BENGALURU: One man’s waste is another man’s treasure, they say. As standalones, motors of sewing machine, scraps of metal or spare parts of furniture have nothing in common other than belonging to a junkyard. But a group of students from Atria Institute of Technology have put together a musical instrument using discarded material. They will display it at Maker Faire Hyderabad on Nov 10.
Called the ‘Scrap Metal Music Installation’, the instrument weighs 250 kg and is 6.5 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter. Closely resembling a carousel, the structure has spokes with metal bars that have been cut to different heights that produce different sounds. In addition to the instrument, the students have also designed a metallic structure of the Indian roller bird, which is the state bird of Telangana. A mallet is placed in the bird’s beak, which then strikes against the metal rods to play the short version of the national anthem (first and last line of the stanza). “The project also sends out the message that waste can be used better,” said John Karamchand, a fourth-year computer science student.
Karamchand was one of the 15 members who were part of the team, which included a mix of students from computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical and communications. The students were mentored by Varun Karthik, Sendil Chandran and Sylvester Pradeep, who belong to Bonda Soup Art Studios – a group of artists who also conduct workshops. “The idea was to bring together students from different streams and help them tap into their own creativity and work together to create something,” said Pradeep.
Work on the project began a month ago, with designing taking two weeks (four designs put forth by the students were rejected) and fabrication and calibration taking another two weeks. The material was sourced from various junkyards in the city. The total cost of making was close to `80,000, which was provided by the institute. “Our major cost was rending out machinery and power tools for cutting and welding the metal,” explains Tejesvi Chakravarthy, who also worked on the project. Explaining that the motor for the instrument was acquired from the motor of an industrial sewing machine, he added, “We also had to get a controller to reduce the motor’s RPM (rotations per minute) from 20 to 2.”
While the project required days and nights of work, the students didn’t mind since it gave them a break from their routine. “It required an inter-disciplinary approach. So the computer engineering students learned more about calculation from the mechanical engineering students, and the latter learned about electrical parts from the former,” said Chakravarthy.
Agreed Karamchand, adding, “This was real engineering. It taught us more than any textbook ever could.”