Transit vs. Rotary Laser

robamato

Member
Jun 6, 2010
14
Clayton, NC
I'm preparing for my DIY IG vinyl pool build and I'm wondering which is better to use when leveling the walls: a transit or rotary laser. I have a relative that has a transit and said I can borrow it for the project. Does anyone have any comments on this? Thanks.
 

Bama Rambler

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Set up and used correctly either will produce the same results. The rotary laser is easier once setup but if I didn't already own one I wouldn't buy one just to build a pool.
 

bk406

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Dec 3, 2009
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Central Massachusetts
What Bama said. I have a transit and have access to a rotary. Rotary beats the transit for ease, hands down. But if you know how to use a transit, it's just as good.
 

JohnT

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I agree that they are equal in results, but if you are working alone, a laser is better hands down.
 

Marcm15

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Jul 1, 2010
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Orange County, NY
I used a Rotary Laser when I excavated my yard. The biggest advantage I saw was I was able to work it by myself. The audio tone feature with the remote on the stick guiding you up or down made quick work of the first phase of the project. I borrowed it from a friend and it was extremely easy to set up and use. I ended up level to within 1/4 inch. As previously stated, if you don't have access to one I wouldn't buy one just for this project.
 

robamato

Member
Jun 6, 2010
14
Clayton, NC
Thanks everyone. Thinking this through some more, I think I can picture the benefit of the laser when working alone - which is what I'll be doing. The transit would be "free" though. Decisions, decisions.
 

Marcm15

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Jul 1, 2010
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Orange County, NY
I did see a transit used by one person before by taping the measuring stick to the handle of a hand tamper. Lots of running back and forth though and not quite as accurate measurements I don't believe.
 

svenpup

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Nov 18, 2009
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Sacramento, CA
Marcm15 said:
I did see a transit used by one person before by taping the measuring stick to the handle of a hand tamper. Lots of running back and forth though and not quite as accurate measurements I don't believe.
Definitely not as accurate. When I studied surveying in college they taught us that to use a transit properly the "stick man" must "stir the soup". Essentially move the stick though back and forth through vertical (toward and away from the transit). The idea being it is impossible for a person holding a stick to tell what what vertical is. While the stick man is doing this, the transit operator takes the lowest reading seen as actual. It is impossible to do this with one person, and the error if you don't do it can be significant.

In a past life, when I was building tennis courts, we rigged a laser sensor to hydraulics to control a "drag box" (essentially a grading blade). The we just could pull the box with a skid steer (one man job) and get really nice grade. My boss was like MacGyver and rigged up cool things like that on the cheap. You could buy something similar for $$$.
 

JohnT

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257WbyMag said:
I am sitting squarely in the "rent a rotary laser" camp.
Sometimes for things like this, it's cheaper to buy a new or lightly used unit and then resell it on eBay when you are done. Often you hit a snag and an extra week of rent makes buy/sell way cheaper. Of course, if you are like me, once you have a tool, it's hard to give it up. :goodjob:
 

Melt In The Sun

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JohnT said:
257WbyMag said:
I am sitting squarely in the "rent a rotary laser" camp.
Sometimes for things like this, it's cheaper to buy a new or lightly used unit and then resell it on eBay when you are done. Often you hit a snag and an extra week of rent makes buy/sell way cheaper. Of course, if you are like me, once you have a tool, it's hard to give it up. :goodjob:
+1 from me too. I've never worked a transit alone, and just decided I never want to.
 

Isaac-1

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May 10, 2010
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I may be missing something here, but it seems like when we are talking about a project on the scale of a typical pool, that a simple water level would do all that is needed and can be operated by one person.

Ike
 

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