Due to the boom that construction has taken in much of the world, there are many quality projects that can be done with a tight budget that aims to save time and labor, both in large buildings and at home.
In response to this growing demand, technology has created very useful tools, and one sector that has benefited is that of measurement tools. Today we can find a variety of them in the trade, but without a doubt one of the essential elements are the levels, since no construction work can ignore three logical stages that constitute its very essence: leveling, plumbing and alignment square. And of this large group, laser levels are the great electronic protagonists of the current era, which make up the most recent technological incorporation and adaptable to the most demanding needs.
Engineers, contractors, designers, laborers, and even the home hobbyist have embraced the laser levels to obtain the quality and precision capable of ensuring maximum productivity. Not only that, today’s laser levels are small, light, comfortable, easy to handle, and inexpensive.
The laser levels The most common and widespread are those of lines. There are numerous models and designs, which vary not only in the number of lines they project, but also in the color of the laser. Thus, depending on the model and / or manufacturer we can choose to one line laser levels or two crossed lines, projected either at 180 degrees or 360 degrees, both in red (the most common) and green laser light models.
For all those still undecided about which laser level to choose To use at home or carry in your toolbox, this time we are going to exemplify two practical, very accessible self-leveling models that will serve us for an infinity of applications.
Two Line Red Laser Level
One of the simplest models, but no less practical, is the level of two crossed lines as shown in the figure below.
Very handy and compact in size that does not exceed 7 cm in its longest dimension, this line level can be mounted on a magnetic support provided by the manufacturer, which facilitates leveling tasks, as we will see below. It also features a standard 1/4-inch thread so it can be easily mounted on a tripod. It works with two AA batteries, which guarantee a functioning of more than 30 hours.
The components of this level are few and simple, and we can know them in the following figure.
- On / off switch.
- Battery compartment.
- Laser line output window.
- 1/4 ″ thread for tripod.
Such simplicity makes it ideal for flooring and wallcovering, window and door alignment, stair leveling, ceiling placement, pictures and trim, as well as wood and painting work.
It has an excellent range of 20 meters, which can easily be expanded to 50 meters using a laser receiver, and offers an accuracy of ± 3 mm / 10 m.
Two Line 360 Degree Red Laser Level
Those who want a more professional measurement, with the same range as the previous level, but with greater precision (± 2 mm / 10 m) and / or outdoors, can consider another more complete model like the one shown below.
It’s about a two cross line laser level, where the horizontal line is projected in a 360 degree environment around the workplace, so its applications extend to multiple uses in dry construction and steel framing, installation of kitchen furniture where it is necessary to level both countertops and cabinets, floor leveling, installation of acoustic ceilings and ceilings in general, and even numerous outdoor applications if you have the right laser receiver.
These levels offer maximum performance when mounted on a manufacturer’s built-in magnetic mount, or on tripods, and are fitted with a target plate, which enhances laser reflection when measurement conditions are unfavorable, for example under a strong incidence of sunlight.
They also have dual power, which allows its use with 4 AA batteries, or through an external source thanks to its USB interface, through which the device can be connected to a portable charger or even to a computer.
The following figure shows the main components of this type of 360 degree laser level.
- On / Lock / Off switch.
- Battery compartment.
- 360 ° horizontal line exit window.
- Vertical line exit window.
- 1/4 ”thread for tripod.
- Laser line button: Horizontal / Vertical.
- Indoor / outdoor mode button.
- USB interface.
Now, to understand its ease of use, let’s see some practical and very simple examples about the application that these levels can have.
Suppose we want to install a shelf on a wall in our living room. We have a decorative rustic model of shelf with tensioners as shown in the figure below and, due to its design, we appreciate that it will be a delicate job that must be done very well, because it will be 100% visible. The essential condition, then, is that the shelf looks correctly level on our wall.
How can we do it?
To do this, just use the 2 line laser level simpler than we introduce first in this article and follow the steps we list below.
Once the desired place on the wall has been chosen, we use a drill with the appropriate bit to make a first hole where the screw of one of the wall supports will go, for example, in the figure above, the screw in position 1 , and insert the corresponding plug. From this hole, the remaining ones should be perfectly level (1-3 and 2-4) and plumb (1-2 and 3-4) with each other.
We assemble the laser level on its magnetic support included in the case, or on a tripod and we turn it on, which will activate the laser lines while the device begins its self-leveling operation. We press the selector button to turn off the lines and then turn it on again so that the lines are fixed. As the following figure shows, we will see this type of pattern projected on the wall, that is, a vertical line V and a horizontal line H.
We orient the level so that the intersection of lines V and H passes right through the center of hole 1 that we just drilled. The figure below indicates that once this is achieved, we will instantly have the lines where we will have to drill holes 2 (line V) and 3 (line H).
What we must do now is to know exactly the distance between holes 1 and 2 that are in the bracket to be able to mark them on the wall. For this we can choose one of these two alternatives:
- Measure this distance with a ruler or tape measure on the support itself and transfer this measurement on the V line projected on the wall to mark hole 2 with a pencil.
- Using a manual or electric screwdriver, screw the bracket into hole 1 and following the V line projected on the wall, move the bracket slightly until its hole is in the center of the V line, and finally mark the point with a pencil. hole 2.
We use a similar procedure to precisely mark hole 3, but this time using the H line projected on the wall and taking into account the distance between both hooks on the shelf from where the tensioners start.
What remains now is to establish precisely the correct place for hole 4. To do this, we slightly move the laser level, so that line H now passes through the center of hole 2 and line V passes through the center of hole 3. That will give us the perfect coordinates to mark hole 4.
Now that we have precisely marked the four holes, we drill all of them with a drill, install the dowels with the help of a hammer and finally screw the shelf to the wall. This way we will have the assurance that it will have been correctly leveled and will look wonderful in our room.
What if we got excited about the previous example and acquired more similar shelves to hang on three or all four walls in the same room? We could place them at a different level on each wall, or follow a uniform pattern and all remain at the same level, for example, 1.5 m from the floor.
If we decide on different levels, we will only repeat the previous 6 steps on each wall where we want to place the shelves. But if we choose to place them all on the same level, then the 360 degree 2 line laser level It will be our unfailing ally. This is also valid if, for example, we want to install a wooden guard or paint a guard around the entire room.
The great advantage of 360 degree laser level on the previous one is that the pattern of lines that we will see projected on the walls is the one shown in this figure.
That is, we will always have the vertical line V on one of the walls, but now the horizontal line H is projected simultaneously on the four walls, offering an invaluable help when aligning all kinds of objects at the same height from the floor.
Therefore, if we want install a shelf on each wallWe just have to mount the laser level on a tripod, project the V and H lines, as indicated above, and we will already have the marks for the horizontal holes 1-3 (or 2-4) on all four walls at the same time. Will only remain plumb holes 1-2 and 3-4 simply by turning the level 90 degrees to mark them successively on each of the walls, as we proceeded in the steps listed above.
If we want to install a wooden guard, or paint a guard, we will not even need the vertical line, since it is enough to follow the H line around the entire perimeter of the room.
On the other hand, to paint the guard, and depending on the desired width of this, we can guide ourselves with a first line H to place the masking tape from the upper edge and then move the 360 degree laser level down to get another H line that allows us to place the lower edge masking tape. We turn off the laser and begin the painting task. Nothing more practical!
As we can appreciate, two laser levels Simple and easy to handle that can be obtained in the market offer us a varied series of benefits that will not only result in speed and comfort, but will also provide a professional finish to our work.