In Nagaland, bamboo based furniture is often made by local carpenters using inadequate hand tools.
Lack of dedicated machines at affordable cost has curbed the efforts of the local woodworker. Even removing the hard green covering on the bamboo has remained a challenge for many.
While more than 50 per cent of the bamboo species grow in North-East India, there are only a very few technologies to add value to bamboo.
An enterprising person by nature Mr. Imli Toshi, from Nagaland realized the need to build a user friendly machine that would handle different tasks in bamboo processing.
He developed a machinery/lathe for the removal of nodes and outer surface. When the design idea first crystallised in his mind, he built a simple prototype.
Next, he approached the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad for funding and submitted his proposal and drawings.
The prototype, named Arulepsa, developed with the help of the National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA) funding and NIF support, processes bamboo, removes the outer knots, smoothens’ the surface, while enabling wood carvings and final surfaces.
It can remove knots, do the planing and polishing of the surface and facilitate inner and outer contouring of the job.
Precision control is achieved with a soft touch, four-way joystick linked to a robust electro-mechanical control logic kernel. The machine weighs 75 kg and is electrically operated using a one HP motor running on 230 volts AC supply.
“It has been built with dedicated and independent sub-systems including the two stage planer, the bamboo feeder assembly, the self adjusting gripper assembly and two sets of fixtures for inner and outer contouring (carving).
“The planer assembly is the heart of machine and consists of a two-stage planer unit. The first stage achieves removal of the outer green covering and knots and the second stage makes the surface smooth.
Separate machines are provided for internal and external knot removal, slicing, making slivers, square bamboo sticks and a tool post accessory fitment for polishing them,” explains Mr. Toshi.
“The highlight of Mr. Imli Toshi’s equipment lies in using a single versatile wood processing platform that facilitates seamless removal of knots, planing, polishing and carving of bamboo.
The precision in work is achieved by deploying the dedicated control centre and a user friendly four way joystick,” says Prof Anil Gupta, Vice Chairman, NIF.
While conducting trials of his Arulepsa, Mr. Toshi noticed that there was a lot of bamboo dust/powder produced as waste material.
Water lifting device
Having an innovative temperament he made a composite material by mixing this powder with locally available resin to power a water pumping device.
Field trials were done using this the device in a small stream. A 20 feet long, 8 inch diameter feed pipe was fitted to the inlet channel of the device.
When the water flow hits the impeller, it rotates and the change of flux in the field coil induces the desired current. The arrangement of the magnets and the field coil was configured to produce 1 kW of electricity.
Breaking new ground
The Nagaland Bamboo Mission, purchased one unit of the machine while five units were also purchased by the Garo hills unit of the North East Region Community Resource Management Project.
Incorporating several improvements, the novel machines is breaking new ground in design, utility, elegance and social relevance in the field of bamboo.
For more details contact Mr. Imli Toshi Namo, Arkong Ward,1st floor, opp new market, Mokochung 798 601, Nagaland, mobiles: 094360-16086 and 098564-47485.