Laser Level

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Forum topic by Marpel posted 06-19-2021 09:32 PM 456 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Marpel's profile


63 posts in 1443 days

06-19-2021 09:32 PM

I have just received a, brand new in box, Dewalt DW0811 self-levelling laser.

I have been reading the “manual”, from the net (because the item did not come with any form of instruction), but the online document does not actually give any instructions other than how to determine if the self-levelling is accurate.

I set it up on a previously levelled (the surface/tripod on which the laser sits must be within 4 degrees from level for auto-level to work – if not, the laser emits a blinking line rather than a solid one, indicating the laser cannot self-level) photo tripod, and it seemed to work as expected, showing a horizontal line along the wall, at the height of the device, as well as a plum vertical line.

But, as some/most items to be levelled are not necessarily at the same height an average tripod can reach:

After I ensured the tripod was level and the laser secured and auto levelled, I used one of the tripod head gears to tilt the front of the laser, so the emitted horizontal line went up the wall. I presumed that once the laser was self-levelled, and that < 4 degrees (horizontally) is maintained, the laser would continue to project a level line.

However, that seems not to be the case. In fact, as I tilted the front of the laser, I can tilt the horizontal line so it is noticeably un-level, and the line remains solid (suggesting the machine thinks it is level?). I can tilt it so the line, about two feet from the vertical line, is off by an inch or two, and the line continues to remain solid.

So, do self-levelling laser levels have to be perfectly level and plum for the emitted line to be accurate, and you can’t, while keeping it horizontally level (left to right), tilt the head up or down to raise or lower the line?? As noted above, the manual provides absolutely no information on it’s use.

If that is the case, it seems the tool becomes much less useful and/or way more of a pain to use.


11 replies so far

View Kelly's profile


3633 posts in 4098 days

#1 posted 06-19-2021 10:59 PM

I still have a straight line Stabila, but sold my rotary one. Both proved worth their weight on jobs, since I only had to be close on set ups.

When setting up, as soon as the line quits blinking, you’re good to go.

I lucked out and picked up a unique tri-pod years back. It’s go a foot or two above my head. If I was using one a lot, I’d spend the few hundred bucks it would cost to replace it, because it made using any of my lasers a breeze to use.

View Marpel's profile


63 posts in 1443 days

#2 posted 06-19-2021 11:44 PM


Thanks for the reply. However, I don’t understand your comment “When setting up, as soon as the line quits blinking, you’re good to go”.

Initially upon set-up, the laser self-levels and the line is solid, and if I tilt it left or right (so the horizontal line goes out of level), the line starts blinking (suggesting the laser is telling me it’s too far out of level to maintain self-level?).

But, if I tilt the front of the laser up and then also tilt it horizontally again, the line stays solid (suggesting to the user that the line is level), but I can visually tell it is quite out of level (as noted in my initial post, up to an inch or more over two-ish feet). This method, first level, then tilt the front up to upper cabinet height, seems to be the only way one can set a level line at a height well above a tripod or level surface. My tripod is not high end and as a result, it does not have the capability to stay horizontally level as I tilt the front up, so I have to rely on the laser to self-level.

Unless, I am mis-understanding the workings/capabilities of a self-levelling laser.


View Madmark2's profile


2955 posts in 1742 days

#3 posted 06-20-2021 04:05 AM

They’re not designed to tilt. Raise the unit, don’t tilt it.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Kelly's profile


3633 posts in 4098 days

#4 posted 06-20-2021 04:13 AM

If you tilt the laser too much, as you know, the line(s) it projects will blink, indicating you are not set up because you are outside its self leveling capability. If it’s not blinking, you’re gold.

I could be wrong – your laser may not blink, but I suspect the manufacturer has a way of letting you know you are not within the set up parameters required for operation.

Like Madmark says, the only reason to tilt is to get it to approximate level. On my big tripod, once there, I can raise or lower the tripod crank and it will maintain level for the new height setting.

Did that help?

