Post Apocalyptic Props

3D Printed Fallout Pip-Boy 3000: Make Your Own

PipBoy

The Limited Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition is legendary. It sold out in just a few hours after the announcement. Unless you are willing to pay more than $200 on eBay, there’s no chance of putting your hands on one of gaming’s most wanted loot. The good news is that you can 3D print your own Pip-Boy. We’ve checked if it‘s worth your time. (last update: 7/29/2016.)

So you’ve been to the Overseer’s room, grabbed that Pip-Boy at the exit… you’re ready to make your way out Vault 111. But you have that nagging feeling your are missing something? Is your left arm too light? Shouldn’t there be a real Pip-Boy from the Limited Pip-Boy Edition?

The “Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition” was listed for pre-order at Amazon. Retailing for $119.99 (no Nuka-Cola caps accepted), the bundle includes a wearable Pip-Boy sleeve into which you can slot your smartphone. Also included is a Pip-Boy pocket guide, a ROBCO Industries stand, a Vault-Tec Perk Poster, a collectible metal case and a copy of the game as well.

Unfortunately, this ultra-collectible totally sold out a few hours. It took some time, but now Bethesda announced a new Pip-Boy: Deluxe Bluetooth Edition. If you order it today, you won’t be playing until December 2016. It can’t be shipped anywhere but the US, Canada and Australia. And it costs $350.

For some vault dwellers, that’s okay. But if you want a Pip-Boy now, you should take a print a Fallout Pip-Boy on your own. Here‘s an example.

What‘s Your Best Choice: A 3D Printed Fallout Pip-Boy Replica or the Limited Edition?

So everything boils down to three choices:

  1. Forget the Pip-Boy and enjoy the game as it is (and it’s damn good).
  2. Pay $250 or more for the Limited Pip-Boy Edition of Fallout 4 on eBay or Amazon Marketplace.
  3. Wait until December until Bethesda ships the Special Edition Pip-Boy again.
  4. 3D print your own Pip-Boy or find someone who can professionally 3D print this thing!

We can‘t help you with that decision, but we can provide you with some facts.

  1. A real Pip-Boy on your arm will slow down the gameplay. If you are immersed in playing, using a real Pip-Boy takes some time. It will slow down your gameplay, as you have to drop the controller, focus your eyes on the Pip-Boy, switch and turn dials… it just takes some seconds. This can be annoying, especially as V.A.T.S. attacks now take place in sort of a slow-motion fights. So when these ghoul hordes are pacing towards you, you lose considerable time when switching weapons with a real Pip-Boy. Maybe that makes up for the mission “hardcore” mode.
  2. The Limited Edition Pip-Boy is expensive, but fun to use and great to wear. All3DP got hold of a Limited Edition Pip-Boy. Our impression? It‘s worked perfectly. You just insert your smartphone (everything’s provided), clip it to your arm, close the buckle and start playing. Also, it’s a great collectible.
  3. The 3D printed version can do more than the 3D printed version. The cool thing about the 3D printed Pip-Boy Edition is that this gizmo can actually work, if you add some electronics. So instead of tweaking your stats with your game controller, you could use dials and switches on your Pip-Boy.
  4. The 3D printed Pip-Boy has some drawbacks – but you can customize it. First of all, 3D printing your Pip-Boy will take some time – several hours for the print, several more  to assemble the bits and pieces. If you are not skilled for that, you can resort to 3D printing services (more info here). But your can customize your Pip-Boy by painting it or printing it in a slightly different size – whatever suits you, you can do with 3d printing.

A 3D Print Fallout Pip-Boy From 3D Hubs

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3D Hubs, the company that offers access to a network of 26.000 3D printers around the world, has a special take on this. Here’s how you do it:

  1. You download the files for a 3D printable pip boy.
  2. Then you head over to 3D Hubs and upload the models to their system
  3. You choose the manufacturer to print out the parts. Ususally, this should be someone near your home, office etc.

