I want to plot a 2D parametric function of the form: $$ f_x(\theta_1,\theta_2,\theta_3) = \cos(\theta_1)+\cos(\theta_1+\theta_2)+\cos(\theta_1+\theta_2+\theta_3) $$ $$ f_y(\theta_1,\theta_2,\theta_3) = \sin(\theta_1)+\sin(\theta_1+\theta_2)+\sin(\theta_1+\theta_2+\theta_3) $$

where the ranges for the input variables are: $ \theta_1 \in [-\pi,\pi]$ and $ \theta_2 \in [-\pi,\pi]$ and $ \theta_3 \in [\frac{-\pi }{2},\frac{\pi }{2}]$

I tried to use ParametricPlot, but it takes only two input variables.

Can any one help me with this?


2 Answers 2


I guess it should be a union of these things:

Table[ParametricPlot[With[{c = c},
  {Cos[a] + Cos[a + b] + Cos[a + b + c],
   Sin[a] + Sin[a + b] + Sin[a + b + c]}],
  {a, -Pi, Pi}, {b, -Pi, Pi}], {c, -Pi/2, Pi/2, Pi/24}]

enter image description here


Show[%, PlotRange->All]

enter image description here

Using smaller step sizes in the Table command, it becomes pretty evident you get an annulus contained in the disk of radius 3. A little analysis shows that the annulus has outer radius 3 and inner radius $2\sqrt{2}-3 \approx -0.171573$.

  • $\begingroup$ I can't see the relevance for using a With Statement. $\endgroup$
    – hieron
    Aug 10, 2014 at 12:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @hieron The With statement is certainly not necessary but makes it super simple to extract individual plots. You can use With[{c=Pi/2},___], for example to look at that particular image. It arose because I did exactly that when trying to figure out what was going on mathematically. Clearly, this would be particularly nice, if there were more cs in the expression. $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2014 at 12:39
Manipulate[ParametricPlot [
    {Cos[a] + Cos[a + b] + Cos[a + b + c], 
     Sin[a] + Sin[a + b] + Sin[a + b + c]}, 
    {a, -Pi, Pi}, {b, -Pi, Pi}, PlotStyle -> Yellow], 
  {c, -Pi/2, Pi/2, Pi/24}]

Mathematica graphics

Effect of c in Manipulate is to change diameter of smallest circle of tangency for circle traversing disk. Slow step by step change of c works better to update plot. You can see effects by Manipulate slider e.g., swapping between c and a produces eccentric circles etc...


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