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TechTatva’15: Mech-A-Nice Gun


mech2This year, the theme for TechTatva remained ‘frugal innovation’ or ‘jugaad’, a term possibly every Indian is familiar with. Frugal innovation is basically bending the rules to find an innovative fix to a problem. This definitely was kept in mind while the planning of the event Air Gun. Organised by the category Mechanize, it was aimed at using simple methods and even simpler tools to build, no points for guessing, an air gun. For the said gun, instead of using regular components like springs, gun powder and bullets, the participants were given a kit containing some M-Seal, a thin PVC pipe, a nozzle and one valve.

mech1A total of thirty-five teams registered for the event, each team having no more than three members. A workshop was conducted by the event heads Nilay Kulkarni and Yashvardhan Bhati, at least a week prior to the event, on how to actually build the gun using the kit and plastic bottles, an amalgam which fit the ‘frugal innovation’ theme perfectly as pneumatic methods such as release of pressure were used to make the gun functional. The teams had been given an ample amount of time in between the workshop and the event to put together the guns. Every team was expected to turn up, complete with all the members and their air guns ready at 3.30PM at the book bank area (the area behind the library) but this event too, like many others, was inevitably affected by the sudden downpour. Everything was very efficiently shifted to Academic Block 1 and the organisers immediately started working on letting the participants know about the sudden change of location. Although all the teams couldn’t be present at the stipulated time, there still sat a significant number of participants waiting for the judge, Mr. Rajgopala Chadaga of the mechanical department, to assess their work on a scale of 1 to 10.

After the assessment, leak checks, and waiting for the rain to turn to a soft drizzle, the event was shifted to the original location. This is where range and accuracy tests were carried out. A target made out of card-board was mounted on a desk set at some distance from the position of the shooter. The guns were pressurized and loaded with M-Seal pellets as bullets. Releasing the valve, and hence releasing all the pressure inside the plastic bottle was the mechanism behind the ‘firing’ of the gun. Sawan Rawat, an M.Sc. student and one of the participants at the event was quoted as saying, “It wasn’t very hard. All we had to check for were the leaks and for the bottle to be absolutely air tight. Rain sure stalled the event, though.” Most of the teams were able to hit the target and were really happy to see their guns work. The event, although a shot in the air, was definitely not a shot in the dark.

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