Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

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Plumb lines and water levels are gradually disappearing into oblivion, because most masons and finishers use laser levels and plane builders, which allow you to maintain the quality of work at a high pace. We will tell you about the types of levels and axis builders.

How accurate can a laser level be

The permissible error of the overwhelming majority of laser measuring equipment is on the order of 0.2–0.5 mm / m, although even a professional technician can have an error of 0.7–0.8 mm / m. Low accuracy is not at all a sign of a low-quality tool, because when erecting partitions, some tolerances apply, and when laying tiles, they are completely different..

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

It should be understood that the deviation when marking with a laser level is relative, it depends on the “shooting” range and the length of the line, while the water level always gives an absolute error. Another feature is that the greater the distance of the laser beam, the more expensive the device and the more high-quality and high-precision optics it uses..

An accuracy class of about 0.5 is sufficient for most construction tasks. Another thing is that the slightest marriage in a technique of this class nullifies its ability to such precise self-regulation. There are two main types of faults: instead of a straight line, the builder projects an arc, or the constructed axis or plane has a significant deviation from the normals.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

The first type of malfunction is associated with the use of low-quality glass or lens defects. This is a warranty case, most service centers quickly solve this problem by replacing the projection device. Deviation from the vertical and horizon is a sign of poor balancing or malfunction of the pendulum mechanism. It is quite difficult to fix such a breakdown without special equipment, but this is the level itself, everything else is just fittings.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

Since the only thing that can reduce the accuracy of the device is a defect, its likelihood should be excluded at the time of purchase or immediately after it. For this, a number of tests are provided, which are also carried out during the operation of the device:

  1. Verification of the vertical axis along a plumb line. Everything is obvious here: on a 1.5-2 m section, the thread should be fully illuminated.
  2. Rearrangement from one side of the room to the other, that is, a counter chamber. The level should be installed no closer than 2-2.5 m to one wall and 7-10 m to the opposite.
  3. Circular traversal: the beam should return to the starting point when sequentially building a plane over the room with the device rearranging each time the mark is moved.
  4. The curvature of the vertical is checked by counter-shooting the lines on the floor and ceiling.

By a combination of certain deviations, you can more accurately determine the faulty node.

Range of laser marking

There are many classes of devices for different tasks. For example, builders of axes and planes used in interior finishing work have a range of 15–20 m. When constructing foundations and erecting buildings, a completely different class of devices is used, the range of which is 2–3 times higher.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

The range does not always depend on the price, it is just that the tool is always chosen for specific tasks. This does not mean that the high-precision long-range level cannot be used indoors, it just will not be convenient enough to use. In addition, it makes no sense to expose an expensive tool to additional risk..

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

The range may, in fact, be lower than the stated one, the reason for which may be exposure. You should always work with laser technology with glasses with red filters, in which the line is visible even at very long distances. The main limitation in range is the scattering of the beam: at a distance of 100 m, it acquires the thickness of a finger and spreads strongly. It is possible to accurately determine the center of such a beam using a receiver that can operate at distances of up to 100-120 m.

Compensation angle

The self-leveling mechanism is intended exclusively for projection calibration, laser technology always requires preliminary leveling. For this, at the base of the device there is an adjustable platform and a disc bubble level with two markings in the form of rings: the inner one is the exact center, the outer one is the permissible deviation limit..

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

It is inconvenient to adjust the tripod every time you change the level. Therefore, the higher the permissible tilt angle of the instrument, the better. It is important, however, that such possibilities do not compromise the accuracy of the device; it also cannot be operated in extreme positions, when the pendulum rests against something..

Position compensation by the pendulum can be up to 2-3.5 °. This parameter is usually not included in the list of the main characteristics of the device: you should read the part of the instructions on preparing the device for operation. It indicates the permissible deviation that the pendulum is able to compensate without sacrificing accuracy..

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

The difference between the axle builder and the crossliner and plane builder

Although the design and key characteristics of laser marking technology are similar, their purpose can be completely different. Only one light source can be used, but there are several projection and refractive devices. It is believed that the fewer refractive, reflecting and diffusing lenses, the better, but with projection optical devices, everything is exactly the opposite. The simplest laser levels project one or two perpendicular laser beams. Sometimes a third is added, located across the horizontal, such an axis builder is well suited for marking corners.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

The crossliner is not a plane builder as such, as its angle of rotation is limited. It projects horizontal and vertical lines on surfaces, sometimes there is a vertical plumb line (nadir). For a horizontal line, the turning angle can be 120–180 °, for a vertical line, it is possible to immediately select the cutting plane of opposite walls and ceiling – the turning angle is more than 200 °.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

Plane builders or laser levels have the ability to set a solid horizontal plane. Sometimes combined devices also mark part of the vertical plumb line, and special equipment is capable of building even inclined planes. A gyroscopic light source or a mirror rotating at a high speed is used to build a solid plane. Such devices have a high range and a very small error..

Special functions of laser technology

Most people are accustomed to seeing a laser beam as red, but the wavelength of the light source varies. This is one of the key characteristics of the device, but very specific. It is believed that green lasers have a longer range, and when working with them, the eyes are less tired, but this technique has a reasonably high cost.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

Another point is the number of laser emitters. Devices with a single source and a monolithic diffusing lens are characterized by high accuracy and reliability. This is explained by the fact that a precision lens is much easier to manufacture than a prefabricated structure with the same exact mutual orientation of the components. On the other hand, having multiple lasers allows you to turn off unused planes to save battery power.

The power supply, by the way, can be either removable or rechargeable. Now there is a massive transition to Li-Ion batteries, in extreme cases, you can buy rechargeable batteries of the required format.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

Among the most important functions we note the blocking of the pendulum, the ability to work without switching on the leveling and the leveling system itself. It may have additional indication and control elements: a message about entering the mode, setting the inclination of the plane, often the device can be controlled by the remote control.

Other subtleties include strength indicators, as well as the degree of dust and moisture protection of the case, perhaps the presence of protection against shock and falls. Ergonomics of control elements, trim level and adjusting screws are evaluated separately.

Basic and extended equipment of the device

The basic set of delivery includes the level itself, instructions, several replaceable batteries or a charger, as well as glasses with a light filter corresponding to the laser wavelength. It is obligatory to have a case with a soft liner – without it, the device survives transportation very badly.

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

The extended kit may include a beam receiver, spare glass for windows, a remote control. Some models of levels are supplied with a tripod, often of very good quality. Among the pleasant little things there can be targets, clips on magnets or suction cups, all kinds of adapters and adapters for attaching to tripods and rods. Such additions can be very important, as it is often very difficult to find the right connector or adapter for the laser level..

Laser plane builder: how to choose a level

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