Who is the king of the jungle? The lion... no. The real king of the jungle is the tiger, the largest, strongest, and fiercest of all the big cats, of all of the animals in its kingdom. When approaching the task of emulating the animal, Abe and I threw away many mundane ideas; in a way, it is in disrespectful to mimic the walking or biting of the tiger since these are not unique. Instead, we chose to copy the marking process of the tiger, a beautiful display of scraping away at a tree.
To create a product that emulates this motion, Abe and I divided up the mechanism into parts: I would work on the arm while Abe would create a claw. When creating the arm, I strived to achieve realism and this is shown in the design. The initial prototypes used rubber bands to create tension within the mechanism, but this proved a path to failure as difficulty caused from the overtension led to broken parts. In the end, I chose to work with a dual pulley system similar to a window shade to move the wooden arm.
Creating the claw was a small and big task at the same time. Most of Abe's time was spent perfecting the claw retraction mechanism. He used a wooden frame and rubber bands to propel the wooden claws. Over time, we made a decision to move away from the retractable claws and towards 3D printed, fixed claws due to concerns of miniaturization.
In the end, our product is a mechanized, pulley operated, wooden arm with claws that scratches at plaster: quite underwhelming. Others have motors, LEDs, and wind tubes. Our product isn't going to save or improve lives, our product creates art and with it expression. For years humans have been trying to depict their environment, even developing photography to be perfect. Now I ask, is perfection beauty? Is a pure white canvas better than a splash of paint? It is not a accuracy of our project that makes it art, it is the raw and realistic nature of our product that make it successful.