Pip-Boy 2000 "Mk. I" from Fallout 1 / Fallout 2


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Ok, it's time to get this build going. I've been dragging my feet long enough, and I figured if I posted a WIP thread in here, that'll force me to actually finish the bloody thing! :D

So, I'm planning on building the original Pip-Boy, as seen in Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics. There's not much reference material available, but that just lets me get creative on the parts that we've never seen.

In short:
- Wrist mounted, like the later models
- Functional, as in Raspberry Pi and a 5" LCD stuffed inside
- Working buttons and other UI elements
- 3D printed
- Based on screenshots from the games

Here's the current state of the design:


Needs a few more details, but I should be able to start printing the pieces fairly soon.

I go to a bit more detail about the design in my blog: Fallout 1/2 style Pip-Boy 2000 replica - Part 1: Design - ampli.fi blog
I though I was more or less finished with the design, but it turned out that I felt the need to add a bit more detail. Now I think I'm ready to print the final pieces.



Things added since the last revision:

– The rotary encoder and push button on the right hand side.
– The “AUX” hatch on the bottom which will give access to the Raspberry Pi’s USB ports
– Three “EXT” ports. Two are populated with DIN connectors, and the third one has a cover plate on it.
– A place for an analog gauge of some kind on the top. I’ll work out the details later.
– A battery case on top of the arm mount. This is where the USB power bank powering the Pi will live.

The first part is already printing. :)
So, as usual, getting to the final versions of the prints is taking more iterations than expected. In the meanwhile, I think I've managed to collect all the necessary hardware for the build:

In the top right corner is my first mock-up, built from PVC pipe and foamcore. :D
I gave the first pieces a coat of filler primer. That revealed some gaps in the prints. I don't want to try and fill them completely with the primer, as that will also get rid of detail. So, instead, I tried filling the gaps with some non-thinned acrylic paint, before going in for the sanding and a second coat of primer. I have no idea if that's going to work. :)


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Well, "acrylic paint as filler" worked in some places, and less so in others. Maybe some gel type CA glue, applied with a thin wire instead would work better? For now, I'll just leave the couple of gaps in. It just adds character.


I put some spray paint on the panels.

I encountered some ergonomics issues with my arm mount:

The Russian surplus straps I got for the build certainly look the part, but the buckles are crap. There's no way to get them properly tight. What's worse is the fact that with the planned setup the top-mounted battery compartment will try to twist the whole device away from me, when I'd much rather see it twisted towards me a bit. Change in plans: I'm moving the battery compartment below the arm mount.
If you're still cleaning prints, superglue works well for me. I used it to fix and mod a phone case earlier this week and it was super easy to sand and bonds well (both in comparison to 5 min epoxy). Not sure how durable it is though.
Ya, I still haven't figured out a good way to keep the Pip-Boy from rotating. My latest idea is make perfect fit mold to fit my arm.
Anytime you see someone using a Pip-Boy in a fan film, they always have to hold their arm just so to keep it from flopping over.
Ya, I still haven't figured out a good way to keep the Pip-Boy from rotating. My latest idea is make perfect fit mold to fit my arm.
Anytime you see someone using a Pip-Boy in a fan film, they always have to hold their arm just so to keep it from flopping over.

I didn't realize that was a common problem, but now that you mention it, it seems obvious. Making a mold of your arm could work, but won't that limit your wrist rotation? The shape of your arm changes when you rotate your wrist. Also, sounds sweaty. :D

Not much progress with my project, I'm afraid. I had issues with a bad batch of filament that caused a few failed prints by clogging the nozzle. And then when I finally got my last large pieces printed, I realized that despite all the iterations I've printed so far, I haven't once checked to see how well the nuts and bolts fit in. They don't. So, I need to do at least one more revision of the main case pieces.

In order to get _something_ done, I started painting the details on the panels:

The logo reminded me of the one thing that's been bugging me all through the build: This whole build has a bit of a problem with scale. The screen on the original Pip-Boy 2000, according to the lore, is "5x3 inches"(127x76mm). That's close enough to the 113x65mm of visible display I've got, but that means that everything else ends up smaller than expected. Space is really at a premium in this build. I was just able to fit 4 small push buttons in the lowest panel, and two potentiometers in the logo panel, but both of those required me to deviate from the reference screen shot a fair bit. Now that I think about it, it may have been an easier build if I'd gone with a 7" LCD instead of a 5" one.
I should've known The RPF will immediately prove me wrong after making a statement like that. :D

With an OD of 6.45 and an ID of 2.77mm, they quite well could've worked. The ones I have are 8mm OD and 4mm ID. The hacked up versions are about 4mm OD with a 1mm hole drilled in the middle.

The main problem with the 8mm ones was that the crimp part was too long. There would've been no space left for the wire, as the connector would have been right against the terminals in the display bezel.
I didn't have any luck trying to power a Raspberry Pi 4 and the display from the power bank I have, so I ordered a Pi 3 in the hopes that the old USB is easier to work with. In the meantime I finished the padding for the arm mount:


The leather straps are still *****. I _can_ just tighten them up with enough time and patience, but I think I might leave the buckles just for show and hide some quick release buckles somewhere. The padding helps a lot with the unwanted rotation of the whole thing.
I got started on the wiring:


While test fitting the case halves, I discovered that I had not, in fact, once tried closing the case with the insides _fully_ assembled. It turns out that the Pi-display connector fouls the side wall of the vacuum tube box. Darn. I guess there's nothing to it but carefully dremeling a hole in the wall.

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