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Laser Levels?

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Post Wed Jan 15, 2003 12:47 am

Laser Levels?

I was just looking on Ebay and noticed that laser level kits are getting dirt cheep, my question (maybe stupip :0P ) is does or has any body tried one of these for giving you an easy method of aligning vehicle lettering quickly. Just a though that it might save laying out time and even more importantly an accurate finish.


Timmy..... :roll:
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Post Wed Jan 15, 2003 1:26 am

hi timmy i looked at them before but never got round to it....
it was more for large building jobs that we do with the cherry picker...

with regards to the level of a car. i would avoid it mate...
the level of the car you need is more the level of the sill rather than the ground.
i was part wrapping a van the other day. the seam ran vertical. i had drawn a line verticaly with a pen using a level i stood back and it was a mile out. well looked like it i should say.. it was actualy straight! :roll:
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Post Wed Jan 15, 2003 3:00 am

Hey Guys,
I've got one of the really really cheap ones, and I find it good to find a line on a vehicle that's got about three different "levels". You know the ones, centre line goes in one angle, lower sill looks to slope down, and the window sills going up ( i know I'm exaggerating).

Anyway the level I've got has a swivel that puts a laser line on any angle down that car. really handy when you don't have time to keep putting on different lines to find the right one.
I was given mine by a buddy that bought two. They cost about 80 bucks.
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Post Wed Jan 15, 2003 11:06 am

Hi Rob,

As leroy says you can adjust the line to find the best line of the vehicle. I'm sorry if my question sounded like if the lasers are good for true ground level.

Timmy...
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Post Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:46 pm

Timmy, we have one which we got from Focus for £30 we dont use it for vehicles at all for two reasons really, firstly as rob says the vehicle lines very rarely run with ground level and also the vehicle would have to be standing on a perfectly level bit of ground for the line to come out level. To be honest we havent spent much time trying to use it for vehicles so if Leeroy has devised a way to get a decent line on a vehicle quickly then I might be inclined to listen to him.
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Post Wed Jan 15, 2003 11:22 pm

We have one which splits the beam into a straight line, which you can adjust the angle of, then lower or raise so you can just pick a line on a vehicle, match the beam up and hey presto

cant remember the last time it came out of the box though
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2003 9:48 am

Nooo that'll spoil all the fun of wandering round and round the vehicle looking for the right line, scratching your head/( oh i swore ), having a cup of tea, wandering around again, squinting whilst standing on one leg, whistling the theme to the great escape, and if none of this helps just slap it on cos no bugger'll notice for at least 6 months. :lol:
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2003 3:25 pm

I reckon a Vauxhall Astravan (estate car shape) has got to be one of the worst for contradicting lines. I have seen graphics done all ways on these, some of them following the waistline upwards (terrible).
You just can't measure it, just got to tack on the graphic and stand back for a gander.
With practice you can learn to ignore the rectanglar shape of the backing :o

Anyone got a worse vehicle?

Peter
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2003 4:31 pm

Mercede Vito is one van we hate.
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2003 10:05 pm

I'm going to get one.

I'm not worried about the sides of vans, even difficult ones like Astra and Vito. The body lines are there and there is nothing I can do about it and I have to work around them.

My problem is bonnets. I've lost count of the number of times I have fitted a line of text and then torn it off because it looks like it is smiling or frowning. This is particularly the case where the curves are not linear.

I think a laser level should help us get the text to look straight, whatever the shape of the panel.
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Post Thu Jan 16, 2003 11:06 pm

John, I'm a bit confussed. I cant see how a lazer level will help with bonnets. As far as I can see the reason the text on the bonnet either smiles or frowns is because of the curves in the bonnet, so the text will curve whatever you do with the level.
Is there a way of getting the text to run straight on the bonnet of a vehicle ?
I try to avoid putting text on bonnets for this very reason but if there is a way to do it I would like to know. I have tried curving the text slightly the other way so it looks straight when applied but it is a lot of mucking about and difficult to get right.
I normally tell customers we can do it but it will make their van look unhappy !!
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Post Fri Jan 17, 2003 9:46 am

Martin, you could have tried smiling yourself, yah grumpy looking bugger !!!!
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Post Fri Jan 17, 2003 12:35 pm

martin,

Yes, it is the curve of the bonnet that makes the text smile or frown. We too curve the text to counteract this but it is always a matter of trial and error with consequent waste of time and materials.

I reckon that with a laser level we can just set it up and mark the bonnet in what we know will be a perfectly straight line and then bend the text to fit the marks. Stand back and it should look straight first time every time.

As always, when dealing with compound curves, it will only ever look right when viewed from one angle, but as these things are intended to be viewed from oncoming cars then that's the angle from which it needs to look correct.

Obviously you would need to check that the van is sitting level from side to side, which is not always the case on used vans, but as 95% or more of our work is on new vehicles that is not a problem for us.

This method will also allow bonnet graphics to be fitted in a standard, measurable way, which is important to us, to ensure repeatability.

I hope that explains it.

