Laser levels and laser measuring tools used to be a figment of our imagination or something from Star Trek. Never did average DIY’ers and the South African ‘bakkie brigade’ believe that they would have the ability and means to own products with laser precision capabilities.
Over the last couple of years only a small number of suppliers manufactured their own laser products or imported selected laser products. It seems, however, that the demand for these sophisticated products has driven suppliers to expand their ranges or to find the best manufacturer in each class.
DIY Trade News takes a brief look at some of the old and new products available in South African and the benefits of each.
Laserliner is exclusively distributed by Webco Tools in South Africa. Under the brand, Webco will distribute a comprehensive range of laser tools which are easy to merchandise and come with a two-year guarantee.
This universal device for testing moisture in wood and building materials is also ideal to detect moisture in soft construction materials such as gypsum and plaster. Integrated characteristics for seven material groups increase the accuracy of measurements. The wet/dry indicator evaluates and interprets measurements with respect of the given material. Measuring range/accuracy: wood: 0-30%/1%; 30-60%/2%; 60-90%/4%, other materials: 0.5%.
Both products are supplied with batteries. The DampFinder Plus also includes a hand-held electrode, conversion table and carry case.
A universal scanning and detection device with depth display. Enables a targeted search for metals such as reinforcing steel, heating pipes and water pipes. Also localises and warns of live wires.
The depth measurement function is a valuable aid in deciding whether there is sufficient drilling depth over metal girders, therefore, no more accidental drilling into metal, water or gas pipes. Prevents drilling into girders or steel reinforcements when working in walls and masonry. Pays for itself by avoiding expensive repair work and ugly holes drilled in the wrong place.
Digital electronic spirit level with wall-line-laser and vertical and horizontal angle display. The tilt unit can be toggled between degrees, inches/feet or percent on the numerical display. An acoustic signal sounds to indicate a horizontal or vertical line. Angles can be transmitted in reference mode and up to nine values can be retrieved from the separate measured value memory.
Automatic 3-spot laser with magnetically damped pendulum system. Levels itself automatically within seconds. Pendulum can be locked for protection during transport. Uncomplicated handling: turning the housing enables horizontal leveling, while with the two perpendicular lasers markings can easily be transferred from the floor to the ceiling.
90° laser lines make this the ideal measuring tool for all floor-based alignment work. The wide-range laser beams also project easily visible laser lines onto walls. The two vials facilitate vertical leveling on walls. The 90° try-square edge makes it easy to align the first floor tile.
Automatic rotary laser with rapid horizontal self-leveling, vertical alignment with adjustable foot. Magnetically-damped pendulum system for 3,5° self-leveling range. Pendulum can be locked for protection during transport.
Then 893 T-Laser from Qualitools has a highly visible 90° beam. The spring grip slides onto the edge of standard boards. It has a pressure activated power switch and a manual on/off switch for use as a surface laser. Bi-material moulded case has a rubber overlay and a handy belt clip.
Bosch has now added the laser rangefinder PLR 30 to its range, a tool that measures lengths, areas or volumes at the push of a button. With dimensions of 110mm x 66mm x 32mm, it is as small as a cellphone and fits into any pocket. It measures distances of up to 30m to within an accuracy of +/-2mm. This is 50 times more accurate than well-known ultrasound measuring tools, which have an accuracy of approximately +/-10cm.
The PLR 30 is easy to operate. The simple control buttons have self-explanatory symbols for distance, area or volume measurements. The DIY enthusiast can add, subtract or simply store measurement results at the push of a button. The results can be viewed at a glance on the large LC display.
The PLR 30 is suitable for measuring both indoors and outdoors. Thanks to the non-slip softgrip, the laser rangefinder fits comfortably and securely in your hand and the tool has a class 2 650-nanometer laser light making it more visible.