View tvrgeek's profile


2064 posts in 2803 days

#5 posted 06-20-2021 10:42 AM

Mine flashes if not level enough. Don’t know about your brand. Verified with a plumb bob as accurate across a room within the width of the beam.
You can’t tilt them as they are based on a pendulum. You can make a line and measure from it.

View controlfreak's profile


2465 posts in 755 days

#6 posted 06-20-2021 12:09 PM

If you are within the limits of the internal fluid the only adjustments you use are to move the entire unit up/down or rotate. If you want to check the horizontal for accuracy take some clear tubing and fill with water. Place the tube ends with the water line as far apart as the projected laser line allows and see what you get.

The only thing that bothers me about these things is the auto off. You can’t help but move it turning it back on.

View Marpel's profile


63 posts in 1443 days

#7 posted 06-22-2021 12:06 AM

Thanks for all the replies.

Apparently I misunderstood the abilities of these lasers.

The immediate reason for the purchase is for levelling kitchen cabinets that I have built and need to install (which I can easily do with the tripod I have), however, I also intended to use it to install a number of framed images and wanted them level across the top of the frames. So, I thought (incorrectly) I could tilt the front up to get a long line quite high on the wall(s). As my tripod will not even get close to that high, I need to figure out a way to get the laser about a foot from the ceiling.

Still doesn’t explain why I can tilt the front quite drastically and the line will not start to blink.

Anyway, thanks again,


View Kelly's profile


3633 posts in 4098 days

#8 posted 06-22-2021 12:41 AM

When I used my rotary laser, I used a surveyor’s adjustable story pole to determine level. As long as the laser hit anywhere on the pole, which went several feet high, you were good to get measurements all around you on uneven ground.

You just noted where the line was on the pole and added or subtracted for each new position in a room or on property to determine rise and fall of the land, or to find level.

You could use a yard stick off a level line to mark off a given position anywhere in a kitchen, if your tripod will not raise or lower enough to get you there.

As to the line not blinking, put the beast in a room, set it up and mark a couple points with painters tape, PostIts or what have you. Tilt it and check to see if the lines are exactly parallel. If they are, then it just means the unit tolerates a lot of set up error and compensates for it.

View squazo's profile


245 posts in 2799 days

#9 posted 06-22-2021 03:05 PM

You want the horizontal level line up higher so you are tilting it back and that is your problem. I have owned two of these and they both worked like this. If it was out of level (in the direction of the horizontal laser) it will flash letting you know. However if you tilt it back the laser leveling mechanism will come into physical contact with the housing and will lock it in position. So if you get the line to stop flashing and then tilt it back. It will continue to stay solid.

Long story short. Keep it as flat as possible. If you want the laser higher up. Place it on a ladder. Place it on a rung. Shim it to perfection with scrap 2×4 books, pieces of paper under the level. I once used a very high quality stadium speaker tripod and even that wiggled too much just from me walking on the ground. Ladder is much more stable. Or do the measuring stick thing as mentioned above. I prefer to place the laser where I want it though.

View MrRon's profile


6088 posts in 4397 days

#10 posted 06-23-2021 08:11 AM

I have an early Johnson rotary laser that I salvaged from the Katrina hurricane. It was complete with case and tripod. I put some batteries in it and it has been working ever since. Nothing fancy, but it is accurate and easy to set up. 1st you level the laser in both directions using the built in bubble levels and you are ready to go. I have used it in deck construction and all kinds of leveling jobs. No need to spend hundreds of dollars. The Johnson cost less than $100, but my model I think is discontinued. The only negative (common with all lasers) is they are hard to see in bright sunlight, so keep your target points shaded or do your layout after the sun goes down.

View 4wood's profile


98 posts in 1107 days

#11 posted 06-25-2021 02:40 AM

My Bosch came with a magnetic L bracket that screws to the bottom of the level that can be adjusted up and down. It is usually strong enough to connect to the metal corner bead used on drywall or any else that a magnet will attach .
You can also hang it on a screw placed in your wall.
I tried to copy and past a photo, but it wouldn’t work. Search for a Bosch GLL 75 – 40 G. There is a photo of it in the kit. Make an L bracket that you can attach to the wall and set the level on it and shim it to the exact height that you want.

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