Top Five Constraints – Cardboard Grabber


Possibly the greatest challenge I face with each and every one of these projects. My goal is to create the best version of the project possible that costs the least amount of dollars. The more money I spend on this project, the easier it will be to fabricate. Yet I am limiting myself to a budget of $20-30 on my cardboard grabber, and I do believe it will be sufficient to get the job done.


The limitations of the Steampunk Aesthetic tie into cost as well. While shooting for the “Iron Man” look that means I need sleek, metallic, functional looking pieces or decorations. This means any natural looking items cannot be used, or ones that do not look “innovative”. With the left and right lateral limits being set so narrow this means cost will most likely have to increase to achieve the aesthetic I want.


This is really the bread and butter of my project. It all depends on my grabbers ability to move each finger independently as well as be able to have enough grip strength to life a full soda can to drink from. This means my constraint for mechanics is very important, and will require a concerted effort to accomplish my vision for the grabbers.


Once again, cost and mechanics are coming into play. The higher quality the adhesives for my joints, the stronger the lift capacity of my grabber will be as it will be holding the joints in to handle a greater stress. Also tying into the aesthetic, the more adhesive I use takes away from the sleek mechanical/modern technological steampunk and iron man look of the grabber.

Design/Artistic Ability

And finally, my greatest challenge. My own creative limitations will make achieving a sleek steampunk aesthetic difficult, but nevertheless I will press on and push for greatness. Also with the help and critiques of my classmates I will be able to pull off the steampunk look without compromising the mechanical integrity.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Jamie Frankel
    April 15, 2020 9:22 pm

    A great method of easily converting cheaper natural materials to a more steam punk aesthetic is through spray paint. Additionally with wood and cardboard it is easy to light things on fire as the burn patterns can often make things look aged!

  • Kyle Neubarth
    March 9, 2020 12:00 am

    I enjoy the aesthetic of a detailed mechanical piece made out of cardboard, it seems to defy expectations. It makes me wonder if you’ll be able to add extra mechanical parts on top of the grab+claw parts to make it even more “steampunk”.

  • Nathaniel Wang
    March 8, 2020 9:17 pm

    i like the originality of the project and it seems like you have investigated where the biggest hurdles will be in this project. what are the mechanical linkages that are being used to connect the movement between the human hand and the cardboard components?


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