Picture of How to Make a PIP-Boy (Prototype)
     So what exactly is a PIP-Boy, you ask? For those unfamiliar, a PIP-Boy is a device used by the protagonist in the popular Fallout series of video games for navigation, radiation detection, data storage/playback, and inventory management. Being a major fan of the franchise, I decided I wanted to make my own version, but no mere prop, I wanted a functional device that I could really use. This version is very much just a working prototype and a platform for future development. My ultimate goal is to build a fully functioning PIP-Boy 3000 from scratch, so this is my platform upon which I can build up to that level.

Hey, I'm a big fan of Fallout too! But PIP-Boys don't look anything like this! Trust me, I know. This is a prototype that just takes design cues from both versions of the Pip Boy and also some elements from the computer terminals in the games. 

But wait! If you can make this much, why not just go ahead and build the 2000 or 3000A models? I'm not just going to buy a plaster cast of the FO3 PIP-Boy 3000 Clock and slap an iTouch in there. My goal is a functional device, not something that just looks functional. I do really want to make one of the models from the game, but until my budget expands, bringing completely accurate copies of the devices into reality is beyond my reach.  On that note, should I win, making the PIP-Boys will be significantly easier. I've been planning my own open source hardware business for a while now, and a 3D printer or decent camera would help immensely. Vote for me and I promise you won't be disappointed.

     So grab a seat, pop the cap off an ice cold Nuka-Cola, and enjoy the Instuctable. By the end, you'll have hopefully learned a lot more and will be able to design and build your very own Personal Information Processor Boy.

For those interested in getting started on the build, skip ahead to the section labeled Hardware.
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ArtTech8619 days ago

Well done! I would love to make a replica of the Pip Boy 3000. This instructable could prove helpful when I decide to take on that project. Added to my Favorites. Thank you for sharing.

WardC1 month ago

Kind of a cool idea but from a software/hardware development side you're just reinventing the wheel. A lot of newbie hardware designers and software programmers do that.

ArtTech86 WardC19 days ago

That is the beauty of this site and the folks that dwell in this amazing community. I love it.

victordoes3 months ago

This is way to cool! Nice work :)

Lewis72065 months ago
For moral status, isn't there some way you can link your prototype to your Facebook/ twitter and make you gain 'points' any time you are mentioned in a post or tweeted about?
lhall157 months ago

one of my suggetions below number 2 u should make a thing like this guy im gooing to try to put this in my version some how

lhall157 months ago
Also I was wondering if u can give me some tips on soilding at and a suggestion u should see some how if u can make a place to 1.have some tiny mini games and 2. Some way to talk to others on the Pipboy of curse they wild be on the new one ur making please make it soon by the by I know it's hard but u did good
Nerd5077 months ago


i need your help i need three actual pip-boy 3000s

but i don't know how to do any of this

can you help me?

of course you'll get what ever you want as payment

if you're interested shoot me an e-mail at

thank you

Is it possible to add the option to put in the "player name and age like in the fallout games?

dwebb59 months ago

Well if you only had their funding.....

22xander10 months ago

Hello i plan on doing something similar but trying to simulate a working 3000 model. I dont want to do this as a simple program, no i want a fully functioning model. I'm not going to work down from the game model but work from scratch using it for ideas. We may work together or against eachother but considering i am going for a rist mounted computer imediatly and your doing... that, i think working togeted will be mutcualy satisfactury!

Skinr2 years ago
Just a couple of suggestions.

1) Heart rate monitor - the elliptical exercise machine my mom has allows you to measure your heart rate by gripping the metal handles. If this were wrist mounted, I'm sure that kind of functionality could easily be built into the strap.

2) Holotape casing - use old 8-track tapes. I know they're not 100% identical to the game's holotapes, but it would probably be easier to modify those than to make new things from scratch. Plus, there is already a mechanism (crude and failure prone, but that's to be expected after 30+ years) inside for the storage of data; this means that some cut-out holes exist in the case already.

I love this build, and am looking forward to seeing the results.
kschmidt2 Skinr10 months ago

Another thought, Modify a laptop HDD with a square case and a plug, put a little closable slit in the top (Like what old Nintendos had for the game cartriges) and have a connection on the bottom of the "Holo-tape" like the old nintendo cartridges had. That'd do the trick at least, not exactly accurate, but I'm sure it'd be easier than implementing a tape deck into it.

