With most of the materials in hand, we started working on building the prototype. The first thing we did was to make our grooved rod. This is an essential component of the machine that is responsible for separating the fibres. Making this was a lengthy process. Javed Sir helped us a lot with his expertise on the lathe machine. On a 50cm long rod (35mm diameter) V-shaped grooves with a depth of 1.5mm was cut into the central 30cm portion. The outer edges had screw threads cut into them. (this is so that the rod could be secured into place using 2cm nuts)
Meanwhile, we started building the base of our machine by welding all the angles together in the required configuration. We cut square pipes into the shape required for the legs of the machine.
We also started getting the rotor together. We cut and turned a rod to the required dimensions (30mm dia, 60cm long) For the square pipe section, two square plates were cut and welded to the edges of the square pipe (30cm length) After welding, they were grinded to give a smooth finish.
After that, we started working on the top section of our frame, where the grooved rod and rotor would fit. We wanted to make the position of the rod adjustable, hence had designed our frame with a slot within which the rod could move. Though it felt simple enough, we didn't realise just how hard achieving such a seemingly simple thing could be. It was very hard to keep the drill bit straight as it went through the square pipe. Further, we couldn't get tools of the exact required dimension. We ended up having to take a break for the night/day (it was 4.30am) and decided to get back to it the next (same?) morning.
This was our first proper day in the fabrication lab. It felt like a reality check as to how hard building a machine could be.