AT-AT for America: restore America's glory with a functional, full-scale Imperial Walker


54 Responses to “AT-AT for America: restore America's glory with a functional, full-scale Imperial Walker”

  1. karl_jones says:

    Pyramids for Minnesota.

    An amusing yet semi-serious call to action by the late great Thomas Disch.

    Pyramids inspire people by their very existence: their useless magnificence moves us to accomplish great things.

  2. codesuidae says:

    Full scale is a bit ambitious for an actual construction project I think, I mean, the thing is like 65 feet tall. I could see maybe 1:3 scale being achievable though. That might be just enough room for on-board power, motive mechanicals and a driver, and it’s not so big that it can’t be transported by truck (heh, I’d love to see it walk up on a truck and sit down, camel-like, for transport).

  3. Editz says:

    Meh. We’ve already got this. I say good enough.

  4. jjsaul says:

    Don’t let Pink 5 anywhere near it.

  5. GlenBlank says:

    The idea that this country “doesn’t make things anymore” is a pernicious myth.

    The US is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing more than one fifth of all the world’s manufactured goods.

    1.6 trillion dollars’ worth in 2009 – about 11% of our total GDP.

    Even if that weren’t the case, the suggestion – even in jest – that a bunch of geeks building a mechanized Star Wars prop could somehow lead to the reversal of that supposed ‘problem’ skates awkwardly down the border between embarrassing self-aggrandizement and ignorant unthinking offensiveness.

    Looks like a fun project, though.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Does this idea/conversation scare any other Canadians reading it?

  7. Anonymous says:

    You have to build at least two AT-AT’s to breed them.

  8. batman says:

    We should try making rice-cookers, shittier furniture, and nontoxic milk products.

    “Free” trade with the 3rd world means even your own kids will be marginalized in a “race to the bottom” for workers rights.

    Freedom is an illusion for the ignorant,

  9. gwailo_joe says:

    Can a fully functioning AT-AT be used for anything OTHER than evil?

  10. benher says:

    Tokyo built a Gundam, Kobe built a Tetsujin 28…. I say go for it!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Interesting idea, though I’m not sure an AT-AT did too well in Star Wars and am not sure it will do much better in real life – plus the heavy steel parts will likely come from China, much of the Electronics from the Pacific Rim Asian countries (and there may be a bit of a backlog if from Japan) and it’s likely union rules, concessions and such will cause the final price to be way beyond what even the government will be willing to pay.

    Still, don’t let all that dissuade you – GO FOR IT!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Damn! I KNEW it was the hipsters holding America back.

    Let’s build that AT-AT just to show ‘em!

  13. Greekster says:

    The kid in me loves this idea, so I say go for it.

    But let’s all grown up here for one moment. The spirit of American ingenuity is based in innovators seeking to make things that, hopefully, improve our lives or move society in a direction (hopefully forward). Everyone from Edison to Gates to Jobs (and their companies filled with like-minded innovators) worked and continue to work to solve real-world problems or fill needs for real-world applications.

    Building a real-life AT AT is not really honoring that spirit. It’s more the sign of a society obsessed with the fictional, perhaps because we can’t deal (or won’t don’t) with the real problems set before us.

    This is really a public art project, if you think about it. And, hey, nothing wrong with that. Just don’t say it’s more than that because at it’s heart, it’s not.

    And, hey, who knows maybe they’ll accidentally discover some new method that can contribute to robotics (even though that would be a side-effect of the means to an end).

  14. tsa says:

    An AT-AT is cool, but why not make a Millennium Falcon instead? I think that is much more useful. As someone else said, you can trip an AT-AT. You can’t trip a Millennium Falcon. Besides, if you still want to go to Mars I would hurry up and build a spaceship. Then why not make it cool? As Dr. Brown said: if you’re gonna build a time machine, you’ve got to do it with style!

  15. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like a trap.

  16. karl_jones says:

    There’s a lot of money to be made here.

    That thing is sure to tip over, spilling children and fragments of AT-AT (or vice-versa).

    Red Lawyer to Gold Earner, I’m in position!

  17. Anonymous says:

    The Internet counts as ” things we made ”

    Just because we can’t get in our station wagon and take a road trip to visit the Internet doesn’t mean it is not a massive monument to engineering know how

  18. wigg1es says:

    I don’t think the problem is as simple as “we stopped making shit…”

  19. Anonymous says:

    As cool as an AT-AT for America would be, I think I’d rather see Detroit re-emerge by making Autobots for America…

  20. GuyInMilwaukee says:

    I think Burning Man would be a great location to put her together and test her out. Maybe she can be programmed to auto-assemble solar arrays in the desert. Just don’t get the military involved. You know how those guys love to blow things up and burn things down unlike the people at Burning Man.. oh.. wait…

    • franko says:

      @GuyInMilwaukee is right. it’s gotta be a burning man project. it’s perfect. as a symbolic gesture, i’m all for this — spread the word!

  21. rebdav says:

    Nothing like building the tech of an evil empire to console the US for its flagging imperial status. The limeys actually got national health, we might get an AT-AT.

  22. dculberson says:

    I’m glad this has no military applications! Oh, wait…

  23. dancentury says:

    I’m too busy reading about my friend’s kids t-ball games on Facebook to be bothered with the restoration of America’s pride.

    Now giant gundams for Japan — that would be awesome, and useful. Get a Neon Genesis Evangelion robot, give it a big hose filled with liquid nitrogen… cool down those reactors stat.

  24. dculberson says:

    “Now I have an idea, but no money and a total lack of mechanical aptitude.”

    The idea is 1%. So he might want to pick up some aptitude and money if he wants to get going on the other 99%.

