This is a build for two people, but unfortunately I had to do the construction alone. I turned my garage into a robot laboratory, and spent all of my free time working on these costumes. I tried to keep it simple and use any recyclable materials I could find. I got some help with the glowing LEDS from a local electronics shop, and had to buy over a hundred dollars of colored duct tape. Working on lunch breaks, and after work. It took me about two months to complete. Luckily my buddy is the same build as I am, so I was able to simply duplicate all of the body parts I made for myself. I decided to debut the suits at the casinos in Reno.
People’s reactions at Harrah’s were priceless. We could barely walk for more than six feet before someone stopped us to get a picture. When one person stopped us, more people would start lining up to snap a photo. I told my friends, with a paparazzi following like that, I now know what it feels like to be famous. We couldn’t even go to the bathroom without people asking to get their pictures taken with us. At one point we got surrounded by four security guards, and they made us remove our helmets for “security reasons”. You wouldn’t believe how many people would walk past us and scream “Transformers!”, or “Real Steel!”. Luckily I only had one drunk guy come up to me and hit my helmet, he didn’t do any damage, so I didn’t have to knock his block off.
At the Casinos
Get as much cardboard as you can. Razorblades, tape, hot glue… Whatever you can get, you will need it. First I started by measuring the length of my arms/legs/etc. I wanted to get a rough Idea of how large the pieces should be. I made quick mock ups of arm and legs and chose to do a trial be error (I was never much of a math wiz). I would make one “good” arm or leg, and once it was perfect, deconstruct it, trace it 4 times, and then re-construct all four arms/legs/etc.
Then, once the arms and legs were “complete” for the most part, I would trace the outline of all of the pieces about 16 times to create “trim” pieces to stack and glue to the arms to create raised borders. I also added a bolt and nut through the elbows (both sides) to make sure the hinges stayed where I wanted them. I put a lot of tape on the cardboard before drilling the holes. Stuff arm with foam (I cut up and old futon) and make it snug. After making the hand pieces, make sure to hinge them with tape so you can still drink your frosty beverages! (with straws of course ;)
Mock up of first arm
I got super high-tech and scientific with this first step. I wrapped cardboard around my head, traced where my eyes should be, stapled it and started cutting, professional, I know. Again, I used basic skills to make this, I have no engineering background. Trial and error… Lots of errors. I made the “ear pieces separately and taped them on, made the nose separate, and kinda just smashed it all together.
Almost finished with the Helmets
The Rockem Sock’em robots I build have LEDs for eyes and big bolt accent pieces. I suggest going to your local electronics store to get the supplies but make sure you do a little research before you go in. They like to help you, but they won’t want to do everything for you. I youtube’d a little about LEDs, capacitors, batteries (4 AA) and whatnot, it is pretty basic. I went in with a sketch of a wiring diagram and told them basically what I needed, they helped me from there. I soldered the wires, hot glued the bulb into the helmets, and hid the battery packs right around where your ears will be.
As for the bolts, I could not find what I was looking for anywhere! I tried super balls, golf balls, nerf balls… All too expensive. I ended up buying 42 ping pong balls, cutting them in half and then using “spray foam” or spray “sealer” like you would in a window. You know, the yellow foam stuff. After they dried I cut off and sanded down the foam. I spray painted them red and blue, and hot glued them on after I duct taped the suits.
For all of the joints I used red and blue cloth because I didn’t want to use the same old dryer vent that I have seen on numerous other robot costumes. I used hot glue to attach it all.
Ping Pong ball halves
The LED set-up
Lots and lots of duct tape. The secret is spray adhesive. The colored duct tape sucks for the most part so to get good adhesion, use spray tack (available at any craft store). Then get ready to lose your fingerprints and lose a couple days of your life. Tape, tape,tape,tape,tape,tape,tape,tape,tape,tape, and tape again. Not much else I can tell you. Small pieces to do the rounds and corners, and big pieces to finish it off and Hide all the small end flaps. Again, I cut up an old futon to get the padding required to keep the suit on. I went and bought turtlenecks, shorts, and shirts, all blue and red to match. If all turns out good, you don’t see any “skin”, thus making the costume more enjoyable for everyone in attendance.
Enjoy these costumes. I know I did. Now to plan for next year…. KCCO
Some friends and myself.