The situation is familiar to many, although perhaps not everyone has put it into practice as we will detail in this article. Those who are just starting out with a trade or hobbyists of DIY tasks are very enthusiastic when it comes to procuring tools to do their jobs. Thus, among his collection of items that should not be missing in his toolbox we find hammers, screwdrivers, tweezers and pliers, keys of all kinds and at least one drill. Other classics that every worker includes among his treasures are fundamental measuring tools such as a meter, a tape measure and a spirit level.
However, current technology offers us electronic tools of accessible cost and easy handling that are capable of providing more performance than conventional tools, with much greater precision and a long useful life. To this end, electronic measurement and control tools They offer advantages that we will not find with the old tools. In this article we are going to develop a practical example that will help us understand the usefulness of these tools.
Let’s suppose that we acquire a ready-to-hang cupboard on the wall “A” in our kitchen, so that it is perfectly centered with respect to the existing kitchen cabinet, as shown in the following figure.
The idea may be very simple, but its implementation presents complications from the beginning, because:
- We do not know if wall “A” contains electrical wires, pipes, or drywall racks that could be accidentally punctured by using our drill.
- The chosen area does not present any coating. Therefore, it is difficult to find reference points. For example, how can we prevent the cupboard from looking crooked once installed?
- This also leads to another drawback: how can we ensure that the cupboard and kitchen cabinet are centered or vertically aligned with each other?
Of course, with a drill we could put our wall through “trial and error” to explore the obstacles that could be behind the plaster layer, but it would be impractical and even dangerous, especially if we find electrical cables or gas pipes. We could also use a bubble level or ask someone else to tell us if the cupboard we are assembling is level and centered with the kitchen cabinet. But this would not only be time consuming, it would also be uncomfortable to read the spirit level from the proposed height of the cupboard and, furthermore, we should rely on one more person to help us hold the cupboard (if it is too long and / or or heavy) while the other watches from a distance. In total, at least three people should be present to hang a simple kitchen cupboard.
The question is, why complicate ourselves so much if there are tools that greatly facilitate these tasks?
Practical alternatives, electronic measurement tools
The complication would not be such if we had three extremely useful electronic measurement tools.
- Wall scanner or material detector: before unnecessarily drilling a wall, it is better to entrust this task to a wall scanner, which will reveal in an extremely simple way what is behind that wall. If we don’t have a wall scanner, this guide will give us tips for choosing one.
- Line laser level: why depend on a bubble level or another person who indicates the level of an object on a wall if we can carry out the task with much greater precision using a line laser level. If we must acquire one, these indications will be extremely useful.
- Laser Distance Meter – More than replaces a meter or tape measure. If we are undecided when buying one, this article will serve as a guide.
Other necessary tools
Once we have these electronic tools, we just need to get a good drill (here we can consult a guide if we have to buy one) and an appropriate screwdriver. Also, if we prefer, we can purchase an electric screwdriver / screwdriver (in this article we detail how to choose it) and the appropriate screws for this tool.
We must not forget the necessary drill bits, a marker pen and a roll of masking tape.
Step by Step
We have everything ready to start the work. Let’s see below how we should proceed to hang the cupboard in the same way as a professional would.
Step 1: how to inspect the wall?
The wall detectors They allow you to examine objects, other than the wall material, that are in the sensor area in the measurement direction “a” indicated in the figure above. Since what we want to inspect is surely a masonry wall, it is a good idea to set the wall detector to the “universal” mode of operation, suitable for most masonry applications. This will allow us to locate metallic objects, plastic pipes that carry water and live electrical cables. Depending on the chosen mode, the Bosch D-tect 120 wall detector, for example, can locate objects up to 12 cm deep.
Once we configure the wall detector In the «universal» mode, we lean the instrument against the wall exerting a slight pressure, and without lifting it or modifying the application pressure we move it in the direction shown on the screen. While moving, we must pay attention to the following indications (they apply to most models, although the user manual should be verified for greater precision):
- If no object is detected, only the scroll indicator appears on the screen and a green LED lights up.
- If the tool detects an object, the measurement indicator will register it, a red LED will light and an acoustic signal will sound.
- If the object located is an electrical cable, the corresponding indicator will also light on the display. Keep in mind that these detectors locate live electrical wires only. Therefore, when we go to carry out the inspection of the wall, make sure to plug a lamp into the nearest outlet and turn it on.
Once we detect an object, we will proceed to make a mark in its center to make sure not to pierce that area. The center of the object is located when the intensity of the measurement indicator is maximum and, depending on the detector model we use, a centering cross appears.
Suppose that the detector tells us that there is a plastic water pipe in the area represented by the figure below.
By marking the corresponding place we will have a concrete idea of the places where we can NOT drill safely.
Step 2: how to make the cupboard level?
Once we define the safe place where we want to hang the cupboard, we mark the approximate desired height with an “X” point. Now we must make sure that once installed, the cupboard is not crooked. To do this, nothing better than projecting a horizontal line with our line laser level. Even the most economical model will serve this purpose.
If, for example, we have a model with a fixing bracket, we place this bracket at the height of the “X” that we marked in the previous step on the neighboring wall or the opposite wall to which we want to hang the cupboard, we mount the level on the support and turn it on. We can also use a tripod or ultimately tape the level to any of the walls.
The horizontal line projected by the level will be drawn on the wall, intersecting or very close to the point that we marked for the chosen height of the cupboard.
That will be the line that we will use to drill the necessary holes (two or more, depending on the length of the cupboard) on the line of the laser level. But before drilling, let’s find the correct vertical alignment of the cupboard with the kitchen cabinet. To do this, we must go one step further.
Step 3: how to center the cupboard with the existing kitchen cabinet?
The cupboard that we purchase can be longer, shorter or the same size as the kitchen cabinet that we already have installed. Either way, it should always be centered with respect to said piece of furniture.
In this step we are going to use the laser distance meter, which will perfectly replace the old meter or tape measure. Also, as we will see below, we can combine its use with the laser level that we used in the previous step.
To achieve a perfect vertical alignment of the cupboard with the existing furniture, the following methodology should be followed:
- We measure the length of the kitchen counter with which we want to center the cupboard.
- We divide the length of the countertop by two and make a mark on the wall.
- We measure the length of the cupboard.
- We divide by two the length of the cupboard and make a mark on the same cupboard.
- We match both brands and we will have both pieces of furniture centered on each other.
To develop this methodology, we carry out the measurements indicated with the Distance Meter. We simply rest the meter on one of the ends, both of the cupboard and the furniture and read the length on the screen, as indicated in the following figures. It may be necessary to place a reflective screen or a piece of cardboard at the other end of the furniture so that the laser beam is reflected on it and the device provides us with the correct reading.
Once we make the marks on both pieces of furniture as indicated above, with the use of the line laser level We project a vertical line on the wall where the cupboard will hang and align the marks made on each piece of furniture with this vertical line.
Now we only have to make the holes in the corresponding places on the line of the laser level that we drew in Step 2 and firmly screw the cupboard into the holes made.
The figure below shows us how the cupboard is installed.
As we have just seen, the use of simple and inexpensive models of a wall detector, a line laser level, and a distance meter can not only streamline tasks around the home, but also provide precision, easily and easily achieved. fast, which is not easy to achieve with traditional measuring instruments.
Although this is a very general example, the reader will be able to apply the guidelines offered in this article to install other furniture, decorations, lighting elements and even make coatings of all kinds, from paint to ceramic, floors and carpets.