A Spirograph for Christmas

Gotta play with my new toy:

Spirograph - liquid ink - ceramic tip
Spirograph – liquid ink – ceramic tip

That’s with a set of liquid ink and ceramic tip plotter pens. They’re unbelievably cranky, but produce wonderfully fine lines:

Spirograph - liquid ink pen - detail
Spirograph – liquid ink pen – detail

Text comes out exactly the way vector lettering should look:

Spirograph - liquid ink pen text - detail
Spirograph – liquid ink pen text – detail

There’s a slight shake visible at 500 mm/min = 8.3 mm/s, but it’s Good Enough.

All the pen-and-ink traffic around the center produced a ring of damp green fuzz:

Spirograph - liquid ink - ceramic tip - center detail
Spirograph – liquid ink – ceramic tip – center detail

The artsy part of the plot ran at 1800 mm/min = 30 mm/s, with little of the wobbulation at 6000 mm/min = 100 mm/s. None of that would matter with a router, of course.

It’s a nice, Christmasy design in kinda-red and sorta-green.

From the stack of plots accumulating near the MPCNC bench:

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Plots 7 and 9 show the tape sutures required to produce a 26×18 inch sheet covering the MPCNC’s full work area. The squat plots fit on B-size sheets and the rest come from 17×14 inch artist’s sketchpad sheets.

I used Google PhotoScan to capture and rectangularize paper sheets from the floor or atop the bench, then battered the contrast and crushed the file size with a one-liner:

i=1 ; for f in 1* ; do printf -v dn "Spiro %02d.jpg" $(( i++ )) ; convert $f -level '10,80%' -density 300 -define jpeg:extent=300KB tweaked/"$dn" ; done

The plots look great in person (modulo some incremental software improvements), but the slideshow images look awful because:

  • Google PhotoScan produces surprisingly low-res images
  • I’m overly compressing the results

They’re not (yet) art and there’s no point in a high-quality workflow.

Enjoy the day …

6 thoughts on “A Spirograph for Christmas

  1. Very nice Ed. Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday season. Thanks for sharing all the technical know-how, gee-whiz, and other fun stuff over the year(s).

  2. Merry Christmas! The clear (but funky) bandage contact lens comes out of my eye on Wednesday. Should make for a major improvement in vision. Protip: after 15mg of Valium, you Just Don’t Care what they’re doing to your eye. Until later.Protip 2: Ibuprofen + Acetaminophen works about as well as Vicoden and is considered safe.

    I’m following the MPCNC series; might add some CNC to the bit of woodworking I’m doing.

    Just dusted off my emacs-fu and wrote a script to copy mp3 files to the flash drive for the ’16 Forester’s system. Thunar is casual about the order mp3 files are copied to a stick, while the processer in the Subie doesn’t try to sort. Makes for some interesting music, Broadway cast and many classical albums are pretty weird out of order.

    1. Ewwww! I’ve been (squeamishly) following a relative’s eye injections for macular degeneration, but … well, keep biting those bullets.

      FWIW, I ran into the same file sequencing problem while ripping books-on-CD for Mary: for whatever reason, listening to a book in random three minute slices didn’t go over well. Turns out good ol’ rsync Does The Right Thing with a directory of files like D01-T01.mp3, but it definitely couldn’t cope with less compulsive names.

      1. My mother is getting those injections. I’m not asking for any details. [wince] The prospects of much better eyesight makes it worth while for me. Got a preview a couple days after the procedure, but there’s swelling that makes me nearsighted. The big payoff will be on the other eye, that has irregularities that aren’t correctable with normal lenses. The surgeon thinks he can fix those.

        These files were all consistently formatted (nn track name goes here.mp3), so they were easy to copy. I didn’t loop, just stuck in an if;then;fi block for each name, assuming no files above 49 (I found #39 once). Spaces and ampersands in the directory names confused mkdir, so rather than figure out how to deal with them, I renamed with underscores.

        It was all crude, but I rebuilt the stick with 200 directories (11G worth of data) in a day. It gives me a variety of stuff to listen to on the trips to the eye doctors (2 hours each way, once a week at times). Should be winding down to once or twice a month, I hope.

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