laser level woes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    My brother brought out his laser level so we could dig some level areas and to scope out some pond stuff. Seemed like a pretty smart device. You get the little bubble exactly in the circle and then wander around with a beeper-thing-on-a-stick. Every place is perfectly level.

    And then it rained.

    And it turned out things were not perfectly level as water typically runs downhill. I suppose gravity might work different here, but I really think this laser level thing is stupid.

    So my brother says that sometimes they get whacked and they are no longer level. He then suggests I rent one. But I can't help but think that a rental unit may have been whacked. And couldn't the same be said for one that was new at the store? And mail order cannot be trusted either.

    I think the idea of the laser level is great. To make sure that two points that may be 500 feet apart are level.

    Is there such a thing?
     
  2. D

    D Well-Known Member

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    The leveling device I'm familiar with is a transit; ours was not laser, but you could set it up and determine whether a lot is level or not. The biggest single advantage in using this type of equipment IMHO is somebody with experience. You have to set the tripod up perfectly, or all your numbers are skewed. And one person looks through the scope (without bumping the tripod). The other person holds the tape, or preferably a 2x2 with an old measuring tape duct-taped onto it. The first one get the number off the stick into focus and sketches it out on a rough map. The second person moves to next location, hold stick upright again... If first number is 56 say, and the second number was 58, then the second location is 2" lower (it's backwards, I know, but think about it-- the smaller the number, the closer it is to the ground). Lasers are supposed to be more a accurate than the old cross hair type I'm used to: you evidently don't have to squint as hard to see the numbers. But I still think you have to have the tape as a guide. Your gravity is correct, obviously. But a transit with a guide can be indispensable. Hope this helps.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Make a water level using some cheap clear plastic tubing. My wife bought one the laser levels from Sears for my birthday. I made the mistake of reading the fine print. The accuracy (1/2 inch in 30 feet) of the device was an insult to my intelligence.
     
  4. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    I use a laser level (or laser transit or laser plane) almost every day in my work. They do need to be calibrated from time to time, but I have never experienced one that was "out of level."

    Most rental shops send them away every year or so to double check them. More likely is that the transit wasn't leveled properly or somone banged the tripod after it was leveled. They make these things with a self leveling option too. Usually with these ones if the unit will turn on it is producing a level beam.

    BTW if you are using one of the really cheap ones (Retail price less then $500) then I don't know how accurate they are. Mine is accurate to within a quarter inch over 250 feet. You are probably better off renting a decent one, it should cost you about $40 for the day.

    Pete
     
  5. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    My brother's laser level cost him about $1200 several years ago. He says comparable stuff is much cheaper these days.

    Yesterday it was pouring rain and today is relatively dry. We went outside and used the laser level on several posts we placed a few days ago when it was dry and the laser level said it was still level. If we mark a level line, and move the level, and the level is broken, won't the second line say that the first line is off? If we get two lines that match, that would seem to say that the level is working. Right?

    So then we're trying to think about what went wrong.

    Could the rain have made things goofy?
     
  6. MikeJoel

    MikeJoel Well-Known Member

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    I would think if the ground was flat and probably disturbed from the work that rain could make areas settle. I would imagine water wants to go somewhere and if the ground is flat it will settle and pool as the ground compacts from its weight.

    Just a guess,
    Mike