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measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/13/2008 8:09 PM

Maybe this is not the place to expose my dumbness, but I need help.

When surveying machines or factories, taking distances and dimensions in order to draft layouts or to make blueprints, usually I end lacking some dimensions or even having obviously erroneous data.

Are there any rules of thumb to follow when surveying to avoid missing something or writing down something wrong?

What do topographers keep in mind while conducting a survey?

I would even read a two thousand pages book if that would help me.

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#1

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/14/2008 11:05 PM

I'm not sure if Uruguay has a similar organization, but in the US we have the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI will have professionals in an industry meet and establish standards for their industry. ANSI has some general drafting standards, and specific standards for mechanical, electrical, electronic, and structural drawings.

I believe most other countries follow ISO (International Standards Organization) drafting standards. That would be the first place I would look.

Also, if your government has an agency that regulates factories for safety reasons, they might have some regulations you need to be aware of, such as a minimum distance between machines, arrangement of electrical hookups, lighting, etc.

Don't forget to check with any professional or industry organizations in your country that might have recommendations, or someone you can contact in person for advice.

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 12:06 AM

Hello 3Doug,

you give good sound advice in you post. Very helpful.

I can never recall what the trade organisations are called.

jfmfit

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#21
In reply to #1

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 2:34 PM

Yes, there are two Standards organizations. One is UNIT, that represents ISO, and the other one is LATU, that is a government agency. They have standards as for drafting symbols and presentation, but not any advice for the act of mapping.

The Association of Engineers here is a joke. They get together just to drink coffee and eat cookies (really, they do!!). The last time they did something remotely useful was a series of conferences on marketing, oriented for the subnormal engineer who can't say 'Hi' without collapsing.

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#2

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/14/2008 11:55 PM

Hello gussosa:,

Hello, you should not feel dumb. You know what you want to do, from there it is down to working the same way where ever you are. Checking and double checking your measurements on site. I find I large AO draft paper with mm or cm squares is a help. Now to start, and make this the same each time. Find a Datum level. You can use anything which is not going to be moved over the period you are working there. A step, machine base, post etc. To remind myself I would use a small brush and write your name and the word 'DATUM' on it or alongside it with an arrow pointing to the actual Datum so there is no confusion. As things may be moved from the position they were in when you first visited. I used to choose a Datum as near to a corner as possible. Do not take for granted the building is square! Nine time out of ten it is not. If the floor level will be staying as it is with no tiles etc being laid, use a large two metre set-square to get a line as near parallel to the side of the building and if possible where no one walks. Weight a chalk-line from your Datum and 'ping' a line as long as is practicable. Take your set square and make a right angle so both lines join. Then work from that 'corner'. If you are able to perhaps scratch a line over the chalk-line, do so but make the line as fine as you can to get and keep things accurate. You can run black-board chalk along the line to make it easier to see then blow or sweep the chalk away so you have a clear line. You should be able to do a 'rough' of the factory layout on the large sheets of draft paper. So you start out as a '2D' layout. And all you need is the overall size and the information about posts ceiling levels etc. You will have the machine details you are setting up, on-line or at home if you work from there. Draft a new drawing from your details and as long as you measure accurately and write down every measurement clearly, you can transfer these to your new drafted drawing. You can then add the new machine size as a plan. And do another drawing if need be in section to add maximum height and angles to your machine layout. Personally I would work with a pencil and pad at the factory as I start and work all details etc, and write them down. Do not start at one end and gradually add each length of machine using a calculator. You need to know the exact size of each component part and make a note of it as it would be on your draft paper and in the factory. Hope this helps. Sorry this is so long. I forgive me if I went into a little too much detail. Make clear notes that can be read later of any windows, posts, ceiling supports, beams, change in floor level and, any adjacent machines or boundaries which will be alongside your machine, or working-line. Always work in mm or cm. Do not mix the two. It can get very frustrating if you do. jfmfit

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 12:44 AM

Exceptionally good answer. The issue of measuring is the same as when documenting (drafting). Documenting / measuring in incremental steps causes the tolerance / errors to stack up. It can be quite a mess when you get to the 'other end' of the part / building.

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#7
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 1:05 AM

Hello DCaD:

I thank you kind sir.

I have worked in factories and building sites, not much difference, you have to watch out for obstructions in a factory. I have worked with people who think 'near enough is good enough'..............I wonder where they are now?

I taught myself and always worked in the same order. That of course can also be transfered over to other working situations. I took what I had found out and, used the same way or very similar anyway, way of working in print finishing, where as you know you have a 'grip and lay'. Well it equates to what would be the Datum.

It is nice to hear that you understand what I was trying to explain. Some people feel hurt if I explain every tiny detail but, it is all in the tiny detail!

Thank you and take care..............

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#28
In reply to #7

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:16 PM

I have worked with people who think 'near enough is good enough'..............I wonder where they are now?

Been there, still there.

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#23
In reply to #2

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 2:48 PM

The squared paper is a really good idea.

I have tried to use Datums, but my machines and structures end up in an unknown point in a circle. Yeah, I am pathetic.

