Tectonic Plates

Description of the model

The model consists of a frame with a raised edge on three sides and five movable parts. These five parts are bevelled and positioned in such a way that they form a flat surface. Pushing against the first part from the open side of the frame, the “plates” slip over each other and thus show the shifting mechanism of tectonic plates and the formation of mountains.


frame 1x

Slab_midle 3x

Slab_edge 2x

This model was designed and tested as part of the 3D4VIP project.

Printing instructions and tips

The optimal printer settings are highly dependent on the slicer used. We usually use Ultimaker Cura. Six settings in Cura have proven to be favourable, sometimes in combination: (1) Adaptive Layer Height ensures accelerated printing in the parts of the object where details are not important. (2) Make Printable ensures that support is usually not needed because overhangs are “bevelled”. (3) Use Brim to ensure that the print adheres well to the print bed. Brim can be easily removed later. (4) Initial bottom layer a maximum of two or three layers so that the object has a flat surface and warping does not occur. (5) Maximum two or three wall layers to save material. (6) Infill maximum 15%, but six to seven top layers. If printing is done with support structures, other settings are usually required.



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  • Rotate with the left mouse button.
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Additional Models

  • Tektonic-Plates_slab_edge.3mf

  • Tektonic-Plates_slab_middle.3mf

  • Tectonic_Plates_Frame.stl
  • Tectonic_Plates_slab_edge.stl
  • Tectonic_Plates_slab_middle.stl