Regards - John
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Post Fri Jan 17, 2003 1:52 pm

I always avoid putting text on bonnets if I can help it anyway, half the time the onlky place it can be viewed from is when you are standing oin front of the thing anyway. Vans spend a lot of time parked up but most of the time on the move?
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Post Fri Jan 17, 2003 10:33 pm

Thanks for that Steve !! Actually I have a baseball cap from Disney Land with grumpy on it after one of the dwarfs, I bought it for myself before the kids saw it !
John, I'm not convinced your idea will work but wish you luck and would be interested in finding out how you got on.
Like you Stuart we tend to leave bonnets bare unless the customer really wants something. Well not completely bare when we do visuals we normally do one with a small logo in one corner of the bonnet, its amazing just how many people seem to like this and it seems to have become a sort of trade mark of ours.
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Post Sat Jan 18, 2003 12:26 am

Hi Martin

I can see what your getting at and I can see the boys point of view if you thik of it in very basic terms i think youll under stand.

measure down a bonnet say 20" on the right 20" on the left put a string line across ping it = straight line. Now instead of putting a line of text down put it on one letter at a time
with the bottom or the top lined up to your chalk line when the whole line is on should look straighter than putting awhole line down in one go... yeah

Know take away your chalk line...and have red light line whats the difference?

......FB
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Post Sat Jan 18, 2003 12:53 am

Bob,

The difference is that with a laser level you will get a line that is level with the ground and therefore looks straight to oncoming cars. With the string you get the shortest distance between the two points and not a straight line.

The strings a bit like transatlantic planes going via Scotland to get to America. Not a straight line, but the shortest distance.

I'm not explaining myself very well here so if I can find the time I'll do a demo with some pictures. With my internet skills though I'll probably have to ask rob nicely to post it.
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Post Sat Jan 18, 2003 1:08 am

I always thought Transatlantic planes flew north to Scotland then on towards Iceland, then followed the Coastline down from Canada to America in order to avoid straying too far from land.

What this has to do with signs and vehicle bonnets I haven't the foggiest Idea :-?

How did we get onto this subject :oops:
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Post Sat Jan 18, 2003 9:04 pm

Hi John

Yes I'm with you I was just putting it that way to see if martin could see the point of using a laser (he said he had one ....bet hes out there now playing with it )

Recently a warehouse near me has been doing a kit including the spinning one like the false ceiling fixers use for about £40 Iwas thinking of getting one as we do put in quite a few suspended wire kits in a year which would justify the cost.

Then I had this idea that if you lined it up at an angle to a main line on the car
(like the sill or swage line) that by keeping it at the same level and moving it up and down you would have that angle anywere on the side if you get my drift.

I would not want to use ground level as in the past I have done this then the guy fills the van up with junk and the back came down far enough to make the sign look well drunk. Also on a new vans the springs are slightly stronger based on the thought that thier is only the driver in 90% of the time so if the van was slightly high on one side and you done the bonnet it might not look right later, so would have thought that you would be better setting a laser to a body point.

What are your considerations on those points as I would like to learn more on this
subject .

Regards for now
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Post Mon Jan 20, 2003 6:26 am

FB...

I agree that using the ground is out of the question.

I am also sure that your method of lining your laser up with a major body swage will work, although each job would need to be assesed to see if the effort of setting up was worth the time.

As an example, we did four Astras on Friday but as the text was only in the side panel it was easy enough to get it straight. Other jobs we do would certainly benefit from using your method.

I think that it would be a last resort though for the reason that using that method every job would be a one off as the laser would need setting up for each side of each individual vehicle. On a hundred van job fifteen minutes set up time will take twenty five hours, which is a big cost penalty. We also need to consider what happens after a vehicle leaves our workshop. If we can provide dimensioned drawings with parts for accident damage repair it helps the bodyshop to make a repair correctly.

Finally we prefer, wherever possible and practical, to line up the graphics with any black body mouldings rather than a swage. Our reason is that as viewing distance increases the swages tend to become less noticeable whereas the black bodytrim still stands out.
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Post Mon Jan 20, 2003 6:28 am

Multiple post edited out.

Sorry Robert, but it looks like during the recent site problem my data was going up the line but nothing was coming down. :D
Last edited by John Childs on Tue Jan 21, 2003 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Mon Jan 20, 2003 6:32 am

Multiple post edited out.
Last edited by John Childs on Tue Jan 21, 2003 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Mon Jan 20, 2003 6:35 am

Multiple post edited out.
Last edited by John Childs on Tue Jan 21, 2003 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Tue Jan 21, 2003 9:22 pm

Well done Tim! - on this being the post of the week... :cool:

I've not contributed so far - but would point out that I was so intrigues by your post that I've actually said to Clare about getting me one for me' birthday - (17th Feb - that is! :wink:) and have started lookin' around - though from what's been said it would seem sensible to get one that gan be 'tipped' from the horizontal - I can see a lot of use for such an item...

thanks again Tim - and...nice post :wink:

more soon

mike
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Post Thu Jan 23, 2003 11:10 pm

Just a thought
Park near Peters on a rainy day and when the floodwater goes down take all measurments from the dirty line
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Post Fri Jan 24, 2003 10:28 am

This post is for Mikes wife Clare, Lazer levels 25 quid from Argos, that should keep the old bugger quiet on the 17th :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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