Best out of waste: ISRO engineer turns an old car into an excavator

The 34-years-old scientist who works with the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) considered transforming old vehicles into something new that too at a low cost. He managed to modify an old car all by himself amid the lockdown.

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We quickly think of disposal when it comes to an old car, however, for Ben Jacob from Thiruvananthapuram did not abide by this thought. He went on to transform his old car into a backhoe. 

The 34-years-old scientist who works with the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) considered transforming old vehicles into something new that too at a low cost. 

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The young scientist from Choozhattukotta village managed to modify an old car all by himself amid the lockdown. The transformed Daewoo Matiz, with the metal arm with a digging container at the end extending like a small crane and is now sitting in his yard ready for operation.

While talking to media Ben mentioned that he had to seek help from a local workshop for punching 44-mm holes for the hinges. That aside, he constructed it all by myself.

The car-turned-excavator weighs 1.1 tonnes. It has a vertical and horizontal reach of 14 ft and can exert a digging force of six tonnes. The maximum lifting capacity is 500 kg. Technically, it would fall in the mini excavator category. The machine which costs for ₹70,000 took two months for the conversion.


He had bought a second-hand car for his wife Jeeja a few years ago. Though the vehicle was more than two decades old, Ben never wanted to scrap it. He stated that he wanted to convert it into something useful. He thought of many ideas and eventually settled on the excavator.

Ben started to work on the design aspects of the excavator in May. He had to order many of the components of the machine from Gujarat. The delivery of the parts was little delayed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, he managed to pull off the work by July-August last year. The machine is either used in farms or for digging ponds.

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