Monday, September 25, 2023

How to use a Level?

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A Bubble level, or simply a level, is an instrument designed to indicate if a surface is horizontal, vertical or if it has some degree of inclination.

The different types of levels can be used by carpenters, masons, inspectors, machinists, metal workers, among others, in order to achieve maximum precision.

The great utility of Bubble level it conditions its use for all types of users, from the professional to the beginner, and any kind of application, from building a wall or laying a floor to checking the level of an appliance at home.

The use of Bubble level It is quite intuitive, although it is always advisable to keep in mind some concepts, especially those that allow us to choose the appropriate level when using it in our work or when acquiring it in the trade.

Bubble level uses

The levels they have multiple uses and are ready to be implemented in various conditions. From the carpenter who uses it to calibrate wood, aluminum or other composite materials, to the surveyor’s leveling tool that requires maximum accuracy.

Its use will also depend on the size of the level. If it spans the entire length of your workspace, you will know if the two ends are level.

Most professionals start with a 48 ″ level for general work or a torpedo level for plumbers and electricians.

Having several levels with different lengths is the perfect combination to achieve greater precision in each project.

Each project is different and you will notice that the more specific the job, the more specific the time it takes to complete it. It is recommended to use the longest level you have access to to obtain the highest level of precision possible.

ABS spirit level

Levels that are made of ABS material, which is a highly impact resistant plastic, are tough and durable measuring tools.

Also called engineering plastic provides rigidity, resistance to chemicals and high or low temperatures.

The ABS spirit level It will be best kept in environments where other types of levels can become brittle and lose their accuracy.

To improve their resistance, these levels come with a liquid resistant to UV rays and also withstand extreme temperatures.

Its 2 or 3 bubbles, horizontal, vertical and oblique, are manufactured with shockproof acrylic, achieving the perfect finish for a tool that seeks to maintain its firmness and accuracy over time.

Bubble level made of ABS

Aluminum spirit level

While it can be used for any leveling application, this level is designed for the professional looking for the best.

It is ideal for carpentry finishing, masonry, framing, concrete construction, window placement, road construction, and landscaping.

The aluminum gives the levels a robust and resistant profile. In addition to its strength, the main advantage of the instrument is its measurement accuracy of 0.5 mm / m.

These aluminum spirit levels They can come from 10 cm, to measure pipes or narrow surfaces, and reach up to 200 cm in length, depending on the conditions of the work to be carried out.

Bubble level made of aluminum

Bubble level made of aluminum

First of all, if we are going to buy a Bubble level, we must pay attention to some interesting details, related to the use that the tool. Those details are as follows:

Manufacturing tolerance: is the sum of all the errors that can occur during the manufacturing of the level, that is, the tube radius and its mounting in the frame, on the one hand, and the parallelism and the rectitude of the frame on the other. The lower the manufacturing tolerance, plus precise will be the level. In general, precision levels They are manufactured in accordance with ISO 9001.

Frame: the aluminum gives the frame additional durability without adding significant weight. The strength of the frame is mainly affected by two factors: the hole size for tube and the frame thickness. The larger the hole, the lower the durability. In turn, the thicker the frame walls, the greater the durability. The length of Bubble level also important: the longer the level, the higher its accuracy. However, care must be taken that the frame of the levels long do not twist or deform.

Ease of reading: Many levels incorporate a Magnifying glass for which the displacement of the bubble is observed more clearly. Others have a luminescent reflector that makes it easy to read, even at night or when lighting conditions are not favorable. It is also desirable that the tube is provided with marks or graduations that extend all around you, so that readings can also be taken when the level it is placed upside down (or upside down).

Sensitivity: the sensitivity is an important specification for a Bubble level. It is defined as the change in angle or gradient required to move the bubble per unit distance y is the parameter on which the precision general tool. If the tube has graduated divisions, then sensitivity refers to the angle or change in gradient required to move the bubble through one of these divisions. The sensitivity is expressed in mm / m and the standard spacing for the divisions is 2 mm. That is to say that, for example, for a level 1 meter long, the sensitivity will be given by the height to which one end of the level must be raised so that the bubble moves 2 mm. Overly sensitive levels can be difficult to use, however the more sensitive they are, the more accurate our work will be.

Precision: the radius of the tube determines the precision of a spirit level. A larger radius means that the bubble can move more easily. The accuracy assessment of a Bubble level is simply checking the repeatability of your readings. Below we will describe step by step how to do it.

However, before using any Bubble levelThe surface of the tool, as well as the surface to be tested, must be clean in order to ensure that it will work correctly. If the level has previously been used in an environment that left substances adhering to its surface, these will need to be removed. We must clean the surfaces with a damp cloth or use carefully a chisel to remove any adhering solid substance.

Once we make sure of cleanliness, we just do use of level. The following steps serve not only to check the accuracy of the Bubble level, but also exemplify its use.

  • We place the level on a table. Any table can be used and does not need to be perfectly horizontal.
Horizontality Measurement

Horizontality Measurement

  • We look at the position of the bubble (marked in the figure above as “1”). If the bubble is to the right of the two lines, we place a piece of cardboard under the left end of the level. If the bubble is to the left of the lines, we place the cardboard under the right end of the level. If necessary, we continue to add pieces of cardboard until the bubble is perfectly centered between the two lines.
  • Once the bubble is centered, we place the level upside down on the same pieces of cardboard. The bubble should still be centered.
  • Now we turn the level 180 degrees and place it on the same pieces of cardboard. The bubble should still be centered.
  • If the bubble has moved in any of the test positions, it means that the level is not accurate and therefore we should not use / buy it.

If the level is provided with a bubble to plumb (measure the verticality), we proceed in this way:

  • We place the narrow profile of the level on a wall or vertical surface, as shown in the figure below. If the bubble (marked in the figure as “2”) moves towards the wall, we add a piece of cardboard below the lower end of the level and secure it with masking tape. If the bubble moves away from the wall, we must fix the piece of cardboard at the upper end of the level. If necessary, we add more pieces of cardboard until the bubble is centered.
Verticality Measurement

Verticality Measurement

  • Now we turn the level and test again. The bubble must be centered.
  • We then turn the level 180 degrees and repeat the reading. The bubble should still be centered.
  • If the bubble is not centered when we turn the level, then the vertical calibration of the tool is not adequate.

We can perform a similar check if the level also contains a bubble to measure 45º angles, as the following figure shows.

Inclination Measurement

Inclination Measurement

In all cases, the perfect centering of the bubble indicates a good level precision, with which we can make sure to obtain reliable measurements when evaluating the horizontality, verticality or inclination at 45º of an element or structure.

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