Upon receiving your finished 3D printed parts, you need to assemble the pieces yourself and do the painting – and don’t forget to download the official Pip-Boy app on your smartphone.

But beware: Although 3D Hubs has preconfigured it for the most successful smartphones, the phone might not fit easily and the process of building this gadget is not for the faint at heart.

These Are The Pip-Boy Versions You Can 3D Print

Just some weeks ago, you had a choice of several 3D printed Pip-Boys at various 3D printing service providers. The majority could be found at Shapeways, which printed them professionally in a material of your choice.

The most ambitious bootleg PipBoy came from a guy called Christopher Howard (a.k.a. ShortCipher). As shown in the video below, the shells were printed in strong and flexible white plastic, and then painted over. The 3D prints consist of an upper and lower body. The print wasn’t too complicated, the two parts were attached via a hinge.

Most of the design files, unfortunately, have been taken down by their owners. We’re currently investigating if this happened as a precautionary measure from Shapeways, a hint from the copyright owners Bethesda or by the makers themselves – we’ll keep you updated.

Good News: There Are Pip-Boy 3000 Designs to 3D Print

1. Get it from MyMiniFactory

Great design, but no room for a smartphone with the companion app (image: MyMiniFactory)
Great design, but no room for a smartphone with the companion app (image: MyMiniFactory)

There are plenty of stunning Fallout props available for 3D printing at MyMiniFactory. The easiest way to bathe in that post-atomic glow is to get the 3D printed Pip-Boy 3000 prop from here. Maker Jim has uploaded the files for 3D printing.

It’s a great gadget and design, but beware: This Pip-Boy 3000 isn’t able to hold a smartphone with the companion app for Fallout 4.

2. Pip-Boy for Moto 360 Motorola Smartwatch

3d printed pip-boy
A great hack for a Motorola Moto 360. But it doesn’t connect to the official companion app. (image: Instagram)

If you own a Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch, you can turn it into a great looking Pip-Boy 3000.

First, you need a Fallout themed watch-face. You’re lucky, because there are several available on the Google Play Store. Then, you need to 3D print and paint your custom Fallout Case for the Moto 360. You can find all the information in this article.

Thing is: It’s a great hack, but it doesn’t resemble the “real” Pip-Boy 3000. Also, it doesn’t connect to the companion app for Fallout 4, as it displays stats, date and time. Cool idea, though.


3. Build Your Own Pip-Boy from Adafruit / Ruiz Brothers

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A 3D printed Pip-Boy is going to be the fashion accessory for serious geeks for the years to come. (image: Adafruit)

The guys at Adafruit have a thing for gamers. They released a nice, detailed guide on how to 3D print and build your own functional Pipboy 3000 using a Raspberry Pi and Adafruit 3.5″ PiTFT. 

The 3D printed enclosure has cutouts for most of the IO ports for the Raspberry Pi. Meaning: You simply add peripherals like a WiFi dongle, keyboard, mouse or USB Geiger counter. It is powered by a 2200mAh battery that can be recharged over USB and fits inside the cylindrical case. Details like the super bright yellow LED, rotary encoder, speaker grill and faux gauges really make this look like a Pipboy 3000 Mark IV.

The software is pretty descent. The pypboy python program for the Raspberry Pi features OSM for map data which allows you to browse your terrain rendered in glorious retro green graphics. The case features an amp with speakers for music. An analog rotary switch lets you switch between different modes. 

Be aware that this 3D printed Pip-Boy will take you a lot of time to print and assemble.

Download the whole instruction here.

4. A Pip-Boy For Experienced Makers (And Even Better than the Original)

The fourth – and most elaborate piece – effort comes from maker Dragonator (Yvo de Haas). He built the most astonishing 3D printable Pip-Boy. Dragonator already did a version for Fallout 3, which can be found on Instructables.

