Join 3,417 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Don't be gauche—guilloche!
March 28, 2014 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Did you know there's a direct correlation between the decline in Spirograph popularity and the rise in gang activity? Reverse this deplorable trend by playing around with the Guilloché spiral pattern generator!

(You may recognize the characteristic whorls of Guilloche patterns from their use as security features on bank notes.)
posted by Iridic (34 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow! I just designed the covers to my next ten thousand experimental music albums!
posted by Fnarf at 1:34 PM on March 28 [8 favorites]


Did you know there's a direct correlation between the decline in Spirograph popularity and the rise in gang activity?

No, and I still don't.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:37 PM on March 28


Kenner should have followed the razor blade model when they brought out the Spirograph in the US. They should have given the toy away for free, and gone into the paper business. I went through reams upon reams upon reams of paper using my Spirograph.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:48 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


As did I, Thorzdad, and on every single one of the damn things you could see the damning evidence of the pen that skipped when it almost to the end. Damn you, Spirograph, damn you.
posted by Fnarf at 1:52 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


For some reason I always thought that guy in the Spirograph factory was me in forty years.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 1:53 PM on March 28


More web toys from Tom Beddard:
-Harmonograph simulator
-Butterfly curves

Beddard is one-third of the team behind the popular Frax app.
posted by Iridic at 2:00 PM on March 28


Press 'S' to export the design to a JPEG file.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:00 PM on March 28


This is a lot of fun, thanks for posting. When I have some free time, I'd love to make this into a screensaver plugin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Aha -- this is just what I needed for the borders of all the paper Bitcoins I've been planning to print!
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:13 PM on March 28


Spirograph - done five, done them all. My paper remained mostly unused.
posted by Segundus at 2:28 PM on March 28


In the book "How to lie with Statistics", he points out that there's a very close correlation over the long term between Baptist minister's salaries and the price of liquor.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Of course, the cause is inflation, which affects them both about equally.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:29 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Whatever else you do, make sure you try moving the "steps" slider to the extreme left. It is droll.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:54 PM on March 28


I'm going to use this to create my gang symbols.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:18 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Kenner should have followed the razor blade mode

I am imagining a Spirograph model made out of razor blades.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 3:24 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


I am imagining a Spirograph model made out of razor blades.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 6:24 PM on March 28


As found in the playroom of the Event Horizon, no doubt.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 3:37 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I am imagining a Spirograph model made out of razor blades.

How many people here remember the little green-headed pins that came with the original spirograph kits? Those green plastic heads to the pins would come off now and then and let the little pins become easily lost. One time I was using my hand to sweep stuff off my bed and I put one of those little lost pins right through the top joint of my ring finger. After puking at the sight of it, I managed to pull the thing out. Then it was off to the doctor's for a quick tetanus shot. Still, I have fond memories of doing spirograph. And only amateurs ever let the pen slip.
posted by DarkForest at 3:50 PM on March 28


Heh. I actually used the guilloche generator a while back to make the back image for the deck of cards I'm working on. It's awesome.
posted by limeonaire at 4:05 PM on March 28


ITS A SIMPSONS REFERENCE FOLKS OK
posted by blue t-shirt at 4:25 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I wish I could export these as vector files.
posted by klangklangston at 4:45 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I wish I could export these as vector files

Hell yes! This would be an awesome way to design any completely non-efficient building that's all style.... This could turn into an entire retro / post whatever we are calling the non-linear form building today into Spirographism! The hottest trend in architecture!
posted by Benway at 5:01 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


From googling around, at least nominally you can save vector stuff as PDFs through the print menu on a mac, so I'm going to give that a try and report back.
posted by klangklangston at 5:39 PM on March 28


If you adjust the settings just so, you can glipse the merest hint of the awful immensity that it Yog-Sothoth.

Now that I think of it, razor blades would probably help.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:51 PM on March 28


Nope, it looked rasterized and didn't have paths when I tried opening the PDF in Illustrator. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

This is where I got the idea: some kinda forum.
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on March 28


If I print to PDF in Linux, I can open the result in Inkscape, and it's clearly vectors.
posted by scruss at 6:11 PM on March 28


Hmm. I wonder if it's some weirdness between the new OSX update and flash… Even just getting the spiral to stay on the page took a lot of jiggering.
posted by klangklangston at 6:30 PM on March 28


Oh man, a couple of years ago I got all excited about spirograph sets and was only able to find the shittiest of bendiest crappy plastic sets that were worse than useless, or really expensive old versions, but oh my god it looks like there's a real set available now. I kind of tempted damn you.

(That said, this web app is kind of meh.)
posted by aspo at 7:08 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Ok I have all my settings picked out now I just need to find a tattoo artist who is also a robot
posted by ook at 7:20 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


a w e z o o m
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:34 PM on March 28


For me the fun of Spirograph is watching the gears turn and the shape emerge as a result, so having it pop out immediately is a bit disappointing. That said, aspo you've given me $21 of anticipation! I think I'll go wait by the mailbox for the next few days.
posted by fader at 9:31 PM on March 28


I successfully generated an image that has one axis of symmetry, rather than the usual spirograph 'rotational' kind.

(scale 3.6, steps 1600, multiplier 2.6, maj/min 41/0.1, radius 41)

Is this an implementation bug?
posted by crysflame at 11:13 PM on March 28


If you move the "steps" slider all the way to the left you can actually generate shapes with no axes of symmetry.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:57 AM on March 29


  Even just getting the spiral to stay on the page took a lot of jiggering

Yeah, you've got to make it really small. Stripping out the annoying background from the resulting PDF is, well, annoying. Given my recent plotter addiction, I've been drawing a lot of hypotrochoids on my 7470A.
posted by scruss at 7:26 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and I saw someone else saying you can make these with Grapher on macs and export as eps, but I can't figure out how to input parametric equations into the damn thing.
posted by klangklangston at 12:29 PM on March 29


Ooh, this may work better: Ported to vectorizer.
posted by klangklangston at 1:24 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


« Older Who are the Nazi War Diggers?...  |  Last night on the show Colbert... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments