DIY Laser Level on tripod
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Thread: DIY Laser Level on tripod

  1. #1
    1000+ Posts Fordman's Avatar
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    Default DIY Laser Level on tripod

    I am about to erect a Stratco double carport (6m x 5.5m) in my back yard, and was thinking of ways to get my levels as close as possible. Previously I have messed around with water tubes and that has worked ok.

    Now I bought a pretty cool digital protractor level last year, in fact for measuring camshaft angles in a Holden V6 engine, but thinking it had other possible uses, eg, wheel alignment, for which I have since used it for basic measurement.

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    And it happens to have a laser cross-beam built in. So I thought, why not use as a building level (for DIY once-off purposes)?
    I simply cut off a piece of 30mm square galv tube I had lying around, 150mm long. Then tapped a 1/4"UNC thread in the underside (standard camera mount screw thread), and mounted it to my fairly good quality camera tripod. That's it. Level sits on top with magnetic base.

    Then using the digital level, adjusted and locked up the forward and sideways angle adjustments of the tripod, only leaving the ability to rotate in a horizontal plane. In fact these don't need to be perfect, as the next step actually sets the level.

    Setting up for use requires a bit of patience in adjusting the tripod leg lengths to get the whole thing level, by aligning the digital level with each of the 3 tripod legs in turn, until it reads 0.00 deg in each direction - much more accurate than using the small spirit level in the tripod. It would be really nice to have screw adjustable tripod legs.

    Then turn on laser beam and rotate carefully, and it works a treat. Have only tested it inside so far, and will need to do the outside levelling in the evening, for the laser to show up 3-4 metres away to each column of the carport, with the tripod set up in the middle.

    IMG_20190908_123030044_red.jpg
    IMG_20190908_122955960_red.jpg
    IMG_20190908_122436948_red.jpg

    For info, the digital level is Moore & Wright (good old name - can't see where its made) model 580-01.
    150mm/6", magnetic underside, machined flat edge underside, measures up to 90 deg, resolution 0.05 deg, accuracy +/- 0.1 deg. IMO its a good bit of kit, very useful, and fairly accurate.
    Bought last year from Toolmart $169.00. There are cheaper and dearer ones available, I liked this one.

    Once again, necessity is the mother of invention!

    Cheers.
    2004 Scenic I 2.0 auto (Hers)
    2016 Ford Territory (His)
    2004 WRX (Sunday car)

  2. #2
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Nice work.

    Moore & Wright is as good a name in metrology as any. These days is is just another part of a conglomerate, as with most good tool brands, so in many ways it is just another brand. But I think it is still a good brand. Though, as you say, who knows where their stuff is made.

    Don't get me started. Bahco shifters are now made in China.

    Roger
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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    Everything is made in China at least for our irrelevant market. In Sweden I doubt you could buy a Bahco anything made in China.

    I have the exact same level. Cost me 200$ but that was some nine years ago when you could only find it in rather specialist tool shops. I still think it is too dear for what it is. There are better alternatives and the sensors I am pretty sure come out of the same factory in China as the rest of them. In fact I think there is an app for your mobile (as with many other things) just as, if not more accurate. Next time you could ask here, I would have happily sold you mine for half what I paid for it (and it's seen very little use - it doesn't fit on my machine). Or you could have just borrowed it.

    I now have a couple of better ones including one that measures in two directions, so it is easier to level without having to sweep it around.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 8th September 2019 at 08:50 PM.
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    ACHTUNG ALLES LOOKENPEEPERS

    Das computermachine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitssparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken bei das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pockets-relaxen und watch das blinkenlights.

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzaugen View Post
    In fact I think there is an app for your mobile (as with many other things) just as, if not more accurate.
    I found out the hard way that the game of levelling with your mobile phone ends with a broken screen.

    It is called clinometer
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...meter&hl=en_AU
    Jo
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  5. #5
    1000+ Posts Fordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzaugen View Post
    Everything is made in China at least for our irrelevant market. In Sweden I doubt you could buy a Bahco anything made in China.

    I have the exact same level. Cost me 200$ but that was some nine years ago when you could only find it in rather specialist tool shops. I still think it is too dear for what it is. There are better alternatives and the sensors I am pretty sure come out of the same factory in China as the rest of them. In fact I think there is an app for your mobile (as with many other things) just as, if not more accurate. Next time you could ask here, I would have happily sold you mine for half what I paid for it (and it's seen very little use - it doesn't fit on my machine). Or you could have just borrowed it.

    I now have a couple of better ones including one that measures in two directions, so it is easier to level without having to sweep it around.
    I work to the old adage - "Neither borrower nor lender be". But thanks for the offer.

