Introduction: PipBoy 3000 (working)

Picture of PipBoy 3000 (working)

So, this is a working PipBoy 3000. I have made this for the past two months and finally it's done.

The idea of own PipBoy just came to my mind since the Fallout game series got the latest game's fourth part, The Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 10 2015.

So the case of the PipBoy is made purely by me with ScetchUp and TinkerCad.

I hope you enjoy the project as much as i did.

Please share if you make one! :)

If you see a Vote button somewhere in the upper right corner of the screen. Click it just for fun :)

The PipBoy is still some what a "work in process". I'l keep this project updated as soon as i make some alternations to it.

You can follow me on Twitter @MiskaKarvonen or in Youtube.

Find the model on the pictures on Twitter @laurakkarvonen ,Instagram Or here at Instructables.

Step 1: Design.

Picture of Design.

The design is based on the original PipBoy 3000.

The 3D model is made with SketchUp. SketchUp is a free program for home use.

I also used TinkerCad to make some final adjustments to the case.

SketchUp files are included in this step.

The process was long but finally i made it.

The original Wiki of the PipBoy is here.

Step 2: Cura.

Picture of Cura.

Load the .stl to cura and check that everything is in order.

The back part was printed without support.

The front part needs a support to print well.

The print time was relatively long. For about 4-5 hours per piece.

If you have thick arms i suggest to scale up the print.

Remember that if you scale the case up you will need a bigger screen to it. This scale is made for 2.8" screen.

Bigger parts mean more space also for more parts.

If someone likest to support my projects you can also buy the files from here

Files can also be found in here

Step 3: Print.

Picture of Print.

The whole case is printed with Printrbot simple makers kit.

However this will not fit on original Printrbot. I have extended mine to use the whole print area.

It is a simple mod made basically from two old inkjet printers+few printed parts to it.

If you would like to learn more how to, just hit me up.

The settings i used for the printer:

-Nozzle 0.4mm

-1.75mm PLA plastic

-Print speed 60 mm/s

-Layer height 0.2mm

-Fill density 10-20%

Step 4: Fit.

Picture of Fit.

See that everything fits nicely to the case.

If you need to make some final adjustments do them before painting the case.

Ordinary Dremell or some simple power tool cuts the plastic nicely.

Step 5: Electronics

Picture of Electronics

These are the main (and needed) components:

-Raspberry pi A+ (if you print in bigger scale you can use B+. That means if B+ fits in there you can use pi 2 too)

-Adafruit 2.8" TFT screen (PiTFT)

-8 GB memorycard

-Few cables for the power input

Optional parts:

-Raspi camera for V.A.T.S (i could not fit a camera in my case. Too little room for it.)

I have tested the camera and it works great on this.

Step 6: Modify.

Picture of Modify.

The case has a limited room for the screen and raspberry so we will have to hack a piece out of the PiTFT board.

Cut a piece out from the board like in the pictures.

This will not affect the screen itself in anyway. Just keep in mind that you will lose a few place meant for switches.

Step 7: Test.

Picture of Test.

Test out that everything works.

Just plug the screen on the raspi and give it a try. Make sure that the cable that is on the screen is hooked up good.

The PiTFT board is now about the same size as the raspberry pi A.

Step 8: Paint.

Picture of Paint.

Paint the case.

I used a gold paint on the bottom to give the paint a nice gloss from under the second layer.

The upper layer is a thin layer just to make the gold paint a little bit grey. The grey paint is a car color paint with number 201600.

Make sure you paint in well ventilated area. Such as outside.

Let it dry well before lifting it up.

Step 9: Load Image.

Picture of Load Image.

I have compiled a image that should work right out of the box. If you run into problems you can find a punch of helpful links for troubleshooting bellow. If nothing works

The image can be found HERE.

The image is based on Adafruits image for PiTFT.

The image is modified with the needed programs and auto start to X. Also the Pipboy program is installed on it by default.

