3D Pumpkin Carving Plug In!




Introduction: 3D Pumpkin Carving Plug In!

About: Teacher, Maker, Grower, Gamer - Librarian and Coordinator for "Make It...Awesome!" GMS Makerspace

Carving a pumpkin is hard! After all the scooping and emptying, you then have to meticulously carve something with enough detail to terrify the neighborhood. With a dull knife and limited time last year, my Slenderman ended up looking more like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! This year, I'm going to do my carving in Tinkercad and let my 3D printer work on the detail.


A pumpkin, carving tools

3D printer


Design software

Step 1: Designing a Template

In trying to simplify carving a pumpkin, I created a circle shape that could be inserted into the side of the pumpkin with swappable graphic options. To make this template, I started with a sphere, hollowed out to about 3mm walls, then cut away most of it to leave one side of the sphere, a shape about 150mm x 150mm and about 10mm tall.

Step 2: Adding an Insert

With the part of the sphere in place, I will next add a ring that will fit snugly inside the pumpkin. I set this at 140mm x 140mm so that there is a overhanging lip around the outside. In a later draft, I made this ring taller (10mm) to allow for room inside the pumpkin and also placed a series of holes to secure with toothpicks pushed through the holes and into the sidewalls of the pumpkin. This will keep the piece securely in place. Now the template is done and available here at Tinkercad: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/hK7LJtBs5EL

Step 3: Get the Graphics!

To start designing your pumpkin graphics, you can use Tinkercad's shapes or text. Additionally, I decided to find some creative commons licensed images to add to mine. Using a Creative Commons image search, I found a nice image of a cat. After downloading this image file, I can transform it from a .png to a .svg using one of many free online tools. I chose https://www.pngtosvg.com/.

After uploading the .png, I was able to download an .svg and then import it into Tinkercad. The last step was to size it to fit in my pumpkin template

Step 4: Print and Cut!

While the printer is working, you can prepare your pumpkin by scooping it out. With a printed design, mark the internal ring where you will cut it out. This took some trial and error to expand the cut to fit. I ended up making a small shelf inside the side of the pumpkin that the template will fit inside. Keep carving until it's snug. Then add the toothpicks to secure.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Pumpkin!

It's done! This is definitely a prototype that might get better in time. What could improve it? Flexible materials? A more snug fit? Optimizing the walls to allow for a quicker build?

What excites me the most about this project? Coming back to it next year with pumpkin cut outs already in place! Happy Halloween!

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