# Five-Axis Pumpkin Carving

The day of carved pumpkins is near, and instead of doing manually like a mere mortal, [Shane] of [Stuff Made Here] built a five-axis CNC machine to take over carving duties. (Video, embedded below.)

[Shane] initially intended to modify his barber robot, but ended up with a complete redesign, reusing only the electronics and the large ring bearing in the base. The swiveling spindle is a rotating gantry with two sets of aluminum extrusions for vertical and horizontal motion. The gantry isn’t very rigid, but it’s good enough for pumpkin carving. Software is the most challenging part of the endeavor due to the complexity of five-axis motion and mapping 2D images onto a roughly spherical surface. Cartographers have dealt with this for a long time, so [Shane] turned to Mercator projection to solve the problem. We’re also relieved to hear that we aren’t the only ones who sometimes struggle with equation-heavy Wikipedia pages.

Since there are no perfectly spherical pumpkins, [Shane] wrote a script to probe the surface of the pumpkin with a microswitch before cutting, appropriately named “TSA.exe”. The machine is capable of carving both profiles and variable depth lithophanes, mostly of [Shane]’s long-suffering wife. She seriously deserves an award for holding onto her sense of humor.

With projects like explosive baseball bats and CNC basketball hoop, the [Stuff Made Here] YouTube Channel is worth keeping an eye on.

## 21 thoughts on “Five-Axis Pumpkin Carving”

1. Cyna says:

But why make the whole machine rotate instead of just the pumpkin? Fitting the fifth axis to the tool itself is also not ideal unless it is made extra rigid. That is why you often see 2+3 axes with machines this size.

1. yetihehe says:

Because he already had a machine which rotates and this was a “simple” retrofit?

2. Carsten says:

I think it’s because it was an adaptation from the hair cutting robot, where it was easier to rotate the machine than the workpiece, and the 5th axis was a hack to fix a problem encountered along the way.

2. X says:

Automating a leisure activity? Talk about missing the point! Why bother to leave the womb when you can get robots to live your life for you!

1. yetihehe says:

Some of us want to have nice or unique pumpkins but don’t have required manual skills. Like with cnc carving wood. Some are artists who can hand carve magnificient things, some are not. I can neither carve nor model such things but I applaud all who try.

1. X says:

Being deadly serious about playing with food is a textbook example of “missing the point”.

1. Ben Robeson says:

Dismissing the joy some find in creating a tool, regardless of how practical it is, could also be seen as ‘missing the point.’

2. my2c says:

The leisure activity is designing/building a machine capable of carving a pumpkin (well) – personally, that sounds like a more enjoyable leisure activity to me.

1. yetihehe says:

Yeah, when sudoku craze started, making a sudoku solving program was much more enjoyable than simply solving those pesky grids. The same with robots. I DON’T enjoy carving anything, but I enjoy results.

3. Duality says:

for some people this is the leisure activity and if you can’t understand that then you have missed the point!

3. X says:

Creating an automated machine to destroy perfectly good food is not exactly an appropriate way to celebrate the harvest.

1. y says:

Saying carving pumpkins are perfectly good food. Is like saying, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane when sky diving.

It’s all in your perception of perfect. One look or taste you might have a different view.

The fruit that is being carved up. Is not the same fruit in the pie.

2. Dan says:

Eh? Spoon out the inside to eat. Then carve the skin.

3. Chris says:

Yes, the “waste” is probably this machine rather than the millions of pumpkins carved by people manually. Which are specifically grown for this and which most people don’t like to eat.

It’s okay to use resources for entertainment once essential needs are met. Why did you even bother posting this? Just enjoy trying to make other people feel bad for no good reason?

4. Fun vid but not believable. Excuse to buy an expensive piece of machinery possibly viable. Plausibility of actual conversation with wife(or any similar) non existent. Didn’t mention price. Everybody knows the first response “how much?”. Not dependent on actual income.
Attempting to walk out on bomb drop of excluding use of garage from significant other #buzzzzz#-NO. At the least he should ve backed out and said very quietly into the corner followed by a louder ‘Love you’ or similar platitude significant to cause reasonable confusion and/or period of time to get away.
Build was shaky and have a nice table plasma cutter sort of excludes the need for other product placements. Pinion fault sad.
Acting on part of the wife award winning. Has the dead eye silent mode stare down. Clear and evident redness in face neck or ears, and/or nervous reactions missing. Needs a few more years of realtime work. In fairness that may be due to low res device I watched it on.

1. Well, his wife is probably already used to tormach gifting him machines for sponsorship. If I understood correctly, he didn’t pay for it.

1. Probably a nice discount or better lease terms. Evaluation Lease maybe. Otherwise the wife scene is nonsensical. Hey honey a company going to toss 20K\$ at me for advertising on my vid-log thats nowhere near maturity. Maybe they liked the 1100Mx walk through. Sponsors help. Sucking up her garage space is likely more an issue if a freebie. Especially with a little one in tow which is easily the most expensive ‘item’ that needs the most attention.

5. Love how it touches on everything from 3D mapping to Pumpkin art :)

6. Louloulou says:

This guy is clearly an incredible engineer. I just got a know how he pays for all the stuff? And the fact that he has a child and still finds time to do this is amazing.

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