That advice about not taking for granted that the building is square is really useful too. I committed a similar mistake last time, believing that the screw conveyors used t take the grain out of the silo where in line with the tubes used to feed the silos. At the moment it seemed obvious. When I were back in the office trying to pass the drawings to AutoCAD I ended hitting my head in the desk promising to never do that again.

The line drawn in the floor would be a splendid idea if it wasn't by the fact that my floor usually is plain dirt. Perhaps a rope?

And the last advice on not adding errors when summing length after length is really something that has escaped me until now.

Thanks a lot.

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#25
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:04 PM

Gussosa, use a laser pointer to draw a line close to but slightly above the floor. Anchor your laser emitter to something heavy and mark it with a flag to keep peopel from tripping over it.

A rope might tangle with a vehicle or fork lift crossing etc. A laser beam will remain constant. you know approximately where to find it so you only need to intercept the beam to get a local indication. you can then place a nail pushed though a bit of colored marker tape. Take your measurements from that.

As a double check to ensure no one has disturbed the laser emtiter source, use binoculars to verify the laser is still hiting the far distant target at the other end of the line. It sounds like you are often working alone without a helper.

Even the cheap laser level systems can reach 400 feet. I bought mine for $29.95 at a local hardware store. Laser level, tripod and red safety glasses all packed in a carry case.

To detect a beam you may have to use an aerosol mister. The mist will reveal the laser beam. Then you can use a stiff piece of cardboard and a plumb bob to mark the exact spot. You coul duse plani water and a spray botle to mist the air near the beam.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:13 PM

Thanks. I still don't get much of the idea of using lasers. After all I am a Mechanical Engineer and nobody ever asked me to use one. Where may I find more info on them? All I get in Google is brochures.

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#3

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 12:01 AM

Wow, do not feel alone. I think that all of us who do facility mapping have this same shortcoming. Aside from writing a lot of notes and making a lot of measurements, I will share something that has helped me tremendously. Digital video recorders and cameras do not cost so much anymore, and they are a tremendous tool when mapping a facility.

I like to make a motion picture shot as I walk around the outside and then the inside of every room. As another has posted, most industrial building are built and equipped with items that conform to a published standard. For example, if there is a lot of switchgear in one (1) area, just get the information from the escutcheons and measure the relative distance between them and other building parts. Don't worry about the fine details (direction of access door swing, etc.) because that will show up on the video.

I start a building layout as "the four (4) walls" and once I establish the main four (4) walls I discover if there is a repeating pattern to the building steel, such as the centre distance between the columns. I correctly set the "four (4) walls" and then the support columns, and then start with the detail changes to the "four (4) walls" followed by any changes to the column layout. One has to really watch the lines of columns, as they do not always follow a repeating pattern, especially if the building steel was designed for different loading in certain area. Areas that may support overhead lifting equipment or rooftop HVAC units, cooling towers, etc. are places like this.

My tools are a 30' tape rule, a 100' tape rule, a good compass, a digital camera of some type, and my laptop PC. When I once did a lot of this I wanted to purchase a "traveller" (measuring wheel) but it was hard to stow in my airline luggage. There are also some very nice hand-held laser-powered measuring devices out there that are quite accurate, and they save a lot of walking (and cursing!) and allow you to spend time on other things.

These are just my suggestions, as I did this type of work for many years. And I too made a lot of mistakes such as leaving off critical features-usually the location of a door, fire protection system, or overhead structure. Mapping a complex facility can be a really big job.

Best Regards,

Ing. Robert Forbus

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 12:16 AM

Hello Ing. Robert Forbus:

I completely forgot about the 'modern' laser measures of today. Can save a lot of time.

Take care

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#8
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 2:47 AM

Jfmfit mentions a datum, but you should also consider using a baseline. this can be in conjunction with or apart from the datum point.

This baseline can be either interior to building along the main aisle or exterior along the principal drive, parking are,a or even a street line. The main criteria is having a clear sight line from one end to the other. I used to work construction surveys and much later did hydrographic surveys. The principle is the same.

I am assuming you may not have access to a transit. However bear in mind that now with total stations being used by land surveyors, an old style optical transit can be had for very little money. One drawback is needing two persons when using a transit.

If you are doing an interior layout you can run your baseline down the main aisle and then measure offsets to each machine and structural steel column along that line. Structural steel generally follow common shapes and sizes. Measure to a corner then copy each location using the puppetwhen doing the final draft in CAD. As suggested by others, a gridded paper pad is sufficient when doing the priliminary sketch on site. It doesn't have to be right to scale as long as the measured dimension is noted. I often reverse engineer parts of machinery that way by sketching them in AutoCAD.

Since its too difficult to find and measure to the center or any solid object, you are better off measuring to an edge or corner. Then complete the accurate drawing in CAD.

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#9
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 2:44 PM

Hello elnav,

nice advice from you. But when I was doing similar work, there was no computers or CAD

I used a Theodolite and 50 metre tape. I worked from a baseline but, also called 'baseline N, E, S, West. Not hi-tech but all medieval Towns were built the same way.

