Functional Pip-boy 3000 Mk IV from Fallout 4

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Mach, Thanks for the links. Those projects were years ago now, but both were massively popular. However, the Pip-boy is my most aggressive project so far. But it hit all the right cords for me: Gaming, Retro electronics, Design, Electronics, and cool renderings.

Speaking of cool renderings....

WARNING:
To those just scrolling through quickly, the images below are not photos of the finished design. They however are accurate renderings of what I hope to achieve.

-------------------

21038768132_5f9b210dc4_c.jpg


First off, here is a cool wallpaper I made for me to droll over while I wait for November. I am calling this one "Discarded".
The background image was originally edited by SLiqster for Fallout 3. I tweaked the numbers on the back of the character and added my Pip-boy and the logo.

-------------------

21022493196_7949c818f4_c.jpg


Here is a new beauty shot. Click the image to download a 4K copy.

-------------------

20861923679_c5d500a7aa_c.jpg


I have completed all the exterior design features in CAD. All that is left now is lots of internal work for the electronics. Visible here is the 1/4" neoprene foam padding.

-------------------

21056405771_2c0ecbee67_c.jpg


The 3.5" LCD screen that I currently have selected won't be high-res or fill the entire bezel. So far I haven't found any 4" 4:3 aspect ratio, capacative-touch screens which are available retail. Before I do any 3D printing I will have to design the electronics and prototype the guts.

-------------------

21022493506_e8bd1c1dcd_c.jpg


The hardest part to get a source image to reference was the latch on the bottom of the Pip-boy. I had to freeze frame the E3 demo over and over to get different perspectives on the latch. I do have to say they didn't cheat much on the game model. The latch design should work to secure it to your arm. I may add a lock pin feature just to be 100% sure.

-------------------

20861946929_061cdc098f_c.jpg


21038767432_7209696c67_c.jpg


Finally one comparison shot showing the in-game model versus my rendering.

21038768132_5f9b210dc4_c.jpg


21038768132_5f9b210dc4_c.jpg


21038768132_5f9b210dc4_c.jpg


21038768132_5f9b210dc4_c.jpg


21038768132_5f9b210dc4_c.jpg


21022493196_7949c818f4_c.jpg


21022493196_7949c818f4_c.jpg


21022493196_7949c818f4_c.jpg


21022493196_7949c818f4_c.jpg


21022493196_7949c818f4_c.jpg


20861923679_c5d500a7aa_c.jpg


20861923679_c5d500a7aa_c.jpg


20861923679_c5d500a7aa_c.jpg


20861923679_c5d500a7aa_c.jpg


20861923679_c5d500a7aa_c.jpg


21056405771_2c0ecbee67_c.jpg


21056405771_2c0ecbee67_c.jpg


21056405771_2c0ecbee67_c.jpg


21056405771_2c0ecbee67_c.jpg


21056405771_2c0ecbee67_c.jpg


21022493506_e8bd1c1dcd_c.jpg


21022493506_e8bd1c1dcd_c.jpg


21022493506_e8bd1c1dcd_c.jpg


21022493506_e8bd1c1dcd_c.jpg


21022493506_e8bd1c1dcd_c.jpg


20861946929_061cdc098f_c.jpg


20861946929_061cdc098f_c.jpg


20861946929_061cdc098f_c.jpg


20861946929_061cdc098f_c.jpg


20861946929_061cdc098f_c.jpg


21038767432_7209696c67_c.jpg


21038767432_7209696c67_c.jpg


21038767432_7209696c67_c.jpg


21038767432_7209696c67_c.jpg


21038767432_7209696c67_c.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Grey

Sr Member
I'm kind of hoping the thing on the back is some sort of light now that you've brought it up, because the "light" in the two previous games was awful.

I like wandering around in the dark getting attatcked by deathclaws as much as the next guy but c'mon. New renders look great.
 
Last edited:

ThePropBox

Active Member
Haven't played any Fallout title so far but the way you created the Pipboy is truly incredible. Also those renders...
Unfortunately I've never really worked with 3d modelling so seeing this fills up to the brim with amazement.

Thanks so much for sharing your great work!! It's a pleasure to watch!
 

jellis359

Jr Member
@zapwizard
I just finished the first day of my machine design class. I love it! I'm totally gonna use it to design my own pipboy!

I do have one question however; in your design you appear to be using both potentiometers and rotary encoders for different knobs. Why is this? Could you clarify the advantage of using one versus the other for the different functions of the pipboy?

Thank you!

Sent from my C811 4G using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
jellis359

Rotary encoders allow for turning continuously, so they are good for a scroll wheel. They however require more pins on the processor to read, as well as more processor time.
A potentiometer (pot) typically can only turn 360 degrees, and then has to be turned back the other way. It also has a fixed value that can be queried at any point in time by the processor.

