Problems with laser levels
Hello. I am brand new to the forum and am an industrial design student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I am in an ergonomics class where we have to re-design laser levels. Ergonomics is not just the comfort of a product but also its ease of use and the overall communication between the user and the product. Just to clarify, I am not a professional; just a student.
I wondered if anyone could answer the following questions.
1. What problems have you encountered with the laser levels you have used?
2. Do you ever accidently get the laser aimed right at your eye? If so- how often?
3. Do you have to turn your head to fully adjust the laser level?
4. Do you find them hard to use?
5. What brand do you use?
Thank you for any feedback you can give.
1. unless a laser level is self leveling it's a piece of crap.
2.Try not to but it sometimes happens.
3. not sure what you are asking.
4. not if self leveling
Number 3 was not stated very clearly. Basically the questions is when making the device level via the air bubbles, and you match the arrow to the calibrations, do you have to turn your head and look at the calibrations and put your head closer to the laser? The device I am using is a Straight-line 120 and the calibrations are horizontal. In order to read them you have to look at the front of the device which is right where the laser is coming out.
I would use a water level before I used a laser with a bubble adjustment. It's much to easy for you to misjudge the bubble being exact center.
1. The only problem I have with lasers is they are too accurate, I find myself trying to make things too perfect, Which is good and bad. Good for the job but bad for the deadline.
2. Once in a while.
3. No mines self leveling.
4. No, But if someone can't read the manual there could be a problem.
I have yet to buy a self leveling laser level. The main reason is (at least the less expensive models up to $350.00) they are not accurate enough. According to the ones I've researched to purchase, most are only accurate within 1/8 to 3/16th of an inch up to 30' to 50'. If you are laying out a kitchen that's 10x10x10 and your 3/16" off, that's not good enough for me. In the meanwhile I'll stick with a water level. So if your are going to design one, design one that works
2. Yes, Daily ( I often have 2-3 running @a time in different areas flashing off Steel Stud Framing, Acoustical Ceilings and such)
3. No. Self Leveling I set all of mine with a remote)
4. No same as above
5. AGL, Spectra Precision, PC, AgaTEK, Porter Cable, PLS
The only issue I have ever had is I bought 6 @ one time from Spectra and the I did not know the remotes all operated on the same Frequency, that will make ya wonder sometimes if you are going crazy.:eek:
Thanks for the feedback. It will help with the project.
Another question- the adhesives that are typically used to fasten laser levels to the wall-
Q: anyone ever run out of adhesive or have trouble getting it to stick to the wall and end up attaching it to the wall via nails screws, or just holding it up there manually?
Can someone move this thread to the tools section?
Thanks for the pics. Palibob
Here are pics of my ideas. Sorry if a few images are cut off. The scanners here are too small.
A second line of questions:
1. What colors text/background is the easiest for you to see within 12"
2. Would a built-in nailer or a mechanical fastener that comes with the level be helpful?
3. For self-leveling laser levels, is there a way you typically fasten the bottom, or don't you?
Brick, Great sketches on your part but I think we are on different pages. The Laser levels I am familiar with are not the same type.
The types that I see do not mount to a wall.
For inside Laser mounts a lot of carpenters use one of the 3rd Hand adjustable supports:
With a Magnetic Laser Mount:
• A Wall/Ceiling Robotoolz mount that can also be clamped to a structure:
• Or if there is enough room an elevating tripod can be used:
Or a fancier one from Stabila. The Elevator crank is important to align the beam to structure e.g. a deck ledger board.
One of the problems with using some of the laser mounts is that the lower cost Lasers come with ¼”-11 threads, same as camera tripods while the more expensive mounts tend to have the larger ⅝”-11 thread. Here is a Thread Adapter.
As far as using adhesive putty to fasten the Laser to the wall, I do not know anybody that uses putty for commercial projects.
Reason being that for commercial jobs you need to adjust the laser mount up or down to a specific reference point. Adhesive doesn't have any give.
Some examples of Lasers that are popular now are this one from PLS.
And this one from Stabila.
Then there is a high end Interior and exterior Laser with a high visibility Green Beam that is made by CST/Berger.
At the other end of the price scale is one from HF that while I haven’t seen it, I know of one contractor that swears by it for non-critical jobs. He said the bubble levels in the Tripod base broke right away so he just does a rough visual alignment to ensure the Laser head is not tilting at an extreme angle, then depends on the Self-Leveling laser to correct for any base misalignment.
Palibob thanks for all the info. Unfortunately I have to stick to the wall-mounted laser levels for this project, but I will try to incorporate your info into my design. A magnetic laser mount might help with fastening to steel studs, since it is moveable without causing damage to the surface.
Thanks for the kudos on the drawings.
I am a high school carpentry teacher, and I have never used a laser level. Would this be a good tool to add to my classroom? Is it widely used enough to jusify the purchase?
Good question. Its is in some ways because helps illustrate level planes or plum verticle lines. However, the longer the laser line, the less accurate it will be, unless you are using a self-levelling design. The wall-mounted design I am working with needs improving if it is to be used. Laser levels are either too expensive or too inaccurate since the cheap ones are based on the water bubble.
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