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Has anybody tried to build a homemade laser alignment jig?

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Old 11-18-2005, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default Has anybody tried to build a homemade laser alignment jig?

This query may be old stuff as I haven't checked in here in a while but seeing the current price of those laser levels in my local hardware store I began to wonder if it is possible to make an accurate laser alignment gauge yourself and avoid lots of visits to the tire store of buying an expensive motorsports one.

Here in the UK you can buy a basic little laser level for about $40 so I would not think they would cost more in the US from, say, Home Depot.

Obviously you need to mount it on something accurate that can be fitted to the wheel but you can buy 1" X 2" aluminium extrusion cheaply and that is held to very accurate tolerances along its length by the extrusion process.

What I was thinking was to fit the laser onto a 24" peice of extrusion with notches cut out for the tirewall etc. so one side of the extrusion rests on the wheel rims. Then the laser can either send its beam up ( extrusion held vertically) or horizontally for or aft ( extrusion held level.

The levels built into the "Home Depot" laser ensure it is dead vertical or horizontal so then you can mount a sighting plate from steel or aluminium sheet onto the rear wheels ( again using the notched extrusion idea with the plate folded and rivetted on ).

This would give toe in once you have graduated the plate using the front and rear widths over the rims. As far as I can see this is how some Hawk aligners actually work. The length of the wheelbase should give good accuracy.

For camber if you used a plate on the ground , itself levelled with a spirit level the camber can be similarly checked. I would think that with some thought castor can be done.

That is all a bit long winded and I am sure somebody had already done thsi but are there any examples , do's and don'ts etc peolpe know about?
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Old 11-18-2005, 04:59 PM   #2
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We use the very simple string setup.

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Old 11-18-2005, 08:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
We use the very simple string setup.

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Old 11-19-2005, 06:03 PM   #4
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I'm just taking a break from a yard project where I am using a
'Hot Shot' Torpedo Laser Level marketed by Johnson Level & Tool.

This item is made in China. IIRC, my Johnson cost less than $20 US.
But I've seen what appears to be the very same unit marketed under
at least one no-name brand for even less.

A few thoughts come to mind.
  1. Before you put too much effort into the project, consider whether the
    beam will offer enough resolution at the distance you intend to project
    it. The dot might be too large.
  2. Figure out how the set up can be used safely. I think there are
    protective glasses but you may only need to forget once to suffer an
  3. If you use the Johnson laser level or its clones, be particularly
    careful because the switch is exposed with no protective shielding
    - it can easily be turned on while handling it.
    I take out the batteries as soon as I am done for my own protection
    and that of children/adults who might unwittingly play with it.
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Old 11-19-2005, 11:45 PM   #5
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For Camber adjustments I use the Fastrax tool.

For toe adjustments I use toe plates. When checking thrust angles I use a laser measurer (laser pointer will work also) against toe plates and aim at a 4x4 indexed piece of wood that I lay on the floor in the middle of each front tire.

Very easy and simple.


P.S. I have read that other Forum members simply aim a laser to the floor (by front tires) also a good idea.
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Old 11-20-2005, 09:49 AM   #6
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I just started using a laser for checking thrust angle. I can measure everything else easily with a straight edge and tape measure, but thrust angle need relative distance from front/rear wheels. I'll add this to my diy alignment guide soon.

I have tried strings on many occasions, but it takes time to setup and align, and I can never get consisten results.

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Old 11-20-2005, 11:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by davidfarmer
I'll add this to my diy alignment guide soon.


I would love to see a primer on DIY alignmnet set-ups. This is not about dollars but about time and inconvenience especially when you have a car on trailer. When you do alot of traking you need to check and change alignments way more often than street drivers or occasional DE'ers. I also wonder about strings vs laser set-up
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