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Transit Levels

 
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:31 PM   #1
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Transit Levels


Anyone still using these for site layout for decks, fences, additions, etc? Most of my work is inside and I have a few different lasers that usually work for my layout needs. I haven't used a transit since 20 plus years ago in high school woods class. But the other day I think one would have come in really handy. I posted about this in the fencing forum and got some suggestions but didn't really figure out if a transit would have made my day any smoother.

Long story short my sister just bought a house and wanted a fence. So I ended up spending a day there, this wasn't a paying job I was doing for a customer otherwise I would have never been in this situation. Her husband didn't want to pay for a survey but wanted the fence right at the edge of their property. Problem is they didn't know where the side lot line was for sure. I can usually find something to help with locating lot lines, pins, poles, running parallel with house or street, etc. We had the two back corner pins so we knew the back lot line. I ended up running a bunch of strings trying what I could to figure out the side lot line but wasn't having much luck.

So I'm thinking, and I could be wrong since it's been a long time since I used one, that I could have set the transit over the back corner marker. Shot the other back corner marker, then turned 90 degrees to shoot the front corner marker to give me my side lot line. Or at least be quick and easy to see where doing that put the side lot line. Instead of running a bunch of strings it would have made it easy to do a quick check. I realize this wouldn't be a for sure "survey" that is 100 percent accurate but think it could have helped get a starting point and would have saved a couple hours that we spent laying out strings and measuring to get the strings right. Thinking it would be a handy tool to have around for future fence and deck projects. Don't do a bunch but a few here and there.

My lasers weren't any help because it was sunny and the side fence was about 140' long.

1. Do they make a laser detector for horizontal readings? Or just for vertical grading? Can I just turn a detector for setting grade sideways and move it left to right to pick up my laser? Hopefully that makes sense.

2. Would a transit have helped in my situation?

3. Do you guys still use transits for fences and decks and other layout work? What are some things you use it for?

What is a decent transit to buy? Willing to spend some money to get something nice but also will only use it a few times a year if that so don't want to spend thousands on one either. Is this something I can buy used? I see a ton of them used but not sure how they were cared for and if it's something a concrete crew kicked around all day and if they are something that can be not accurate if they were dropped and be better off just buying new.
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:51 PM   #2
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Re: Transit Levels


I still set all my batter boards with a transit.

Gets a little trickier with a walk-out, but still doable.

As far as your scenario, if the property lines were exactly 90 degrees apart, it should have worked. If not perfectly accurate, at least close enough to point you in the right direction to look for a pin.

By the way, I just briefly skimmed your other thread, but most front property lines, at least in my area, are located by shooting an angle off of a monument in the street. If you don't have that information, all the tools in the world won't help you.



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Old 08-11-2017, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Transit Levels


Forgot to mention, Mine is a Robo-Tools brand, from many years back. I think Robo-Tools is now owned by someone else.

I spent about $400 for the tripod, 9' grade rod, and transit.

David White and CST Berger are supposed to be pretty decent.

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Old 08-11-2017, 05:54 PM   #4
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Re: Transit Levels


I just used my transit last week. We have about 8 steel beams and a dozen or so posts. I use the transit to shoot the whole perimeter, and record my findings on the print. I then shoot each post location to determine whether they need to be raised or lowered. For large homes, there really is not better way to get all of the elevations set flat.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:23 PM   #5
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Re: Transit Levels


I use my transit all the time. David White 8300.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:36 PM   #6
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Re: Transit Levels


Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren View Post
I just used my transit last week. We have about 8 steel beams and a dozen or so posts. I use the transit to shoot the whole perimeter, and record my findings on the print. I then shoot each post location to determine whether they need to be raised or lowered. For large homes, there really is not better way to get all of the elevations set flat.
How about for things other then heights, like laying out locations of posts or walls or lot lines by using the transit to get 90 degree angles? While shooting heights will be useful I'm wanting something to shoot one line and then turn it 90 degrees and shoot a side line. Not really a line but some corner points to run a string. Just thinking it would be a lot faster then measuring tapes and strings and keep making adjustments and double checking.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:37 PM   #7
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Re: Transit Levels


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Originally Posted by fjn View Post
I use my transit all the time. David White 8300.
Out of curiosity what are the main things you use it for? Just seeing how often I might use it for things I might not be thinking about.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:40 PM   #8
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Re: Transit Levels


I use a transit on almost all aluminum patio installations and on awnings when it is multiple awnings all on one elevation.

