Author Topic: Laser Distance Measurer Software  (Read 11277 times)

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Offline WastedP

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Laser Distance Measurer Software
« on: November 21, 2014, 10:44 AM »
I'm looking into the LDM offerings from Leica (mostly the D330i, possibly the e7100i) and Bosch (GLM 100 C).  I want to use an LDM for taking as-built measurements of kitchens, baths, and smaller commercial and institutional areas (teller lines, medical offices).  I also want to get the measurements into my drawing workflow as early as possible: instantly, on-site.  I've looked at many brands, but Bluetooth is a must, and I haven't found anything else that seems like a good fit for my use. 

The last big hurdle for me, before purchase, is figuring out which LDM's available software is going to work best for me.  All of my drawings start in 20/20 design, as well as most of the designers I do work for.  I have some other casework companies that I have worked with in the past that work within Cabnetware and AutoCad.  20/20 works poorly for moving drawings to/from AutoCad, so I would be best off coming up with a workflow based on getting measurements on-site into 20/20, then if I need to manually re-draw it in AutoCad for a client based off of my 20/20 model, so be it, I'll work on refining that later.

So the question, then, is anyone using a laser distance measurer as anything other than a replacement for their tape measure?  If so, what software are you using?  Are there any options other than the apps provided by Leica and Bosch? I haven't found any yet, but I've only been looking into this for a few weeks.

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2014, 12:14 PM »
Stabila has a new 200m (660') laser distance measure, the LD-520

It is Bluetooth Smart enabled to connect it to a Smart Phone, tablet, or laptop and transfer measurements. They have also created a free app' called "STABILA Measures" avaliable from Google Play or The App Store on iTunes that enables you to insert measurements directly into photos or drawings.

Because it's accurate over such a long distance, it uses a digital display with 4X zoom to acquire targets and it can be tripod mounted.

You might want to consider it as well.


Tom
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Offline WastedP

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2014, 11:18 PM »
Thanks for the Stabila suggestion.  I haven't been able to find any info on their site or elsewhere on the Windows software for it, only the iOS and Android apps.  I'm also having difficulty finding any info or links to the Bosch Bluetooth Windows software, only USB software, which is leading me more towards Leica's options.  I have found exactly zero third-party software, and no first-person report of experience using any of the Windows software from any vendor.

I've pretty much decided on a solution that connects to a Windows laptop, as they are cheaper and have larger screens than viable iOS and Android alternatives, which would also require a data transfer into Windows.



Offline grbmds

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2014, 12:23 AM »
Actually Ryobi just came out with a whole set of smart phone connectible tools, but I have no idea how accurate their measuring and leveling applications are. There are some noise suppressing in-ear buds that, if they work, might be great for in the shop since they connect directly to the phone and would likely stay out of the way of dust masks.
Randy

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2014, 09:08 AM »
This is timely, I spend several hours last night researching apps for my wife's design business, we are looking for a better way to take on-site measurements and transfer them into her CAD software. I came across an awesome looking app called OrthoGraph. The app links with certain Lecia and Bosch lasers, and I am guessing others that they have not tested.



Once drawn you can wirelessly export the file or save to the cloud as DXF (or PDF or JPG), & then import into your favorite CAD program.

You might look into that app as the starting point, since it looks much more capable than the apps that come from the laser manufacturers. They have a great collection of video's on YouTube.

I am going to purchase the app today ($100) and once we are sure it works for our needs we will probably buy a new laser to go with it. http://www.orthograph.net/

RMW
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Offline WastedP

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2014, 12:49 PM »
Thanks for the link to Orthograph.  I watched several of the videos and it looks pretty full-featured, easily worth a hundred bucks if they will let you test drive it first to be sure.  I see they are adding an Android version, but it is iOS only, and the only iOs device I own is an AppleTV.

I did find a how-to for connecting a Leica LDM to Chief Architect.  I don't use CA, nor do any of my clients, but the how-to explains how to use Leica's software better than Leica's site does.

I'm just going to dip my toe in to this.  I ordered the E7100i, the cheapest bluetooth model, and I will see if I can roll my own solution with the Disto Transfer software, just to hammer out the workflow.  If I can get that established and it looks like the more full-featured LDMs would serve the work better, then I will have an easy upgrade.

I am surprised by the dearth of software for LDMs, although I have to admit that I've never been on a jobsite and seen anybody use one.  It's not like they're brand new to the market, and they certainly aren't that expensive (although they cost a lot more than a tape measure).

Online pettyconstruction

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 02:07 PM »
Post what you find out,I am very interested in this idea.
I was going to get a Bluetooth leica ldm,but went with a cheeper  stabila model,to see if I would like and use it. Love it btw.
When I bring it out at a new clients house,they are impressed,as am I.
Chuck

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 02:13 PM »
Post what you find out,I am very interested in this idea.
I was going to get a Bluetooth leica ldm,but went with a cheeper  stabila model,to see if I would like and use it. Love it btw.
When I bring it out at a new clients house,they are impressed,as am I.
Chuck


I assume you have the LD-520?

And are you using the STABILA Measures app'?

I haven't tried either yet and am curious to know what you think if the answers are both yes.


Tom
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Online pettyconstruction

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2014, 04:55 PM »
 No, I have a 300 entry level stabila . I really like it,but think I want to go Bluetooth and a little more options.

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2014, 05:15 PM »
'Sorry, I thought you were saying you got the Bluetooth Stabila...

I have the 300 also and really like it for what I do.