For the new design of the Fallout 4 version, he had to model after the known facts of the Fallout 4 Pip-Boy 3000: “The Pip-Boy is already extremely difficult to design with proper reference, but now there is only a teaser trailer and the E3 video. This does not give the kind of reference I usually have. Another challenge is the huge amount of features in the Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV. I like to make as much features working as possible, and to get some of the features (most notably the tape player) working, was a real challenge. The people at Bethesda really tried their best to make the Pip-Boy as difficult as possible.”

Yvo De Haas also made some changes to the original design. “One of the first things that was obvious is that the old pip-boy, the Pip-Boy 3000, has been replaced with a different model, the Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV. The new Pip-Boy has the buttons on the right instead of the left, and there are more buttons. It has a tape player on the top, and the opening mechanism is now defined.”, he writes on his website.

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The best: His design is able to hold a smartphone – at least most of them. But “there is only one problem. Smartphones have become bigger since Fallout 3, and this Pip-Boy is smaller than the previous one. Bethesda has fixed this by breaking some of the proportions and dimensions to make a smartphone of decent size still fit. In some cases, dimensions are broken by around 1 cm (which is way more than it sounds like). For the phone version of this 3D printed version, the proportions have also been broken to make the phone fit.”

This is the "exploded" version of the PipBoy 3000, Mark IV (image: ytec3D)
This is the “exploded” version of the PipBoy 3000, Mark IV (image: ytec3D)

So he made three versions, which only differ in size. You can download them for free.

Beware it is a complicated gadget to build. You should have considerable experience in tinkering, 3D printing and building stuff. Here the link to a very detailed general assembly of the 3D printed parts. Good luck!

5.Pip-Boy Mark II, Revised, Rad and Definitely on Steroids

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As Maker Will Sweatman states: “This is my attempt to build the most advanced Pip-Boy 3000 on planet Earth, and I believe I’ve succeeded”. We couldn’t agree more.

This Pip-Boy 3000 Mark II has a ton of useful features: LEDs to show you the current state of your wearable, a working laser (!), a gas sensor, audio player with a built-in speaker (“Crawl out through the fallout, baby”), TV-b-Gone emitters, a working flashlight and a light sensor. Just take a look at the video:

The Mark II includes the following technologies:

  • 4d Systems 4.3″ capacitive touch display
  • Adafruit 66 channel GPS
  • Sparkfun WTV020SD audio player
  • Adafruit L3GD20H 3-axis gyroscope
  • Adafruit LSM303 3-axis compass
  • Adafruit LSM303 3-axis accelerometer
  • Adafruit BMP180 barometric pressure/temperature sensor
  • Arduino Pro Mini 328p 5v 16MHz microcontroller
  • Adafruit PowerBoost 1000 power and charging system
  • 4400mAh LiPo power pack
  • 9 LED Flashlight
  • Frikin’ Laser
  • TV-B-Gone circuit (turns off hundreds of models of TVs)
  • 3D printed PLA and laser cut acrylic body
  • Methane Gas sensor (used for RAD sensor)
  • Photon light detector

Also, there‘s a dedicated software to make your 3D printed Pip-Boy work the way it’s supposed to be.

The Mark II is based on the 3D printed Pip-Boy from Ytec (as seen above in #4). You can find all the blueprints, .STL files and other information needed on Instructables.

Beware: This is only for experienced makers, Level 50 and up.

6. Build A Lego Pip-Boy (no 3D Printing Involved)

This Pip-Boy was made from Lego bricks. Man, we’d love to see an Instructible on this fabulous piece (image: brosumi)
This Pip-Boy was made from Lego bricks. Man, we’d love to see an Instructible on this fabulous piece (image: brosumi)

That’s the total opposite to the Pip-Boy Mark II – the low-cost approach.

This beauty was made by Reddit user brosumi. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide any build instructions, so you have to figure it out by yourself. What makes it especially cool are the different stickers and tubes, that make it look great. And we don’t want to speculate how a power armor suit would look like in Lego.

7. A Pip-Boy at Kamui Cosplay

The guys and gals at Kamui Cosplay have a in-depth tutorial on how to 3d print and assemble a working Pip-Boy. It still is based on the designs from Yvo de Haas (see point 3).