Can You Mill a Pumpkin with the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine? We Had to Find Out!
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!
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.
Snap a photo.
Measure a feature of the object.
Insert a new canvas using the photo.
Calibrate the canvas with the measurement you took.
Create a sketch using the fit point spline tool.
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.