I have a long history of biting off more than I can chew when it comes to Halloween costumes. It's in that tradition that, when my friends suggested Star Wars as a theme for costumes this year, my first idea was to go as an AT-ST, the 2-man chicken-walker mech that the Ewoks beat up on in Return of the Jedi. After several design iterations I had left the Star Wars Universe behind in favor of a steampunk flavor, and thus was born the Steam Walker.

The idea is to make it looks like I'm sitting in a chair riding atop a steam-powered mech that walks on two robotic legs. In reality my seated legs are false, and my real legs power the robot's legs. This is basically a variant on the age-old circus-clown costume where someone looks like they're riding a horse, and is also inspired by Ben Hallert's APU costume and the paintball mech costume called Steel Dawn.

While not fast enough to keep up with 6-year-old trick-or-treaters as they went from house to house, I was still able to walk down the street and show off to passers by. The most common reaction was along the lines of "Wow! That's the coolest costume I've ever seen -- what the heck are you?!? I also got little kids (and some older kids, who really should know better) asking me how the thing was powered, several adults admitting they couldn't figure out how the thing worked, and at least one little girl bursting into tears as she saw me ambling towards her. All in all, I'd say it was a big success :).

Step 1: Build the Frame

I started with an external-frame military backpack, and stripped off the the canvas. Drilling out the plastic plugs in the bottom of the main backpack-frame pipes revealed two pipes with a 1" inner diameter, with a convenient hole and cotter pin at the end.

Next I built a box frame out of six lengths of ½"-inner-diameter PVC pipe, two 'T' joints, two 90° elbow joints and four 3-way corner joints. Connected to the 'T' joints in back
are two short lengths of ½" PVC, which fit inside the backpack-frame pipe. My first prototype was just as wide as the backpack frame itself, but that was a little too tight a squeeze so I widened the frame by adding a couple of 120° angle joints to each side. Once everything was tested I used PVC cement to secure all the joints, except for the front cross-pipe which I left free to turn. That pipe needed to remain free to turn so I could fold up the leg-holder for easy storage. I made the PVC box frame the right length for a chair such that my knee would
come to the far end (about 21" for my leg-length).

