Introduction: Bioshock's Rapture Records Bin

Bioshock's striking Art Deco design for the underwater metropolis of Rapture uniquely meshes with the choice of period music emanating from the city's phonographs.

I been trying to collect music from video games on the original records as a way to bring them to life. What better way to commemorate both than to recreate the record bin from its eponymous record store?

Note:The materials listed here are what I used, but the contruction and design can be altered using different methods. This instructable assumes basic knowledge of woodworking and its tools.


2 - 4'x8' plywood panels

2'x6' plank

2'x8' section of MDF or any thickness of scrap wood


Cutting tools


Wood stain

Step 1: Reference Photos


The record bin actually first appears in the Bioshock Developer Walkthrough at roughly 12:40 in a proto version of the record store. The "Records" sign above the entrance appears in the final game behind the purchase counter.

The Rapture Records store is located in Fort Frolic in Poseidon Plaza. Unfortunately, by the time you arrive Silas Cobb has torched the store interior. The record bins have been covered under a layer of ash.

However, two pristine bins can be found; one in a shadowed corner next to the window and another turned to the wall under the balcony. The second can be manipulated with the Telekinesis plasmid and brought to the better lighted atrium.

Extracted from game files

A full-render will provide a much cleaner picture.

umodel will be able to extract the Bioshock game files for PC.

Instructions can be found on the page.

The file itself is located in the 4-Recreation.bsp map file as Record_Bin.pskx

UEViewer will render the model, but it can be exported to 3DS Max and Blender to provide orthographic projections.

Step 2: Designing for the Real-world

Alas video game models don't translate well to real-world construction because they do not require interior faces. The support structures had to be designed to match the exterior.

Scaling the bin is a bit difficult in-game, but comparing it with a corpse makes it appear to come up to about chest height.

I wanted the bin to be able to hold a collection of 7" 45s, 10" 78s, and 12" LPs. Measuring an IKEA Kallax/Expedit gave roughly 13.5" for the width of the shelves.

Part of the design was based on the record bin created from a single sheet of plywood from the audiokarma forums

However, this design would require the equivalent of three bins stuck together.

I roughed out a sketch in Illustrator to trace over the side panels from the rendered orthographic views. Autodesk Inventor helped with a mock-up and a parts list for how many panels required.

Evidently, there is a lot of underutilized space for bringing records up to eye level. I detailed a possible area that can be used as a hidden compartment.

Step 3: Wood and Cutting

Though there were several ways to split up the model into panels, this design allowed me to fit most of the components into 2 4'x8' pine plywood panels.

The top panels were to be cut from solid 2x6 planks and trimmed to size.

I also had a spare 2'x8' section of MDF for the bottom support panels hidden from view. This can be substituted for any thickness of scrap wood.

The large plywood sheets will likely not fit into your car. However, they may be able to be cut in the home improvement store. All of the rectangular panels adhere to the constant width of 13.55" which may aid in this.

A table saw will be enormously helpful in the long straight cuts. Unfortunately, I did not have access to one and rented a circular saw.

Plywood sheets

There are a total of 7 different sized panels needed to be cut in threes. The side panels require four.

They are outlined in the diagram.

Side Panel X4

Back X3

Header X3

Angle X3

Diamond X3

Bottom X3

Bin Bottom X3

Middle Support X3

This is a total of 25 panels for the plywood. Three thin ledge panels can be cut from the leftover pieces

2'X6' Plank

These provide a solid top panel which will be stained a consistent brown.

Three need to be trimmed to 13.55" in length.

They then must be trimmed to 4.5" in width.


These can be made from any scrap wood of any sufficient thickness. They provide support for the Bin Bottom Panels .

Three are needed at 7.8" by 12.9", the length of the Bin Bottom panels.

Step 4: Assembly, Pocket Holes, Butt Joints

Note: These panels were already sanded and stained to make the screw holes clearer. All panels should be test-fitted first before staining.

Due to the awkward design of three load-bearing bins connected together, butt joints seemed to be the most feasible.

Wherever possible, long screws were used for screwed butt joints.

However, the middle sections required the screws to come in at an angle which was accomplished via pocket holes.

Making pocket holes requires a special jig which is explained here.

The order of assembly is listed in the photos above. It is recommended to test-fit the pieces before fine sanding and staining.

Step 5: Staining and Decorative Motifs

The wood may be stained with desired brand. This one in particular is Minwax Red Oak 215. I needed a quart can for the entire project. Conditioner and varnish as needed.

Full stain

The following panels were stained in their entirety.


Middle Support

Bin Bottom





Selective stain

These panels were selectively stained using painters tape. Crisp lines should be tested on a piece of scrap with an Xacto knife and a steel ruler. Other techniques such as inlaid wood can be tried if desired.

Measurements and dimensions given in the diagram above.




Step 6: Secret Compartments (optional)

The cutaway shows a lot of empty space in the back.

This can be used as a hidden compartment that can be closed up.

I used barrel hinges to join the edges of the Angle and the Header panels. The Angle panel can be lifted by the Ledge. It is a specialty item, however, and may not be at your local general home improvement store.

Step 7: Legs (optional)

Whatever material you use, the bin is going to be very heavy. Some people can be satisfied with sliding the bin across carpet.

Legs are present on the original model, however only four are used. I went with six legs to help distribute the weight more evenly.

These are screw-on conical tapered legs. The original proportions dictate a 6.1" high leg with a bottom diameter of 1.5" and a top diameter of 3.2", but find whatever is suitable.

Holes were drilled in the Bottom panels with T-nuts inserted. The leg's screw is fed through and tightened with a nut and washers.

The aid of a friend or a chair is recommended with screwing in the legs.

Step 8: Records and Music

Each bin is about 14" in long. Each one appears to hold about 85 LPs and their jackets comfortably for a fully loaded total of 255, not including the ledge display space.

The texture file for the record sleeves in Bioshock are fairly generic, but may be an interesting project to recreate as actual cover art.

This project was meant to store and display my record collection featuring period music from video games. It's always something to hold a song you've heard in-game and listen to it using the same technology as those people would have experienced them. In a way, the real-world connection brings the game to life.

It's especially intriguing when developers create in-universe record labels, some of which I've attempted to recreate or obtained the actual real-world pressing.

Unfortunately, records are not photogenic with tiny titles. Captions should be up.

Additional pictures of the collection are located at

Here is a list of games represented:


Bioshock 2

Bioshock Infinite and Burial at Sea

Fallout 3 (1 and 2 only had one song each)

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout 4

Mafia 1 and 2

LA Noire

Wolfenstein: The New Order

XCOM: The Bureau Declassified

Details to laser-cut 78s are in my other instructable:

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