Can You Mill a Pumpkin with the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine? We Had to Find Out!

Bantam Tools logo milled into a pumpkin!

I’ll admit that Halloween crafting has never been much of a thing for me, but I can appreciate a good pumpkin carving when I see one. Recently, however, I came across John Saunders video of an attempt to carve a pumpkin and I got inspired.

This week I enlisted our mechanical engineer, Matt Lennox for a challenge: mill our Bantam Tools rooster logo into the side of a pumpkin using the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine. Expecting pretty much total failure and a lot of pumpkin carnage cleanup, we were blown away when this actually worked!

We also learned a thing or two about workholding organic, odd-shaped materials, and Matt even showed me a few Fusion 360 tricks to go from a simple photo to an accurate model in minutes (more below if you’re interested).   

Warning: Don’t attempt this on your own mill unless you can plan on a fair bit of clean up work! 

 
Workholding organic/odd shapes in Fusion 360.
 

Image Calibration With Fusion 360

To save on time, and quickly get a working model that we could generate toolpaths for, Matt used this neat trick in Fusion 360.  

  1. Snap a photo.

  2. Measure a feature of the object.

  3. Insert a new canvas using the photo.

  4. Calibrate the canvas with the measurement you took.

  5. Create a sketch using the fit point spline tool.

  6. Using the revolve tool and the profile created in step 5, revolve 360°.

Using Sculpting Clay For Workholding

Holding something like a pumpkin — especially when there’s no room for a vice or larger fixturing on the bed — is tricky. But, when there aren’t a lot of forces at play, a simple sculpting clay like this classic Sculpey was more than sufficient for us.  

 
Finished pumpkin all lit up!
 
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