I used a '2D' CAD to draw and cut cardboard box prototypes from a flat sheet but that's it.

Take care...........

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#10
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 4:05 PM

Actually when I first got involved in surveying back in the late sixties, we had the same situation. At that time there weren't even any calculators. Hey remember slide rules??

Recently I found a functional theodolite at a flea market for $60. Manufactured in 1968 it was something we would have given our left arm for back when I was working construction surveys.

By the time I was sent out on a training course to learn hydrographic survey techniques we were using diffeerntial GPS with our own beacon transmiter and downloaded our survey data directly into the CAD software from CARIS.

Even so the basic principles remain the same, only tools change.

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#11
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Using a 'water-level'

06/15/2008 7:03 PM

Hello again elnav:,

I did my first surveying in 1972, working out drain levels. I did some of that using a 'water-level', which is pretty accurate. I have since known people who have said there is no way they could figure how to level a sloping garden in three equal terraces, using maths, as they did not know where to start. It could not be more simple than making use of a water level. Of course you know, it just requires simple division. It is probably the oldest method in surveying, and very often over looked when PC's are involved.

Take care..........

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#12
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Re: Using a 'water-level'

06/15/2008 7:23 PM

Or consider the ancient constructions by Mayans, Egyptian and Romans. I have not seen definitive proof as to exactly what instruments they used, but educated guesses and conjecture suggest a "water level" was among thr tools. Question, what did they use as a garden hose between points?

Also consider how they built the ancient Qquanats(sp) in Persia and Iraian deserts. Facinating!

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#13
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Re: Using a 'water-level'

06/15/2008 8:10 PM

Hello elnav,

not certain exactly what you refer to but, I do know the Romans were very organised, catching water from roofs in ponds. They also have small streams made from brick whose joints were make water tight by pouring lead into the joints.

I am not sure of the name, but think they had a jar or vase with four handles around the top on the vase, and I think its name was a Hydria or something like it. Not sure if they had any 'flexible' water carriers though.

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#14
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Re: Using a 'water-level'

06/15/2008 10:42 PM

I was referring to the Roman aquaducts that covered many many miles and spanned valleys to bring mountain water into Rome. That was what drove the fountains and the run off from these fountains flushed the cloacia or sewers running underneath the city of Rome. Remnants of these aquaducts can still be seen in many parts of Europe.

Surveys have established that some of the pyramid bases are flat and horizontal within one tenth of an inch over their entire lenght.How did they do that? Must have been some kind of water level.

Roman engineers knew how to make underwater concrete back in 50 BC. A technique only rediscovered in the early part of the twentieth century.Remains of underwater concrete footing for wharves were found in the port Ceasearia(sp) in what is now Isreal. How did they place these accurately underwater?

Roman engineers also knew how to run tunnels straight for considerable distances. And their artillery gunners knew a thing or two about ballistics and how to aim and range their trebuchets and ballistra. ( the root word that derived our modern word ballistics) All of the above involved survey work or derivative applications therof.

Ancient Iranian hydraulic engineers devised water pumps that could lift water as much as 50 meters for filling their extensive irrigation canals and some of this knowledge evidently migrated into Egypt. While not surveying as such, it does involve knowing the level of distant points so as to provide a down slope right to the end point of the drainage canals. Working backwards, knowing the slope of the canal determined the height of lift needed at the source pump in order to have water run the full distance.

Prety amazing to think these ancient engineers managed all that without benefit of our "modern equipment"

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#16
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Re: Using a 'water-level'

06/16/2008 12:13 AM

Hi elnav,

I read once the aqueducts were engineered to an inch drop per mile.

I don't think most people realise just what an achievement that it? Have you heard of Fred Dibna, an English (UK) Engineer who built factory chimneys, as well as knocking them down. He also had his own engineers shop with lots of old steam powered hammers for raught-iron, which he used to put bands round chimneys and round the boilers for his Steam Engines, (road going).

Anyway, he died a year or so back but, was on TV for about 15 years. In the last six years he was demonstrating why building were the shape they were and, what gave them strength. He also did a Roman program where he built a short length of aqueduct with lock-joints, and it had no mortar. The joints were molten lead. It was pretty amazing how water-proof the joints were and, how strong the lead made the whole thing.

I have used the same type of Portland cement as the Romans did. I worked selling fish during the summer at a fish farm. through the Autumn and winter I cut the banks of the river 'chess' back from being over-grown. And we had about 25/30 ponds which varied from 25 to 50 metres square, and fed from the river. Each pond was built with a sluice we could adjust. The sluice was just a box one foot square. Below it a 9'' pipe went down to the outlet level, which was roughly the river level itself, it then had an elbow and the pipe carried on taking the water below the pond bottom and on out to the river. The way the water level in the ponds was altered was amazingly simple. The foot square box going to the bottom of each pond was made with three sides. The fourth side was short lengths of T & G oak, it was always wet so there was no warping and, thousands of tons of water were held back by the weight of the water pushing against the T & G boards to prevent all but a trickle escaping. There was more evaporating than escaped through the sluices.

