Digital level opinions

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Little Scrapper, Feb 6, 2016.

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  1. Feb 6, 2016 #1

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    After 25+ years my level is pretty beat up. I'm looking at buying a new level today. It seems these digital levels are popular but I've never actually used one. A well made standard level is darn accurate and probably more accurate than I'd ever need as a builder, but I am curious about these digital ones.

    Anyone want to comment on your experience with digital levels? As I age my eyes tend to get a little foggy, thinking this might be the way to go?
     
  2. Feb 6, 2016 #2

    BJC

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    If I were buying a new level, it would be a high quality 48" digital.


    BJC
     
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  3. Feb 6, 2016 #3

    blane.c

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    I have many levels, if I was going to have just one it would be a small electronic digital level. With a good straight edge it can be as long as necessary. My little electronic digital is very accurate and tells you any angle in a fraction of a degree.
     
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  4. Feb 6, 2016 #4

    Little Scrapper

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    Thanks guys. Just walked out of Menards with a 48" Johnson. Cost me $129, should be fun to see how these work. I jig welded 4 table sides last night and I'm going to tackle them together today with this digital level. I'll post an update.
     
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  5. Feb 6, 2016 #5

    PTAirco

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    I did buy a digital level for rigging a friend's Great Lakes. The level worked great by itself, but it's sometimes impossible to find a straight place on the airframe to put it on. Welded fuselages often have distortion, fabric wings a have stitching sticking up etc. You really need well made rigging boards for this kind of thing and then a digital level would be more useful. Rigging biplanes - it's more art than science.
     
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  6. Feb 6, 2016 #6

    blane.c

    blane.c

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    good to know.
     
  7. Feb 6, 2016 #7

    Pops

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    Love my digital level. Nice to know my wings and tail surfaces true to one tenth of a degrees.
     
  8. Feb 6, 2016 #8

    Dan Thomas

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    I paid about $40 five years ago for a 10" digital level. Use it all the time for control surface rigging, wing rigging, tail rigging, and many other things. Resolution is 0.1 degree, and in checking it against a calibrated and certified digital level, it's within half a degree. A lot better than the old mechanical inclinometer. In fact, I have a free inclinometer app on my smartphone that's pretty deadly.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plaincode.clinometer&hl=en
     
  9. Feb 6, 2016 #9

    BJC

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  10. Feb 6, 2016 #10

    Little Scrapper

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    I checked my new level against the old one by stacking it. .1 degrees seems like a lot but you can still see the difference of .1 degrees on regular levels.
     
  11. Feb 6, 2016 #11

    Little Scrapper

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    My old level was off by a 1/10" of a degree.
    20160206_131527.jpg
     
  12. Feb 6, 2016 #12

    Little Scrapper

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    Here's what the difference in 1/10 of a degree looks like on a bubble. I like my new digital one but this just shows a regular bubble level is pretty darn accurate.
    20160206_131650.jpg
     
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  13. Feb 6, 2016 #13

    Little Scrapper

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    In fact, the bubble is probably more accurate because there's a pretty big swing in 1 degree that the digital level measuring to 1/10 doesn't pick up. If you look at the bubble difference between the two picks that's quite a jump on that bubble. When I shimmed the digital level on a 20" file cabinet top I bet it was a .030" difference. And in order to get the digital level to change to the next digit I watched the bubble move.
     
  14. Feb 6, 2016 #14

    Midniteoyl

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  15. Feb 6, 2016 #15

    Little Scrapper

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    Yeah, Stabila has always made a great level. I'm gonna return this Johnson level for the simple reason it's just cheaply made. Not real impressed. You'd think for $130 you'd get a better made level. The buttons feel like they are gonna fall off.
     
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  16. Feb 6, 2016 #16

    Little Scrapper

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    Just ordered the digital Stabila on Amazon Prime. $220. I feel much better about that. I'll let you know how I like it on Wednesday.
     
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  17. Feb 6, 2016 #17

    Midniteoyl

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    Let us know.. The IP65 is a nice level..
     
  18. Feb 6, 2016 #18

    Little Scrapper

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    Jim, I think what I'll do is wait to return the Johnson after I stack it on the Stabila.....just kinda curious.
     
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  19. Feb 7, 2016 #19

    Daleandee

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    In building the Cleanex we used several different levels ... a couple of good bubble levels and a SmartTool Level:

    8222364104c1561aef3d7e.jpg

    It must have worked as the airplane goes straight when I take my hands off of it! :grin:

    Dale
    N319WF
     
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  20. Feb 7, 2016 #20

    ekimneirbo

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    I hope I can save some of you some money here. Sears has some excellent Craftsman digital levels and they will do most anything the more expensive ones will. They don't make a 48" as far as I know, but you really don't need one for your airplane. If you need to measure between two points longer than 24" then just use a regular level and set the digital on top of it. Better yet, get a piece of aluminum box tubing about six feet long
    to use as a straightedge and set the digital on top of it. You won't see any difference in your reading. I have a little 10" (actually about 11 1/4") Craftsman and its perfect for most anything. It has a lazer beam and works great. $49.99 48292 Then take the money you saved and buy their little digital torpedo level at Sears Outlet on sale now for $21-$23 48295 (not sure if it has a lazer) They also have a 24" 48293 $69.99
    I'm betting that the 10" one will do everything you want. I have some more expensive ones....they set in a drawer.

    Its easy to get caught up in the accuracy of a digital readout and spend more money, but I'm telling you the money can be better spent on other tools. If you have a shorter level, its handier. You can set any of them on a surface and zero them. Then move the surface and see what the new angle is.....but for just leveling two surfaces there always seems to be a need for a different length than what you have. Just use one of your plastic or metal levels and set the digital on top of it. Also be sure the bottom surface where the magnets reside are clean before you start. The high dollar levels don't do anything any better than these Craftsman ones do. DSCN4549.jpg Air Jig 004.jpg Air Jig 038.jpg
    Personally if I could only buy one level, I would choose the 10" because it works in a lot more places.

    Notice the lazer beam red dot on the frame square in the third picture. All I had to do was move the frame square to the far end of the box tubing and when the lazer dot was at the same point on the square, the box tube was level. The yellow line next to the tube is string. When I was doing this I did a lot of double checking to be sure it was really level...and it was.

    http://www.searsoutlet.com/Craftsma...s/d/product_details.jsp?pid=21320&mode=seeAll

    http://www.searsoutlet.com/10-in-Digital-LaserTrac-Level/d/product_details.jsp?pid=19264&mode=seeAll

    http://www.searsoutlet.com/24-in-Digital-LaserTrac-Level/d/product_details.jsp?pid=19265&mode=seeAll Air Jig 035.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
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