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Inspirograph (nathanfriend.io)
117 points by WestCoastJustin on Dec 4, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

Cool! Nice work.

Here's a first-hand user's experience: It took me a bit to figure out how to make it work. I thought I should click the pen hole and press my mouse key as I move it around. Maybe a simple how-to description to get me started would be helpful. Of course, I could just play with it a little more :)

Argh... It doesn't understand touch interface. That would've been a match made in heaven.

Works with my stylus on a Surface Pro. Feels way more natural than doing it with a mouse since I'm literally moving a pen in circles.

Stylus works as mouse, not touch, as far as web events are concerned. (IIRC)

So this won't work well on an iPad...

"Inspirograph isn't mobile friendly... yet! A beautiful, ad-free Inspirograph app is in the works."

Wonder if that will be free as well. How would one go about transforming a (desktop) web app such as this one into an app for each mobile platform?

Edit: and here's the source:


Looks like a bit of framework bloat (in my opinion), this is really the kind of thing that could cleanly be done with minimal frameworks and libraries. But the source still looks nice (and there's even a windows screensaver version??)

This is something of a tangent, but this is kind of a cool visualization of what is sometimes called a "spinorial" object -- an object which can undergo a full rotation and yet not come back to its original state. Here the number of rotations necessary to restore the original state depends on the number of teeth on the gears.

A more classic spinorial object is a belt attached to, say, a book, or apparently your own arm holding up an oriented plate:


Great piece of work! Had lots of fun with it.. Reminds me some Twitter visualizations we did a while ago http://romain.vuillemot.net/publications/visap13-spirograph-... (hopefully Spirographs drawing are fully automated in this case ;)

This is my childhood, and the gallery is great!

Exactly this. It's such a simple concept (spirographs themselves), but using this site put me into an almost trance-like calm. And clicking buttons to choose the "plastic wheels" was even easier than finding them in the box.

I understand that it probably doesn't work with the intended aesthetic, but I kept looking for a "make it go" button, because using a nub-mouse to wind the gear around repeatedly is hard.

you can hold the left/right arrow keys

+1. It will be a nice addition, maye an "advanced" hotkey?.

Very nice work! Congrats!

Instantly reminded me of using my brother's Spirograph when I was a kid, so you definitely did this well :-)


I've always loved that you can get such profound geometry out of spinographs: flowers of life, toruses, and what look like pentagonal solar-magnetic bands... a reality hack to be sure.

This really is impressively done. (yet) liberated from the constrains of real plastic begs elements of special significance. For instance, where's the möbius gear?

I like the fact that while the site isn't mobile compatible, they actually took the time to identify mobile visitors and give them a friendly warning about it :)

Click an drag isn't working for me in Firefox or Chrome. The arrow keys work though. Am I doing something wrong?

How can I get the moving gear to be on the outside of the fixed rings (the two that have inside and outside teeth)?

That's a nice application of epicycloid graphs. Every programmer should have her own implementation of it :)

Reminded me of school...

There goes my productivity. Way to cool...

great work! reminds me of my childhood, thanks!

this is very nicely done

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