The detector PDO Multi detects and indicates ferrous and non-ferrous metals, power cables in walls and ceilings and wood in drywall constructions. DIY enthusiasts don’t need to worry any longer about drilling into water pipes or damaging a power cable. The easy-to-use tool has just four control keys – no calibration necessary before measuring, no presets – in fact, the detector is ready to use immediately, and errors caused by incorrect calibration are now a thing of the past. When the PDO Multi detects any of the above, the LED ring changes colour from green to red and alerts the user with an acoustic signal.
The result is displayed graphically on a large LCD. The zoom function refines the search even more and locates the detected object within a mm range. For example, the tool can detect iron at a depth of up to 8cm and power cables up to 4cm in a wall. The user simply marks the detected area through the opening in the centre of the LED ring. And the built in pencil comes very handy when doing this.
The cross-line laser level PCL 1 from Bosch is a lifesaver when laying tiles, mounting cupboards, or hanging pictures. The tool is ready to use almost immediately as it performs a self-levelling test within seconds. The user can optionally project precise horizontal, vertical or crossed (90º) laser lines onto the wall. The accuracy tolerance is 0,5mm per meter. The class 2, high-quality 635-nanometer laser ensures excellent visibility even from a 10m distance.
The digital laser tape measure PMB 300L is a particularly versatile measuring tool, specially designed for leveling or measuring lengths up to three metres. Equipped with two vials and a line laser, the tool operates as an electronic spirit level. No more skew tiles or pictures, everything can be lined up perfectly. Awkward marking with a pencil is no longer necessary. Measuring results are also shown precisely on the easy-to-read digital display. The combination of measuring and leveling functions is especially advantageous when marks at the same height are required.
With the BL 2L Professional, Bosch offers a line laser that enables professionals to complete day-to-day indoor alignment work in no time. Tasks that were previously awkward to do with a spirit level, plumb and plumb line are now taken care of at the push of a button.
Precise horizontal and vertical laser lines can be projected onto walls or from floor to ceiling together or individually, enabling the user to perform numerous alignment tasks. The line laser is leveled within four seconds and then delivers exact horizontal, vertical or cross lines. The deviation over a distance of 10m is only 3mm. Accurate work is also guaranteed by the Out-of-Level function.
The BL 2L Professional indicates unintentional inclines over 4° by means of quick flashing of the laser line. If inclined lines are required, for example for two-colour paint coats in a stairwell, the user can fix the laser using the pendulum lock function and set it manually to the desired inclination. The slowly flashing laser line indicates that this mode is set. The accessories that come complete with the BL 2L Professional also prove its versatility: the alignment disk allows for angle settings of 0°, 45° or 90°.
The BL 2L Professional is also immune to the rough conditions on construction sites. The particularly robust housing makes it insensitive to dust and splash water. Thanks to its pendulum lock, the BL 2L Professional is also perfectly protected against impact when it is transported to the construction site.
The GPL 5 C Professional projects five perpendicular, strongly focused laser light beams, three in the horizontal direction and two in the vertical direction. The points of light are clearly visible both indoors and outdoors, even at distances of more than 30m.
The tool levels itself in less than four seconds for more convenient working. It has a levelling accuracy of 0,3mm per metre. The tool is very easy to operate because it is set using only one button. To protect the leveling system, the pendulum remains locked once the point laser level is switched off. The wall holder that comes complete with the laser level offers a complete range of possibilities for fitting it in place: using magnets, using a tripod thread for ¼” camera tripods and ⅝” building tripods, and using straps.
The Tile Laser Level GTL 3 Professional is an ideal tool for laying floor and wall tiles. It is the only tile laser level on the market to project a third line in the 45° direction in addition to the two standard right-angled laser light beams. This makes not only parallel laying but also diagonal laying of tiles very quick and easy. The GTL 3 Professional is also very useful when wallpapering, boarding, and when laying stones or cables.
The laser light lines of the new tile laser level are clearly visible thanks to the strongly focusing optical components. The range when used with the target plate is 20m. The line accuracy of 0,2mm per metre is the best in this tool class.