Since the radio gauge only rotates 270 degrees total, a pot works best. I plan on having the left most knob be wired simply to volume control, so there isn't any need for continuous rotation. That may change if I ever find out the true purpose of this knob. (It isn't labeled in-game that I can see, or on the Pip-boy edition).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Are you going to release the cad files?
I have not decided if I will release the CAD files. At minimum I won't be releasing them until I have built my own physical prototype, and tested all the various mechanical details.
I am also concerned that if I do a release, someone will try and print it on their low-res 3D Printer, and ask for me to modify it to fit their phone inside. My goal isn't a more accurate looking phone case. It is to make a functional, quality replica.

Currently the plan is to design this so that it cam be made into a kit. The kit would include both the mechanical and electrical components. The kit can then be done as a group buy. This should discount the overall cost. I am spending a lot of time planning out every detail, including the electronics, bill of materials, prototype cost and production costs.
 

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER


Lots of work on the Pip-boy CAD design. Mostly optimizing the design, but I also added a few new features.
The image above shows just how much stuff is inside the pip-boy.

------------------------



There are 11 PCBs, as well as dozens of hardware components, wires and fasteners. Assembling one of these will take a bit of time and skill. The tolerances between some parts is as small as half a millimeter.

------------------------



I was able to combine the rad-gauge and radio gauge assemblies into one. The good news is that the motor that runs the rad-gauge is available in low quantities. It costs a few dozen bucks, but allows for actual precise control over the gauge needle. I still haven't found a supplier of watch hands that fit the look I want. The gauge needle may need to be custom cut. I also removed most of the connectors from the PCBs, instead wires or cables will be installed on the small PCBs, and connectors will only be on the larger master PCB. This saves some bulk, weight, and cost.

------------------------



Shown here is the RFID PCB, with a grey disk where the antenna will be located.

The yellow item is a place holder for an audio transformer. This large part would be required for a full geiger counter. However, a full geiger counter is turning out to be a difficult addition to the pip-boy and adds a lot of cost and risk. I think I am going to change to a Pin-Diode type radiation detector. These can detect x-rays and gamma rays, as well as a few other forms of radiation. As cool as having a full geiger counter is, it instantly adds $100 to what will already be an expensive prop. It also adds a 500V circuit, which can be very difficult to contain and control. For example I can't find any 3mm diameter, 4 conductor shielded cable which is even rated for that voltage. Also a full geiger counter is pretty useless in real-life. You can't show it's function off at any Con, unless you want to try to take a uranium sample into a public space. If you had a real geiger counter and it was picking up enough radiation to make the gauge needle even move, you probably should be running away.

A Pin-diode detector would still be a real gamma ray detector, and can be built for just a few dollars. I also will skill keep an IR sensor as a option. At least with an IR temperature sensor you could scan a object and have the gauge show a interactive read-out.
------------------------



One item of concern in the design is heat, as well as comfort. My friend lent me his Pip-Boy 3000, which he modded from the Pip-Boy clock. Wearing it is a pain unless you have a thick sleeve or padding. So for my Pip-boy design I created a ventilated set of bands which fit into each half of the Pip-boy. These are designed with a round entry and exit, but a elliptical center. The ellipse does two things: It give me more precious room inside for electronics, and it also form fits the Pip-boy around my arm. In this way the Pip-boy shouldn't be prone to rotating around my arm. The center is designed to fit my arm when 1/4" of padding is used. If your arm happens to be larger, then you will need to use less padding. A pattern of vent holes will hopefully keep both the wearer and the electronics cooler, and also allow the bands to flex a bit.

------------------------



This image shows how the bands snap into each half. It also shows my new latch design in more detail.

------------------------



Also on the back is a whole new feature. A re-tractable cable reel. This was difficult to design into a compact size, while maintaining electrical contacts.
The reel uses a constant force spring to tug on the cable at all times, similar to a tape-measure. A 3D printed housing holds the spring to a PCB. The round PCB has four raceways, one for each of the four wires inside the cables. The rectangular PCB has four pogo-pins which bridge the connection between the internal cable, and cable reel. I estimate that a few feet of wire can be kept spooled up inside the pip-boy. The four wires are enough to run the LED lights, as well as a Pin-Diode, or IR sensor.

It is easy to design a one-way cable clamp, however it is more difficult to design one which has some sort of release. Yes, I can add a button or something. But I am trying my best to keep the external look of the Pip-boy accurate to the game, so I don't want to add any extra buttons or levers. I really want a "Tug-to-retract" mechanism, sort of like what is in a old-school vacuum cleaner. But so far I haven't been able to find any diagrams of how these worked, or figure out my own.
 

