universal slot all regions unlocked. I am aware that you can region unlock the hardware but I have no idea how to do this. I think it may just be limited to NTSC consoles and I don’t think you can play PAL on NTSC and vice versa.

This is a great piece of kit and again, many thanks for Tom for sending me this, absolutely essential of you are speedrunning different NTSC regions on one console.

90/100; A very convenient piece of hardware to own.

***UPDATE 20/09/2021

Tom got in touch after the review as he had some questions regarding some of the points made. Again MASSIVE shout out to him as I had a lot of personal stuff going on at the time and his patience was incredible.

I will continue to update the review if more things are addressed, also links above can be found below:

***UPDATE 28/09/2021

Another update from PRINTom3D in relation to some more questions!

Pick up your gears on Etsy and eBay, links below:

*Ranking definition

90>: Near perfect/OEM standard – Competitive Pro+

80>: Great/Near perfect – Competitive Pro

70>: Okay/Great – Starter Competitive

60>: Casual only/Okay – Causal play only

<60: Bad – Causal play but only if you hate yourself


Disclaimer: All the thoughts, pictures and opinions shared in this post and on any other post are my own.

I have not received any payment or financial benefits to write inflated positive reviews.

They are based on my own experience and if your experience differs from mine, then I cannot be held liable in any respect.

In this review, I was provided with a set of PRINTom3D gears, stick, bowl, graphite powder and region converter. These were provided with an expectation for a review. The items were not in exchange for a positive review and I have been completely honest in my analysis. Results may differ if you decide to buy these gears for yourself.

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