Foot options, for 1'-1.5' rise?


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I'm starting design work on a G1 Devastator rig, based mostly on the toy. Here's an eye candy reference:

In gross summary, I want to be up on 1'-1.5' risers/stilts/etc, with my knees just above the lower legs and 'counting' as part of the thigh height. My arms will come out of the robot's chest (disguised as hydraulic lines, etc.) and connect to the backs of the forearms. Hand function will be based on this:

My first issue is the 1'-1.5' rise. Drywall stilts won't quite match the design of one the feet (unless I fake that space as a black block) and they'd cost $200 anyway. Wooden stilts would be heavy but could be built. I might be able to build them out of metal. How about yoga block material, reinforced with a structure similar to drywall stilts?

Please point me in a direction! =)

FYI, this is my most recent costume production, worn at the Calgary Comic Expo a couple weekends ago:, & I even got the cannon sound working! =)


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I am currently working on a variation of this idea for my upcoming Groot build.

Basically this guy used layers of foam insulation board to make large platform stilts. I like this idea because it's lightweight but sturdy enough to hold my weight. Also it provides a larger base to walk on, which is essential for me as my balance isn't the greatest.


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Excellent! Glad to see this method has been proven in more than one application plus at a much higher weight.

On another reference at a similar approach was used with expanding foam, but I like this better; no mystery gaps that may result in structural failure. It was noted there however, that the rear edge will take extra weight on the landing of each step and may need reinforcement.

In addition to heel reinforcement, I'm inclined to research building in some vertical struts out of aluminium with a strap around the shin/calf for extra support, much like drywall stilts. I'll post results here as things progress.

Thanks DRG!


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Right then! If you can work with my drawings You'll see how I plan to approach the prototype legs.

The basic design of the riser is here:

The riser is made of a stack of 12 layers of firm insulation, each 1.5" thick for a total of 18". A hole is cut in the top 10 layers, through which a flat length of aluminum or steel is inserted. With enough space cut out of the 10th layer, a 90 degree bracket is bolted to the length, so that a flat piece of aluminum may be bolted to that as well as layers 9-11. At the top of the length a brace, strap & padding is attached to bind against the shin/calf. Onto the top of the stack a shoe is bolted through several layers.

The drawing of the auto-pivoting toe method is here: This design overlaps with the above design.

A 'toe' structure is attached to the leg via primarily a hinge and also a spring. A space under the foot is removed, matching the size of the rear of the 'toe'. The spring could be set to push the toe to a desired degree when the foot is off the ground enough.

Edits could be added to reduce tripping hazard, such as bevelling the back of the toe edge so as to not make much contact when stepping backwards. A recessed wheel may also aid shuffling steps.

Here is a drawing of the bottom of a foot:

Used bicycle tires are cut up, flattened, and bolted to the bottom layers for traction. Not in the picture, the rear edge of the foot would be reinforced as it would take a lot of pressure with each footfall.

Whaddya think?


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Looks awesome! Right now I'm at 12" in my stack but your 18" build has me tempted to make it higher.

I also found what I think will be a great alternate way for attaching the foam slabs together. I'm using Glidden Gripper paint after seeing this: I bought a small can and it works like a charm. In my early tests it glued the foam together like cement. The seal won't budge, to the point that even trying to force two uneven pieces apart by pulling at opposite edges did nothing. I actually felt the foam getting more stressed than the paint.


Active Member
Thanks for the reference, I'll go through that video & related when I've time. I'll certainly need the extra techniques for this build!

I'd planned to only do a 12" rise, but changed to 18" to make the proportions look better for the costume. Gotta love MS Publisher to give an accurate forecast! Here's the toy vs. my build proportion plan at this point, (only the verticals have been worked at this point): Proportion_zpsn2rgljtk.jpg With 12" risers the torso just looked to large. I'd go further, but then the lower:upper leg ratio becomes the issue. I can't get more than 12" for my upper legs, or less than 43 for the torso as the latter is from my groin to above my head.

FYI, the method for the calf support on my prototype is from Stilt Factory's how-to for classic stilts: I can't help but love this guy. =)


Active Member
First major edit to the riser-stilts is done: one unit now has ankle function! This isn't as stable as I'd like yet; if you shift forward it feels like the assembly wants to collapse with the torque. The 3"x8" heel isn't as stable as I'd like either, though perhaps the protruding bolt heads are part of that.

I may add a block of foam under the center of the assembly so it can't shift forward as much without resting on itself. We shall see! If I can't get this to be reliable I might go back to the solid version...the KISS principle has its benefits! Switching out the hardwood for something slightly flexible like hard rubber may make these more comfortable too.

Video 1:
Video 2:

The wood is still attached into the foam and part of the heel section; the top level glides around it.

Thoughts on improvements?
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