Lette’s Roll

A roulette is a little wheel or little roller, but it’s much more than a game in a casino. It can also be one of a family of curves created by tracing the path of a point on a rotating circle. Suppose a circle rolls around another circle of the same size. This is the resultant roulette:
roulette1

roulette1static
The shape is called a cardioid, because it looks like a heart (kardia in Greek). Now here’s a circle with radius r rolling around a circle with radius 2r:
roulette2

roulette2static

That shape is a nephroid, because it looks like a kidney (nephros in Greek).

This is a circle with radius r rolling around a circle with radius 3r:
roulette3

roulette3static
And this is r and 4r:
roulette4

roulette4static
The shapes above might be called outer roulettes. But what if a circle rolls inside another circle? Here’s an inner roulette whose radius is three-fifths (0.6) x the radius of its rollee:
roulette5

roulette5static
The same roulette appears inverted when the inner circle has a radius two-fifths (0.4) x the radius of the rollee:
roulette5a
But what happens when the circle rolling “inside” is larger than the rollee? That is, when the rolling circle is effectively swinging around the rollee, like a bunch of keys being twirled on an index finger? If the rolling radius is 1.5 times larger, the roulette looks like this:
roulette6
If the rolling radius is 2 times larger, the roulette looks like this:
roulette2over

Here are more outer, inner and over-sized roulettes:

roulette_outer

roulette_inner

roulette_over

And you can have circles rolling inside circles inside circles:

roulette7

roulette0616

roulette0616all

And here’s another circle-in-a-circle in a circle:

roulette07c015c

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