Once each year we pulled about six boards out above the water level taking around a week to do so. We had to drop the level slowly because otherwise the fish in the pond would be either sucked out through the sluice or, pushed hard up onto the zinc grill which I had to keep clean all the time, moving any branches, twigs and leaves to allow the water to flow through and the pond level throughout the year to stay more or less the same. When the level got down to waist level we put waders on and cleaned any large branches out. We also took a few days walking back and forth to loosen and flush the silt and mud out, if we did not do that there would not be enough depth for the fish. Each pond had approximately one and a half million fish, which we topped up with about 20 million each year.

The fish farm was originally built to breed ells to feed the trout in the river chess, and people would pay a hefty price to fly fish. It was a brilliant and very well laid out piece of water works and, needed very little upkeep. Just two of us took care of it through the year. It's total size was about 400 x 800 metres with the river flowing through the center. Oh, almost forgot, I had the job of using the Portland cement, which as you know hardens under water, to fill any small holes which have been eroded next to the several large blocks of concrete which held the inlet and outlet from the river.

Sorry, I get sort of carried away thinking about it. Working there even though it was maybe two years, was my favourite job. Right in the middle of nature, watching kingfishers, snakes, rats, voles, and trout and pike in the river. I fed dead fish to the pike. We had two in glass cabinets as well as three or four trout. The one (my 'friend') I used to feed was over four feet long. Brilliant!

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#24
In reply to #10

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 2:57 PM

Actually when I first got involved in surveying back in the late sixties, we had the same situation. At that time there weren't even any calculators. Hey remember slide rules??

May I ask how old are you?

I haven't seen them not even in textbooks. Of course, I was born in 1979. I am engineering toddler compared to you.

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#27
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:13 PM

I'm just turning 60. Back in 1979 I had already shifted my work activity from survey work as a summer job to electronics engineering. By 1982 I was a production manager and learning how to set up factory production lines including placement of heavy equipment. So yeah I know where you are at in drawing facilities layouts.

I learned drafting with paper and pencil. Later graduated to drafting machines. Only recently have I moved back to design work requiring use of CAD. Slide rules are museum pieces. We old timers sometimes keep them around as a curiosity. I still have the one I acquired when I went to college.

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#29
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:24 PM

I guess I will start trying to do some kind of triangulation when doing surveys.

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#30
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:29 PM

Good idea. With triangulation you can often find and correct mistakes or at least interpolate what the correct dimension should be. Doesn't have to be fancy.

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#15

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/15/2008 10:58 PM

Go to the building take the Data for your self then you will know, for sure. That is the only way you can be sure. them Go back befor you leave and double chek your self. if you do not get the same data. Recheck then you will know for sure. That is the only way

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#17

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 1:01 PM

In the past I have done a lot of plant survays and layout in car plants, fiberglass plants and machine shops.

The way I went about my field measurments was to start with sketching the bounding box. This could be the walls of the building or if it was a small part of a larger operation I'd lay out the column lines.

Next, I'd locate each piece of equipment from a common datum - usually a column line. I'd typically locate a corner of the piece of equipment, and from that point dimension the box size of the piece of equipment. Typically I'd use the lower left corner of the equipment as viewed from above, or the corner closest to the operator controls.

So after laying the colunm grid out you may have a lathe who's corner is 6' in one direction and 8' in the other direction from a known column. Then with the corner located I'd dimension the foot print.

Another thing that works very well if you have available in the field is to take photos and print them on the spot in black and white. Then with a red pen (red pen works best on a b&w laser print) I'd proceed to dimension the photographs in the same manner as I would a sketch. Photos work great!

Now I am in the marine industry and often have to document existing systems on the yachts. I will usually make a trip to the boat and shoot a number of photos, go back to the office to print them, and then take another trip to the boat with the prints to mark them up.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 1:12 PM

I saw someone point out to not dimension from one machine to the next to the next.

This is very true because if you are off by an inch on the first then when you measure to the next you will be off and so on and so on.

Always work to a base line or datum. As you get farther away from your datum or baseline you can establish secondary datums located from the primary datum. This will keep the distances down that you have to measure and keep the error down.

Remember - lots of photos too!

Travis

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 1:34 PM

Hey guest, how about registering and coming back with an address we can send email to. I am particularly interested in your marine work so how can I get back to you?

Elnav

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#20
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 1:38 PM

Some excellent advice has been given. It would be nice to know if Gussosa has read it and found it useful.

How about it Gussosa?

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 2:37 PM

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

All of you have really overwhelmed me. There are great answers.

Now, answering to elnav:

I work in bulk material handling, specially with milling industries. In general I can live fine with a 1 inch tolerance. I just need to know where are the silos, where are the grain polishers, the cleaners, the dryers, etc.

I generally use one point of reference, but from your comments I have decided to take three and at least two in the future. that way any point in the facory will be completely determined by the distances to the reference points.

A baseline in this case is made of any two reference points.

Thanks a lot for the enlightenment.

I have always had major doubts about using cameras. In my little experience with them I have found out that perspective can be very tricky. Maybe I should use a reference length and a reference angle? That's just one idea I am getting now.

