The Fallout video game franchise certainly offers fantastic gameplay, but it is the franchise’s unique fictional world that makes the games really stand out. While those games all take place during the 22nd and 23rd century, the game world isn’t supposed to represent what our current real world might evolve into. Instead, it’s a retrofuturistic world that is evocative of the future that was envisioned by futurists in post-war America during the 1950s. As such, the technology in the game is sometimes less advanced then our own and sometimes more advanced. The Pip-Boy wearable computers in the game are a great example of that, and Instructables user JustBuilding has built a functional Pip-Boy out of upcycled scrap material.
This is hardly the first Pip-Boy project we’ve seen, as the arm-mounted computer is one of the most iconic items in the Fallout franchise. You can even purchase Pip-Boy toy replicas. But most Pip-Boy builds are created with fabrication processes like 3D printing and CNC milling. JustBuilding’s Pip-Boy is impressive because it was built entirely with material that was just lying around in the garage. That includes old drain pipe, scrap plastics, a foam floor mat, and even a Tupperware container. The most advanced tool that JustBuilding used in the construction process was a humble Dremel.
JustBuilding started by creating a prototype from cardboard, which was then used as a template to cut some tough plastic that was upcycled from an old PC case. Slowly and methodically, the form of the Pip-Boy was built up around the drain pipe, which fits over the forearm and has cushioning made from the foam mat. The electronics are a Raspberry Pi Zero W single-board computer paired with a 3.5” touchscreen display, which receive power from a generic powerbank. JustBuilding programmed a custom UI in Python that runs on the Raspberry Pi. With the skillful application of body filler and a great deal of sanding, the enclosure was built around the display. After a few coats of paint, JustBuilding’s finished scrap Pip-Boy looked fantastic and easily rivals the projects made with more advanced tools.