How to Use a Laser Level for Grading (Guide)

There are several grading options for various industries; and among them, is laser grading. Laser grading is the application of laser technology in grading an infield according to the designated slope metrics. The laser leveling device produces or indicates a straight-line path for reference along any surface – wall or floor. It is mounted on a tripod stand. You can freely line up anything you want to level whether domestically or in a construction setting.

To grade an infield, the laser device is placed strategically at a fixed point. This varies according to the type of laser used. The laser shoots a laser beam to a receiver that has been mounted to the pole on a box blade or a tripod stand. Make sure you hear the laser beep while adjusting the detector/receiver. The beeping means the receiver has located the laser. After the beeping, lock the laser and start taking your measurements. In an outdoor setting, use tinted goggles to better your vision.

laser device in a tripod

Why You Should Use a Laser Level to Shoot Grade?

Laser levels are great tools for engineers and builders. 

I highly recommend using a laser level to shoot grade over any other alternative because of the following advantages:

  1. Laser levels are the mainstream tools typically applied in the construction and surveying industries for leveling and aligning.
  2. They project visible laser beams, mostly red and green. These colors are incredibly visible and hence effective in the leveling processes.
  3. They can be used for different grading tasks, from simple home tasks like leveling pictures to professional applications such as land surveying.
  4. They can be mounted on a tripod stand allowing the user to perform their tasks freely.
  5. They are accurate and non-flickering. The stability and reliability of the laser levels in shooting grades arise from their programming. They cannot waver during the shooting of the beam, not unless the tripod is faulty.

Materials Needed

To use a laser level device to shoot grade, you will require several tools to set up your laser level. Below is a list of the items you need:

  • A laser level device
  • tripod stand (2 if you don’t have a second person)
  • A tape for height measurements
  • A receiver/detector
  • A battery that is compatible with the laser
  • Physical leveling tools to level the ground where you want to set your tripod
  • A ruler
  • A marker
  • Tinted glasses/goggles – for seeing the outdoors construction project
  • Laser rods

How to Use a Laser Level Device for Grading

Having grasped the concept of laser grade shooting, let us now learn how to actually do it. We will walk through all the minor details to enable you to be able to set up and use a laser level on your own.

Step 1: Insert a compatible battery into your laser and level the ground

Plug a compatible battery into the battery port and use physical tools like hoes to level the ground for the tripod. This will prevent your laser from hanging at an angle or from giving unreliable laser beams.

Step 2: Set up the laser level on the tripod

man setting up his laser device

Now spread the tripod’s legs at an equal distance from each other. You use a masonry tape or a ruler to fix this – the equal distance between the tripod legs. Then push the pins of each leg into the ground to secure the tripod firmly set on the ground (for outdoor grade shooting). That will ensure accurate results.

Step 3: Turn on the laser level device

After making sure that your tripod is secure, install your laser level device on the tripod. Once you complete the installation/mounting of the laser level device on the tripod, turn it (laser level) on. In case your laser level is self-leveling, give it some time to self-level and set up. However, if you are the one to set it up, then check the tripod and the device bubble vials for similarities. It’s better to use self-leveling laser gadgets when operating outdoors. After keying in the grade metrics or percentage which you desire, set the laser beam slope to side by side. Then lock the laser level into position.

Step 4: Find out the initial height where you want the grade

Proceed and set the grade height. You can use the grade or level rod. Most laser levels are equipped with a ruler to help you set the grade height otherwise use a measuring tape. Adjust your leveling rod with the initial/grade height to obtain consistently accurate values.

Accuracy is key in this experiment; faulty grade height can mess up your entire work. So, please proceed with caution.

Step 5: Use the laser detector to find the beam

Now set up your detector strategically so that it can find the beam. Perhaps a second person can help you to do this, while on the other end you ensure your detector locates the beam. Otherwise, you may use a second tripod stand to mount the laser receiver after finding or while finding the laser beam.

Step 6: Adjust the laser detector

Continue to adjust the detector up and down until it beeps. The beeping means the detector has located the beam or laser. Do not use the laser if it is not aligned with the receiver or the detector.

Step 7: Set the grade rod at different locations on the construction site

After finding your level – the laser level beeping means you have your level set – you can station the grade rod at different locations. That will help you verify if the ground is above or below the set or the standard level point.  You can adjust the rod, up and down, to obtain an accurate level.

Step 8: Marking the spots

Note that the bottom section of the laser rod measures the grade. So, mark the desired spot with a marker or any other relevant tool.

To enhance your work efficiency, be sure to have the desired grade measurements before setting up the laser level.  Also, get a powerful laser level device that has good signal strength. This is especially necessary if you are working outdoors to offset the daylight radiation of light. (1, 2)

Caution

The laser beam can damage your eyes. Always put on your tinted safety goggles when operating the laser level machine. Also do not stare directly into the laser beam even if you are wearing tinted glass, it is no defense against high-intensity lasers.

Do not attempt to disassemble or repair your laser level machine.

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References
(1) work efficiency – https://slack.com/blog/productivity/work-efficiency-redefining-productivity
(2) daylight – https://www.britannica.com/topic/Daylight-Saving-Time

Video Reference

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.