16 June 2023

LEGO® part 3172: Plate Special 1 x 2 with Pin Hole On Side

Posted by Tom Loftus

Plate Special 1 x 2 with Pin Hole On Side (Design ID 3172; not to be confused with set number 3172 which is well worth a search if you need a laugh) is an intriguing addition to the LEGO® parts inventory. It slots neatly into the existing family of plates with a Technic hole, but what can it do that its older siblings can’t? Today the New E team and I aim to find out, using eye candy – I mean, tablescraps! 

Part 3172, or Plate 1X2, W/ 4.85 Hole, No. 1 to give it its official TLG name, is currently available in Reddish Brown (Element ID 6415991), Red (6433069) and Light Bluish Gray (6438836); the latter being the most recent recolour, as Elspeth De Montes discovered in her parts review of 71799 NINJAGO® City Markets.

On first glance it appears pretty similar to Plate Special 1 x 2 with Pin Hole Underneath (above right, 18677) and to a lesser extent Hinge Plate 2 x 4 with Pin Hole with 2 Holes - Top (above left, 43045), not to mention that part’s earlier incarnation with 3 Holes (98286) - an update that completely passed me by.

The contrast between the newcomer and the 2x4 hinge plate is clear as day. Beyond the obvious size difference, the 2x4’s Technic pin hole is off to one side and projects outward by half a module. The functional difference between 3172 and the smaller 18677 is a bit less apparent. 

That is until you start rotating.

The absence of a stud above the pinhole allows a far greater range of motion. And wouldn't you know it, this is exactly the purpose the element serves in the sets it first appeared in – the LEGO® Harry Potter  House Banners: sets 76409 Gryffindor, 76410 Slytherin, 76411 Ravenclaw and 76412 Hufflepuff.

Convinced there were more avenues to explore besides hinges, I called upon the New Elementary hive-mind to think of some more obscure potential uses. 

Eero Okkonen pointed out its a short leap from the above hinges to a static SNOT solution. Admittedly this setup isn’t inherently unique to part 3172, but you never know – when space is limited, the element's skinny profile could come in handy.

Tim Johnson's thought was to take advantage of the additional stud on the plate section to use the part for mounting 3x3 circular elements. Again, not impossible to accomplish with existing parts but using 3172 is certainly sturdier than most solutions. 

Keen to find a situation where our EOH (element of honour) was more integral, I developed Tim’s idea into this spoked wheel thingamajig. So far as I can tell there isn't an alternative combination of parts that could achieve this but please don't hesitate to prove me wrong! I’m certain there’ll be solutions I overlooked.

The same goes for these tablescraps too. For each, I tried to come up with scenarios that exclusively require the use of our EOH. The likelihood such conundrums will ever appear in a MOC are exceedingly low. Still, to torture a phase, it's the thought experiment that counts! 

Eero’s second suggestion was to nest the part within a 1x3 arch brick. 1x1 corner arches (38583) and 1x2 T-shaped arches (38583) were closer to hand, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the part snuggles up nicely to the T-arch. We both thought this combo might be good for some beady eyes on a creature build.

My final thought was this embedded triangular structure, the corners of which are (mostly) hidden away behind gray tiles and a white cheese slope. The mathematicians among you will be pleased to know its a classic 3,4,5 golden triangle.

Closing thoughts

The possibilities for this element go on and on but that's all the New E team could come up with for the moment. This is where you come in, got any cool uses for 3172, or alternative solutions to Tom’s tablescraps? Be sure to let us know / rub it in his face for overlooking the obvious!

READ MORE: A rare SNOT brick is recoloured in Trans-Clear for LEGO® Monkie Kid™ 80048 The Mighty Azure Lion 

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  1. I get that TLG naming can be...imprecise. But this is a bit confusing. I get that "hole underneath" and "hole on the side" are not the same, but still, ugh.

    I guess the naming leaves room for future parts: 1x3 with hole underneath, 1x1 with hole on side, 1x1 with hole underneath.

    1. I agree, they're not the most intuitive names, kinda tricky to conjure up a image of them in the brain based on name alone. Not sure I can think of a better name though.. hmmm

  2. Darn, now I really want set 3172! 🐸

  3. The nesting inside an arch looks just so perfect *chefs kiss* Fantastic analysis of this new part, thank you!

    1. A great idea from Eero! Thanks, glad to hear you enjoyed the read!