Like some other people have said for post and elevations and pre-fabrication work they save a lot of time.

I think a lot of people just have never learned to use them, and their are some of us who couldn't do without them.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:54 PM   #9
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Re: Transit Levels


We used to use them to shoot long slab on grade form boards. String lines aren't as accurate over long distances.


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Old 08-11-2017, 11:24 PM   #10
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Re: Transit Levels


I think it's something that will be handy and need in the trailer.

Is it safe to buy a used one? Are they caliberated or anything that would need to worry how it's been treated over it's life? I see a ton of them for sale used for really cheap so I could get a nicer one if I buy used. But also don't want to buy something if there is a good chance it's out of whack and not accurate.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:33 PM   #11
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Re: Transit Levels


Are you sure the lot lines are exactly 90 degrees? I can't find a 90 degree angle in most houses, let alone lots. You could be fine, but in my experience neighbors can be finicky. A proper survey takes a lot of risk and liability out of the equation. Some neighbors scream bloody murder if you're as much as an inch over on their side.
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:36 PM   #12
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Re: Transit Levels


Quote:
Originally Posted by platinumLLC View Post
I think it's something that will be handy and need in the trailer.



Is it safe to buy a used one? Are they caliberated or anything that would need to worry how it's been treated over it's life? I see a ton of them for sale used for really cheap so I could get a nicer one if I buy used. But also don't want to buy something if there is a good chance it's out of whack and not accurate.


Something to look for is a warped plate. I'd put a straight edge on it. Then check it on a known level surface. Probably set two or three points with a known accurate level or laser, then see if it's true to those marks.


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Old 08-12-2017, 01:19 AM   #13
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Re: Transit Levels


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustbucket View Post
Are you sure the lot lines are exactly 90 degrees? I can't find a 90 degree angle in most houses, let alone lots. You could be fine, but in my experience neighbors can be finicky. A proper survey takes a lot of risk and liability out of the equation. Some neighbors scream bloody murder if you're as much as an inch over on their side.
Wasn't really sure of anything except the maps showed what looked like 90 degree angles. This wasn't a job for a customer, just for a family member and I left it up to him as to where to put the lot line. I just was trying to see if I could use anything to reference off to get close. I don't do a ton of fences but if this was for a customer I usually go and see if I can find the pins or use other things for finding lot lines but would never just throw a fence up if I wasn't sure about lot lines. Just thinking the transit would work good for some quick checks.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:45 AM   #14
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Re: Transit Levels


If you kinda know where the pin should be, you could get a cheapo metal detector to find it. Around here, there is no guarantee that pins would even be there.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:00 AM   #15
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Re: Transit Levels


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If you kinda know where the pin should be, you could get a cheapo metal detector to find it. Around here, there is no guarantee that pins would even be there.
I've used that method before also and have about 50% success rate finding pins. Some people pound them in and some pull them out once they start mowing the lawns. I bought a cheap 50 dollar detector from harbor freight a few years back and it works so so.
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:41 PM   #16
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Re: Transit Levels


Use mine all the time... but then I'm old school..
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:08 PM   #17
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Re: Transit Levels


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Out of curiosity what are the main things you use it for? Just seeing how often I might use it for things I might not be thinking about.



Checking an excavation to make sure proper depth is achieved and bottom is level. Erecting batter boards,setting scaffolding level,checking heights of corners,setting door bucks and metal door frames,checking columns for plumb.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:35 AM   #18
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Re: Transit Levels


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Originally Posted by Californiadecks View Post
We used to use them to shoot long slab on grade form boards. String lines aren't as accurate over long distances.


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I still do use a transit on a long pull or a particularly windy day. They have their uses. As far as using one for grade elevations, unless its auto-leveling, I don't think they are dead on accurate. There is an endless list of things you can do with a transit, but I'm not smart enough to figure all that out. I'm sure there are guys on here who can share.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:36 AM   #19
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Re: Transit Levels


I have 2 lasers that do vertical and horizontal. I don't know where my old transit even is.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:24 AM   #20
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Re: Transit Levels


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I have 2 lasers that do vertical and horizontal. I don't know where my old transit even is.
What laser do you use outside that can shoot a 90 degree corner and be able to see it over 100' away? I have a few lasers also that usually can do whatever I need but not sure even a green laser would be able to shoot 90 degree lines 100'. And I couldn't find if a receiver can read if you turn it sideways or if it can only read height lines?

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