Circles within Circles within Circles
February 16, 2018 10:11 PM   Subscribe

I need to produce—for eventual printing on 8.5" X 11" sheets—a graphic with four concentric rings of 24 circles each (the circles can be touching or have a small space between them). Is there a very easy way for me to make this, either via a website or with my ancient Adobe CS2 Suite? it's just for my own personal use, so no design budget to pay a pro to do it. TIA for all pointers/suggestions!
posted by tenderly to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
posted by oceano at 10:21 PM on February 16, 2018

This would probably be easiest to do in a CADD program using a polar (also called circular) array. DraftSight and NanoCad are two good programs that are free for personal use. Tutorials are readily available. You could make a 15 degree cone and make 4 circles, scaling them outwards of you want so the gaps are uniform, then use them to form the array to fill 360 degrees. You could then rotate alternate circle rings if you want.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 10:30 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I forgot to mention that I'm on an ancient PowerPC Mac under 10.4.11, so any references to non-CS2 software options should take this into account. Thanks!
posted by tenderly at 10:37 PM on February 16, 2018

1) Go to

2) Enter this code:
void drawRing(real radius){
	for(real t=0; t<360; t+=15){

real x = (1+sin(pi/24))/(1-sin(pi/24));

3) Click "Render as Image"

4) Even if you don't program, you can probably modify this code to tweak some aspects of the output. Replace the quantity in parentheses in the drawRing() command with whatever radius you want (I chose the radii so that the rings of circles would touch). Feel free to MeMail me for more tips!
posted by aws17576 at 10:45 PM on February 16, 2018 [25 favorites]

Wow, thanks aws17576, that's exactly what I was looking for!!
posted by tenderly at 11:43 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

aws17576, that is just beautiful.
posted by Chitownfats at 9:57 AM on February 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Another option if you need to do this sort of thing in the future is to use a geometry program—GeoGebra has downloadable and web-based programs. (You could draw your concentric circles, divide them into, say, 48 equal pieces with rays from the center, use alternate intersections as the centers of your little circles, etc. )

(Or, this would also be easy to code up in something like TiKz, which I wouldn’t recommend teaching yourself unless you have a burning desire to learn LaTeX, but I could totally do it for you. )
posted by leahwrenn at 11:09 AM on February 17, 2018

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