Instructables
Picture of Aliens Powerloader Halloween Costume
Here's a step-by-step view of how I built one of the most memorable pieces from modern sci-fi...the powerloader from Aliens.

I built this costume for my girl (dressed as Ripley) to wear at our Halloween party. I used a 1/12 model kit to get dimensions and used a ton of reference photos I found on the web. Between the fact that she's 5-1 and that I wanted her to get under our 8' ceilings I scaled the loader down to about 80% actual size - with a few adjustments here and there. Everything was built completely from scratch except the beacon light on top and the 4-point racing harness. Total time spent building: about 180 hours over the course of 10 weeks.

I am missing photos for a few steps (like the wiring) but the comments I received on my Slideshow convinced me this should still be a full instructable.

To see a clip of the loader in action:


UPDATE: G4's Attack of the Show gave a nice little shout out to the costume and the instructable! (jump to 1:20)

 
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Step 1: The Foot

Picture of The Foot
powerloader foot 2
The beginning of it all...the foot. I determined this ice cube bucket from Target was sturdy enough under foot and a good starting shape. A 2x6 was used as a stable base and a couple pieces of 2x4 were add for a bit more height. After much thought I decided to 'fuse' the lower leg (where the operator's foot rests) to the powerloader foot to make something more stable for the wearer.

A 1x6 piece was attached on top of the foot and the lower foot is shaped with 1/2" foam insulation and 1/8" Lauan . The lauan paneling is light, and pretty cheap, and it adds a lot of rigidity to the foam. All the foam was cut with a hot wire tool I got from a craft store and then sanded smooth.
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cucumber2884 years ago

who thinks the world is gonna end in 2012?

here is a tip instead of waiting for it end which is unknown so just live
sigh the myan calanders where melted down by the brittish for gold ok. now the one that dates the farthest in the future from that time that we have that was not melted down was the 2012 calander. So the world won't end
If it does, flaming_pele is prepared!
edavis112 years ago
wow this is so amazing O.O I was just curious if there are any patterns i could look up for the peices or is it a lot of scaling up and such i'm definetley gonna try this even just to go to a convention ^^ Very inspiring thanks for the instructables
pretel2 years ago
Ficou muito boa. Parabéns!
drpots3 years ago
how much did it cost?
calicos3 years ago
oh, this is insanely good! Very impressed with your showing on Attack of the Show and since they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, I'd say you were very flattered by the Halloween episode last week on Community! If you didn't see it, check out hulu! This is, again, is just incredible -- great job!
flaming_pele! (author)  calicos3 years ago
Big fan of Joel and Community and that episode was epic!
Outstanding!!!!!!!!!!!

I really liked this instructable! Congrats on getting the mention on G4!!
girlfriend with a backhoe (Wanted) please send photo of backhoe
I'm probably going to build one of these for my costue next year.
Knowing me, I would probably start adding motors and junk, eventually making it an Audrino/MAKE powered telemetry powered anamatronic suit, that had working parts. Scary as it is, I'd probably start actually making some metal parts and using hydraulics. I'm that batsh!t insane!
please do that. really that would be extremely cool!
Kiteman4 years ago
Just an idle thought - what happened to the costume?

Is it on proud display somewhere? Or mouldering in storage?
flaming_pele! (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Still on display in our basement/home theater room ;)
Excellent!
Zaros4 years ago
Very nice costume! I'm going to try my hand at it, but I would like to know if you had any blueprints or stencils, etc. for the shapes needed, as I can't figure out what I need to cut out.
flaming_pele! (author)  Zaros4 years ago
Thanks! I made some paper templates of each piece but I don't have them scanned or anything (most are pretty large). You can see a couple pictures of them in step 7 however. Good Luck!
Thanks for that. I'll get back to this project sometime, but since I'm only a beginner I'm deciding on building something less difficult than this.
cucumber2884 years ago
does it ever mention how much money it would take to build it
sherwoodm474 years ago
that is totally wicked.... like holly crow thats kool. do you have any other costumes like that or ideas? i would like to see you pst your other owns and or ideas.





