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Wanting a laser:

Discussion in 'Lasers' started by 1693TA, Jul 12, 2021.

  1. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Messages:
    402
    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Never have used one of these. I would like to have one for my dozer with a tilt blade as I have several acres of scrub timber to take out and reclaim the land for another purpose. Tractor is a D6C size with a 10' blade.

    My employer sells the Spectra, and my son in law sells the Topcon brand. From a user standpoint I'm wondering which is better for the beginner? Both offer remote displays and are wireless
     
  2. Shimmy1

    Shimmy1 Senior Member

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    North Dakota
    Ford vs Chevy...............and I'm a Ford and Spectra guy :D
     
  3. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    10,438
    Occupation:
    Running what I brung and taking what I win
    Location:
    Alabama
    I'm a Ford and Topcon and Spectra Guy.:p

    The Topcon RLH-5B laser is hard to beat for the price. Carry one with me for the odd occasion I need one.

    We have 2 of the RLH-5A's in the field which has a slope match which is worthless IMO for what we do. Built many projects with these lasers.

    Also have a Spectra GL622 which is a dual slope laser. It's substantially more expensive than a RLH-5 but it has dual slope capability and we run our Cat box blade attachment with it.

    Now our pipe laser is a Topcon TP-L4 so that rounds out the mix. Both brands are good for what you want to do however on the truck front I'd never buy a GM product.:D
     
    Shimmy1 likes this.
  4. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    I have a lot to learn I know but am willing. This property is former strip mine ground from the 1930's and has sat dormant since. It's been in our family since 1969 and nothing has been done with it in all those years. The "hills and valleys" are quite steep too so vehicle access is not good. We had it logged out about eight years ago of most of the mature hardwood trees and the balance is just "scrub". Once I get a road cut for access rather than the ATV/Tractor path now, we will be able to access the area easily. Going to start by digging out the stumps, and burning everything removed and not suitable for firewood. We figure there is about 12 acres at the top of the "spoil" and I want to do some leveling to get the area usable first for a homesite in about five years.

    Never have done anything like this myself so a lot to learn along the way.
     
  5. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
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    3,390
    Occupation:
    excavation
    Location:
    Idaho
    As you push material around for a homesite, just keep in mind to excavate for the home down to virgin soil, or compact as you fill if that is what your having to do. Seen foundations fail due after an area has been reclaimed due to building on material that was never compacted. Something to be aware of.

    You Ford guys must not have gotten the memo.....Ford stopped building trucks years ago.;)

    Don't you worry, next time your hooked up behind a tow truck (which wont be a long wait), have 'em pull you to your nearest GM truck dealer and they can square you away.:cool:
     
  6. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Thanks kindly for the advice on the compaction. I'm sure plenty will be "loose" once I get all the stumps removed. I do have a couple of options available to me concerning compaction however. One is a sheeps foot roller I can borrow to pull behind the dozer, the other a vibrating roller for a skid steer loader. I don't have high flow hydraulics on my Case 1845C but it's soon replacement does, which that roller really requires. That sheep foot roller gets really heavy when it's filled up too.....

    I "perked" the soil about 10 years ago to evaluate septic systems to install and the composition is mostly clay so doesn't soak water in very fast. Citing this I plan to build the house elevation at a bit of height, and taper, or slope the ground so the water runs away. There will be a full basement and the floor will be over about a foot of pea gravel which will be vibraplate leveled down, (I do have one of those). I purchased a lot of stuff to build my shop but really only kept the skid steer, "Stomper", and plate compactor(s), selling most of the other items. Also kept the transit for setting my elevations then and have found use for it often.

    Another option I have is a guy I know would like to trade his services for mine. He has an excavator needing some joint work so we may trade out some as I have a line boring and welding setup. Might be easier to have him remove the stumps from the ground and I do the pushing with the dozer to the burn pile. No agreements in place with this however.

    Feel free to shoot out ideas as you see fit. I have virtually no experience with ground work and really not much of a carpenter but I do a lot of learning along the way during projects. This project has been in the works for many years but it is a big project so a "bite at a time" as they say.

    Thanks,
     
  7. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Occupation:
    Running what I brung and taking what I win
    Location:
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    Isuzu does make a good small engine just not for a heavy duty American pickup IMO.:p
     
    AzIron and Oldcatpusher like this.
  8. Shimmy1

    Shimmy1 Senior Member

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    North Dakota
    You know, I used to think you were a good guy. Apparently you have some issues.. .:p
     
  9. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Guess I'm a Spectra, Mack, and Chrysler kind of guy myself. Today I ordered the Spectra LR50W receiver, and RD20 remote display from work. They were willing to beat Amazon on price so couldn't resist. A local contractor I've known for years was in and I mentioned this idea to him and he had an older laser the batteries corroded in, but it still works so gave it to me. It is a "Johnson" and is quite bright red. It has the 5/8"-11tpi thread in the bottom so will mount to my tripod purchased with the transit all those years ago. My dozer blade does not have a break, or bend at the top edge to mount a pole for the receiver, so I'll weld something on there. Been watching a lot of videos on the subject and it seems easy enough to make it all work.
     