The Pipboy program is slightly modified from this Selectnone's python program. So all credit of this magnificent Pipboy program goes to him. I have only made the program more suitable for this projects needs.

If the program does not start automatically at start. Double click the "Main" file on the desktop.

Helpful links that helped me a lot when doing this image. Refer to these when running in to problems.

The last one is for using the touch screen for controlling things with gestures. AKA imitate the sings/numbers assigned to move in the screen

Step 10: Power.

Picture of Power.

Powering up the Raspberry from another source than the Micro-USB can be hazardous for the Raspberry.

Powering up the Raspberry from the GPIO pins will not use the Pi's original fuse that protects the pi from short circuit.

So be careful with this.

I used the pin's on the PiTFT's second row of pins.

Use only 5V for the input. No less or over. For the current part it would be best if the current would be somewhere between 700-1000mA.

I was going to make a typical regulator circuit for this but then i came with an idea of a simpler way.

Connect a simple USB cable to the pins and use a phone emergency charger as a battery. You will get a stable 5Volt line on it at it will last long. Just like one of these

It is also rechargeable so you can use it again and again.

Step 11: Fit.

Picture of Fit.

See that everything fits up properly now that the electronics are inside.

If you printed bigger one, you can try to fit the camera module to it. It is really simple thing to do. Just go to Raspberry settings with " sudo raspi-config" and enable camera usage.

Attach the camera to the Raspberry and set the python program to use the camera.

This is done from /home/pi/raspipboy folder.

see your way to there and type " sudo nano " to start the editor program.

Then set camera usage =true and save with Ctrl+x, push " Y " and enter to save the changes.

Start your program.

Step 12: Almost Done.

Picture of Almost Done.

Well basically it is done now. Continue to the next part if you would like to make it look like more worn out Pipboy.

Step 13: Paint Some More.

Picture of Paint Some More.

Well. To be honest my painting skills haven't really moved forward since theMini Nes i did...

Anyhow. I smashed white, grey,black and red paint on the base paint to make it look more like worn out. I'm sure you can do a better job with it. To me it looks still fantastic tough :D

Step 14: Done.

Now the PipBoy 3000 is finally done. The PipBoy stays in wrist great with help of few rubber bands around it. One on the back and one on the front.

Go and use it just the way you like!

I hope you enjoyed the project as much as i did!

Happy buildings!


ScottJ137 (author)2017-08-09

Hey, kinda new with Pi's in general. I have a Pi Zero, would this be able to work on it?

gary.reardon2 (author)2017-04-18

I have a raspberry pi 2 b, connected to the offical 7" raspberry pi. Will the image work on that?

KaynL (author)2017-01-18

Hello Mate :)
1st GREAT Project :3 *thumbs up* yeah both xD
2nd~ I'm trying to use ur img on my raspberry pi3 model b with a 16GB sd card. reformatted etc reload img doing whatever i can but it doesnt boot up just the rainbow screen if u know what I try to mention. do u have any Ideas what I can try next? I rly would love to use ur image cuz it seems rly uncomplicated. :)
And I srsly dont get the original file to run... dk why =_="
Well, hope u r still on this one and maybe give out a newer version (just maybe :P)
so have a good day and pls help (*pressing F1*)

LauraConklin (author)2016-09-05

very inspiring!

YukoS (author)2016-04-26

he ähm i try to install the image of the programm. i formate the sdcard (16gb) so enough space and i hav burn the image on the card with "win32diskimager" but wenn i plugd it in my raspberry pi 2 model b v1.1 it dosent boot up only the red ld ist on. pls help me

Sanchees3 (author)2016-03-08

Help ! i've installed the image to the sd card, but my screen is still white ): what do I do ??

dj505Gaming (author)2016-02-04

Hi, the image file is really big and a long download. Any way you could compress it in a zip file or something to decrease the file size?

mkarvonen (author)dj505Gaming2016-02-07

Hi, Compressing the would not reduce the file size that much that it would matter. The file is big and it was a pain to load to the site. I was thinking something like a torrent that i could create from the file so the download would be faster and you could pause it if you want.

mirobane made it! (author)2015-09-06

hi, here'iz my tactie version. just used a fairphone at the place of raspberry pi ;)

mkarvonen (author)mirobane2015-09-06

Wow! Nice job man! :) At first i was thinking about using an old android phone instead of the raspberry pi.

