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Picture of Power Loader Cosplay

Hello! Welcome to my power loader instructable!

This project was completed over 7 weeks and cost.....$500..ish? I'm sure that could easily be done cheaper but I wasted a lot of material testing things out and buying tools that I didn't have previously...and Modgepodge.....SO MUCH MODGEPODGE! Take my advice, Buy in BULK!

I had a few goals in mind when I was designing the build. I had to sacrifice some film accuracy for the sake of logistics. My main goals were the following:

LIGHTWEIGHT: I'm not the strongest person and this was a costume that needed to be worn for a long period of time without killing myself. I think i accomplished this pretty well with hollow boxes and foam.

MOBILITY: This was REALLY important. I wanted to be able to move with decent speed and be able to have a wide range of motion with the arms. With a big space like a convention center I needed to be able at a decent, if not fast, speed.

TRANSPORTABLE: I have a Ford Focus.....Originally the goal was to create something I could break down and transport in just my car. In the end it turned out to big for a compact car. It did however, fit nicely in a full sized SUV. The whole thing can be broken down into 5 parts.

INDEPENDENCE: I had hoped to create a costume I could get in and out of alone. I failed at this and the final costume required a Handler to help put the costume on.

I'll be referencing these goals as I go through the process of the build and how they influenced the design choices. Anyone creating their own power loader can make adjustments based on their own goals for the build.

Okey dokey.....ONWARD!

Step 1: Stilt Walking Is FUNdamental

Picture of Stilt Walking Is FUNdamental
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I'd been wanting to do a cosplay with stilts for a while, so the Power Loader idea actually evolved around the stilts rather than the other way around. Having never worn stilts, I wanted to get something that was easy for beginners. I found the shortest drywall stilts on Amazon. They ended up being 15". I've seen other PL builds where they make their own stilts. That could be a better option for people looking for a shorter height or a steadier footing. But for me, the drywall stilts were perfect and easy to use. They also had the extra support of the leg brace, which was great for stability, but did get in the way of the joint I built in later.

It's really important to practice on the stilts and get all of the adjustments and sizing figured out before building around them. The way I built the leg made it difficult to adjust the settings afterwards.

I would like to say I planned everything out well before starting this project.......but I did not. The first thing I did was just build a cardboard box around the lower part of the stilt with no real idea of what I was doing. I cut holes in the cardboard and used zip ties to secure the box to the stilt.
It's important to get this base REALLY secure. I had some issues later on with the whole foot sliding up and down the stilt as I was walking. It was much harder to secure it after all the foam was put on. I recommend making sure this base is very secure, and using grommets in any cardboard holes to prevent the ties digging into the cardboard. Or whatever you can come up with. Just make sure it's not going to move.

1234567guy2 months ago
When you wore your costume was it heavy to wear or is it light as a feather?
very cool. All that hardwork and it looks pretty awesome :)

