I’ve recently did some research on spirographs and found lots of resources. My goal was to find tools that would automate the process and allow for experimentation. I’ll be sharing them here, as they may be useful to others.
Roulettes (Illustrator Scriptographer script)
This script by Håkan Lundgren is very easy to use once you install Scriptographer for Illustrator, and allows for the creation of epicycloids, epitrochoids, hypocycloids and hypotrochoids. The script will generate quite a few points so either increase the plot/angle value or run the Path/Simplify function afterwards.
Vectorizer (online SVG/PNG generator)
Get ready to waste your time: you can spend hours playing with this tool. It was created by Nick Kircos (and based on an earlier Flash-based version by Tom Beddard). It generates guillochés in real time, and you can output them as SVG (vector files readable by Illustrator) or as PNGs. Experiment with it; I’ve found it to output the best results when rounding up numbers instead of using decimal points.
Spirograph (Illustrator Scriptographer script)
This script by Jürg Lehni is included in the included in the Examples/Scripts folder in the Scriptographer package, and will let you generate spirographs.
NINA Script for Spirograph Patterns (InDesign script)
This InDesign script allows you to create spirograph-like patterns easily from within InDesign, and was written by Olav Martin Kvern (based on algorithms by Matt Freedman). Experimenting with the numbers will get you different results.
Do you know of any other tools like these? Feel free to leave a comment!