More convenient working is ensured by the lightweight and compact design, and the single-button operation. Two magnetic feet make it easier to fit the tool on a wall or floor using the metal plate that is supplied as standard.
The new Cross Line Laser Level PCL 20 from Bosch is a versatile assistant for do-it-yourselfers. It offers five different operating modes: horizontal, vertical or inclined lines, as well as crossed lines and also plumb point transfer. The user sets the desired mode by gently tapping the control panel. The maximum inaccuracy of the laser lines is 0,5mm per metre. The high-quality 635-nanometre laser projects very clearly visible, up to ten-metre-long laser lines.
The PCL 20 levels itself in four seconds on average. The requirement for this is that the initial incline is no more than four degrees. This measuring tool is extremely easy to operate. The ergonomic on/off switch on the side of the tool is easily accessible. When the cross line laser level is switched off, the laser pendulum is automatically locked for safe transportation of the tool.
The latest addition to Skil’s range of laser and measuring tools, model 0510, has the big advantage of auto leveling and stabilising as well as 360° rotation. This means no manual adjustment is needed. Just select the desired function – horizontal, vertical, cross, diagonal or in corners and the laser automatically projects a clear and perfectly leveled laser beam.
The 360° auto laser level is easy to operate, with a top-mounted electronic function switch and on/off button. The Auto Level function operates within a range of ± 5º. If the model is positioned beyond this angle you will be warned by an acoustic feedback signal.
The automatic stabilising system produces a stable laser beam within just five seconds of switching on. This makes it the perfect way to align and fit shelves, cupboards, work surfaces, pictures and lots more. A special feature of this laser is its ability to be manually rotated though 360°.
The Skil laser also has a useful ‘cross’ function that projects both vertical and horizontal lines together. This is ideal for situations where both vertical and horizontal alignment are needed at the same time, such as tiling, paneling or hanging groups of pictures. Next to vertical and horizontal lines, it also projects a diagonal laser beam.
The Ranger is ready for use straight out of the box, since a 9V battery is included in the packaging. All the user has to do to prepare the Ranger for measuring is to level it by means of the two built‑in spirit levels, point the laser target at the place to which you want to make a measurement, and press the Read button. The measurement is then made using ultrasonic technology, with an immediate result on the LCD display.
The Ranger provides the user with the measurement results on a large, convenient LCD display. Clear pictograms show the user at‑a‑glance exactly what type of measurement is being made. The Ranger also gives a temperature indication in °C – a handy way to measure the ambient temperature.
Area and volume calculations are made by defining the length and width (and height if needed) of the object to be measured, after which the calculated result automatically appears.
The new Skillaser model 0500 leveling device makes laser leveling affordable and easy to use for consumers who want to get high-precision results for all kinds of jobs such as hanging pictures and decorating strips, mounting shelves and kitchen cupboards, installing counter tops and work surfaces and many more. In fact this leveling device has so many uses in all kinds of DIY and decorating jobs that it’s a ‘must have’ for every user who wants to get precision results.
Easy, intuitive operation is a key feature of the Skillaser model 0500 leveling device. All that’s needed to start work is to place it on any flat surface anywhere in the working environment. The leveling platform supplied as standard has three adjustable feet which, with the help of the built‑in 2‑way spirit level, allow precise fine‑tuning of position. Then simply switch on the device and it’s ready for use. The laser beam can then be adjusted to any angle from 0 to 90° using the convenient, top‑mounted scrolling wheel, after which the user has both hands free to get on with the job.
The model 0500 leveling device is a stand-alone unit that can be placed on any surface, mounted on a tripod, or even used hand‑held to give a quick indication of the right alignment and direction. Handling comfort and ease of positioning are further increased by the two soft grip areas on the top and sides of the device. Furthermore, model 0500 has a magnetic base which allows easy mounting on any magnetic surface.
Model 550 is the latest development in Skil’s growing family of handy laser and measuring tools. It is designed to increase confidence and accuracy when working on walls and other structures in which wood or metal joists, but also live electrical wires or plumbing pipes, may be hidden. The detection depth depends on the material, but varies from up to 80mm for magnetic and 60mm for non‑magnetic metals, through 50mm for live wires, to up to 20mm for wooden substructures.
