Andy Smith
Mine action specialist
Two-handed excavator for demining

Excavator hand tool

This demining hand tool was first designed by MIT to meet the rules required to ensure that a tool does not separate or fragment in an anti-personnel mine blast. The tool is intended to replace the pick-axe (still widely used) when starting an excavation on ground that is very hard. MIT did not make or finalise the design, so I did.

blade of excavatorThe excavator must be made entirely of malleable steel, E304 stainless steel whenever possible. There must be reinforced welds between the handles and the angled shaft to prevent separation in a blast.The angled shaft has a sharp tip and is easy to direct accurately when starting an excavation.

The two-handed digging action copies the two-handed 'hammers' used by the police to force open doors, maximising the user's force while minimising effort.

deminer using excavator in Sri Lanka

The user’s forward hand is protected by a pliant and washable ballistic aramid hand-guard. A pit to the required depth is made well in advance of the detector-indication. The deminer then extends the pit forward using smaller tools.