Wednesday , 13 November 2019
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Safeguarding tradition through technology

As part of their final year project, four BE (Bachelors in Engineering) Mechanical Engineering students of Goa College of Engineering developed a device to streamline the intricate art form of rangoli.
NT BUZZ finds out more

ANNA FERNANDES | NT BUZZ

Today with frantic workdays and hectic schedules, there is little to no time for the intricate task of designing rangolis. Embracing the power of technology, four BE Mechanical Engineering students of Goa College of Engineering have developed a device that will help streamline this meticulous art form. Developed by Sai Vengurlekar, Saivijay Kundaikar, Deepesh Raikar, and Sarang Navelkar under the guidance of their professor Mahesh Caisucar as part of their final year project, the device is capable of drawing rangoli of complex shapes with high accuracy.

“Not all people are skilled enough in the art of rangoli and since it is a time consuming household task, we decided it was time we developed a machine to put an end to this hardship,” says Vengurlekar. The device aims to reduce the manual effort involved in the art form.

Working on a CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) model ie machines that have the capacity to draw anything or design any mechanical part according to the design programme fed into their controller unit, the device is equipped with a rangoli dispenser and can plot any complex patterns in minimal time.

At each and every step of the way, from research to development, the team ably assisted each other and equally contributed to the completion of the project.

The initial stages of the project were marked with a lot of group discussions, brainstorming sessions, and trial and error. The design of the project was conceptualised by Kundaikar and Navelkar, who worked on the basic model and all the calculations involved in order to build the CNC machine. The fabrication of the machine was done by Vengurlekar and Raikar. They worked on the machining of the components and assembling them together in order to make it work as a unit. The entire machine was built right from scratch.

“The machine is capable of plotting an image on the floor. First, the image is converted to G-code using the Inkscape software. Then this G-code is put in universal G-code sender software which is then interfaced with Arduino. Arduino controls the stepper motors which are coupled with ball screws,” says Vengurlekar. 

The rangoli dispenser then moves to obtain the desired pattern. Accordingly, the width of the rangoli pattern and amount of grain can also be adjusted. “The dispenser nozzle was 3D printed in the mechanical department of the college,” adds Vengurlekar.

However, the team did face a few challenges along the way. “While fabricating the machine, there were a lot of obstacles but we also learned a lot from them. One of the major challenges we faced was to control the flow of rangoli from the dispenser. In order to obtain the appropriate flow of rangoli and get the required line thickness, we had to constantly redesign the diameter of the dispenser nozzle until we perfected it,” says Vengurlekar.

Crediting the success of the project to their support system, he says: “The completion of the project was possible only because of the motivation from our project guide professor Caisucar along with all the help we got from our college workshop instructors during the fabrication process.” He also added that they have their families to thank for ample moral and financial support during the whole process.

The prototype can be updated and utilised to carry out similar functions and patterns such as spray painting, graffiti, wall painting, etc – by just changing the dispenser. Another advantage is that it’s portable and can be moved easily. “We have built this device in such a way that it can support any other pattern development and dispensing mechanism, ie the rangoli dispenser is detachable and so any other dispenser such as a spray painting nozzle can be attached instead. Also a cutter can be employed so that it works as a foam cutting device with accuracy,” Vengurlekar adds. An added advantage is that the prototype is priced at `25000, which is much lower compared to other large scale CNC devices.

For the students the biggest takeaway from the experience was the practical knowledge they acquired along the way. “Working on new software and machines, which we have very limited or no access to in our academic curriculum, was exciting,” says Raikar. Reiterating this point, Vengurlekar adds, “Through this project we were given the opportunity to actually apply the theoretical concepts that we learned in our course.”

So far, the feedback received has been incredible, the students say. “The machine works excellently, and is exactly how we planned and imagined it would be. The patterns plotted are perfect and accurate – it not only saves time but also produces beautiful patterns,” says Vengurlekar.

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