  25. Cinema Suicide says:

    I love this idea and am firmly in support of it. However, a to-scale AT-AT is an engineering impossibility. #buzzkill

    • Gutierrez says:

      I would think anything that uses slow firing laser cannons would be. Still if you drop solid metal for possibly hollow composite or fiber, you might be able to shave enough weight to get something motile as long as the legs don’t cave on themselves.

      I say let him try and take this idea to where the impossible and possible meet, the possimpible.

  26. MattB says:

    These guys sell themselves short. I’m pretty sure that a “full-scale, functional” model of a walker is not in fact a model. It’s an actual-fucking-walker.

  27. Tonewah says:

    Skip forward to a bunch of Ewoks dancing around a fire with storm trooper heads on sticks. Yeah, that’s how that idea works out.

  28. Jonathan Badger says:

    Wasn’t it an incredibly stupid design though? The Rebels defeated them by just *tripping* them, for crying out loud. I think we should build an Ogre cybertank, myself.

  29. hooch66 says:

    I think this is a great idea and we should totally do it. Also, I offer my yard as a place for you all to build it.

    Also, I’m kinda mad at my parents right now that I didn’t have that AT-AT playset in the photo above.

  30. Haakon IV says:

    Yeah, this will show the world that America doesn’t have Imperial intentions.

    And I’m sure if there were profit in it, defense contractors would already have one to sell to the government.

  31. jdollak says:

    I like the idea of participating in this in some way, but I can think of a few hurdles that would make it especially difficult. First of all, what sort of power source would it have? I don’t think I’d want it to be a gas-powered walker.

    • AnthonyC says:

      Unless it’s Tibanna-gas powered. :-)
      Yeah, star wars does tend to be especially vague on how stuff is supposed to work.

  32. martinhekker says:

    What happens if two kids lean out the front side of the platform while the speederbike is at its forward apex and the entire thing was installed on a slightly forward incline right at the edge of a swimming pool that has been emptied of water in preparation for winter?

  33. Anonymous says:

    If we’re gonna dream, why F-around? Death star. Play a little Led Zepplin, a bit of a laser show, bob’s your uncle, problems solved. Gawdblessmerika.

  34. Deidzoeb says:

    This will be so much cooler than an Apollo program worth of geek resources going towards “climate disruption” or boring abstract crap like that. Make the AT-AT so it excretes Robocop statues and drive it through Detroit.

  35. Philipshade says:

    Again we fall behind Japan who has already established a Gundam University.

  36. holtt says:

    I’m thinking we get everyone with a MakerBot out there to print out just one piece. Then, everyone brings their piece of the AT-AT to Burning Man, and it gets assembled bit by bit.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Mike here. This whole thing is my “delightfully hair-brained” idea.
    Sorry I don’t have enough mechanical skill for some folks, but the whole point is for the AT-AT to be a monument to geek culture and the togetherness that it sparks. We’ve had a lot of really smart people contact us to help figure out the nuts and bolts. Given some fundraising, I think this will actually happen. Whether its at Burning Man, the Bay Area or in Oklahoma City, it’s going to be a testament to having fun and coming together. Maybe it’s a little Frank Capra of me, but I think that will be good for the country. And, BTW, being mentioned on BoingBoing is tremendous. Thanks Cory!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Next up will be the Death Star….

  39. Rayonic says:

    I appreciate this both as a cool project and as a parody of poorly thought out public works projects.

  40. udqbpn says:

    I’m in. Let’s do it.

  41. Anonymous says:

    How about a 2-legged walker as “proof of concept” before we sink in more resources? The way it waddled back and forth, it would at least make a great cocktail shaker if nothing else.

  42. chris lee says:

    OR we could just build a full-scale ship that belonged to the GOOD GUYS.

    After talking to Steve Sansweet about my project, I’m not sure how Lucasfilm licensing will feel about the AT-AT project going through Kickstarter…

    But hey, more power to the guy if he can get it going. I’d love to do a cross-promotional thing, or maybe even a contest to see who can finish first…

    • penguinchris says:

      Your site has an incredible lack of photos, designs/drawings, etc. Apparently you’ve got some designs, a big area of cleared land, and some basic starting points done, but the site is 100% devoid of photos or video. There are a few links but they’re either dead or “coming soon”.

      Back to the AT-AT, the whole proposal and especially the “Now I have an idea, but no money and a total lack of mechanical aptitude” bit is ridiculous and bordering on offensive. He’s unwittingly (unless it’s *supposed* to be satire) illustrated the actual problem with US innovation. Ideas are cheap, but the know-how to actualize the idea is not, and that’s what’s leaving the US.

      And this isn’t even a *good* idea! There are thousands of actually good ideas out there that people don’t have the money or aptitude to do anything with. I appreciate the thought of an Apollo-type program invigorating science and engineering across the country, and as an unemployed scientist I wish the US would do something like that and that I could be involved, but this is just stupid in comparison. Even though to actually build such a thing would require a similar effort as Apollo!

      • chris lee says:

        Thanks for your support.

      • Gutierrez says:

        There are many engineers, researchers and scientists who at least some of their initial interest in their fields to a work of fiction. If people want to invest their time and money in this project because it makes them happy or will give them a sense of accomplishment, that’s their prerogative. Sure there are great ideas out there, many with greater utility. I for one wish there was a better way to search them out and get people to them. And some of BoingBoing’s wonderful things are ideas like that. But lambasting something that could possibly inspire and draw some great minds together is one of the major reasons why the know-how is leaving the US. You don’t know if any wonderfully emergent thinking could come out of this project or of any of the relationships something this strangely involved could cultivate.

        Let them have their fun.

  43. dreddpiratebob says:

    Someone needs to organise the Brits. With us being a little smaller in landmass I say we go for an AT-ST! And I prefer them anyway, better than a big metal cow!

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