Building Tree with Plates

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.

Single Section

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.

Top Off

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.

Bigger Tree

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.

2 thoughts on “Building Tree with Plates

  1. Actually it’s possible to recreate this technique in LDD (though a bit complicated). Referring to the first image:
    1. start with a “corner” dark green 2×2 plate. “corner” meaning that it’s one of the 4 connected to the lime 2×2 plate
    2. add on the right the green 2×2 plate and set the correct rotation of 22.5°
    3. add on the right the second dark green plate (the “central” one) and set the rotation
    4. add on the right the second green plate and set the rotation.

    Now you have obtained a sort of “module”. since at both its ends you’ll have a 90° degree connection, copypasting it 4 times gives you the complete circle. You can then add the lime plates and the top ones.

    I would attach an image if it were possible.

    1. Hi Pietro,

      Thanks a lot for this tip. That’s a great way to get around my problem. Let me see if I can build the tree with it and maybe i’ll add the LDD file later.

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