A Virtual Cycloid Drawing Machine
March 4, 2016 3:38 PM   Subscribe

A web version of this machine. Curiously relaxing.

In case you don't have the $900, or you need one right now.
posted by carter (13 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Satisfied with epitrochoids and hypotrochoids?
Pay a visit to the wax-museum bargain basement:
Hoot Nanny No. 1 Vintage Drawing Design Toy [YouTube]
Magic Designer Vintage Spirograph-like toy [YouTube]
Spirograph [YouTube]
posted by 0rison at 4:48 PM on March 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I bought a Spirograph last year, originally as a Christmas gift for either my niece or nephew, depending on who turned out to be harder to shop for. I then reckoned that a thing that renders cycloids with pen and paper might not go over big with the Xbox One generation, so I held onto it. Great decision.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:11 PM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by FirstMateKate at 5:12 PM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wayne's youtube review from the OP was a pleasure to watch. Such a smooth, relaxing, and yet emphatic delivery.
posted by stinkfoot at 5:47 PM on March 4, 2016

I need this as a screensaver.
posted by dontjumplarry at 5:49 PM on March 4, 2016

But can I count on this to reverse the rise in gang activity?
posted by mhum at 5:57 PM on March 4, 2016

I love the web version. I clicked on the letters, getting new gears. Then I clicked on the gears, and moved them around the page and made them bigger. I could erase and start over. I could accelerate the drawing by pressing the buttons near play. Well hello Friday night and virtual spirograph.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:57 PM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Agree that the review was very nicely delivered. The figures were beautiful.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 7:31 PM on March 4, 2016

This is a great post.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:10 AM on March 5, 2016

This is fantastic. Does anyone know how complicated the math is to calculate the position of the pencil at any moment? I mean, is it just algebra with a term for each spinning wheel or would you actually need calculus to figure it out?
posted by great_radio at 1:51 PM on March 5, 2016

This was built by my coworker, who does all sorts of interesting things (twitter).

The blog post about this app and collaborated with Joe Freedman, who created the physical machine, is also good.
posted by jjwiseman at 2:17 PM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

great_radio: Just trig, I believe. Here's a video that derives Spirograph math.
posted by gnidan at 12:46 AM on March 6, 2016

Does anyone know how complicated the math is to calculate the position of the pencil at any moment?

I had one of those Magic Designer toys when I was a kid. I had a lot of fun with it. A few years back I wrote a software emulation of it. It took some trig. I remember having to look up the law of cosines. But no calculus was needed.
posted by DarkForest at 6:47 AM on March 7, 2016

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