Can someone help me create a spiral (helix) similar to the one shown in the image? The creator (paper investigator) told me by email that uses Adobe Illustrator, but I don't know how to. Thanks!


---UPDATE--- Thanks to everybody. I need to improve it but, using the Curvature tool, this is the results:

enter image description here

  • Hola, Daniel. En el otro hilo no se llegó a ninguna solución. Gracias.
    – Maxwell
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:07
  • Hi Maxwell, welcome to GDSE. Have you tried using the Pen Tool to create Bézier curves?
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:38
  • Hi, Billy. Yes, I'm trying with the pen tool, but like newbie i cant master it well. Thanks for the comments. I will keep on.
    – Maxwell
    Aug 28, 2018 at 22:43
  • Maxwell, you should probably have a look at some tutorials on using the Pen Tool. Also there is a very good online game here for learning and practising.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 28, 2018 at 23:07
  • If you edit the title of your question to dispute its [duplicate] status, could you also please explain why you think it's not a duplicate? Thanks! We're happy to reopen dupe questions if it turns out they aren't dupes, but we do need a good reason.
    – Vincent
    Aug 29, 2018 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


The next isn't mathwise exact but it can be plausible enough

enter image description here

Start by increasing in the preferences the keyboard increment to something substantial, say 5mm instead of for ex. one pixel. Be sure you have smart guides and snap to points ON, no other snaps!

  1. Draw a square

  2. rotate the square 45 degrees

  3. Stretch and squeeze the square to the wanted approximate plane projection size horizontally and vertically. The colored circles are the names of the corners. With the scissors tool cut the shape at the blue corner

  4. With the direct selection tool select the anchors one by one and shift them with the arrow key. There's 2 anchors in the blue corner. Shift the wrong one 1 tick down. You return it later. Shift the rest anchors up:

    • green 2 ticks
    • red 4 ticks
    • orange 6 ticks
    • blue 8 ticks

Shift the starting point to its original position; one tick up.

  1. With the node type conversion tool (it's under the pen) drag the nodes to smooth ones. The starting point and the ending point must have approximately identical handles

  2. Make a copy. Drag it to continue the curve. If you drag its starting point when the whole curve is selected, the curve follows. It will snap. Select both curves and join them (Ctrl+J). Smooth the seam with the anchor type conversion tool.

ADD: Nearly any 3D CAD program draws it exacly right with few clicks and save it as 2D SVG or other Illustrator compatible format. This screenshot is from TurboCAD DLX trial (oops, it's CCW, but it can be mirrored)

enter image description here

The curve opened perfectly in Illustrator. CAD makes possible to add the terse curves, too in 3D, if one wants it. Then place the note symbols to the crossings in 2D.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.