Wednesday, 28 October 2015

3D Selfie Jack-o'-Lantern

AKA: - CNC Pumpkin Carving of 3D Head Scan

Update 29 October 2015 16:30 GMT - added full lenght video on Youtube showing the milling process.

Update: 29 October 2015 11:00 GMT

Scooped out the inside - cut a hole for the mouth and put some LEDs inside to make it a real 'lantern':

Update: 28 October 2015 23:00 GMT

It worked! Contrary to my fear, having left this going all day, when I came back 10 hours later (must get better at making efficient tool paths!), the milling was finished. The face is about half-life-size (the Vice it's sitting on is fairly substantial...)

My intention is to hollow it out and cut a hole in the mouth, and maybe the eyes, and put a light inside it...

Brushed off the excess with a 1.5" decorators paint brush:

Got a very long video of it being milled - though not all the way to the end - only the first 3 hours or so - might try a time-lapse or something as it's not a thrilling watch...


  1. Scan your head using Skanect and generate a .obj file
  2. Import the .Obj into Meshmixer

3. Add a block in Meshmixer so you have a face poking out from a flat block. 

4. Use the Plane Cut tool to chop off any extraneous bits - try to get the highest point somewhere near the middle of the geometry.

5. Export an .stl file from Meshmixer and import into Meshcam

6. Select milling region in Meshcam that is within the outer boundary of your flat block but includes all of the face bit that you want to actually cut. (Note - you might need to use the Geometry scale and rotation to match the milling axis and travel - some trial and error might be needed here)

7. setup your cutting tool and  toolpath generation - I used a 6mm end-mill

8. Click OK to generate the toolpath and then 'save toolpath' to make your g-code output for Mach3
9. Mount your pumpkin on the mill. I used a saucepan with double sided tape on the bottom to stick it to the milling machines bed and Gaffer tape around the edge to hold it firm - a bit of a bodge, but seemed to work (pumpkins, being soft and a strange shape, are hard to clamp!)

10. Load your gcode into Mach3. Adjust the zero-points and offset to get the topper-most point of your scanned face on the upper point of your pumpkin.

Hit run, and wait... and wait....

Then cut the top and scoop out the inside, like you would any Jack-o'-Lantern: