Saturday, December 28, 2019

Measuring With Light -

Laser Measuring for Speed and Accuracy

Years ago when I was a kid helping my father with projects around the house we used a wooden rule that unfolded to the desired length and broke when I bent it the wrong way. It was fragile and sometimes awkward, but in the hands of a skilled workman got the job done nicely. Later, when I began my own projects I started using the ubiquitous tape measure. I still use my FatMax most of the time and still manage to mangle one now and then. But, it gets the job done.

I know lasers have been around for a number of years and for some readers this is old news. However I don't see too many in actual use. Of course they are very good at some tasks and as useful on others as eating soup with a fork. I, like most, use the tape for cutting boards, but using a saw with a laser guide helps you hit your mark.

When I put granite counter tops in my home about seven years ago, the tradesman came out and made a template out of foamcore... and the tops fit very nicely. About three years ago I put those tops on a nice rental I was preparing and the same guy came out with a laser device connected to a laptop computer, He was done in a quarter of the time – and the results were just as accurate. Not having been there during the production of the tops I must assume similar time savings were realized in the layout of the pieces.

So what benefit do lasers bring to the investors, rehabbers and realtors? They really come into their own in measuring room sizes and other distances around a property – all without wrestling with a tape that may not be long enough and may kink along the way. All it takes is a couple of clicks of a button and you have the length and width of a room. “Pro” models even calculate the square footage for you. How's that for figuring carpet or vinyl plank flooring?

These handy gadgets run from around $25 to several hundred dollars... depends on the company, quality and the bells and whistles. Amazon lists them from thirteen companies. Some come from well known optical houses like Leica and Bosch and tool people like DeWalt. So there are plenty of options and price points to meet most any budget and task.

The DeWalt DW030PL Lightweight Laser Distance Measurer is a nice low price unit from a favorite tool maker. It is a compact, light weight unit with the primary limitation is the 30 foot range.

The Bosch Blaze Pro is a good step up with a 165 foot range accurate to with 1/16 of an inch. and square foot calculator. It has the auto square function for calculating square feet at the touch of a button.

Then there is the Huepar 3D Green Beam Self-Leveling Laser Level 3x360 Cross Line Laser Three-Plane Leveling and Alignment Line Laser Level -Two 360° Vertical and One 360° Horizontal Line -Magnetic Pivoting Base 603CG Even the name is a mouthful. It has one 360° horizontal and two 360° vertical laser lines can be selected individually depending on job site requirements. Oh yes, this one is a bit more expensive, but it does more.

As you consider these three members of the laser measurement universe, you will see bigger, better and more expensive units. You can even find some laser units attached regular tape measures. I still use my FatMax but also have the handy Bosch unit my wife got me for Christmas a couple of years back. It's a great piece of equipment. Which one would you choose?


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