Boxoffrogs (author)mkarvonen2016-01-10

A small old android phone would be an excellent choice you would think.....
Smaller electronics (its uber miniaturised!), Wi-Fi and bluetooth built in, apps are easy to make. An app that showed a map in green, along with destinations, shouldn't be really hard. You can add extra devices via cable. It has storage. You can use out and about with 3/4g. Mostly, you can use data from fitness hardware to give health readings! Shopping list would be cool too/a separate app that makes the screen green (there are a few out there that make it red for insomniacs).

Boxoffrogs (author)Boxoffrogs2016-01-10


ldinh2 (author)2015-11-29

Hi, nice DIY project. I was wondering if you could change it to the new Raspberry Pi Zero that just launched and pack a rechargable battery like those on the phone in space of the old model A+ ?

mkarvonen (author)ldinh22015-12-01


Thanks :) Sure i could do image for the Zero but firs it will need to get my hands on one. The phone battery is not a bad idea at all!

ElegantAndrogyne (author)2015-11-20

Most definitely nice!

As for the battery, you could use a flat 5V USB battery pack (for iPhones etc.) and put it underneath the Raspberry.


That could be the simplest solution for this!

I have one but it is too big to fit inside. With that same battery pack i powered it up in the pictures.

YouriM (author)2015-11-11

Hi mkarvonen! First of all, great project! But i have a problem (I'm kind of a rookie with raspberry pi and a bit with computers as well). I downloaded the image but i can't transfer it to my SD card. It is formatted (32 GB so enough for the file) and everything. When I try to mount it on my computer it says that it is damaged. Please help me cause i really like this project! Thanks

mkarvonen (author)YouriM2015-11-11


First of all i suggest to try out with some other SD card as the card may be corrupted.

To fix the corrupted card follow this guide to try and fix it.

After the card is fixed check out that the raspberry supports the card.

If the card is supported download Win 32 Disk Imager to burn the image to the SD card. The program is pretty straight forward to use. More info here.

Thanks for commenting! If you have anything else to ask just ask and I will try to answer to it :)

YouriM (author)mkarvonen2015-11-13

I did all of them except for the mounting with win32diskimager, so i will do that next. I'll let you know if it worked or not

mkarvonen (author)YouriM2015-11-14

Keep me updated! :)

krode17 (author)2015-11-01

I am trying to test the image before I purchase the case or parts but the SD card won't load. Could the issue be that I am using a monitor instead of a touchscreen?

mkarvonen (author)krode172015-11-01

Hi that might be the case. Login to the raspberry with ssh and change the framebuffer to use the HDMI.

FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1 startx


FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb0 startx

The image is made to use the screen by default.

If the problem still exists burn the image again. I have used it from the HDMI also when i was testing it so i know that it works.

tyhong (author)2015-10-30

Hello?I'm very sorry,but i cannot download the image in China.Because of Related laws.Can you change a way to download like BaiDuYun?Thanks.

tyhong (author)tyhong2015-10-30

and where else can i download it?

mkarvonen (author)tyhong2015-10-31

Hi. I can't understand a word on that page. Try using a proxy to enter the site.

Here is some info how to access the site.

quiquetwins (author)2015-10-22

It would be possible to operate it with a spotpear 4 Waveshare screen?

I've tried and does not work me. Python when I run the screen goes black

mkarvonen (author)quiquetwins2015-10-22

Sure. That could work. Make sure that you have the correct drivers installed! Here is a good link to check out how to.

Do you have any kind of picture on the screen now?

quiquetwins (author)mkarvonen2015-10-24

Thanks for the reply.