Killer_Kitten11 months ago

Hey, out of curiosity, I saw a more recent video of an updated pipboy which seems to have some software updates. Are the links you provided above up to date with the latest sketches?

Ezava21 year ago
yeah i just started to design the 2000 an might post my progress soon
Ezava21 year ago
i saw this back in September and i live near scrap yards and next to the Los Angeles County Fair grounds and was wondering if i could continue your work on the pipboy systems and make pipboy 3000 and pipboy 2000
Aleator777 (author)  Ezava21 year ago
Of course, haha, no need to ask permission. Feel free to use whatever code or designs I've posted, just be sure to link back to here!
Evolouski1 year ago
How much would it be to buy one from you fully assembled?
Wouldn't it be cool to load the a songs and radio dialogue to a small SD and having it play?
Plunged_u1 year ago
Hey, nice work man, just curious hows the next prototype coming? I got super excited when I saw this and wanted to make my own but I suck at programing/arduino stuff. Could you post more info on the programing and wiring, please?
kierens1 year ago
Also as an idea: how bout adding a clock?
kierens1 year ago
Awsome pip boy! Id love to see an instructable of a wristbound one! Id make it
Have you ever thought of selling one of these?
Do you have a kick starter account, because I believe you could get the money for a 3d printer and supplies needed to put your device into a pipboy case and make it cheaper and lighter from there, o know tons of people, myself included, that would love to see that happen, and you could probably sell some of them off too, after you have the three d printer, the biggest expense will be gone, and if you keep the programming from the earlier ones, it shouldn't be too hard to do, especially having the experience with the other ones also you could add variable colors
realzrulzz1 year ago
I love this...I really want to make one!!
How much did it cost you to make this?
Aleator777 (author)  realzrulzz1 year ago
This one was $400+ since I had to test out various things, but I'm currently designing a Much cheaper but still fully featured version. Check back in a couple months!
So how is your project going these days? Any where near a 3000 yet?
This was just mentioned on Vsauce - Game Lut, way to go!
Aleator777 (author)  mikeasaurus1 year ago
Thanks! I just found out, when I first saw my email inbox count I thought spam bots had flooded it! Good news :)
neronix171 year ago
Well, there goes my free time for the next couple of years! I need one of know...for reasons. I have every intention on making the actual program work though, like scrolling up and down lists with a secondary knob, making the 'radio' screen a functional mp3 player too. All I need to do is learn how to do any actual hardware things...
Orkekum1 year ago
I might just try out for the hell of it, also, you could go with Rechargeable battery instead regular AA's, and maybe add a solar cell to the back that you can flip out so it charges itself on sunny days
Oblidemon1 year ago
I was 13 so it probably is in some old box in the countryside haha.

Oh, Do they have any way of contact? Like a webpage or something like that? Thanks for answering :)
Aleator777 (author)  Oblidemon1 year ago
The direct manufacture is and you can also get it from
Instructable needs to add an estimated cost field to the side bar.
Aleator777 (author)  shizumadrive1 year ago
Terrific idea! Have you submitted this thought to the Instructables staff?
I'm going to.
Oblidemon1 year ago
Oh, and also (Sorry about the double comment), can I use other kind of screen? I can't find that one with the built-in 16bit processor
Aleator777 (author)  Oblidemon1 year ago
Hmm, well technically you could use any kind of screen, just depends on how much you want to pay and how much time you want to spend getting it to work. There are a lot of cheap displays like this from China, but considering how many hours it would take to get it working, I usually settle for the pricier option. Is it quite difficult to import electronic parts into Argentina? I know our popular seller Mouser is a good distributor, and they sell the 4D System screens too
Oblidemon1 year ago
One of the best things i've seen on internet. I made an account just for this haha.
By the way, I want to make my own PipBoy but it's a little hard to find the materials in Argentina :P, Not to mention the costs.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this, I will keep coming once a week to see how it goes :D. (I did a very simple "pipboy-like" wristmounted audio recorder I used as a diary haha. I used an old walkman, maybe you could use something like that?)

Aleator777 (author)  Oblidemon1 year ago
Wow, thank you for the complement. It really means a lot and Im glad you enjoyed this so much. I'll be releasing an update to this this week, so stay tuned for more Fallout goodness.

Btw that sounds pretty cool. Do you have your project documented anywhere?
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