    I am happy to buy something of reasonable quality if I think I have a use for it, especially if it looks like it may have various uses, as qualified in my above post - for DIY use. I am not a machinist looking for the best, most accurate measuring equipment.

    The only countries mentioned in the paperwork of this instrument is England and Europe - maybe they make crap stuff there as well. But I agree the innards are probably Chinese. Doesn't affect me in any way whatever.

    If I had wanted something better than a spirit level to build a shed (which is all I need), I could have bought a Bosch Laser Level from Total Tools for $4-500, but I think for zero cost in addition to what I already have for other purposes, I have made a pretty handy tool.

    Cheers.
    2004 Scenic I 2.0 auto (Hers)
    2016 Ford Territory (His)
    2004 WRX (Sunday car)

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    I Bought a laser level for just over $100 ( or at least that is what I told the wife) and I can't build anything without it now.
    Stops my work looking like homer Simpsons spice rack!!

    It is one of those pendulum ones with vertical/horizontal/ both and Plumb bob.
    https://sydneytools.com.au/product/c...aser-level-kit

    There are tiny little datum lines all over my house now.

    What I like about it is it is bone-head simple.
    Don't need to calibrate it, don't need to measure.....Just grab a quick clamp and a bit of angle and fix it somewhere.

    Jo
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  7. #7
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    Boy I'm old! I still use a dumpy level (and a wife to make the mark when requested to do so.).
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  8. #8
    bob
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    G'day,

    bucket, stick, plastic hose and anti-spill thumb....



    this is the upmarket version equipped with a built in variation measurement device....

    cheers,
    Bob
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  9. #9
    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    All good ideas. I now have a cross/spot/line laser level that cost me 30$ from Bunno, one of those cut price "new" manufacturers. I also have one of these (just for angles, no laser):

    https://www.amazon.com/Wixey-WR300-D.../dp/B001PTGBRQ

    And another two (one which measures distance and the one that measures in two directions, which cost me 80$).

    That is why I said there are better options. I tried doing what you have done with the tripod and that Moore and Wright one. I have a professional Gitzo, which is easier to set up than what you describe because it has a very smooth three axis head with three bubble levels (the horizontal one is spherical) but it is still a pain in the butt when you just want a quick reference like Jo said and by the sounds of it what you are trying to do.

    And when I am out of batteries, I still have my compass with clinometer, spherical bubble level and sight for horizontal alignment. Funnily enough, 30 years ago the compass cost about ten times more than the rest of it combined (still outrageous to buy today). Never misplaced a drill hole though.

    https://prospectors.com.au/products/...mpass-freiberg
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 9th September 2019 at 08:24 PM.
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    ACHTUNG ALLES LOOKENPEEPERS

    Das computermachine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitssparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken bei das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pockets-relaxen und watch das blinkenlights.

  10. #10
    bob
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    Default Talked into it....

    G'day,

    OK, I looked up these expensive gadgets you fellas are on about, gawd, I'm being left behind....

    One of these came today from from the usual place, item 322639170772, or, when it's moved "GREEN BEAM SELF LEVELLING CROSS ROTARY LASER LEVEL MULTI LINES PLUMB DOT TRIPOD"...



    used already on the kitchen cupboards project....

    Thanks to those Oriental gentlemen we can get all this technology and precision at my sort of prices, fantastic, the bucket and hose have been upgraded...

    cheers,
    Bob
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  11. #11
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wilkinson View Post
    Nice work.

    Moore & Wright is as good a name in metrology as any. These days is is just another part of a conglomerate, as with most good tool brands, so in many ways it is just another brand. But I think it is still a good brand. Though, as you say, who knows where their stuff is made.

    Don't get me started. Bahco shifters are now made in China.

    Roger
    Good grief. Don't get me started either... I think my entire tool set is now collectible.....
    JohnW

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  12. #12
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    John, I'm not sure there are that many of us left who would want to collect the highest quality tools.

    Most people seem to be happy with rubbish like Kincrome (which is neither King nor chrome, and the manufacturer knows it but is happy to suggest it is both, hence the duplicitous spelling).

    Cheers,
    Roger

  13. #13
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wilkinson View Post
    John, I'm not sure there are that many of us left who would want to collect the highest quality tools.

    Most people seem to be happy with rubbish like Kincrome (which is neither King nor chrome, and the manufacturer knows it but is happy to suggest it is both, hence the duplicitous spelling).

    Cheers,
    Roger
    Quite so. And, like you perhaps, my "collection" is accidental. I just avoided rubbish back then....
    JohnW

    Renault 4CV 1951
    Renault R8 1965
    Renault Scenic 2005 (wife's)
    Renault Scenic 2007 (mine)
    Renault Scenic 2006 (daughter's)
    CitroŽn CX Pallas 1980

    National Co-ordinator, Renault 4CV Register of Australia

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