As Prices fall on quality rotating lasers, more and more builders and DIY self-builders are buying them so here is a very basic guide on how to use a basic rotating laser.
Most lasers on the market today are automatic levelling so for the purpose of this guide we will assume you are using one of these, secondly I’ll assume you are using the laser to level outdoors.
First thing to do is to find a good spot to put the tripod and laser, somewhere that is out of the way so it won’t get knocked or damaged is a good start but also, most importantly, a position that allows a clear view of the site that you want to level. Laser beams are beams of light and like any other light will stop if blocked by an object, when levelling you use an electronic receiver to “see” this light so if there is something between the laser on the tripod and the receiver then the receiver won’t be able to pick up the laser and so not be able to show you level.
There are two main types of automatically levelling lasers; the first uses a pendulum and gravity to find level and the second used electronic sensors and motors. Gravity pendulum rotating laser almost always have a pendulum locking knob which is engaged when you are not using the laser to protect the mechanism, so to use this type first thing you need to do is locate this locking knob and unlock the device. Unlocking the pendulum allows the pendulum to swing free within gravity and after a few seconds due to a dampening mechanism will settle into a level position then all you have to do is press the power button and the laser beam prism will start to spin creating the rotating laser dot. With electronic leveling mechanisms simply power up and the motors and sensors get the laser into a level position and the laser beam will rotate.
The rotating beam is drawing an invisible (to the naked eye) flat level disc with the laser level being in the center. Next turn on your electronic receiver, the receiver will most times have both a visual display and audible sounds. Hold the receiver facing the laser level and move it up and down slowly through where you think this invisible laser disc is when the receiver passes through the path of the rotating laser it will indicate this and the display and sounds will indicate when you are slightly above the laser, slightly below the laser and exactly on it. This level point indicates a level height between the receiver and the laser level, Now by attaching the receiver to a staff or stick you can move around the site taking readings and determine level at different parts and so level the site with the help of hurdles, stakes or other means.