Laser levels are conventional tools commonly used in the surveying and construction industries for all aligning and leveling applications. They project a green or red line onto a surface on a vertical or horizontal plane. They can be used for all indoor and outdoor projects. Numerous professional laser level models are provided in sets with added accessories such as holders, clips, clamps, and even compatible laser detectors. These laser detectors are an added advantage for professionals. This is because red and green lasers can become invisible when exposed to the environment. And the laser detector will come in handy.
In this article, you will know how to use a laser level. This is the only guide you need to understand the principle of operations of laser levels.
How a Laser Level Works
Laser levels project red or green beams. The laser is a multi-amplified and incredibly intense beam of light that an LED light emits. The thickness of the laser is dependent on the diode’s parameters and light concentration levels. Optimal accuracy can only be enabled by an ultra-thin beam. This beam will also reduce potential errors significantly, particularly over extended distances like 30 to 50 meters.
The color of the laser beam is also significantly important. The red beam, the standard laser, is ideal for indoor applications. However, it might not be as effective in outdoor applications. So, many laser levels come with green beams, which are four times brighter than red ones, making them ideal for outdoor usage. Of course, this has its consequences. The green laser level consumes more energy than the red laser level. So, it requires more batteries to keep it going. Additionally, the green laser level is more expensive.
The optoelectronic compensator is the heart of the laser level. It’s usually pneumatically or magnetically stabilized. Both methods of stabilization deliver the same function. They help the laser self-level and move within the free movement the manufacturer specified, usually between +/- 3° to 5°. The idea is to help the laser beam align automatically regarding the rotational axis for precise vertical and horizontal alignment.
This can only be done when you place the device horizontally. If you exceed the tilt margin allowed, numerous models will alert you by light or sound signals if they can’t level.
It is crucial to explain how the types of stabilizers work. For magnetic compensators, their pendulums are controlled by an arrangement of magnets. Pneumatic stabilizers, on the other hand, uses air to position its pendulum by a vibration-damping method.
These two types of stabilizers have similar effectiveness. They only have different results when a potent magnetic field acts upon the magnetic compensator. This can upset the system. Today, some spirit laser levels feature electronic compensators. These electronic compensators have processors that direct the servo motor structure’s operation. These spirit levels might be expensive, but they also provide the most precision.
What is a Laser Level Used For?
There are numerous projects where you need to lay out your surfaces. This will require the use of precise leveling. This is where a laser level comes in. A laser level can help with all leveling applications indoors and outdoors. A lot of laser levels also come with a tripod stand you can use them with. If your laser level doesn’t have a tripod stand, it is compatible with one. Here are some of the indoor and outdoor projects you can use a laser level for:
- Leveling floors
- Plumbing and aligning floors
- Aligning cabinets, shelves, and trim
- Installing drop ceilings
- Checking window and door heights
- Installing wainscoting and chair rails
- All basic surveys
- Site layout
- Easy checking and leveling of posts and beams on fences, decks, and porches
- Contour drainage or farming
- Masonry alignment
- The setting grade for proper irrigation and drainage
- Checking land elevations
The highlighted applications are some of the numerous applications of laser levels.
How To Use a Laser Level?
Now that we know how a laser level works and what it’s used for let’s look at how to use the laser level. Laser levels are incredibly swift and straightforward to use. This means you don’t have to do much before you can set them up and start using them. Please don’t forget that there are various types of laser levels on the market. So their mode of operation might differ a bit from the other. However, you can use the following steps to operate most laser levels
- The first thing to do is to attach your laser level to its tripod if you are using it. Many tripods for laser levels have intuitive leveling bubbles and adjustable legs. Use these features to ensure that your laser level balances on the tripod so much that it won’t trip over in case of an accident.
- Switch on your laser level and calibrate it. If you are using a manual laser level, you can calibrate your laser level by ensuring that the leveling bubble and its vial are aligned. If your laser level is a self-leveling model, it will automatically calibrate itself. All you have to do is give it some time.
- The laser level will create a level beam onto your project’s surface.
- Choose a spot on the ground. Then at your desired height, project the laser level onto any surface you want to level. This beam can be a line, dot, or a combination of both. The kind of beam you get is usually dependent on the type of laser level you are using.
- If you want a laser detector with your laser level, use a clamp to fix it to your leveling rod. To do this, keep sliding it up and down the leveling rod until you hear a sound or beep. The sound or beep indicates that the laser detector has connected with the beam.
- Finally, secure the laser detector in place and measure to your satisfaction.
What is a Laser Detector?
One of the problems of using a laser level is that bright environments affect its visibility. A laser detector, also known as a laser receiver, helps solve this issue. With a laser detector, you can use your laser level, particularly red laser levels, in bright environments.
The primary function of the laser level is to detect the invisible laser line. With a laser detector, you can ensure a level reading by positioning the laser level higher or lower on the aluminum rod. You will be alerted with a beep or sound that significantly increases in frequency as the laser level nears the level point.
Types of Laser Detectors
Here are some of the laser detectors available on the market.
- Detector With LED Light: this is the most basic and popular laser detector. It features three LED lights that serve various functions. The three lights indicate “on level”, “above level”, and “below level” respectively. These laser detectors are typically more portable than other laser detector types
- Detector With LCD: these laser detectors have LED lights. They also come with LCDs that indicate when you are above or below level. A signal will show on the front of the detector as it gets to level.
- Dual Display Receiver: dual display laser level detectors come with LCD lights on the front and back. These LCDs ensure you can take note of the readings of the laser detector from the back without blocking the laser detector if you check it from the front.
- Millimeter Display Laser Detectors: while the previously discussed laser detector types will only tell you when you are on level, above level, or below level, the millimeter display laser receiver will show the distance between the laser beam and the detector using a numerical value. This detector helps users get accurate measurements without sliding the laser detector up and down the rod. Additionally, these laser detectors typically come with bigger and better reception windows.
- Machine Mounted Laser Receivers: while other types of laser detectors are either mounted on an aluminum rod or held by the hands, machine-mounted laser detectors are usually mounted on machines such as excavators using an intuitive magnetic clamp or mount. These laser detectors help the user to check the accuracy of the grade without leaving the machine. The user will also be able to see the depth of any cut. The ideal laser levels for these laser detectors are red-level rotating lasers. Users can also integrate the latest machine control laser detector with a hydraulic machine control system (automatic)
Using a laser level is not as difficult as many think it is. You can start using your laser level immediately if you follow the simple steps highlighted in the article. Laser levels are useful for all leveling applications. Depending on the laser level, outdoor and indoor construction projects have been made easier. If you choose a laser level that becomes invisible after being used in a bright environment, you can use this guide to select the best laser detector for your laser level.