After reviewing the link and do all the steps, I have not made any progress.

The screen that I have is:

The maximum resolution of this screen is 480x320, I think that's the problem.

I guess you could modify the code in Python, but I do not know how.

Mkarvonen thank you very much again.

mkarvonen (author)quiquetwins2015-10-26


You could also try to compile your own image. Just start with something basic like NOOB's image for the raspberry. Install drivers to the screen and download this to your raspberry that is the original pipboy program i modified for this project.

warthur (author)2015-09-29

6th game actually, fallout, fallout2, fallout BOS, fallout3 fallout NV, now fallout 4

Upir (author)warthur2015-10-23

And Fallout Tactics.

Bettermousetrap (author)warthur2015-10-23

Actually you forgeting wasteland 1 and 2 :)

warthur (author)Bettermousetrap2015-10-23

certainly inspiration for the fallout universe, but not fallout games per-se

Bettermousetrap (author)warthur2015-10-23

Nice try, but no.

mkarvonen (author)warthur2015-10-23

I cannot help laughing for the fact that word per-se (perse = Ass) means in Finnish language.

mkarvonen (author)warthur2015-09-30

That is correct.

xoff00 (author)2015-09-08

Great instructable! But I don't understand exactly why you're cutting the PiTFT board...Adafruit sells several models that are exactly the same size as the various Raspberry Pi models, don't they?

mkarvonen (author)xoff002015-09-09

The PiTFT screen is about the same size as ordinary pi B+ and so on.

The A+ Pi is much smaller than that so in order to fit everything in the case the board has to be cut smaller. The screen is not "on" the board anymore in order to fit nicely.

xoff00 (author)mkarvonen2015-09-09

Ah, I missed how much smaller the A+ was. Thanks!

Kn0man (author)2015-09-06

Nice Job Mkarvonen!

I'm still working on my version ;-) I wish you would have posted earlier since the 3D printed case I ended up buying is too small for my forearm!

mkarvonen (author)Kn0man2015-09-06


Your Pipboy looks really nice!

Kn0man (author)mkarvonen2015-09-07


Cosmetics are the easiest part. I really appreciate the links you provided for the Python code, this will save me a bunch of time! I did note that a couple of your links have problems though. The TinkerCAD link takes you to SketchUp but it was easy enough to find without the link. ;-) and the link to the RaspberryPiOrg forums has a failed security certificate, I think I found the right discussion by navigating to the Pi forums and loading : "viewtopic.php?f=63&t=101969&p=706435" into the header was that link supposed to lead you to a "No PIL module Found" discussion?

mkarvonen (author)Kn0man2015-09-07

Thanks! :D This is just the thing that rushing things does to you :D Yes. the "no PIL module found" was the right discussion!

I will rearrange those links ASAP! :)

ianmcmill (author)2015-09-07

Ah the good ol' 3000A. Oldie but goldie. I am currently printing the 3000 MK IV as all the special editions of FO4 are sold out.

mkarvonen (author)ianmcmill2015-09-07

Cool! That looks really nice! Report to me ASAP when it is ready! :D

epatterson4 (author)2015-09-06

What if my arm is much bigger. is it adjustable?

mkarvonen (author)epatterson42015-09-06

The 3D printable file can be scaled up with Cura to make it big enough to fit. This also makes the hole for the screen bigger and more room for electronics. Also if you would like to make a accurate measurements open the SketchUp file and use the measure tool. Then export a .stl file for printing.

epatterson4 (author)mkarvonen2015-09-07

I has official pipboy from Bethaseda but they send me damaged one. I asked for exchange they say they cant do that. if shipping damaged it. then too bad. *sigh*

mkarvonen (author)epatterson42015-09-07

That just sucks!

khaos117 (author)2015-09-03

Do you have a link to the modified pipboy python program handy? Your image wasn't working for my pi 2 and 3.5" screen.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am 27 years old engineering student from Oulu in Finland. I make these projects as a hobby, and it would be fun to also ... More »
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