Thursday, December 8, 2022

How to make plans faster and easier with laser distance meters?

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The blueprint drawing It is a task that in many countries is mandatory and is regulated by different norms (for example, in Argentina they are governed by different IRAM norms, as well as in other countries they have other norms). Laser distance meters with the ability to connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi greatly facilitate this task, especially when it is necessary to modify an existing construction.

In this note we will see how these measuring devices can help us to make the blueprints necessary: ​​how to take measurements, how to download them to the tablet or computer and how to use this data to generate the blueprints necessary.

What measuring instruments are the most suitable?

The making of architectural plans it requires taking very precise measurements of both distances and angles. A small error can be cumulative and lead to a serious structural calculation error. Laser distance meters provide ~ ± 1mm ​​accuracy, more than enough for masonry jobs.

The selection criteria for our laser distance meters It will then be based on those whose accuracy is ± 1 mm maximum. They must also be able to establish a connection via Bluetooth or WiFi protocol, to be able to download the measurements obtained.

What additional equipment and software will be required?

Equipment for drawing plans

Equipment for drawing plans

It is standard that laser distance meters with Bluetooth (or WiFi) functionality include the possibility of installing associated software for free, which can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple Store (for Android and iOS devices, respectively).

To work directly with the measurements, it is convenient to do it from a tablet of at least 7 inches. It can be done from a smartphone too, as long as the app is available to them.

First step: pair the devices and prepare the app

Pair the devices

Each manufacturer provides a different method of connection between the laser distance meters and tablets or phones, but basically you need to turn both on, press the Bluetooth button on the meter, search for that device on the phone, and connect them.

In the video above we see an example of how to make the connection between the laser distance meters and tablets.

Test the connection

laser distance meters

To verify that everything works as it should be, we will take any measurement with the laser distance meter and we will test if that measurement is correctly transferred to the app. To achieve this, in the app we create a quick-sketch simulating a room with four walls. We upload the last measurement made to the app and assign it to each of the walls. The room should now appear as square; the important thing is that we verify the transmission between both devices.

Prepare the app

In order to start drawing the sketch of our flat you need to create a new project in the app. For that, we open it and choose new project in the menu provided by it. As we saw before, each manufacturer has its own user interface, but as a general rule the process will be similar in all of them. In the video above we have a concrete example.

We choose quick-sketch (sketch) and draw by hand the approximate shape of the construction that we want to modify. The angles don’t matter too much now: when you take the measurements and dump them to the sketch, they will be adjusted automatically.

Second step: take the measurements and dump them to the sketch

Measurement to make plans

Measurement to make plans

For this step we need to understand that the dynamics of sketch creation is to take one measurement at a time and upload it to the app; therefore, it is important that the app is installed on a tablet or smartphone. Some laser distance meters allow several measurements to be taken and then uploaded sequentially; others only allow you to take and upload one measurement at a time.

A good idea is to take the general dimensions of the building first and then the partial dimensions (internal rooms, openings, cuts, etc.).

Measurements for plans

Measurements for plans

It is important to remember that with laser distance meters it is possible to take indirect measurements; For example, in the photo above we see that it is not possible to directly measure the height of a wall under restoration. To obtain this elevation, it will be enough to place ourselves at a fixed point and take two measurements: the first, horizontal, will be the distance between our point and the lower part of the wall; the second will be the angle formed between our point and the upper edge of said wall. With these two measurements (distance and angle) we can already calculate the height. If the laser distance meter does not calculate it automatically, we can calculate it ourselves with this simple formula:

laser distance meters

If the angle is exactly 45 °, a and b will have the same measure and there is no need for any calculations.

laser distance meters

After taking each measurement it is necessary to add it to the sketch, so that it takes shape.

Third step: export the sketch or plan

laser distance meters

Once the sketch is ready and all measurements are verified, it is time to save the project and export it so you can email it, print it, or use the measurements for other purposes.

Manufacturers’ applications allow the sketches or plans created to be exported in different formats; the most common are PDF and XLS (Excel). In the first case it is possible to add texts, photos and other embeddable documents. In the second case, a table is automatically generated with the measurements and the date and time they were taken.

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