Aesthetic Roots: Cardboard Grabber

In the beginning my project was focused entirely around the mechanics of the hand, with the intention of the entire design being out of cardboard. This was aimed at being low cost, but more so to lean into the fact that cardboard is such a versatile creation and can be employed to do countless things. Once the mechanics were complete however, the drawback to cardboard is that it is bleak and unattractive by nature. Then the iron man/steampunk aesthetic came into play. I decided that I would employ more cardboard than originally needed to get the design working, but this time cut into unique shapes with different paint and styles applied to transform my plain grabber into a cool piece.

Figure (1). Initial designs based on pure mechanical functionality.

Figure (2). Aesthetic design post-cardboard modifications

In the final stages of this project, obtaining material I deem safe to use with this global crisis will be challenging for me. With the finite amount of cardboard I have on hand, and no real paint to transform my arm into the ironman aesthetic vision I have for it, I am unfortunately faced with the reality it may not live up to my goals. However, I will make use of what I have on hand, and may even pivot to a “Roblox” aesthetic for the final design. For those who do not know Roblox is an online game where the characters are designed to be very blocky and rectangular. Not ideal but such is the world we live in now.


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Christopher Lehr
    April 21, 2020 3:08 pm


    I honestly clicked this post because I was super curious what the aesthetic background of a cardboard hand could be but the steampunk makes sense to me! I am curious to see how this turns out I am sure it wont be easy!

  • Hailee Pritchard
    April 15, 2020 9:30 pm

    Hey Zach, I think this is a really cool project and you have a solid approach to how you’re going to deal with the resources you have on hand. Just an idea but if you needed more boxes I know liquor stores and natural grocery stores sometimes “bag” their products in boxes, so you could take a few on your next trip! I actually think the Robox aesthetic will be perfect with the cardboard boxes, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!


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