A digital replica of the classic Spirograph toy
October 14, 2014 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Do you have fond memories of afternoons spent making geometric patterns and designs with your Spirograph? If so, enjoy Inspirograph, a digital version. posted by jbickers (36 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hmmm... Impossible for the pins to come loose from the board. Doesn't skip teeth and ruin a design that takes two hours to complete. Pen doesn't drop globs of ink.

Worst spirograph ever.
posted by Splunge at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2014 [41 favorites]


(BTW, arrow keys seem to be much easier to use than the mouse.)
posted by jbickers at 11:55 AM on October 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is the best thing that has ever been put on the Internet.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:02 PM on October 14, 2014 [9 favorites]


Now if someone could find me an online Logo interpreter, I'd be set for _all_ my epicyclic drawing needs.
posted by Kyol at 12:06 PM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Now how about a Light Bright..or whatever it was?
posted by dukes909 at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love these sorts of things and wonder whether it can export to vector format. (I've seen some folks say that Apple's grapher can do them, and that Processing also works, but I haven't been able to get a handle on them enough to get a scalable output yet.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:23 PM on October 14, 2014


dukes909: "Now how about a Light Bright..or whatever it was?"

Javascript-based OK?
posted by Rock Steady at 12:36 PM on October 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kyol - Logo.

dukes909 - Lite Brite 1 and 2.
posted by sysinfo at 12:37 PM on October 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


This thing is good. It is a good thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:39 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I couldn't figure out how to put moving gears on the outside of the ring gears, but other than that fun and nostalgic, though as Splunge notes weird not to have it fuck up unpredictably with loose pins or crappy pen ink every so often, which is certainly part of my memory of the real thing. But then I had a tendency to try to make overly complicated designs -- I also note you can't build your own track for the moving gear out of oh-so-fragile straight, curved, and endcap pieces -- so I blame my 10 y.o. self really.
posted by aught at 12:39 PM on October 14, 2014


I'm so old my Spirograph had pins to hold the outer ring to the paper. While I like digital versions of my childhood toys, the digital versions are just simulacrums.
posted by Rob Rockets at 12:41 PM on October 14, 2014


I just bought my niece a Spirograph for a birthday present. The modern iterations include a sort of blue-tack-ish substance to hold down the plastic bits.
posted by bendy at 12:53 PM on October 14, 2014


I love these sorts of things and wonder whether it can export to vector format. (I've seen some folks say that Apple's grapher can do them, and that Processing also works, but I haven't been able to get a handle on them enough to get a scalable output yet.)

Just write directly in postscript. This is the exactly the kind of thing it excels at.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:55 PM on October 14, 2014


This is mine.

I call it omnomnomnom
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:00 PM on October 14, 2014 [3 favorites]




This to me is the classic example. A related set of graphics to me were things like the E8 Lie group. Off line you can make some similar graphics with nothing but a compass and a piece of paper and a box of colored pencils.

Is there a name for the figure created when you: take a circle, put a bunch of points on the perimeter, and draw lines connecting every point to every other point? Sort of a two dimensional net of Indra? I have always called this figure a 2D net of Indra but am curious to know if the mathematics professors have a name for this.
posted by bukvich at 1:15 PM on October 14, 2014


For those of you fearing too much Tron in your simulacrum, note that if you overdraw on a line, it gets darker just like a real ink pen!
posted by Jake DeNiro at 1:16 PM on October 14, 2014 [9 favorites]


Is there a name for the figure created when you: take a circle, put a bunch of points on the perimeter, and draw lines connecting every point to every other point?

And is there a tool online that will let me do this please
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:23 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh My.

Not only can I not stop laughing, I also cannot stop playing with this thing.

Well there goes the next four hours.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:33 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Buckvich: Metatron's_Cube?
posted by Wild_Eep at 2:27 PM on October 14, 2014


Unemployed and bored for 364 days, and you show me this the night before I go back to work?? Curses.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:34 PM on October 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I keep adding to everything I draw in such ways that they all end up looking like rejects for the ABC Night at the Movie logo in the early 1980s - which basically means the tools may have changed but my design aesthetic is pretty much exactly like it was using the Spirograph in 2nd grade.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:50 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pretty much what Splunge said makes this THE BEST THING EVAR on the internets. Well, apart from cat photos. I like using the mouse for the extra degree of feeling like you might almost be drawing it yourself. I can see I will have to use this as a reward for doing the work thing I really don't want to do this morning.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you jbickers. And it means if I ever find my old plastic one I can now throw it away.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:41 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dang. I had a spirograph as a kid. The pins would come loose at the absolute worst times.


This is too awesome.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:13 PM on October 14, 2014


Love it. Splunge is so right. My old Spirograph was immensely frustrating. This is much better.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:08 PM on October 14, 2014


If you can bring me a spirograph and a lite-brite, I'm sure it's not too much to ask for Incredible Edibles?
posted by janey47 at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2014


Man, I thought I enjoyed spirographs, but when I started using this thing, I realized that I was incredibly tense and stressed when I started moving the mouse. I was trying to be so careful to not skip the mouse or pull the wrong direction, or I'd fuck up the design. And then I realized that this spirograph tool wouldn't allow me to fuck it up like a real spirograph could, and there was no reason to be stressed out. But despite knowing this, the feeling of being stressed out lasted a few more minutes, until finally my heart recognized what my mind had already realized. And now I've realized that I never liked spirographs, I liked the Platonic ideal of spirographs. And this is that Platonic ideal. Awesome!!
posted by Bugbread at 8:54 PM on October 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's entirely possible to make it skip just like a real one, example here.

RTFM, people.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:04 PM on October 14, 2014


The issue isn't whether it's possible to make it skip, but whether it's possible to make it not skip. And unlike a real spirograph, it is possible.
posted by Bugbread at 9:07 PM on October 14, 2014


I play with something quite similar on my phone and tablet.

Kaleidoo
posted by merelyglib at 10:39 AM on October 15, 2014


The pins were my favorite thing about Spirograph. I love that my brother and I (and he can't have been more than five) were trusted with a box full of sharp metal pins. Sure, we hurt ourselves or whatever, we dropped them into the '70s deep shag carpet and probably embedded several in my dad's feet, but we survived! I bought a later-generation Spirograph as a gift for a child many years afterward and was truly disgusted at the lack of pins.
posted by kostia at 6:04 PM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is great!
posted by rmd1023 at 6:07 PM on October 15, 2014


Spirograph is one of those things that you try to explain to small children as one of the "fun things you did as a kid" then realize that you're getting the same look you gave your elders when they described a hoop and a stick.
posted by dances with hamsters at 6:47 AM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


My parents never played with hoops and sticks. However, they did have tractor tires that they rolled down hills in, and the only time I've tried that it was less fun than nauseating.
posted by klangklangston at 10:26 AM on October 16, 2014


Pretty cool, but can it make Spirograph Pancakes?
posted by alms at 6:12 AM on October 17, 2014


I've managed to resist picking up one of these the last two times I've been by Bed, Bath and Beyond. Not sure how much longer my self-control will hold out.
posted by Lexica at 4:05 PM on October 17, 2014


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