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#36
In reply to #22

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/17/2008 8:21 PM

Hello gussosa:

I must say sorry to all as, I had to rush out to a friend and forgot to turn my computer off. It may have seemed I was on-line but, I was not.

Re: "I can work to an inch"................I would agree this could be accurate enough if building a concrete base. But I still cannot see why you cannot be accurate.

OK, so you measure up and draw your finished plan. It may be then, as you start to enter each piece of equipment etc that, you can use 'line of site', and it is often easier to pull a string tight with one end on or touching the place you want the machine/s to be, then pull the line tight and gradually move the pieces until they are just a millimetre away from the line. Try not to move a bit of the machine etc so it touches the line. If you do this you will have effectively moved your Datum to that point where the line touches the machine.

You can do a similar thing with a laser. Hold a contrasting sheet of card or metal so you can see where the point of the laser is and, move the machine to that point, making sure the new placing of a machine does not prevent the laser 'dot' from going in the same direction it did when you first started. If you do you will be 'bouncing the laser off the machine or building' if you are erecting a shed (or something larger) you still cannot block the laser by letting it focus on the part you are moving. It MUST have clear line of site.

I suppose this is when you realise it is 'easier' and the finished job looks better and and 'in-line machines for instance' will work better if you work accurately. You should certainly work accurately where you have a horizontal belt shifting stuff to a sloped or upright belt or line. The thing I have in mind is a news-paper printing press...if you see what I mean?

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#38
In reply to #36

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 11:25 AM

You got me wrong. I mostly work with things as silos, belt conveyors, screw conveyors, bucket elevators, steel tubes, etc. The tolerances are high enough to let me fail by 1 inch and still make an impressive mapping.

I am not in charge of building or installation. That is done by some experienced contractor. I just make the diagnosis of the factory, advice on the equipment, etc.

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#39
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 1:01 PM

Gussosa , don't sweat the small stuff or worry if the machinery is not aligned exactly right. As you say the experienced contractors have already done the exacting work according to their blue prints.

But since most contracts require delivery of "AS BUILT" plans these may give yo uadditional independent information regarding some big installations liek conveyor belts, silos etc.

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#42
In reply to #38

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 3:39 PM

Hello gussosa:

I am sorry, but hopefully our combined posts will help some-one.

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#31
In reply to #17

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:34 PM

How do you deal with the errors induced by perspective?

I ask because some people try to measure a machine which is 5 feet away of the machine they actually surveyed using a picture, again claiming that near enough is good enough.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:44 PM

I don't think you can. Guest ( not registered) would not get notification you adressed his post. So I will take a chance and reply. I often use photographs as a basis for making CAD drawings but I measure at least one dimension accurately using either calipes or tape measuer depending on size.

The photograph only serves to remind oy of additional details you may have over looked in your sketch.

The trick is to take at least one photograph perpendicular to the face or surface you are drawing. Noting th edimension from point to point on that feature then allows you to dimension other parts on that surface.

A perspective oblique view then helps to establish how th eother sides and the height relates. How often do yo ualso need the vertical height if you are doing mainly floor plans?

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 3:58 PM

How often do you also need the vertical height if you are doing mainly floor plans?

Pretty often. I need to establish the length of the thermometric cables, the length of the tubes (that go in different slopes), the height of the silos, the depth of buried hoppers, etc. The floor draft is just for a general idea. The real draft should be a 3D, not even an elevation. However, I rarely get to that point nor does anyone I know. I just use a 2D and keep the data of the heights.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 4:32 PM

If you often need vertical heights then you definitely need a range finder. Laser is preferred but could get expensive. When I was doing hydrographic surveys, we often had to measure the height of cables above the water surface. We would use a boat or raft to position ourselves directly under the cables then used an optical range finder to measure distance to wire. Optical range finders use a split image much like older 35mm cameras used. When the split image merges perfectly you read the distance on a mechanical dial. Lasers are faster and generally better but on thin cables and wires the optical model worked better. Its pretty hard to aim a thin laser beam unless you are used to handling a rifle. Same principle.

Failing that, I would take a distant photo shot; again mindful of th ekeystoning ontrodffuced b yperspective, then scale th ephoto against somethign yoyu can measuere.

For example if you can acurately establish the horizontal distance between support columns on a conveyor belt structure then you can import the photo into CAD as an image. Scale the image to give you exactly the right dimension on the known line and then use the dim feature for the rest of the unknowns.

For that to be accurate take the photo as far away as you can to minimize distortion produced because you are at ground level.

Quarter of a mile is not too far if you are measuring a conveyor line rising 50 or 100 meter and spanning 300 meters.

As long as you can distinguish the vertical supports and know the correct dimension between supports it would get you close.

A quickie vertical measure is to use the 45 degree trick. If you use a sighting gauge comprising a 45 ddegree angle, move away from a tall structure until your sight line along the edge of th etriangle matches. . Mark that spot you are standing on. Now measure distance from that spot to base of the structuer you are measuring. The two distances are equal because you are using an isoceles triangle and the two anglea re 45 each and the third is 90. do not forget to include your height of eye in th efinal measurement.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/16/2008 4:48 PM

Wow!!! Great tricks, thanks!!!!!!