Kink Jarfold7 months ago
Holy shirt, Allison, you're forking awesome! (Yes, a fan of The Good Place) This is the most incredible thing I've seen. I'm now a big, big, big fan of your work. --Kink--
Dr Who--timeless.png
AllisonC74 (author)  Kink Jarfold7 months ago
This is the forking shirtballs! Thanks! (I also love the Good Place)
Even though I'm also in this contest, I voted for you. You deserve top prize.
gadget-man6 months ago
I saw you at Dragon Con. Your. Costume was awesome.
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maxbul6 months ago
What do you think about some noise? Imagine you have contacts (switches) on the feet, so when you have any leg lifted - a sound of the loaded motor will be played, and when you have it on the floor again - a heavy metal "stomp" and a sound of the stopped motor will be played.
Similar switches/buttons can be added to the "hands" and you can press them manually when you move them.
That's up to 20$ for Arduino, VS1053 player and some batteries and cheap speaker. I can help you with a program code if you like.
AllisonC74 (author)  maxbul6 months ago
For me, this project is completed and I've moved on to new things. But i'm sure others wanting to create their own Power Loaders would be happy to see additional ideas and recommendations. It's all about researching lots of things and making it your own. :)
maxbul6 months ago
It's so cool! That the first video from Instructables that I'm affraid to show to my 6 y.o. boy because I'm unable to make it so cool but I will have :-)
Kink Jarfold6 months ago
I'M so glad you were able to get this entered into this contest. Even though I am, too, I voted for your Instructable. Just read all the wonderful comments. Seems like you're building a forkingly big fan base. --Kink--
attosa7 months ago
Epic! <3 You've got my vote!!
She got mine, too, even though I also entered this contest.
jfarro6 months ago
Wow..just..wow. I've always been a huge fan of Aliens, and the power loader. If you'd asked me how to build a cosplay of it, I wouldn't have known where to even start...this tutorial is incredibly well written (and entertaining to read!) and I really like that you encourage makers to feel their way through. I've been at that point where you're in a mess in the middle, wondering how to complete it, and so I felt myself nodding my head as I read. I also like that you had a followup Con and had improvements...that makes this incredibly more valuable as it points out gotchas for other projects. Thanks for the time for this and the great instructable, and congrats an a truly epic cosplay!
M.C. Langer7 months ago
I loved your project! I'm a fan of the Aliens film and this Power Loader is awesome! Thanks for sharing.
schaapkameel7 months ago
Incredibly creative, well made and documented! Thanks so much fors haring!
Tanory7 months ago
verry great job,woooooow,incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
james.eng.7987 months ago
Can I borrow this costume and chase the Paul Reiser-looking boss at work?
Hi is very good idea
GlennM977 months ago
nailed it....just a great job
burzurk7 months ago
Sooooo AMAZING!
Nick705877 months ago
Dig it! Very nice. Got a vote from me.
stewkingjr7 months ago
I voted this just for the sheer audacity of making one. Nice job! Now we wait for the hydraulics...
CaptClaude7 months ago
Simply Wonderful. Full marks and advance to the next round!!
kayakdiver7 months ago
Absolutely amazing what incredible talent can do with a little foam and cardboard!!!
This is awesome! Nice work and I like your weathering!
billbillt7 months ago
YE GADS!!... GENIUS!!.. LOOKS LIKE THE REAL THING FROM THE MOVIE!!.... PERFECT!!..
wirekat7 months ago
You are an inspiration! Great Cos, great Instructable!
andypugh7 months ago
I think that it should be possible to make the claws open and close (controlled by toggle switches on top of the hand grips) using 3D printer parts (which are cheap and readily available now).

Small NEMA 17 stepper motors, Pololu stepstick drivers, an Arduino to generate the step pulses and drawer slides for the claws to move on.

I wrote a more detailed description with eBay links, but then realised I was logged in through my work account by mistake and deleted it. If you are interested in this idea I am happy to spend some time on a more detailed design.

It would, of course, add weight and you would need to carry more batteries. (batteries in the stilts might be a good solution, then you are not carrying the weight except when walking).
dudus7 months ago
I'm so glad you were able to fix the problems for the second con, the first one sounded not much fun! Great build btw!!
Very impressive costume!!!
gm2807 months ago
Absolutely amazing. You make it look like a real metal structure. The time you took making it look dirty and used finishes the facade for sure. Bravo young lady, Bravo...
BayRatt7 months ago
Outstanding!!! I'm in awe. :-)
Alex in NZ7 months ago
This is truly amazing. The powerloader blew me away when I saw it on the big screen all those years ago. Thank you for sharing the build and all that you learnt during it :-)
Also, totally get the "don't wear sandals while using your feet to hold things you are cutting." I have a similar rule of "don't wear sandals when you are using a chisel because if you drop the chisel you might automatically try to catch it with your shoe."
Finally, I don't know who your friend in the Colonial Marines is, but there are some awesome coilguns in similar format to the carbine that they could try to replicate :-)
WOW! This is incredible!!
1 word ....... AMAZING!!!
Top marks Allison, what a fantastic costume and soooooo well written with loads of tips and tricks.
Loved it, thanks for sharing