  10. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Laser receiver and remote display unit shipped today so should have them next week. I disassembled the laser unit and it really wasn't bad at all. Gave it a good bath in electrical cleaning solution for ridding the battery compartment of the corrosion and touched up three solder connections. All good and it really is bright. Three speed unit but I don't have the books and haven't looked it up for operational ratings yet.
     
  11. Walker1

    Walker1 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Cave Creek AZ
    Maybe you could get a CO2 laser, and just laser down the trees!
     
  12. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Received the receiver yesterday and the remote display. Kinda neat and a relatively compact package. I need to weld a small section of angle to the back of the dozer mouldboard for mounting the receiver pole socket, and the receiver is very sensitive to movement at about 100 ft. distance. I mounted the laser on the tripod, and the receiver on my skid steer bucket using industrial Velcro tape. I didn't do anything other than that but was surprised at how sensitive these are to movement on the vertical plane. I will have to push very slow with the dozer to be able to quickly adjust the blade cut depth and stay on grade but I'm sure it's a learning curve and time will make the process faster.
     
  13. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    On A Riverbank in IL. USA
    You may get a lot more work done using the receiver on a rod and shooting the grades, and then paint the cut and fills on the ground.
     
    skyking1 likes this.
  14. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Thanks for the tip. I think that is what I was doing when building my shop for elevations but was using a transit. Didn't have a dozer then but a friend brought his over to both dig out several trees and do some rough grading. I really don't have much help these days and the property is 175 miles distant from where we currently live. I'm trying to not need a helper so much and will most likely purchase an indicator/receiver for the "stick" to use manually also. Never have used a laser in the past so all new to me.
     
  15. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    On A Riverbank in IL. USA
    Manually using the laser without auto-grade creates a problem. There is a very limited amount of travel the blade can go up and down while keeping the laser beam in the receivers operating range.
    There is no need for a helper when shooting grades with a rotating laser and a rod. If you get proficient operating the dozer you will be very close to finish grade most of the time. That in turns lessens the how many times you have to get off and check your grade.
    I would also suggest that you check the accuracy of your "new" laser.
     
  16. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
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    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    Thank you again. I was wondering about calibration or if the laser required it. I did send it with a friend whom is installing a septic system this week and is going to check it against his which is on a calibration cycle. I have not heard back how it does/did at this writing.

    One of the main reasons for purchasing this receiver was the vertical detection range which is 6.750". It is a couple inches wider detection than the Topcon. I was thinking this is a bit of a "cushion" citing I have no experience. The dozer blade is tight and responds immediately to the controls so hopefully this and a slow speed will be beneficial once I start. The tractor weighs just over 31K and the cutting edges are good.

    Being a job for myself there really won't be any hurry although I really don't like making time to do something again.....
     
  17. bam1968

    bam1968 Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Excavating Contractor
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    When I get down to the finish work with a dozer I like to start each push with a partial blade of loose dirt. When I start a push with an empty blade inevitably I will gouge a little and then it turns into humps and valleys real fast.
    Just thought I would throw that little tidbit out there.
     
  18. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    2,120
    Location:
    washington
    How many laser graded spots are you making?
    I'll chime in with my two cents:
    Strip the organics off. Set up the laser and then take some shots to figure out the balance of material.
    Unless you have a proper roller and access to water and proper moisture content, never build on your fills. Roads yes, structures no.
    Grab your upside down paint, and look at your job from the cut to the fill. Start walking that direction, take shot, paint the cut so you can read it from the seat.
    Repeat repeat.
    If the fills are really little, paint those too. If they are tall, pound a lath and tie on a ribbon at grade.
    Get on the dozer and hack on that for a while, and then you will be in that laser window and you can play with that.
     
  19. 1693TA

    1693TA Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
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    402
    Occupation:
    FAA Radar Engineer, (Retired)
    Location:
    Farmington IL
    The area is relatively flat now. It is between 11, and 12 acres in total but was covered in mature trees and saplings. We take out a couple of dozen a year but there are stumps everyplace. Some of these are getting really soft being cut two to three years in the past. The main problem is this flat area is at the rear of the 30 acres total which is a rectangle viewed from above. The front flat part, (3-4 acres) has a very steep fall off on two sides to a creek at the bottom. To get to the flat acreage at the rear is a steep descent from the front flat, and a much steeper ascent to the rear and it's very wooded. Once I get a road bulldozed through the timber, I can gravel the road to afford enough traction for vehicles to get back there. As it is now, only an ATV, or utility vehicle one doesn't much care about the appearance, or a tractor can get back, and up there. When at the property my son and I usually drop a few trees and drag them to the front once the limbs are removed to cut up and stack for firewood at the campfire pit. It's a lot of work and a house building is still a couple years in the future. I was thinking about getting the ground cleared and prepped to put in a hay crop to return the ground to fertile soil. We can then lay out plans for the house.

    That may be a lot of information and run on but it is the overall game plan. By the time I clear the stumps there will be a very uneven piece of ground with a lot of holes so thinking I will need to bulldoze off the topsoil and move it around some to fill the new low spots from the vacated tree stumps. For this part of the job a laser isn't necessary but I'd like to learn how to use both the laser, and dozer as a team where it doesn't need to be right the first time.

    Thanks much for the insight. I'm learning with each post and idea(s) placed forth. It is appreciated.