Laser Levels are innovative tools that emit a laser beam to display a horizontal and/or vertical illuminated line on a surface. They are typically used in the construction industry and for home remodeling where an accurate, straight and level reference is required.
Laser Levels can be used either indoors or outdoors and for tasks as simple as hanging pictures or cabinets on a wall to large projects such as leveling the ground for a new building or checking the level of a foundation.
Laser Levels will emit either a green or a red beam. A red beam uses less power and is best used for dimly lit areas and indoor applications. A green beam will require more battery power, but will be significantly brighter than a red beam and will be easier to see when used outdoors.
Laser Level Types
The three most common types of laser levels are Line Laser Levels, Rotary Laser Levels and Dot Laser Levels and they each have specific applications for which they are most used. Many Laser Level models have functions that can output all three types of lasers in one unit.
Line Lasers project a single horizontal or vertical illuminated line onto any surface. They are used for basic leveling to align items on one wall such as when installing cabinets.
Spot Lasers project a small circle of light onto a wall or work surface. They can emit a single dot or multiple dots of reference on a surface. They are typically used as a plumb bob and are frequently used for running electrical wiring and plumbing.
Rotary Lasers emit a laser in 360-degree circle to create a level plane throughout the area. Rotary lasers are used when a reference plane needs to be established across multiple walls, such as installing outlets, or requiring a flat surface, such as flooring on a deck. Rotary Lasers are usually mounted a sturdy tripod and the height is adjusted to achieve the required plane.
Laser Level Calibration
The calibration of Laser Levels is an extremely important step to ensure that the alignment and accuracy remain within the manufacturer’s specifications. Most of the accurate laser levels will have a level accuracy of 1/16 inch at 100 feet.
It typically depends on the type of working conditions the laser level has been subjected to as to when the laser needs to be recalibrated. Laser Levels can be subject to rough conditions in many job sites. Lasers can often be banged up or dropped or exposed to excessive vibrations during use. Under normal operating conditions Laser Levels should remain within their accuracy specifications for up to a year. Levels that have been subject to harsh conditions should be recalibrated every six months or whenever the laser’s accuracy is suspect.
The proper transportation of the laser is also important. Most Laser Levels have a locking system to stabilize the inner mechanisms while being moved. These locking systems should always be used when they are being transported or stored at a worksite to reduce damage.
Laser Level Calibration Process
The calibration process for Laser Levels is basically the same for each of the different level types. One method that is often used to check the calibration is to check the Laser Level against itself. Another method is to check the level against another calibrated laser or optical level.
To check the level against itself, the level should be placed in the middle of a large room on a stable surface or a tripod. The size of the room should allow the Laser Level to be placed at least 20-50 feet away from one of the walls. A piece of paper should be attached on the wall.
Turn on the laser and mark the height on the paper where the laser beam intersects the wall. Next, rotate the body of the level 180 degrees so the opposite side of the level is facing the wall. Mark that height on the paper. If the laser has a Y-axis, rotate the body of the laser 90 degrees and mark the height of the laser on the paper and again after rotating the level 180 degrees.
The total separation between the recorded marks should be within the specification of the level, based on the measured distance to the wall.
If the laser’s alignment is outside of the specifications, an adjustment will need to be made to align the laser. Many units will require a manual adjustment using calibration screws located under a cover on the body of the level. The adjustment of the screws will adjust the position of the laser against the wall. Some models may have a ‘self-calibration mode’ that will perform a calibration routine at the touch of a few buttons. The calibration mode will use a set of ‘Up/Down’ arrow buttons to adjust the height of the laser beam.
Although a simple calibration and alignment can be accomplished onsite with the proper tools, it is advantageous to send the unit to a qualified calibration laboratory periodically for a full calibration check. Not only will the calibration laboratory check the X and Y axis accuracy, but they will also check all front panel functions, measure the diode power output, test the operation of both axis drive motors and clean the laser optics if required.
To learn more about the calibration of Laser Levels and the services we provide, contact e2b calibration.
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