ISRO engineer modifies 22 year-old Daewoo Matiz into an excavator to avoid scrapping it

Ben Jacob who is an ISRO engineer has transformed his old vehicle into something can be useful for many people and that too at a low cost. Ben decided to modify his old hatchback into an excavator/backhoe. The hatchback that he modified is a Daewoo Matiz which is now discontinued in India. The engineer himself is a resident of Choozhattukotta. The backhoe has a vertical and horizontal reach of 14 ft and can exert a force of six tonnes for digging. It can lift upto 500 kgs. The whole modification cost him Rs. 70,000 which is a lot less when you consider that commercial excavators cost more than 20 lakhs.

It took two months to convert his old Matiz into a mini excavator. The vehicle was purchased as a second-hand vehicle, produced in 1998. It was purchased for his wife Jeeja a few years ago. Yes, the vehicle is 20 years old, but he just couldn’t scrap it. “I wanted to convert it into something useful. I checked out several ideas and finally settled on the backhoe,” Ben says. The car weighs 1.1 tonnes and he did most of the construction himself. Most of the equipment was derived from his home workshop while he had to seek help for punching the 44 mm holes for the hinges.

The modification was done during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and most of the delay happened due to the slow transportation of additional parts that he ordered from Gujarat. Because of the pandemic, the parts were slowly being transported, but even after that, he was able to complete the project in 2 months. The design of the vehicle started in May while it finished in August of 2020.

‘This is a mini crane .. It can be made using an old car at a cost of only 70 thousand. If you want to buy a commercial excavator in the market, the minimum is Rs. 20 lakhs have to be spent. Although my car is 20 years old and in good condition, I wanted to do something that would benefit the community. After many thoughts I got fixed to the mini crane. I have been working on this project since May and I have brought spare parts for it from Gujarat. I completed this in August as the lockdown restrictions delayed the arrival of the required products for the project. It can be used for excavation of ponds, roads, ditches and canals,” He said in an interview to Prime Time Zone.

Inventions like these are a boon to society. Not everyone can purchase a 20 lakhs excavator for digging or something else. Mini excavators like these can be used in villages where a full-size excavator would cost a lot of money and considering that the invention itself costs just Rs. 70,000 is a huge deal. Speaking of Daewoo Motors, the manufacturer shut its operations in 2003-2004. So, it has been more than 16 years since Daewoo stopped its production. Previously, the land assets of the manufacturer were taken over by Pan India Motors which is a newly formed company.