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How To Make Large Accurate Measurements?2/2
I have a job coming up with some large faux hammer beams that are a bit complex. I do shop work and have no desire to work up in the air playing cut and fit.
I am wondering what is there with newer measuring devices that may make this fool proof? I'm aware of the countertop systems that record off targets, but I doubt anyone will want to measure the room for me, especially to get all the info I like to have. This is basic simple triangles, but with 26' spans and the inherent variability that comes with the existing framing.
I have some older methods of using tapes and sticks to determine pitch, angle, distance, etc. But I hope to make this more accurate, maybe easier, and end up with beams that will fall right into place. If I can get good numbers, I can build accurately. It is getting those dimensions that I would like to improve upon.
Not knowing exactly how you have to take your measurements, I have a Hilti laser that is pretty dog gone accurate.
I suspect over a 26' span you would be within less then a 1/16" off and probably closer then that.
If that is a possibility, don't scrimp and get one of the entry level laser measuring devices.
Take a look at the various Leica models as well as Hilti and Stabila.
I cant think of a low budget, yet easy, work around for the counter top laser you mention.
For templating an entire room as accurately as I would assume you'd want about the best I could imagine would be a rotary to get any variations in elevation and then a laser like Mark mentions for other quick measurements, a pad of paper or laptop and a ton of measurements.
I have done the above with a laptop and sketchup running and basically modeled the entire room on-site in 3d in a relatively short time. At that point I can go back to the shop and build whatever I need in the software and export it to the shop.
Definitely not as slick as a top shops laser templating system but its probably about 1/20th the cost even with my time.
Without seeing the room, I can only be vague in my suggestions. I have taken accurate horizontal measurements using a laser plumb bob. The one I use is still available for around $200 USD. One like the PLS Laser PLS-60523 PLS3 would work.
Place the laser on the floor, spot the ceiling target and mark the floor at the corresponding point. You can lay out the entire ceiling on the floor in 2 dimensions this way and then simply take measurements with a tape measure. No ladders or precarious balancing and reaching necessary. One man can easily measure with confidence using this method.
The reverse process will allow you to lay out on the floor and transfer the lay out to the ceiling accurately and painlessly (two guys needed for this, but again, one can do it, its just a hassle).
This method assumes the ceilings and floors are not complicated and present few obstructions. Again, not seeing the room, I can only guess. Usually obstructions can be overcome with two or more marks and then adding or subtracting them as necessary.
As far as the pitch for angels and vertical measurements, hopefully this can be resolved with less difficulty than large, horizontal measurements tend to present.
There are simple ways to test and confirm the laser for accuracy and if necessary, offset your measurements.
David, I don't know if this would help you, but there are laser templating services out there.Also, do you have a good relationship with a stone countertop company, possibly hire them to do it for you? There are newer models of lasers out the in the 15k range that can measure an entire room from floor to ceiling and produce a cad file of it.
Are you trying to fit to finished surfaces?
We are not fitting to surfaces that are fully established yet.
I think we have settled on letting site carpenters do the ceiling beams, and we will concentrate on the wall panels, stairs, and related work.
I don't think lasers are the answer, only careful templating and scribing of every surface would get the beams built, and even thin it would be very difficult.
I wonder if anyone has ever don a cost comparison to compare the costs of using real beams to not only show nicely on the interior, but to hold up the roof as compared to conventional stick framing and then the expensive trim guys putting up fake beams after the fact.
It seems that the real thing would be about the same as the fake thing, but real.
Unfortunately the painters would spend days filling and sanding all of those unsightly waffle marks the framers left when installing your real beam.
Often the spans used in large houses are long enough that they must use microlams. These are not exactly trim grade.
Total Disclaimer: I'm an authorized Leica dealer
However: I personally use the Leica 3D Disto for field verification work for my drafting business, and I think that you'd really benefit from using the 3D Disto. The tool was basically designed to capture dimensions of large, irregular, and hard to reach objects like what you're looking for. The tool basically converts 3D reality into the CAD environment, so you can capture all of your dimensions of these faux hammers and bring the measurements into the shop to work with. I use this tool pretty frequently for countertop jobs, and I'm currently using it to template a bunch of irregular stained glass windows. I can take my measurements on the field, and the 3D Disto automatically exports a CAD file (including 3-dimensional if needed) of all my measurements. If you're working on a lot of custom jobs, this thing will save you a substantial amount of time and energy on your measurements for future projects of any size. You can watch a demo that I did with the 3D Disto a couple months ago here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X2EVCtuP-o
Hope this helps!
3D Disto Info