Building Angle with Hinge Plates

I’ve talked about building angle with plates for quite a few post now. But building angle with hinge plates is much more common. Today we are going to focus on building with Hinge Plate 1 x 4. There is a well know Hypo-technique that uses two or three hinge plates to create angles. It’s been widely used in many Ninjago sets to make snake or dragon heads. That’s not our topic for today. Another common technique is to use two hinge plates to achieve a sturdy “in system” structure. See image B on this post by Gregory Brick. There are many examples of this in official sets. Here are some of the examples.

The Green Grocer is probably the first set that introduced me to this technique.


Many of the recent X-wings use this technique to build the sharp nose.


And the tail part of the Sopwith Camel


These are all great examples. But what got me thinking was why does this geometry work? And more importantly what kinds of structure work and what angle can we achieve. Here’s an explanation that I came up after working on my previous posts. Let’s look at the picture below.


These three structures has the same length a and the angle formed is exactly the same. So in this case, the Hinge Plate 1 x 4 does the same job as the 2×2 jumper. Its pivoting point is at the same location as the center point of the 2×2 jumper. So based on the previous post, we can see that these structures are all valid.


There are many more angles that you can achieve with this technique. See what you can come up with.

Now let’s look back at the more common two hinge technique and see what’s achievable. The two hinges are basically forming a mirrored image of the one hinge structure.


Once you have the one hinge version, the two hinge will come naturally. You might still ask, what’s the distance between the two pivot points? Why does it work? Here’s a graphical explanation.


The distance is usually the diagonal distance of an l x n plate.

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