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#37

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 1:05 AM

I do similar activities.

1. If I am allowed to take pictures , I take hundreds of them in my Digital camera from all angles. If I have 1 or two dimensions , rest can be estimated when viewed the pictures in Computer

2 There are optical distance measurement tiny devices which can measure distances vey fast. You may get it in shop.

3.Before I visit I make a sketch of possible site/building etc and keep blank places circled where I need to fill in at Site positively.

4 I also carry a Digital voice recorder to which I speak as I inspect the machine/equipment/building . Playing it back later gives many missing clues.

But Still I miss 1/2 vital measurements and Either I extrapolate or visit second time or get a mail/sms to a local person I Identify earlier and make friends.

So have no tension . When one gets older , what one measures and think has been gone to the brain , later he finds it cant be recalled. So you need Onsite storage devices.

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#40
In reply to #37

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 2:15 PM

Hello chakraborty ranabir,

can I just say when using tiny measuring devices, take care. I wear spectacles and have used one of these devices twice only. The first time (I found out later) I had measured to part of a fence panel! which was 2 metres from the place I should have measured.

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#41

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 2:23 PM

I would just like to thank the posters............(is that correct)............ for giving me the GA points.

I have reason to believe some-one close.......to me arranged things very recently, so I lost the two GA points I had. They now do not have 'voting rights'!

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#43

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 9:59 PM

I read through all of the posts. Lots of great answers. One thing I didn't see mentioned (but I might have overlooked it) is to have a ruler or yardstick show up in your pictures. Helps to estimate distances later.

I measured up several systems that were installed in coal fired power plants, shipyards, rendering plants back in the mid 70's to the late 80's.

As a side note, I too started college with a slide-rule and left with a calculator.

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#44
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/18/2008 10:10 PM

Hello ddk,

good point!...............I was just typing something similar. I once painted a piece of 8' x 4' ply with 6" squares. I found I could estimate from a still camera picture heights etc using this board.

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#45

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/19/2008 12:29 PM

It has been mentioned that taking photos is handy to refresh the memory and provide overlooked details; but sometimes you forget where the photo was taken. I used to make a drawing of the room and make a circle in the position I was standing with an arrow pointing in the direction I was shooting the picture. In the circle I would put a number to correspond to the shot picture. This saved my butt a few times.

The 45 degree rule: From watching Isis on TV on long ago Saturday mornings, I learned how to gather the height of an object too tall to measure. You would cut a stick the same length as your eyes above the ground. Then you would get bowl or something similar to hold water and place it on the ground between you and object to be measured; the distance between you and the bowl the same length as the stick. When standing erect and you can see the top of the object reflected in the bowl, measure the distance from the base of that object to the bowl and you will have its height.

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#46
In reply to #45

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/19/2008 8:49 PM

THAT is really clever (but, for 45 degrees to work, you need to place the bowl at the same distance as the height of the object. You needn't work with only 45 degrees as long as you can measure the distance to the bowl and the height distance to your eyes. And the elevation of the bowl needs to be the same as the elevation of the object your siting.) ... I need to try this even if I DON'T need to know how tall something is

(the world already knows I'm total geek, so seeing me in the park with a bowl of water and a tape measure probably won't surprise anyone ... then I can make more friends by shouting loudly, "did you know that tree is 11.2 meters tall!!!")

[not teasing you ... teasing ME ... I've been know to do some seemingly goofy stuff sometimes just for the 'entertainment' value]

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/19/2008 9:37 PM

Well, any isosolese triangle will work but the 45 is the simplest example I could think of on the spur of the moment. And if you have a scientific calculator you can do anything as long as you remember the relevant formula.

but if you are that good, you would be working as a surveyor not a draftsperson doing some field checks for the office drawing.

If you go back to the original post request it is clear this exercise is being done without benefit of a total survey station and trying to improvise with paper, pencil, and a tape measure. It is equally clear it is not done by someone already trained in survey techniques because that is not their job. Their job is production planning and making a drawing of the production facility is almost incidental to their main job function.

Are we now going to turn this thread into a silly season entree by coming up with progressively weirder possible solutions whether or not they are practical or sensible?

The object of the exercise was to get a quik but approximately acurate overview of the facility layout without getting run over by a fork lift truck or snagged by a conveyor belt or holding up production while placing bowls of water all over the place. Except for two posters it doesn't sound like anyone has been there, done that and have the scars to prove it.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 12:47 AM

Point taken, sir.

I should have clicked the [ ] 'off-topic' box.

Not that this is the FIRST post I've seen go WAY off the mark

DWBH

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 1:08 AM

LOL

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#53
In reply to #49

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 3:39 PM

One day a man was walking through a park when he sees two city employees standing at the base of a flagpole and scratching their heads. He goes over to see if he can help.

One of the workers says, "We've got to replace this flagpole with a taller one. But before the supervisor can order a new flagpole he needs to know how tall this one is, and he sent us to measure it. We have a tape that's long enough, but we can't figure out how to climb the pole."