Model 550’s display is not just limited to simple detected/not detected indications like many other products. Instead, it has clearly visible red and green LEDs plus a detailed LCD display that shows at‑a‑glance what kind of material is detected – even including a magnetic or non‑magnetic metal indication.
With the new Spider, Skil brings real ease of use to laser tools. It meets consumers’ needs for a quick, convenient solution for all kinds of jobs that require alignment or leveling – for example installing shelves, hanging pictures, decorating, tiling and many more. Now there’s no more need to spend time consuming measurements and drawing out pencil lines. The Spider indicates the right line instantly.
The problem that consumers often experience with laser tools is how to mount the laser on the surfaces they are working on. Now the ’Spider’ Multi Surface Laser solves this problem for good. A choice of no less than seven click‑on attachments – all supplied as standard in the pack – allow it to be fixed easily to virtually any surface.
The Spider has a striking and attractive display packaging that can be presented standing, lying flat or hanging in racks. The tool itself is shown clearly in a blister compartment. It comes with a handy bag for storage of the tool and all its attachments. The required batteries (three button cells) are supplied with the tool, so the Spider is ready for instant use out of the box.
The new crossed line laser comes with innovative technology such as a casing that can turn through 360°, a parked position locking mechanism and long, ultra-sharp wide angle lines.
The LAX 200 is ideal for interior work. The casing is in a U-shaped holder and can be rotated through 360°. It is self-leveling and uses ultra-sharp lasers. In the locked position, slopes can be marked. It has pulsed lines for external applications and has a working range of up to 250m.
It can also be easily positioned either on the ground or on a tripod. It also has the Stabila anti-shock system with impact absorbent cover. There is also optimal protection for the casing at the corners and edges.
The Stabila LD 300 and LD 400 laser distance measurers are ideal for all craftsmen working indoors. They are robust and have impact resistant casing a with shock-absorbent softgrip cover. Both are easy to handle and easy to read, even in a dark cellar.
They have five functions: length, area, tracking (continuous measurement) and a Pythagoras function with two measuring points. The LD400 also have the following added features: cumulative dimensions, timer and marking our function.
Topcon Corporation, a Japanese Multinational company established in 1932, is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of precision positioning equipment and offers a wide selection of innovative precision GPS systems, laser, optical surveying and machine control products.
Topcon has focused on developing an array of integrated positioning and automation technologies to meet the constantly changing demands facing construction, surveying, agriculture, utilities and law enforcement industries worldwide
Topcon Corporation is certified according to the ISO 9001: 2000 standard. The certificate is applicable to distribution, marketing, service and software development of opto-electronic products, laser and machine control products for medical, surveying and construction markets.
Two models of line cross lasers LC2 and LC4X are being introduced into South Africa. The LC-2 is a standard two line-cross laser, as well as a pulse function to use with a sensor, which is available as an accessory. Features include a two-line level, a highly visible plumb spot beam and a 90° set out angle bracket. The package consists of the laser unit, a universal wall mount with magnet, square and carrying case.
The LC-4X is a complete multi-line Line-Cross Laser. Featuring full-crossline projection, high-speed self-leveling, wireless operation and robust body, the LC-4X significantly increases work efficiently in leveling, plumbing, squaring, alignment and layout applications.
This unit projects three vertical lines and a horizontal line as well as a plumb up and down and has a IP54 standard, which is dust and water protection. This unit is packaged in an aluminium case with a sensor, glasses and wall mount bracket.
These laser units can be used in many applications, including ceiling installations, dry walling, window installation, flooring, tiling, curtain rails and other external uses on a construction site. VI Instruments, who are the exclusive distributor of Topcon in South Africa, is a division of Rutherford
Get in touch
Laserliner (distributed by Webco Tools): 011-452-5906.
Robert Bosch: 011-651-9600