A few years ago, I gave a little tutorial on this technique at our LUG(Lego User Group). And that was the starting point of my technique sharing career, which lead me to write this blog. I hesitated to talk about this technique, because it’s not build-able in LDD. Let’s find out why.
Trees built out of plates are somewhat common in MOCs. Comparing to dedicated tree parts, they give you a wider range of colors to choose from and can be more flexible in terms of size. Here’s how I do it.
A single section of the tree looks like this.
It’s built from 5 layers of plates
- 1st layer: 8 2×2 plates
- 2nd layer: 8 2×2 plates
- 3rd layer: 8 2×2 corner plates
- 4th layer: 4 2×2 plates
- 5th layer: 1 1×3 plate + 1 2×3 plate
The bottom two layers have plates with 22.5° angle. LDD doesn’t let you build on a stud at anything other than 90°. You can rotate later but not when connecting at first. So that creates a bit of a problem for me when adding that last 22.5° 2×2 plate. (This image is an illusion, one of those is a 2×2 corner plate).
Once you have a 16-plate ring, attach it to the top like this. Connect the 4 green dots with the 4 purple dots. It’s not a prefect fit. But since everything on here is connected with only one stud, every point is turn-able. If you just wiggle a bit, it’ll fit.
Then you can add a 1×3 brick and a 2×3 brick on the bottom. Oh, don’t forget to add a 1×1 plate at the center of this 3×3 block for support.
Now that you have a single section, you can stack multiple to create trees of arbitrary height. For example these contain 2 sections.
To top off your tree, you can do a number of things. The most common way that I’ve used is this, with three 2×2 corner plates.
To build a bigger tree, you’ll need a bigger ring.
And again by giggling the plate positions a bit, you can fit the smaller tree in the previous section onto this bigger ring. Then build up the smaller tree like we’ve talked about.
The result is a bigger tree.
Like I said earlier, there will be no LDD file for this technique. All of the plate rotation is too much for it to handle.