Poor Man s Transit: Excavation  -- Home Building Discussion Forum and Review Poor Man s Transit: Excavation -- Home Building Discussion Forum

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 05-23-2002, 07:19 Post: 38932
TomG

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 Poor Man s Transit

An inexpensive and useful gadget--maybe.

I think figured that a water level can be used to shoot grades. So, I bought 50' of clear 1/4" line with the idea of improving some grading work I have to do over my barely educated eyeballing.

The most common use for water levels is leveling the tops of widely spaced posts but I think it'll work for grades. I'll drive a post at the head of a grade and attach a vertical section of the plastic line and the same at the foot of a grade. I should be able to measure the vertical distances of the water columns against both posts. Subtracting one from the other should give me the vertical drop. I can measure the distance between the two posts along the ground and between the two water levels. That should give me three sides of a right triangle, and I should be able to calculate the grade angle with a trig table and a little arithmetic. Alternately, I should be able to figure how much the foot of a grade has to be raised or lowered to make a given grade.

I'd much rather have a transit but I won't do this sort of thing very often, and my cheap water level should work. It's especially cheap because I stumbled on two dollar store gadgets (for $1 each, what else) that are described as high-pressure hose sprayers. It's just a garden hose end with a valve and a narrow spout. The spout end is about the right diameter sticking in the 1/4" hose. So, I can fill the hose with water and turn off the valves so it won't leak. I can get the level set up and then open the valves to take level readings.






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 05-23-2002, 07:47 Post: 38933
Peters

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 Poor Man s Transit

I guess that works if time does not equal money. I bought a laser level for $150 and shoot the line and measure the fall.
The laser I have self levels and spread a laser light verical up to 150'. It is really ment to in doors so I have to do it at dusk, but in most cases it is accurate enough to check grade.
I use it mostly to check framing, door and window casings, cupboards, tongue and groove etc.
You can buy rotating devises for less than 300. Self leveling are more like 500.
Mine provides a verical and horizontal line which is accurate to within 1/4 " over 150'. Close enough for government work.

For th






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 05-23-2002, 08:01 Post: 38935
Art White



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 Poor Man s Transit

I like the laser idea. I have two one that shoots with good accuracy to 150 foot and has three beams to check square the other goes to 1500 foot with one beam. I gave less than 150 in both and I can shoot a grade by myself anywhere. They fit in my pocket and are easy to use for anyone. They are great for running pipes in the basement or out the yard and easy to use for one person.






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 05-23-2002, 08:14 Post: 38937
Peters

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 Poor Man s Transit

I looked at the 3 beam pocket levels when I bought mine 2 years ago. I really wanted one but they were more like 500. Now they are the same price. Kind of like computers.
The simple torpedo laser levels are less than 50. You still need to level it but for that price I can't imagine messing with strings or water.






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 05-23-2002, 08:21 Post: 38938
Peters

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 Poor Man s Transit

I guess the Red Green culture really does rub off.
I want to here about the satellite dish turned solar cooker and the K car turned snow blower.






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 05-23-2002, 11:05 Post: 38952
DRankin



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 Poor Man s Transit

I'll bet good money he is using duct tape to attach the tubing to the post.






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 05-23-2002, 15:17 Post: 38955
Stan



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 Poor Man s Transit

MARK - and what would be wrong w/ that ????

RED (er Peeters) I LIKE THE IDEA !!! Back when lasers were still big and owned by universities, and transits were expensive even to rent, I built a barn and a couple decks this way, and laid out drain lines.

I bet you thought of it already, but you only need two dimensions for your trig tables - the RISE and the RUN are enough.

Have fun. If you had all that laser stuff, the work would get done too quickly and you'd maybe get caught doing something that didn't involve dirt and tractors Smile






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 05-23-2002, 23:06 Post: 38970
Peters

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 Poor Man s Transit

Stan;
I have built a number of projects with string levels etc. also, but I am not sure that I would go back to that. It might just be me I always found it difficult to establish level initially and then the string was always in the way of construction.






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 05-24-2002, 05:13 Post: 38971
TomG

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 Poor Man s Transit

I did notice that laser levels were surprisingly inexpensive before I bought my tubing. I'll have to think it through, but a water level may have some advantages over a laser for one person working alone. I did think about a laser but ended up with a $20 gadget that doesn't take batteries and shows up in the bright sun. Probably will take more time though.

Sure wish I could find an inexpensive gadget that has vertical capabilities, then I could leave to trig tables in the basement. Yes, I did know that the third leg of a right triangle can be solved from the other two. I figure that measuring all three sides and then calculating one leg from the other two would serve as a check for any gross measurement errors I make. After all I'm the guy who had to shave a few sides of 12" postholes for 4" posts in order to get a straight fence line. I have to worry about these things.






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 05-24-2002, 09:09 Post: 38982
DRankin



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 Poor Man s Transit

Tom, pardon my ignorance, but if you need a third level measurement, why not put a "T" in the tube and run it out to where you need it?






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Excavation Forum

Thread 38932 Filter by Poster:
Art White 1 | big_eddy_ 1 | DavidJ 1 | DRankin 2 | Mr. Ethics 1 | Murf 1 | Peters 6 | Stan 1 | steve arnold 1 | TomG 6 |

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