Borneman Timber Frame Layout Guide – 3D Printed (Free STL Download)


I’ve been fascinated with timber framing for a few years. This is when you use lots of big pieces of wood, called timers, and traditional woodworking joinery, such as the mortise and tenon. It fell out of style a while ago, particularly in the United States when stick framing took off with relatively unskilled labor that could be used to make houses with smaller wood pieces, typically 2×4’s. You can get a lot more 2x4s out of a log compared to an 8×8.

You have to cut a lot of joinery, and a guy named Al Borneman made a cool little layout square to make it easier to layout some standard size cuts. It is called the “Borneman Layout Template” or “Big Al” or “Borneman Square”. I learned about it by reading Learn To Timber Frame by Will Beemer. I did some internet searching, and realized they were no longer available. Timber Frame HQ made an improved version but it is no longer available. It was also expensive…apparently around $180 – $200.

I decided to quickly make my own based on the pictures I saw in Learn to Timber Frame. I 3D printed it, and it worked out great! One of the hard part of 3D printing is getting overhangs; I decided to only print one side of the guide…and I could make another for the other half. So…a few bucks for this plastic jig, assuming you have a 3D printer. I’m sharing the file for free for others to print their own. A big thanks to Al Borneman!

Download the STL file (two versions) and the Fusion 360 File: Borneman Layout Guide. There are two STL files: “Borneman Layout Guide – Timber Frame large.stl” — which is what I printed with only one tab on one side. And “Borneman Layout Guide – Timber Frame v12.stl” which is the full model that has tabs on both sides and might be difficult to print with a common FFF printer — however a resin printer might do a great job. “Borneman Layout Guide – Timber Frame v12.f3d” is the Fusion 360 file.

Currently in the Fusion 360 file, I suppressed two “features” in the timeline; they are the opposite side of the lip; it is hard to print this feature, so I left it off. It would be awesome to print the whole thing at once, but I worry about the print failing or sagging on the bridges.

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[…] you have a 3D printer, then download the STL that I designed for a Borneman Layout Guide. These are really handy for laying out the lines and joinery. I’d love one in metal, but the […]


I got a quote for 3D printing for the V12.stl version with the overhang on both sides from Xometry. In solid ABS or similar material it would be $90.28 (includes shipping). Pricy but the original metal ones don’t seem to be available anywhere.

Boneman Layout Guide.JPG

I got one today from Xometry with the lip on both sides. They did say that there would be some small amount of shrinkage. If this image comes through does this it look right, the The full length is closer to 7.75 inches than 7.5

3-D printed.JPG

Can you send me the measurements from the edges to the grooves so I can check this


Ok, it does look ;perfect, now I need to start planning my next timber frame project. I remember this tool being very important in the class I took a few years ago.. Thank you again for supplying the file used for3-D printing.

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