Introduction: Awesome & Cheap Cyborg Costume
Have you ever wanted to be a cyborg? Well, that technology is still a long time away, but using some current and older technology, you can at least dress like one!
The plan for this costume is for a home movie my brothers and I are making. It is a sequel to one of our previous works. This character actually died in the earlier work I mentioned, but we decided to bring him back as a cyborg.
I got lucky with my supplies, because the company I work for was recently updating their computers, so I inherited an old computer system along with several old components, like outdated modems, keyboards, etc.
The materials and construction were both pretty cheap and easy. I've been stockpiling broken computer stuff, radios, and anything else electronic I could get my hands on. So, since I didn't pay for most of the parts, this project only really cost me about $20.
The materials for this project are:
Various computer parts
A few of those zip ties
That's about it really. I have one step dedicated to each body part to show some more detail on what I did to make all this work. This instructable is designed to make things easy to understand. I did not do this project in any easily followed order, so I had to organize my methods after I was finished.
Step 1: Cut Out Your Basic Shapes & Paint
Pretty much what I did was lay some cardboard down and trace my body parts onto it. While cutting the parts, I was placing them on me to make sure everything fit together correctly. At first everything was held together by duct tape, because I wanted to paint the parts before I glued them together.
One thing I tried to keep in mind through the entire process of building this was to avoid being symmetrical. A cyborg always seems to look cooler when both sides look different.
To get a good metallic look to my cardboard I put a base coat of black spray paint on everything. Then I dusted it with silver spray paint. I tried to let some of the black show through, so it ended up with a dirty metal/gun metal type look to it. I like the way it turned out.
Later on after bringing all the parts back inside, I noticed the silver spray paint was rubbing off on my hands. So I used some Krylon Crystal Clear spray to put a protective layer over everything.
After everything was dry, I used Hot Glue and put the parts together. I was putting the parts on my body to test and make sure everything still fit well. (Please don't burn yourself if you try this. I waited for the glue to harden first before putting anything on.)
I had to make a few minor adjustments as things got glued together to make sure everything functioned correctly. For example, if your foot/leg part doesn't bend well, it's going to be much harder to walk while wearing it.
Step 2: Form Feet and Legs
The foot and leg parts were one of the more difficult parts to cut out and get working right. I started with my shin area and got that to fit right. Then I made the foot, which was actually surprisingly easy. (My brother calls this my Starscream foot)
After the paint and glue part was done, then I had to figure out how to make the ankle work. What I decided to do was to use these plastic end caps that I had a few of. They were originally the end caps for paper rolls if you decide to use them too. I made a simple ankle by cutting holes in the top of the foot and sliding them over the end caps to provide a rotation axis. It actually worked pretty well.
Then I needed to make a knee. I wasn't sure how to do that, until I got some inspiration while watching Forrest Gump. I decided to make some sort of knee brace system. Luckily my work had a few old desk lamps that were broken and about to be thrown away. So I took one apart, and the hinge on it worked well for my purposes. As an added bonus, it held the foot together better too.
To help balance the leg out, I made a simple belt type thing at the top to go around my waist. That also made it a lot easier to walk around too.
The last step after making it functional was to make it look good, so I glued some of the electronic parts onto it and that was done.
Step 3: Form Arms and Body
For my right arm, it was going to be easy. I was going to wear my old NES Power Glove. My left arm however, I decided to make into a turret arm.
For the turret arm, I made a simple box around my arm and below the elbow. The turret's barrels are several pieces of pvc pipe glued together. To make the turret spin, I had at first tried to use a motor from an old mechanical eraser from work. Unfortunately it was too weak to actually rotate it. So I had to use something else. I found that my drill worked nicely, so I had to work that in.
To hide the handle and battery pack from the drill, I used two coffee containers. They looked kind of like some kind of ammo containers, so I thought that worked. Then to keep the drill removable, I cut out a section of the bottom of my ammo containers to slide the drill into place. Then I made a removable panel to cover the opening up.
After that was done, I added on some computer parts and wires and finished it up. The turret rotates pretty well, so I'm happy with it.
The torso part was actually pretty easy. I took apart an old computer from work and just took all the parts out of that. I started with the motherboard, then branched out from there. I tried to put the parts in places that made sense, but at the same time, tried to keep the weight balanced. To keep the weight down as much as possible, I took most components apart so that it didn't have any metal casing. Most things looked cooler that way, so I just kept the circuit boards, cables, and any other parts that looked interesting.
Theoretically if you wanted to, you could make this into a wearable computer. I don't see why it wouldn't work. When it gets time for me to wear this costume for any length of time, I plan to buy a cheap backpack and use the straps to make the shoulder parts of the torso more comfortable to wear.
Step 4: And Now Form the Head
The head part was much easier than I expected. I basically just made a long skinny strap around my head with another one off center over the top. Then I added a panel on one side and an eye cover.
I had planned from the beginning to have a red glowing eye. What I used was the led from a broken computer mouse. I kept the power cable from that mouse and tried to get it wired up to work. I eventually tried an idea that worked very well. I took the led wires and plugged them directly into the power cord connector after figuring out which wires went to the light. It was the green and white wires, so I rigged up two batteries and it worked! Then I used the original light diffuser from the mouse and wrapped it up with a small amount of clear tape to further diffuse it.
Like the other parts, after it was functional and wired up, I glued on a few computer parts and it was done.
Step 5: Final Thoughts
After it was all together, I decided to add in some EL wire to add to the effect. I think it adds a nice unifying element to the costume. To add it in, I made a few simple loops out of cable ties and fed the wire through. This allows me to pull the wire out when it is time to take the costume back apart. Because the costume separates into different sections, It makes storage easier. All together the costume weighs about 35lbs. But while wearing it it doesn't feel that heavy.