Introduction: PIP Boy SmartPhone Case

     I wanted to learn how to use my Dremel, I had a bag full of balsa wood scraps and I was just starting a game of Fallout 3. A PIP Boy just needed to happen.
     This prop was built out of a large cardboard tube, craft foam and balsa wood with an iPhone for a screen. The scroll wheel to the left of the screen is actually a rudimentary button over the iPhone's home button, allowing near full access to the phone's different functions. If my recording of Galaxy News Radio is interrupted by a phone call, I should be able to navigate to speakerphone and back without issue.
     I started with carving a block of balsa wood into a basic shape with my Dremel, carving and gluing on details until It looked close to the way it looks in the game. The channel dial is a toothpaste cap, and the buttons/lights along the bottom of the screen were plastic bumps cut out of the bottom of medicine bottles. The arm band is a large cardboard tube with craft foam wrapped around it for shape. It does not open up, but I am able to slide my arm in easily with it still fitting snugly. A cardboard base with velcro connects the balsa wood face to the rest, and allows a way to insert my smartphone. The foam was sealed with Elmer's glue and the wood with a spray wood seal I found in the garage before I painted and weathered the whole thing with acrylics.
     Walking around with The Ink Spots playing from my arm is incredibly satisfying, and when you bring your wrist up at the right angle, it actually feels like accessing a menu in game. Hopefully the neighbor's children won't complain too much when they get bottle caps for Halloween this year...

The below videos show how the whole thing looks with a proper screen on display. The first video demonstrates audio as well as use of the "scroll wheel" home button. The second video gives a view of the Pip Boy from various angles. On-screen images courtesy of Isaak at Console Alliance. He provides a couple of loopable videos of a Pip Boy screen for download here.

Here is a video demonstrating the unlock button, touchscreen navigation, and playing video and audio:

Here is a closer look at the case, while playing the looped video of the stats screen:


TyS12 (author)2016-02-09

would this work with larger phones like the iPhone 6s?

kikinick1234 (author)TyS122016-06-19

i dont think it might fit. maybe, increase the scale will do.

Assassinsman256 (author)2016-05-12

Can you make it out of cardboard??

Rman28 (author)2016-01-28

Nice..... I might make a pip boy from fallout 4 out of this

Deidara Konrath (author)2015-10-20


AUSTINS8 (author)2015-10-05

that is really cool

adrian1234 (author)2014-01-04

What is the display is it an app


It's an app called Pip app

leviscottsmith (author)2015-01-23

coolest phone holder ive ever seen

MrMercenary (author)2014-10-14

Pretty cool, but imdescriptive

kierens (author)2014-04-03

SHulda made nuka cola caps for the photo with the caps.

kierens (author)kierens2014-04-03


cscheidt1 (author)2014-02-27

People have already asked, and I'm sure you're tired of it, but I've never worked with wood and was wondering how much you'd charge for one? I was so excited when I saw it, I cried out of joy. I'd be willing to pay with money (shipping, supply, and labor costs included) and would be willing to also ship you some of the crafts I'm good at doing, if you're interested. I make a lot of board and live action games, candles, jewelry, soap, and things of the like. I'll send pictures of what I can do, if you'd want to look first. You would be the Paradigm of Humanity to me.

Iraia (author)2014-01-04

You don't like to spend money? You're my type of guy. I've seen some fantastic builds on here, but some of them looked real professional. when I start seeing people building moulds, I switch off. I'm more into the recycling (Cause there's enough rubbish out there) & trying to go from there. Your Pit-Boy & the different mediums you used is cool. No 3D-Printer, just good old arts & crafts.

Mr.Asdf (author)2013-08-12

Could you make me one? Ill pay you in back rubs (or money if back rubs won't work.)

Kidtim (author)2013-08-11

Would it be possible to get a materials list? It'd be a great help to all us beginner crafters out there. also, the finished projected looks amazing!

rickyd1013 (author)2013-05-14

Supper nice, I am going to make one right now

Atlas Portal 2 (author)2013-02-28

you should make a ible for this I would love to give this to my friend for his birthday.

Fallout3Freak98 (author)2012-12-23

how do you put the .wmv files on your iphone/ipod?


The .wmv files are just videos of me demonstrating the PIP Boy in action. The videos you want to put in your iPod are at Console Alliance, and they come in mp4 format.

tech dawg (author)2012-12-20

Why did you glue the ipod touch in the case if you could just put it into the pipboy and put the piece with the velcro on top wouldnt that keep it in place?

DucttapeNinja (author)tech dawg2012-12-20

It's not glued in place. The velcro'd cover holds it in in there, pretty much exactly as you described.

tech dawg (author)DucttapeNinja2012-12-21

oh i was under the impression that it was glued in there!

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-13

Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!

jman0527 (author)2012-11-13

Well i know what I'm doing this weekend

jceason (author)2012-11-01

I tried this and failed! Would it be possible for me to have one shipped? I have money!

Lucky7x7 (author)2012-10-28

Great job! i am gonna try. will post some pics if i pull it off.

etanhere (author)2012-10-25

really cool man i wish i could build one!

Hugo Boom (author)2012-10-24

So cool! I've thought about something like this but couldn't think how to pull it off!

jessyratfink (author)2012-10-24

My goodness I have always wanted one of these. Fantastic work. :D

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-10-24

That is sweet!

About This Instructable




Bio: I just like to make things. I dabble in a lot of mediums and usually don't like to spend money on parts, so most ... More »
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