I then drilled a hole through each of the back PVC connectors to match the holes in the backpack frame, so when the backpack was connected to the PVC frame I could use the existing cotter pins to secure them to each other.
i might do this, but why put legs on? make him look like a cripple
The legs add to the effect and make the fact that it's a mech more apparent. Otherwise it might just look like power assist mech suit or something...
Well, isn't that what you want it to look like? I sure want it to look like a Mech Suit!<br>
Chickenwalker = 100% Steampunk. <br>Mech = not.
Yeah, the point is that you're &quot;riding&quot; the walker, not that you are the walker.
what egos! to turn the comment section for a fabulous concept and execution into a squabbling session between mental midgets. <br>and Bug(?), you rule Man.
Nice concept. The work is not finished though. Needs a way to hide the real legs with something mechanical looking cowling. <br> <br>Also, how about a chair with a high back, perhaps an old armchair with the legs removed attached to the top of the mech box. That would reinforce the notion of sitting in a chair and would have the steampunk quazi-victorian look. Also it might need some kind of fake controls on the armrests to show people you are driving this thing. <br> <br>All in all, it is a clever costume. <br> <br>Reminds me of one that was made in a Face Off episode where one guy created makeup and built a simulated robotic suit where a little fat person was sitting in the middle of the robot's body. The &quot;little guy's&quot; head was the actor's. The actor's legs were in the robot legs. <br> <br>Also reminds me of the movie Wild Wild West with Will Smith where the villain was crippled and moved around in a &quot;wheel chair&quot; with spider legs. It was all victorian steam-powered technology in the movie.
that is literally the creepiest thing I've ever seen
Lol I am so gullible...... Before looking at the second step I thought you had created and actual motorized walker but just had little legs.....
add a little smoke,coming out a stack,steam to electric power
This is really a quite clever way of making the legs look natural! I might try something like this for Hallowe'en this year, but I was thinking of just making a duct tape double of my legs, which would also ensure they looked like real legs. ;)
thats a whole lot of duct tape...
Most interesting! I got a lil inspiration for a chicken walker of my own. Check out my forum topic post and see if you can help! =D<br/>
where did you get the backpack?
awesome costume
DAMMIT! I read the title and seen the picture and was amazed that someone actually made one of these, only to find out it was fake :'( I want one that really works...Itd be amazing
I thought that was a real robot walker, until in the middle of the video I see your real legs working the robot ones.
damn, I was completely fooled til I read the paragraph
LOL I couldn't work this out at first, I was desperately looking for complicated mechanics that could allow something to pick up a whole body! :D DUH!
Great Instructables. If you wanted to make something similar to wear in daylight you could slip spiral-wound aluminum flex hose/dryer venting over your legs to hide them. Kind of a "Lost in Space" look. Now I have ideas for next year. Thanks
Wonderful build! I am considering building my own (with a few modifications so as not to be a total copy of yours). I was just wondering, can you sit down while in that thing? Standing for several hours at a party would kind of take the fun out of it for me. lol
Yes, but only barely. I made sure to make the "chair" part long enough that my real knees would fit under the fake seat without hitting the front crossbar, but it was still difficult. The hardest part though was going up stairs, because the "feet" extended so far out from my real feet that I had to walk up stairs backwards. (Now I know how R2D2 must have felt before getting his jetpack...) That said, I did manage to dance at the Instructables Halloween party :)
Cool, you inspired me to make a steampunk halloween costume. How much do those copper pipes cost?
Sweet! They're pretty cheap (and light) because they aren't copper -- I used your standard white PVC pipe (available at your local hardware store, Lowes or Home Despot) and copper spray paint.
i love spy vs. spy.
arrrrrr WUT?
im talking about bugs pickture its from mad magazine
thanks, I'm probably gonna buy an anakin glove, spraypaint it copper, and add guages and pipes.
i think it's great that someone with a handicap is still able to enjoy Halloween. when and how did u lose use of your legs?
OMG i love that comment
Me too!
those arnt his real legs the guy is just walking. the white legs are fake
You look kinda like brian may!
That is some really nice work! Methinks I will be incorporating some of this into a project soon...
It actually took me about 5 seconds to realize that it was just you legs powering it
know what would me cool as a option making hand controls in my head im picturing using/making steam engine brake handles and using those to "make" it walk
ha lol SCAMM!
haha! GREAT! :D
Great concept! Is it a disposable or are you taking it further? If so, how about a backpack with a "boiler" and maybe some smoke FX. Also, a couple of faux controls would be nice, then a bit of mime skillz to make the walk follow on slightly after you work the controls. Illusion complete!
having read the instructable (or most of it, and looked at the pics) I have to follow that up with a "wow, good job!" I think without all the thought that went into the feet the illusion would have been much weaker.
Thanks! Yeah, I spent a lot of time sketching on top of a printed photo of myself in profile to get all the angles right. The costume itself was a one-shot -- without a deadline like Halloween it would just continue to consume my life with "just one more tweak." But things I was thinking about if there had been time were some "steam exhaust" pipes with dry ice in them and some sort of joystick control in the front. I'd also considered making pipes with a glowing green liquid flowing from the chair into the feet, both for effect and to help further hide my own legs from the side, but now that I see the final product I think that might detract from the simple lines of the piece as it now stands.
Yarrr! This is a GREAT instructable. I made one, and now I'm a steampunk pirate. Yahaha. Just kidding, but it's still awesome.
You kind of look like a pirate that has crippled legs.
At first I wasn't thinking "Costume". The sound of the boots and the rhythm had me fooled. Well done, I enjoyed that one.

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