Introduction: 3D Laser-Cut Pumpkin Decoration
In this Instructable, I'll teach you to make your own 3D laser-cut pumpkin decoration! Impress your friends, family, and/or co-workers by using this decoration as the table centerpiece at a Halloween party or as a desk decoration to get into the Halloween spirit. Unlike traditional pumpkins, this pumpkin won't rot and can be used for years to come!
I came up with the idea for this when brainstorming fun things to do for my family to help us celebrate Halloween in such a crazy year. They loved it when I used this as the centerpiece for a Halloween themed dinner. Due to the pandemic, we couldn't go out to celebrate Halloween, so I brought Halloween to us in a fun and classy way!
Step 1: Modeling the Pumpkin in Fusion 360
The video above walks you through step-by-step how to model the base of the pumpkin. This way you can try it for yourself! Or you can download the .stl file linked in Step 2: Adding the Stem.
I love modeling with Autodesk Fusion 360. It's a lot of fun to use and easy to learn. If you don't already have Autodesk Fusion 360, as a hobbyist you can get a free one year trial (click here) or as a student you can get a free one year trial renewable for the full time you are in school (click here). Fusion 360 can be used on both Mac and Windows computers.
Step 2: Adding the Stem in Fusion 360
This video walks you through adding the stem to the 3D model of your pumpkin in Fusion 360. Or if you'd prefer you can download the included .stl file!
Step 3: Using Slicer to Prepare Your Pumpkin for Laser-Cutting
The above video walks you through step-by-step on how to use Slicer for Fusion 360 to transform your pumpkin 3D model into slices for laser-cutting. Don't forget to save your Slicer file! You will need the file later to access the assembly instructions.
I have also attached the files! I have attached the original .dxf files as they were exported from Slicer. See the next step for the .svg files. To view the assembly steps you will need the original Slicer file, however, the Slicer file type is not supported as an attachment, so instead click here to download.
I made my pumpkin using 1/8" birch plywood with a sheet size of 11" x 17". You can use any material you like (as long as it is laser-cutter safe of course). If you want to use a different material or different size sheets, simply create and select a new profile under manufacturing settings matching your material.
If you do not already have Slicer, you can download it here. It can be used for both Mac and Window computers. It is no longer updated, however, it does still work great!
Step 4: Prepping Your Files for Laser Cutting
This video walks you through how to use Adobe Illustrator to prep the files you created in Slicer for laser-cutting. You could also upload the .dwg files to another program such as Inkscape or CorelDRAW to prep the files.
I have also attached the .svg files I made, all prepped and ready to go for laser-cutting. And I've attached my Illustrator files, just in case you want them!
Step 5: Laser-Cutting on the Glowforge
I laser-cut my pumpkin on my Glowforge laser-cutter, however, you can laser-cut your own pumpkin on whatever laser-cutter you'd like! The video above walks through the steps needed to print your files on the Glowforge. Repeat the same steps for each additional print. Even if you are using a different laser-cut, you should probably watch this video as it covers some general tips specifically related to this print.
Step 6: Assembling Your Pumpkin
This video covers some tips for assembling your pumpkin after printing. Before you start this process, you'll want to organize your pieces by number (as illustrated in the picture). Make sure you have your Slicer file open on your computer so that you can walk through each step under Assembly.
A few additional things, make sure to regularly remove the dowels so as the ensure that they don't get stuck. The more pieces you assemble the easier it will get, it can be difficult at first but you'll get the hang of it. Once you have most of the middle pieces together you may choose to stop using the dowels and line up by sight, just align the holes. Always, always position your piece before you apply the glue; look at the assembly model in Slicer if you are unsure of how it is supposed to look. It doesn't have to be perfect! This model is rather forgiving for things being not quite aligned right. Good luck and have fun!
Step 7: You Did It!!
That's right, you're done! You have assembled your pumpkin and are now holding it in your hands! You can use it as is or add a spiderweb or other spooky Halloween decor! I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!
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