The man replies, "You don't have to climb it." He points at the base plate of the pole, and continues, "All you have to do is remove those 4 bolts at the base, lay the pole down and measure it."

The 2 workers thank him for his suggestion, and he goes on his way. When he gets out of earshot, one worker turns to the other and said, "That guy doesn't know what he's talking about, but I didn't have the heart to tell him. We need to know how tall the pole is, not how long it is!"

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#58
In reply to #53

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 9:55 PM

nyuk, nyuk, nyuk ... hey Moe, look at du flagpole ... it's long, but it ain't so tall ... nyuk, nyuk, nyuk

you dummy ... that ain't no flagpole ... dat's a guardrail for chipmunks ... (slap, poke, whak)

nyuk, nyuk ... ya missed me

why youuuuu

WHAK

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#60
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/21/2008 1:05 PM

<Larry laughs at Moe & Curly>

why, you think that's funny? let's see if you think this is funny!

BONK!

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#62
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/22/2008 9:11 AM

This thread has gone all the way off-topic.

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#63
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/23/2008 9:32 PM

I'm working on getting back on topic. It might take me a while, 'cos I plan on doing a couple of illustrations. Just warn me if DCAD and his 3 friends come around.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/23/2008 9:50 PM

be careful ... we're everywhere

BUT, we also make some good contributions now and then

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#50
In reply to #47

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 6:26 AM

Well, I have tried the Isis method and it seemed to work. I could actually measure the height of the object I was testing the premise on.

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#55
In reply to #47

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 5:45 PM

Thanks ELNAV, you ARE my friend.

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#51
In reply to #46

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 1:39 PM

Hello DCaD,

you are funny. Perhaps we should have a picnic while we see if our estimates are the same? Actually, I measured that tree and it was only 10.9 metres?

.............................But it was last year!

jfmfit

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#59
In reply to #51

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 10:02 PM

Good idea ... let's meet next year and see if it has reached 11.5 meters ... AND, since we all know that tree growth is linear, we can calculate when it will reacy 50 meters.

Ahhh, science ... "give me a bowl of water and a place to stand, and I will measure the world".

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#54
In reply to #46

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 5:34 PM

May I say I would love to be your friend?

You are almost weirder than me!!

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#57
In reply to #54

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 9:46 PM

maybe MUCH MORE WEIRD

But HAPPY

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#61
In reply to #46

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/21/2008 9:10 PM

Hello DCaD,

I find it beguiling...........finding out how tall something is when you can't actually measure it, with a tape.

I am looking on-line but, if you find an answer that works can you please post it?

babybear

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#65
In reply to #46

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/24/2008 11:09 AM

Finally got back to reading this forum and saw your comment. No, the distance does not have to be equal when using 45 degrees; your eye distance above the ground and the distance to the bowl are two equal sides of an equilateral triangle. The second equilateral triangle is formed by the distance from the bowl to the base of the tree and the hypotenuse being the line from the water in the bowl to the top of the tree. Unless you have a thermodolyte with you, 45 degrees is the angle to use.

I realize to, that this is kind of a goof; what could you possibly use this calculating method for. Well, just suppose you were out in the wilderness, and came upon a crevass you needed to get across. Somehow you know the distance across the gap and see all these trees standing around. Now you don't want to cut down a bunch just to find one that will reach across it, so you whip out your camping bowl and fill it with water. Then, you cut that stick we were talking about (eyes above the ground thing) and keeping the bowl that distance from your feet, spot the needed tree; use one of the folks with you to move it around. I would guess you have some folks with you otherwise after you cut down that 11.2 meter tree, how you gonna get it across the crevass? VBG.

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/24/2008 11:17 AM

Sorry folks, I thought I was logged in when the other idiot wrote the previous numba 65 entry.

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#67
In reply to #65

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/24/2008 3:10 PM

Well if you really did know something about surveying and had some basic angle measuring tools instead of that bowl of water you could also measure the width of the crevasse. Then you would know for sure. And you could probably apply some engineering know how to drop the tree in the right place.

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#69
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Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 12:08 PM

Well that was kind of the whole point behind this Isis thing. ALL you had was something to hold water and something to cut a stick with. Geez, don't get all technical on me.<VBG>

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#71
In reply to #67

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 1:46 PM

And you could probably apply some engineering know how to drop the tree in the right place.

Why stopping there?

What would MacGyver do?

Probably building a trebuchet to launch himself over the crevasse, landing softly in the other side by using the parachute he made with bags of potato chips.

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#73
In reply to #71

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 8:05 PM

You missed the part where he lubricated the trebuchet with the cocoa butter in the chocolate bar he happened to have in his pocket, and stuck the parachute together with his chewing gum

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#52

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 3:21 PM

Gus, a workflow diagram of the layout might help you keep track of your work and avoid missing something. Before you start taking measurements, sketch a diagram of where and how the product moves through the plant. Don't worry about dimensions, use symbols for each machine, device, or storage facility. Work through one production line at a time, on both the workflow diagram and your measurements. As you complete each item on the diagram, mark it with a colored pencil or highlighter. For production planning, a workflow diagram should be a standard part of the documentation.

