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Picture of Equidistant Layout Divider

It might be specialized, but a layout divider is a tool you might find yourself reaching for once you have one handy. There's times in the shop when I have an arbitrary length to a piece and I need to split the difference. Instead of measuring out the distance and doing division, this handy tool articulates to whatever distance you need and creates an even spacing between each joint.

It might seem complicated, but I was able to design this in Tinkercad, a browser-based CAD software that's easy to use and completely free! The parts were then cut out on a laser cutter.

Dremel was kind enough to loan me a laser to try out and see what projects I could come up with using Tinkercad. You can find out more about Dremel's new laser cutter and get a hefty discount here (discount ends September 30, 2018).

Here's the layout divider in action

Though certainly not a precision tool when made out of plywood, it can serve as a great reference tool when "close enough" is all that's needed.

You can explore my design below, in the ebedded Tinkercad interface

The SVG file is available at the end of this step

Ready? Let's make!

Step 1: Reference

Picture of Reference

Before any designing there's a reference measurement that needs to be taken. I used rivets as the pins that allow articulation and hold the parts together,. I needed to measure the diameter of the rivet head so I could use that in my design.

cwade13 made it!5 months ago
This was a great introduction to Tinkercad for me.I used Chicago screws instead of rivets, because that's what I had handy. Works great!
Makerneer made it!5 months ago
Thanks Mike!
I tweaked the design a little, but you already knew that. Sooo... shameless plug, here's my remix of the divider tool
mikeasaurus (author)  Makerneer5 months ago
Nicely done :) I think I like your version more!
Makerneer7 months ago
Thanks for posting this, I've been wanting one of these tools for awhile!

I was working on making one today and noticed the SVG file has a rivet hole in the middle of the divider leg, but your pictures don't show a hole in the middle of the divider leg? It looks like the hole isn't used, I'm curious to hear if you made any other tweaks to the final version?
mikeasaurus (author)  Makerneer7 months ago
Glad you like it!
The hole in the divider leg is not supposed to be there, but doesn't affect the performance. For strength, it's better if it's not there.

The most critical tweak was attaching the rivets - getting the tension right was tricky! :)
TheMainMan12 months ago

It should be fairly easy to modify this so that you could hold it in place once you've set it to the spacing you want. Instead of using a rivet that slides in the pointer on one of the ends, simply replace it with a small bolt and wingnut. Leave the wingnut slightly loose until you've set the distance then simply tighten the wingnut to hold the spacing in place.

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Yonatan241 year ago

The IKEA site is broken so I can't link it, but I just want to let you know you can also use a $5 pot/pan riser (for a kitchen table... whatever it's called).

I bought one to turn it into a scissor lamp a while back.

mikeasaurus (author)  Yonatan2412 months ago

That's a really good idea! Sure beats doing the math :)

keithd6712 months ago

Would it be possible to publish the SVG file please.

mikeasaurus (author)  keithd6712 months ago

Good idea! It's at the end of the introduction, below the 3D model viewer :)

Please post your results, I'd love to see them.

85rocco12 months ago

Pretty cool, and well executed. It's similar in concept to a rivet spacing tool. See

cjf1 year ago

At first glance, I thought it was made of popsicle sticks, I might try it that way.

WayneR681 year ago

Just ripping off someones design but in wood, not that clever really

lostwhits1 year ago
Should the left hand arm be facing the opposite way to the rest. So it can straddle the outer edges of the item you are dividing?

Very nicely explained. Good Instructable. KJ

Sheena-you don't monkey around.png

I have a tool in my sewing room that will also do the job although it is not as pretty. It is called an expanding sewing gauge.