peace out
Boomshadow5 years ago
Outstanding costume! Loved the instruction set, too. Very clear. How much did everything cost, all told? Would it be cruel to request itemized costs?
I would also like to know the total cost...
Neofelis444 years ago
The Shoulder Joint 2 questions: I understand the two elbows that are not glued, so they can spin, but the joint that allows rotation, you describe it as "a blot through a slot to allow rotation". I went to the hardware store and looked at the various PVC pipe connectors and couldn't figure out what you mean. Could you elaborate a little more for me? Also, how exactly do the elbow ends of the joint get connected to the arm? (Are you gluing the PVC to the foam, or is there a screw that can screw into the 1/8" plywood from the opposite side, or something?)
flaming_pele! (author)  Neofelis444 years ago
That's a tricky one...not so much to make, but to explain. I'll try to take another pic or two tonight :)
I really appreciate that. Thanks for the quick response. Maybe I can get the word picture started. I see the Half Tee and the Full Tee. It looks like the Full Tee is a smaller size than the Half Tee. So I can use real numbers, let me assume that the Half Tee is 1" and the Full Tee is 3/4". It looks like a piece of straight pipe (1") is coming out of the Half Tee, and a piece of straight pipe (3/4") is comming out of the Full Tee, possibly inserted into the 1" straight pipe. What keeps that from just sliding back out?
flaming_pele! (author)  Neofelis444 years ago
Exactly right (thought the actual sizes might be more like 1.25" and 1.5"). Drill a hole through both straight pipes. A bolt will go through that hole - but that wouldn't allow rotation would it? So then separate the two pieces, insert the drill in the hole in the smaller tube and slowly turn the tube while running the drill. The side of the drill bit will create a slot the bolt can rotate through. (My slot wasn't very straight but it still works fine!) Believe me, it took a lot of thought to come up with this :)
shoulder1.pngshoulder2.pngshoulder3.png
flaming_pele! (author)  flaming_pele!4 years ago
You can also see how I attached the joint to the arm. The elbows each have a smaller tube glued into them (maybe 3/4") and that tube goes into a piece of 2x2 lumber (use a spade drill bit to create a 'socket' in the wood). Two wood screws secure the pvc inside the wood, and two more secure the wood block to the arm along with some wood glue. Note, I needed to put the 'sockets' in the wood very close to the edge so the Tee has enough room to rotate freely next to the arm.
This is awesome. I was trying to come up with an alternate that would allow full rotation, and I think I still might give it a try. Here's my idea:
Tee Rotation.JPG
flaming_pele! (author)  Neofelis444 years ago
Pretty cool. I'll have to keep that idea in mind for future projects. PVC is great, isn't it?! A couple points (suggestions/cautions): - Full rotation isn't necessarily a good thing. In my case the slot is positioned so the arm can't swing fully straight down. This is helpful so if the wearer lets go of the arms they don't quite drag on the floor. Also rotation straight up or beyond isn't really needed. - Maybe more importantly, give some thought about disassembly - whether for storage or moving it or whatever. I love being able to slip out one bolt on each arm and move the arms by themselves.
PVC Rocks! I think I'll give this bolt and slot another chance. I definitely need disasembly capability.
Neofelis444 years ago
One more forward thinking question: Styrofoam and Paint What do you have to spray styrofoam with so you can spray paint it without dissolving it?
flaming_pele! (author)  Neofelis444 years ago
We coated all the foam and wood with latex primer before spray painting. It protects the foam and seals everything so you'll use less spray paint.
Neofelis445 years ago
How exactly do the upper legs connect to the main body at the torso area? (Awesome costume by the way. I'm inspired.)
flaming_pele! (author)  Neofelis445 years ago
Actually they don't connect. After much research, I decided to make the top/arms separate from the legs. It could be done, but it's difficult to (1) make the legs sturdy enough to hold the weight of the upper suit, and (2) allow a good range of motion (e.g. twisting). In our suit, the top 'joint' of the upper legs comes just over the main body, plus the arms tend to hide what's going on there anyway.
That's exactly what I was thinking. I couldn't think of a way to make a flexible enough joint to allow range of motion in walking. (My concern was in being able to walk through a doorway -- possibly sideways, due to the width of the costume.) Excellent concept. Mine is starting to come along. I'm still in planning stages, though. I haven't actually cut anything yet.
codongolev5 years ago
princess leia is looking at her with intense hate... " that costume contest was mine.... I will destroy you...."
NastySpill5 years ago
Do you have copies of those stencils available per chance? Very well done!
laxap5 years ago
Truly awesome work !!!

Shall we dance ?
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