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#56
In reply to #52

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/20/2008 5:47 PM

This is another remarkably good advice. Thanks.

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#68

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 12:22 AM

OK, here's a method I've devised for measuring the height of a tall object. I haven't tested it yet in real life, but I might have a chance this weekend.

Stand a known (measured) distance b from the base of the object. Now measure the distance a from the surface to your eye. It is best to measure this at the time of the exercise, because your height can vary throughout the day. The distance c from your eye to the base is found by the Pythagorean Theorem.

c = √ a2 + b2

The angle θ between the line of sight c and the surface is arctan c.

The angle E between the vertical line d and c is given by

E = 90 - θ

To find the angle D between the lines of sight c and e, hold a stiff card next to your face like this:

(This is obviously not to scale, so no wise cracks. I'll have DCAD sic Moe on you!)

Align the bottom corner so it appears even with the base. Mark the spot on the back edge of the card directly in front of your eye as you look straight ahead. Now mark on the edge the spot where the top of the object appears. Draw the lines on the card and measure the angle with a protractor.

Now angle C = 180 - (D + E)

And after manipulating some formulas:

d = c sin E / sin C

The one thing that could throw off the angle measurement is if the card is not held with its face perpendicular to the surface. Of course irregular terrain cold also be an issue.

This will require carrying a scientific calculator, slide rule, or pocket sized booklet of trig tables. Those are a lot easier to handle than a bowl of water.

Edit: You could also hold the card so the bottom edge aligns with your line of sight. Then you would have only one spot to mark, and one line to draw. Measure the angle between the bottom edge and the line.

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#70
In reply to #68

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 1:42 PM

Great! This is the kind of thing that makes you look like a demigod to the untrained eyes.

They might think you are a freak too, but I would take the chance.

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#72
In reply to #70

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 6:37 PM

They might think you are a freak too, but I would take the chance.

They might think that anyway as soon as they see me. Then when they find out I am a ham radio operator, they will know for sure that I'm not a typical person. I sometimes tell people that you have to be at least a little bit strange to be a ham.

First, we engage in a hobby nicknamed after a food. Many of us use whips, and some of us are known for our "fists". Sometimes we'll go foxhunting without dogs, guns, or horses, and the fox is either automated or has two legs. We "ragchew," even when using Morse code. We have QSO's from our QTH's, unless the QRM gets too bad to cut through with QRO, then we might QSY to another frequency or set up a sked for later, and then we might exchange QSL's if it was our first contact with each other. We look at a metallic object and wonder what frequency it will resonate at. When we talk of RF Burns, we're not talking about a person.

Now, I've gotten off-topic again. Looks like DCAD's friends didn't appreciate me mentioning Morse code!

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#74
In reply to #72

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/25/2008 8:12 PM

Thanks for the diatribe on ham radio (sorry, I'm not one ... or maybe I not sorry )

Thanks for the link ... most days I need just a LITTLE injection of nonsense

Life seems to be just a little TOO HEAVY sometimes ... the LEVITY takes off some of the weight.

Good stuff.

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#75

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/26/2008 5:37 PM

Before everybody leaves this thread...

Where may I learn about theodolites, lasers and other stuff? Which is the best book or dvd?

Thanks for everything.

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#76
In reply to #75

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/26/2008 6:49 PM

In some cases you can download a User manual. Since I learned survey techniques on the job, I haven't looked for a basic book with a complete course but I have found a few excerpts on Survey Techniques when I went looking for specific details like how to use a plane table which is an obsolete technique discontinued around WW2.

Most of it is common sense. Many instrument techniques are simply devised to compensate for mechanical wear suhc as eliminating parallax error or making suer slop in the lead screws are taken care of. The better brands have backlash threads.

Modern Total Station instruments would not even need that being equipped with purely optical encoders. Do you not have any sort of engineering school in your area. You could probably pick up a used text book at the school book store. I am thinking of a college that teaches civil engineering or perhaps a course dedicated to geodesy. These books would definitely be intended for someone needing to learn the basics without having any prior knowledge.

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#77
In reply to #76

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/27/2008 12:09 PM

Yes, there are four universities teaching Civil Engineering and one of them teaches Surveying Engineering. I asked for books there and the brand new one they had was published in 1954.

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#78
In reply to #77

Re: measuring building and machines to make drafts

06/27/2008 5:03 PM

The fundamentals of survey work has not changed. Trigometry is still the same. If you are asking about how to use specifc tools to make measurements, then the user manual for each instrument will suffice to show how that instrument is applied to the age old fundamentals. A laser beam is strictly an optical replacement for a string line. A laser range finder is simply an echo location device.

You point it at an object and it measures the time it takes for a reflection to return. Elapsed time equates to distance from you to object and return. The advantage of laser over the ultrasonic devices that for example Poleroid used, is the tight beam means you know exactly where the beam is measuring to. The essential technique doesn't differ. What exactly are you looking for, that you do not already know or have been provided an answer for in this thread?

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