Author Topic: Spirit levels  (Read 1059 times)

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Spirit levels
« on: July 11, 2018, 07:41:04 pm »
Am helping a friend and need a spirit level.

Any recommendations?

Tim Hall

  • Bright are the stars that shine Dark is the sky
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 08:11:54 pm »
What will it be used for? That'll help decide how long a level is needed.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 08:25:06 pm »
Three fingers?
Basses lower the tone.

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 09:12:38 pm »
Stabila.

Vince

  • Can't climb; won't climb
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 09:19:03 pm »
Rabone
216km from Marsh Gibbon

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 09:19:48 pm »
wot no lasers?
'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.

Martin John Rees.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 10:11:33 pm »

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 10:18:17 pm »
Can't go far wrong with that.
'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.

Martin John Rees.

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 10:36:50 pm »
Make sure you double check a 70 / 50 series for plumb . They are not in the same league as a 83s girder level . But if its plumb , & you treat it carefully it will do the trick .
Volkswagen ~ Reliable German engineering  My arse !!!

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2018, 10:43:58 pm »
I too would counsel that you carefully check the calibration of a typical spirit level carefully.

In point of fact you don't really need to buy a spirit level if you don't want to; you just need to get a piece of transparent (or translucent) tubing that you can fill with water and see the level through the side of the tube. Better yet you can tape this to the bath so that you can see when it is exactly level at the top as you make adjustments.

cheers

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2018, 10:50:34 pm »
Three fingers?

Best answer so far  ;D

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2018, 10:53:05 pm »
Just make sure the water goes down the plughole. And make sure you sit in the bath when fixing.
'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.

Martin John Rees.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2018, 10:54:52 pm »
I too would counsel that you carefully check the calibration of a typical spirit level carefully.

In point of fact you don't really need to buy a spirit level if you don't want to; you just need to get a piece of transparent (or translucent) tubing that you can fill with water and see the level through the side of the tube. Better yet you can tape this to the bath so that you can see when it is exactly level at the top as you make adjustments.

cheers


Spirit level is easier

Make sure you double check a 70 / 50 series for plumb . They are not in the same league as a 83s girder level . But if its plumb , & you treat it carefully it will do the trick .

Just thrown (smashed) two cheap levels that were off centre and nonadjustable.  Checked if the levels had the bubbles in the same place either way round and upside down.

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2018, 11:05:40 pm »
cheap levels can be calibrated by simply making fresh marks on the glass. Absolutely no need to smash them...

cheers

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2018, 12:40:29 am »
Just make sure the water goes down the plughole. And make sure you sit in the bath when fixing.

I kept a steel ball in my pocket when I shopped for a kitchen sink to test how water would drain, for this reason.

Giraffe and I had great fun!

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2018, 08:06:35 am »
What will it be used for?

Flattening ghosts?
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2018, 08:42:29 am »
Don't get the bog standard el cheapo one from B&Q, the bubbles have been known to wear out easily.
This is destiny, it's fate, it's the matrix working in my favour.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2018, 09:13:14 am »
 ;D ;D ;D
We bought a cheapo level.
The bubbles did not wear out but it came on a 'yardstick' whose markings in centimetres were VERY differently spaced from those on my tape measures.

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2018, 09:21:28 am »
My level that I have had for 30 years finally died (liquid had faded so much you couldn't see the bubble) so I needed a new one. I ended up with this set from Screwfix:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/forge-steel-levels-4-piece-set/9810C?tc=DA5&ds_kid=92700022888067788&ds_rl=1248184&ds_rl=1245250&ds_rl=1247848&gclid=Cj0KCQjw-JvaBRDGARIsAFjqkkr39qWJZFN4Cs2LS1FIyor-l7F8hhxHZIZAsjMN3hgwJUZXTwmhLnYaAmCWEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CNeAz9aPmdwCFRH3UQodZj8HOA

The seem fine and having several lengths is useful. Bargain for £35.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2018, 05:31:18 pm »
What will it be used for?

Flattening ghosts?
:facepalm:

Is that even a terrible joke?

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2018, 05:38:24 pm »
cheap levels can be calibrated by simply making fresh marks on the glass. Absolutely no need to smash them...

cheers

Don't know how to recalibrate fixed bubble spirit levels.  Of the two that I had access to; one was a plastic no brand that had deformed and the edges were no longer straight.  Whilst the second is a rolson brand level and the three levels aren't adjustable.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2018, 05:43:43 pm »
It is to install a bath.

http://www.builderdepot.co.uk/stabila-70-90-single-plumb-level-90cm.html is winning at 13.14

None in the UK at the moment.

So getting the 1m one at the same price!!!!

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2018, 07:28:37 pm »
cheap levels can be calibrated by simply making fresh marks on the glass. Absolutely no need to smash them...

cheers

Don't know how to recalibrate fixed bubble spirit levels.  Of the two that I had access to; one was a plastic no brand that had deformed and the edges were no longer straight.  Whilst the second is a rolson brand level and the three levels aren't adjustable.

it isn't obvious to see how to do it but it is not difficult once you know how.

1) find or make a truly horizontal (or, for the other bubble, vertical) surface.

2) make fresh marks (using marker pen, tape, w.h.y.) on the exposed part of the vial.


The first part is slightly awkward to do, but once you find a flat surface (or make one eg by using paper shims under one end) the bubble sits in the exact same place with the spirit level either way round. If you make temporary marks on the vial, then turn the level round 180 degrees, you can see if the surface was truly level or not.  To make the best marks, use indian ink on the vial, and cover that with transparent sticky tape. Or cut a length of opaque tape the exact same length as the bubble, and put that alongside the bubble. Maybe there are other ways of making marks that might suit you better yet.

Repeat this process with each bubble and each reference surface on the body of the thing that you wish to use. Obviously if the reference surface on the level isn't itself flat, the level will only give a true reading if placed against a larger (and perfectly flat) surface.

You will find that even supposedly good quality levels are actually calibrated poorly such that you could easily make a small error.

With practice you can easily recalibrate the most accurate spirit levels this way. For example if you have a decent engineer's level such as one of the (very excellent) Rabone Chesterman models

these have graduations on the vial that correspond with tiny angles (far smaller than you might get with a digital level BTW). IIRC the marks (for a 12" level) correspond with elevations of just 0.004" in 12", or 0.0019 degrees, and you can read fractions of a mark if you want to.  You can adjust the vial on this type of level using the locknuts at one end; IIRC increments of about three degrees on the locknuts gives vial elevations which correspond roughly to one marked line on the vial.

Obviously you are not going to be able to calibrate your cheapo level to this kind of accuracy but on fixed vial levels you can nearly always improve it; even by spacing the lines apart by the same distance as the exact length of the bubble helps accuracy. Once you have you reference surface (or calibrated level) it is easy enough to check other levels against it.

Spare vials (to replace broken ones) can be bought cheaply enough eg
https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=spirit+level+bubble
(starting at about a quid each) and need not be super-accurately mounted if you are prepared to calibrate them afterwards.

With any spirit level, you can improve accuracy (where space permits) by simply laying the (short) level onto a longer length of something straight, like a length of  good quality aluminium extrusion. (BTW if necessary you can check the straightness of the extrusion or the 'composite level' by using the same technique as above).

hth

cheers

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2018, 07:32:08 pm »
I wasn’t sure whether to expect a thread on ethyl alcohol or the frequency of ghostly happenings.

Hey Ho... wanders off as nothing to add here.

Re: Spirit levels
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2018, 08:21:18 pm »
...or mood?
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)