Everett24

New Member
This is more just a question about this pipboy model, how will it scroll through the lists in each menu? The original 3000 had the scroll wheel next to the screen for the list, this one doesnt seem to. I was wondering how you were going to get that to function, other than that this is awesome.
 

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Everett24: The Mk4 has a scroll wheel on the right side, as well as a select button. However there are also sub-menus in Fallout 4, which even the game designers skipped over. As there is no character animation for them in the demo videos. In either case, the LCD screen will be a capacitive touchscreen, so that will always work.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Pascal Kurosawa, yes something like that. Although the patent images I found were next to useless. However, I did find a solution.

----------------------

20627479464_074540ec27_c.jpg


I have to say that figuring out simple a "Pull-to-retract" cable mechanism was the hardest part of the project so far. It seems so simple, and it is used in many products.
I tried many, many search terms to find a diagram of how these things worked, I searched patents as far back as 1945 (old-school vacuum cleaner). There were no clear diagrams. I tried taking apart one of those cheap USB extension cords, but they use a tiny ball bearing, and require the cord to be pulled from both directions to work.
I then took apart a cheap Ikea roll up window shade. They use a gravity driven ball to stop the spring, so this solution won't work either.

Finally, I went to Home Depot and bought a ceiling mount retractable electrical cord. The mechanism inside uses a half-gear, and half-curved, spring-loaded pawl.
I re-designed it to allow for two release points, and six lock points. Since I won't have more then a few feet of cable spooled up inside, the extra release points shorten the amount of cord you need to pull to get the return mechanism working. It was quite a challenge to miniaturize the design as much as possible. Some prototyping and tweaking will probably be required.

----------------------

21223912676_4d29faa242_c.jpg


I also finished the PCB designs. On the reel the cord will pass through a ring, and then be held in place with a retaining ring. The wires will be soldered to pads on the back of the PCB.
 

Attachments

Last edited by a moderator:

GhostMinion

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sweet lord. You have, quite literally, thought of everything. Your attention to just the smallest details is amazing, as amazing as your rendering skills. This is just too much awesome. :thumbsup
 

jellis359

Jr Member
I think i literally drool a little every time I see your posts. As an engineering student I find your devotion to this is inspirational.

Sent from my C811 4G using Tapatalk
 

Everett24

New Member
@Everett24: The Mk4 has a scroll wheel on the right side, as well as a select button. However there are also sub-menus in Fallout 4, which even the game designers skipped over. As there is no character animation for them in the demo videos. In either case, the LCD screen will be a capacitive touchscreen, so that will always work.
Well you could split there scroll wheel(on the top right) in two, so that you can have an analog control for everything(unless you want to use the screen), wouldn't be exactly the same as in game, but then again as you pointed out, it was skipped over. Of course it would be a space issue now that I reread your earlier post about the wheel.
 
Last edited:

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Everett24, Ya, there isn't room for a dual/split scroll wheel.

----------------------

21072031219_353ed9a699_c.jpg


Today I designed in the hidden power connector. This will allow me to power the Pip-boy from a cord hidden in my sleeve. While the Pip-boy will have it's own battery inside. Unless I connect a ton of small batteries and cram them into every empty spot, I really only have room a single 1Ah battery, which is okay, but not huge. With all the extra features and lights on this thing, it will be pretty power hungry. You can easily fit a massive lithium power pack into a pocket which could run the Pip-boy for many hours.
Since you most likely would wear the Pip-boy with a long sleeve jump suit, hiding a cord in the sleeve is easy. In Fallout 4, the new jump suit isn't really a denim cover-all. It seems to be a long-term stasis suit. It has what looks like cooling tubes running though the chest and sleeves.
 

Attachments

Last edited by a moderator:

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER


One thing that is always a pain with custom electronic devices is getting access to maintain them.

The Beaglebone black has on-board USB, Ethernet, Mini-HDMI, and a SD card. All of these make it easy to program and maintain, however getting access to these connections without removing the Beaglebone is tricky.

What I did was make the "Heatsink" portion of the Pip-Boy removable. It will have two screws you can access from inside the Pip-boy. This fully exposes the USB and Ethernet connectors, as well as the power and reset buttons. While I plan on adding Wifi, it always helps to have a hardwired connection available.

---------------------------



On the top of the Pip-boy, when the Holotape deck is open, you can access the Micro-SD card and Mini-HDMI connections. The only blocked connection is the USB host jack.

---------------------------



Today my friend (the one who has a Pip-Boy 3000) convinced me that having USB access without taking the Pip-Boy apart would be a lifesaver. His Pip-Boy 3000 had a USB jack on the back. I wanted something hidden. Fortunately the USB jack happens to align well with the latch. After a bit of tweaking the position, I was able to add a cutout that allows for USB connection when needed, and is covered up by the latch when not in use.
 
Top