Old car means quick disposal for most people. Not for Ben Jacob. Rather than consign his old hatchback to the scrap heap, the young scientist with Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) here chose to convert it into a backhoe/excavator.
Ben, 34, managed it all by himself over several months of COVID 19-plagued 2020. Now, the transformed Daewoo Matiz, with the metal arm with a digging bucket at the end extending like a small crane, sits in his yard ready for work.
“I had to seek the help of a local workshop for punching 44-mm holes for the hinges. That aside, I constructed it all by myself,” says the Scientist/Engineer-SF at LPSC who is a resident of Choozhattukotta in the district.
The car-turned-backhoe weighs 1.1 tons. The backhoe has a vertical and horizontal reach of 14 ft and can exert a digging force of six tons. The maximum lifting capacity is 500 kg.
Ben says that it would fall in the ‘mini excavator’ category. In the market, commercial excavators could cost as high as ₹20 lakhs. However, his home-made machine needed an amount of 70,000 thousand rupees to put it all together. It took two months for Ben to complete the transformation of the car.