Laser Technology

Lasers rule.
Anyone know of a good source of information for how to get the most out of lasers for a given application? Seems to me that cabinet installs could be a snap with a plumb and level lines automatically displayed on the walls.
Is it bad to want to provide the highest quality cabinetry at a reasonable price? Efficiency gains through the exploitation of modern technology are really on my mind tonight.
JP
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It's certainly not bad to want to provide the best one can provide Jay, but I don't know that I'd suggest that lasers are better than water levels or even bubble levels. A long time ago we installed some ceiling grid with a laser for part of it and a water level for the other part. This was a very expensive laser and not the cheap laser levels you typically find at the BORG, etc. We found the water level to be every bit as accurate as the laser. I only tell this to say that you can provide the very best without having to go to the point of using lasers to do so. It's not the technology that makes a good job, it's the commitment we carry into the job that makes a good job. Efficiency? If you had to do long - very long runs of something then a laser would be more efficient, but for hanging cabinets or even ceiling grid for the average sized room, I'm not convinced that there is an increase in efficiency with the laser. Just my two cents worth.
--

-Mike-
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This may just be anecdotal but when they laid out my pool and wired in the steel they used a laser but when they shot the concrete and trowled the top beam they used a water level. He said the steel can be adjusted but that concrete is forever and the water level is more accurate. After all we will judge his work by where the top of the water hits the edge of the pool.
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On 04 Sep 2004 03:52:01 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

It is not more accurate. It is handier and cheaper, and adequate ...quite adequate. Using a simple latch-on line level [the cheapest you can find] and a chalk line, I snapped a line around a 30' by 30' house for the first layer of siding with my helper. It was dead on when the last line met the first.
Lasers are used to measure distances as far away as the moon. We don't really need that accuracy; it's superfluous, a hook to get people to buy something more expensive. It has good uses in surveying, but for hanging cabinets? There's a fair bit of "play" in the water level of a swimming pool, especially with kids splashing around. Also, the water level is never to the top. You might notice a drop of a few inches if it ocurred, but certainly don't need to worry about laser accuracy.
Bill.
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Bill Rogers wrote:

You've hit one of my hot buttons, the practice of sticking a laser on any kind of piece of crap that comes along and claiming that the laser somehow makes it accurate. For the situation described the water level _is_ more accurate. The laser produces a _straight_ line, but that line is only as _level_ as the laser itself, which is typically levelled with a single bubble, while the water level uses a baseline the length of the pool or fence or whatever is being measured. The "right" way to use a laser in that circumstance would be to level the beam against the water level.

Actually, the laser is generally "handier"--set up one tool and level it and turn it on and you've got a reasonably accurate reference line all the way around the area as long as nobody bangs into the stand that the laser is on, with the advantage that it doesn't get covered up when you paint or install stuff. Even there though, "laser accuracy" is misleading--what you're getting is "rotating mirror accuracy" and it's only as level as the bubble in the gadget lets you make it.

Further, the lasers typically sold for carpentry use aren't necessarily providing any more accuracy than other methods. For distance measurement take a look at the specs on a $500 Leica LRF1200 with its +/-3 feet accuracy and 33 foot minimum range and consider that that's Leica--optical equipment doesn't _get_ any better than Leica--and then consider that the 40 buck crap from Home Depot doesn't even use the laser for measurement, it uses it as a pointer for an ultrasonic rangefinder that only works well off a bare wall.

--
--John
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On 04 Sep 2004 03:52:01 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

I don;t think accuracy is necessarily the issue, so much as reliability. It's just very, very hard to mis-read a water level.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On 04 Sep 2004 03:52:01 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

Probably a reasonable assessment. The precision of the laser is dependent on getting the platform dead level at the laser source. Any small angular error in that setting will directly translate into off-level errors at the destination (times 2). If the level is set perfectly, there won't be any difference between it and the water level, but even a small angular error can translate into a large (read noticeable) vertical displacement over long distances that would occur with something the size of a swimming pool. The water level on the other hand, is going to be correct no matter where you put it and is referenced at the destination.
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Folks buying laser levels should always check the accuracy specs, some of the low end (even some of the high end) laser levels are not all that accurate over a 50ft run (or longer)
Don't know about you, but I think I would tend to avoid products that state +/- 0.25in over a 50ft length - as I can definitely do BETTER accuracy with lower tech/cost equipment
John
On Sat, 04 Sep 2004 03:30:42 GMT, "Mike Marlow"

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ranted:

They're not pushing the photons fast enough so the laser line droops?!? Amazing!
.-. Life is short. Eat dessert first! --- http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
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It is a question of "level" vs "straight"
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On Mon, 6 Sep 2004 09:14:31 -0600, Greg wrote

Yep, Many people don't realize that the earth ain't flat :^)
Besides, the typical lasers in levels have a certain amount of beam divergence. I'd still love to buy one someday to take the drudgery of toting a water level around outside for setting fence posts or the wall marking to hang shelves...
-BR
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[...]

*all* lasers have some amount of beam divergence, usually about 1 mrad. If you want less divergence you need a beam with bigger diameter, which is the reason that if you really try to measure the distance to the moon with a laser you have to widen the beam using a large telescope to at least one meter diameter. Only a laser beam of infinite diameter would have no divergence. For detaile: Look up "gaussian beams".
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Larry Jaques wrote:

It's not that the line "droops" it's that the line is only as level as the laser which is producing the beam. And there's no magic in lasers that makes them self-levelling.

--
--John
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Jay Pique

A good installer not only uses one but knows how to use one. Something not always automatic.
We're currently on a project doing wall paneling with 1/2" particleboard being used as an underlayment to the finished paneling. The first thing done is a rotary laser is set up to find all the "high spots" (actually where the wall bows out) on the wall. Those are shimmed. Then the underlayment is applied. Then it's only a very thin shim here and there as needed. In the end we're something near to a perfectly plumb surface.
A'yup, you have to God Bless Al Gore for inventing rotary lasers.
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Leave God out of your filth.
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On Sun, 5 Sep 2004 13:39:46 -0500, p snipped-for-privacy@postzzzmark.net (p_j) wrote:

got one, Keeter.
'course, those ones aren't any good to eat, and if you throw them back they just breed.
hmmm.... what to do...
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Filth? Apparently he doesn't seem to think very highly of lasers.

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