MakeX: Pumpkins and Powertools brings electricity to Halloween


Students wore old clothing and protective goggles to prepare for the seeds and pulp that would fly through the air during their unconventional pumpkin carving.

Brian Slocum, the managing director of Lehigh’s Design Labs, said the second annual MakeX event, Pumpkins and Power Tools, which took place on Oct. 26 outside of Wilbur Powerhouse, was meant to “get students in the Halloween spirit,” and raise awareness of the resources that Wilbur Powerhouse has to offer.

MakeX, and the related programs LearnX and SprintX, allows students to explore new topics, design and make things and solve problems.

“(The goal of this event was) to remind students that this resource is here, and that while we may be carving pumpkins today, we have cool things like laser cutters, water jets and 3D printers that students can use to bring other ideas they have to life,” Slocum said.

Pumpkin designs ranged from simple faces, to patterns and shapes, to intricately carved scenes, created at least in part with air-powered jigsaws. By the end of the night, tables were overflowing with leftover pumpkin seeds.

While some students attended the event with the sole intention of carving a jack-o’-lantern, others wanted to get more familiar with using power tools or with the Design Labs in general. Bailey McDonald, ’19, said she had not used resources in Wilbur prior to the event.

“It was exciting to be taught how to do something and do something that’s very outside of my wheelhouse,” McDonald said.

Students also enjoyed using power tools as a more efficient alternative to the traditional pumpkin-carving knives.

“I still really like getting my hands dirty and working with tools,” said Kaya Harper, ’22. “I think it’s a lot more fun and more hands on, it’s definitely faster.”

Harper said she plans to make use of the resources offered at the Wilbur Powerhouse in the future to work on building projects.

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