How To Build Your Own Aliens Power Loader Exo-Suit

Illustration for article titled How To Build Your Own Aliens Power Loader Exo-Suit

In the movie Aliens, the Power Loader is a heavy-lift exo-suit for moving equipment. The Colonial Marines use 'em to load ships and Ripley uses it to kick the Queen bitch's ass. Now you can make your own for Halloween.

At the climax (actually, the "Crowning Moment of Awesome") of the movie, Ellen Ripley, while strapped into an ominous power loader suit and emerging from the decompressed water vapor of an opening bay door, confronts the Alien Queen with an ominous — "Get away from her you bitch!" It's one of the most iconic scenes from the Aliens series and has spawned plenty of copycats and parodies. Still, the Power Loader is an awesome piece of equipment.

Alex "The Movie Geek," had already constructed a full-scale Alien Queen, so it only stood to reason he needed a Power Loader to go with it. He's been good enough to share a detailed break down how it's done at Instructibles, but we've condensed it down for you here.


Step 1: Gather Materials.

The real Power Loaders were actually large, heavy, mechanized puppets controlled by secondary, off-screen operators, but for this costume it's got to be all controlled by the occupant. As a result, the materials list has to be light weight as possible. The basic materials for the entire suit consist of polystyrene foam, PVC pipe, a five-point racing harness and wood. It's finished with paint, stick-on chrome sheeting, some flexible tubing and expanded metal grate. Don't forget the revolving flasher on top. It would also be good to find some kind of model of the Loader so scaling dimension will be easier

Illustration for article titled How To Build Your Own Aliens Power Loader Exo-Suit

Step 2: Build the Stilts

The Power Loader standing position is about 18" off the ground, making solid stilts that can stand on their own is necessary for a good platform for the costume.


Step 3: Make the appendages

Alex used foam boards sandwiched together with hot glue to form pieces big enough to be carved with a hot wire into shapes for the arms. He based the shapes and geometries off measurements taken from models and scaled to the appropriate sizes. He also used common household items like pop cans to make exact geometries easier to mark out.

Illustration for article titled How To Build Your Own Aliens Power Loader Exo-Suit

Step 4: Make the Body
The back of the body was also made of foam, carved to the proper size and shape, however our movie geek also had to construct the roll cage. This was done by using various lengths of PVC pipe and different joints glued together to get the right look and shape. A softer foam was used for the cockpit. The racing harness was also attached to the body and served as the main means of mounting the whole contraption to the costume wearer.


Step 5: Hook It All Together

Joints for the Loader are critical, especially the arms. They have to be sturdy but have a lot of free range of motion. Alex fabricated some joints for the arms using PVC T-mounts in a pocket in the body. The legs are attached with a simple hinge made from PVC tube.

Illustration for article titled How To Build Your Own Aliens Power Loader Exo-Suit

Step 6: Paint and Details

Paint the components of the loader with a styrofoam-safe paint then mask off areas with tape that need details like hazard stripes or logos. Add "hydraulic cylinders" where appropriate and anything else you think will make it look more realistic. The final product will probably need a bit of tweaking, and don't expect to go running down the street after your friends, but it will be impressive at a more standin'-around-talking-about-how-awesome-your-costume-is Halloween party.

Here's Alex explaining the finished product and some of the work that went into making the costume. We're totally doing this for Halloween.


More details on the build can be found at

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`



Oops. It's missing something critical.