An ISRO employee turns an old Alto car into Excavator Machine, Users laud his creative brain

For most of us, an old car is nothing but a piece of metal to be disposed off, but that is not the case with this ISRO engineer Ben Jacob who has come up with an innovative way of converting old cars into useful things.

Ben Jacob, a young scientist with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is winning hearts on the internet for his innovative idea.

The pandemic left a huge impact on the lives of almost everyone, bringing a flood of tension and worries followed by negative thoughts and piles of boredom.

But Ben Jacob took it as a challenge to handle this situation with determination and positivity thereby taking advantage of the lockdown. ISRO engineer’s stunning backhoe is going viral for all the right reasons.

An innovative idea came to his mind and he then implemented that idea that gave rise to a new evolution. During the lockdown, Ben decided to convert his old car into something useful.

Over months of working through COVID-19 pandemic, the 34-year-old Ben managed it all by himself. 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.

He had purchased the 1998-make car second-hand for his wife Jeeja a few years ago. Though the vehicle is more than two decades old now, Ben simply didn’t have the heart to see it scrapped. “I wanted to convert it into something useful. I checked out several ideas and finally settled on the backhoe,” he says.

It also was so helpful that Ben had a good equipped workshop at home. He started work on the design aspects of the backhoe in May. Additionally, he had to order many of the components from Gujarat. The parts were slow in coming due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but he managed to kick off work by July-August last year.

The machine can find everyday practical use in farms or for digging ponds, says Ben. But more than that, he insists, his project is an example of how old vehicles can be transformed into something useful at a low cost.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.