Tom
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2014, 05:33 PM »
I have the Leica E7400x. It has great specs for measuring (resolution of +/-1mm and readout down to 1/32") but no Bluetooth. When I bought it I owned no iOS devices but now wish I'd waited after learning about OmniGraph. However, the next better Leica instrument with Bluetooth 4 is about $600.

The Leica US website has been dumbed down. The model comparison screen makes it look like they all are +/- 1/16" when several better. Look at the specs for the individual models and there is quite a bit of difference. The low end version mentioned on the OrthoGraph website (E7100i) only displays in M, FT, or inches. Not good enough for woodworking in my opinion.

This chart comparing Leica laser rangefinders is much clearer.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 05:44 PM by Michael Kellough »

Offline WastedP

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2014, 06:18 PM »
The photos of the E7100i's display on the Leica website show precision down to the 1/32".  I don't know what the mm precision is, if it's to the mil, it will be close enough for my clients that work in mm.

After I've spent a little time with it and the software, I'll put together some kind of review/video.

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2014, 06:58 PM »
I found a page on how to use the E7100i which confirms the finer measuring units. I got good use from an older Hilti LDM that had a nominal accuracy of +/- 1/16" so I take back my comment that the E7100i isn't good enough now that we know it can display better than 1/16".

Offline WastedP

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2014, 01:22 PM »
First impressions of the Disto E7100i and Disto Transfer software:
 
- The LDM came out of the package, batteries in, Bluetooth on and paired with the laptop, Leica software downloaded and installed, imported measurements to the software all in under ten minutes.  I was impressed by how easy it is to figure out.

- The device has four clearly marked buttons that only do one or two things each.  It's almost as simple as the remote for the Apple TV.  The first function for each button is a single short press, the second function is a press and hold.     Press ON, the laser comes on, press it again and it takes a measurement.  Hold ON and it takes continuous measurements, updating every half-second or so. Press AREA once, it sets it up to take two measurements and calculate area.  Hold AREA and you cycle through the displayed unit options.   Pres BLUETOOTH to toggle it on and off.  Hold BLUETOOTH to pair.   Press CLEAR/OFF to clear the measurement, hold it to turn the device off.  That's it.  I just wrote the manual for the device.

- The device will display meters to four decimal places (tenth of a mil) and inches to 1/32".  I'm not sure what degree of precision the software imports metric measurements, but it converts the fractional inch measurement to 1/16".  Actually, the software receives the measurement in meters, and you have to set the units on the software to convert to your preference.

- The unit takes measurements from the base of the device when you press a membrane button on the face of the device.  I think I would like it better if the button was on the side.  I can also see the value of the E7500's flip-out base that lets you take accurate diagonal corner measurements and hook on to outside corners.  The E7100i stands about 1/4" out of a corner, and I will have to rig up some self-stick targets for outside corners.  For testing I had a scrap of cereal box with scotch tape on it.  Classy.

- There are two control panels for the software.  The small, brief, easy one lets you change the imported units.  The expanded control panel gives you access to a lot of options, as well as the ability to set key commands to remotely control the LDM.  Since the E7100i is pretty basic, this is probably not a feature I'll use.  The expanded control panel also lets you set up the way the software communicates with other software.

- It took about an hour of trial and error, but I was able to configure the software to send a measurement to my software's input box, then close the input box.  This works consistently.  Any time the software asks for a measurement, I go and take it, and it's done.

- I drew my living room with all of the walls, doorways, and windows a few different times to check for consistency  I got results that were down to the 1/16", except for measurements from an outside corner, which were within 1/8", but that could be operator error.  I was also able to take measurements from the model that I didn't directly take (distance between windows, for example) and confirm that they were correct, within 1/16" of an inch of reality.  Even diagonal measurements from the model were within a 1/16" of an inch over 300+ inches, once I accounted for the distance the back of the unit stands out from a corner.

I need to make a set of targets (probably just laminate sample chips), and I also need to work on using the software to create 3D .dwg files.  Low-hanging fruit first.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 01:16 AM by WastedP »

Offline WastedP

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2014, 01:17 AM »
The word "p-r-e-s-s" is censored?!

Offline Grumpygrizzly

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Re: Laser Distance Measurer Software
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2015, 05:35 AM »
Hey guys, I realize this is an old post buy stay away from the Leica D330i, it was discontinued in January according to the techies I've been trying to get mine to work.

I tried connecting it to a Samsung 2 phone, no joy, tried conncting it to my Samsung 4 Tab 8 and again no joy.  Went to see the dealer, he couldn't figure it out.  Made 4 or 5 calls to different offices along with emails and FINALLY was told the 5100i has what I need to connect my Samsung devices.  The problem is the version of bluetooth they're using.  The Leica D330i runs with bluetooth 2.1.  Most all phones and tablets have upgraded to 4.0.

Once they told me the 5100i would work, I stopped by the loocal dealer.  He puled out two of them and neither one would get recognized by m Samsung 2 phone or my Samsung 4 tablet.  I even upgraded my phone to Android 4.01 with T-Mobiles software.

I'm going back with both my devices fully charged on Monday and try them out with their lead techie to see if they'll work.

My D330i will go to back up status IF the newer one actually works.  I'm not very confident that it will though.

That software mentioned earlier also recommends the 5100i as one it's compatible with.

There's another program that seems to have a big following and it's called MagicPlan.  It's free and might deserve a review.

Does anyone know of any websites that have a forum dedicated to as-builting, equipment used, procedures for doing the work more efficiently, software recommendations, etc??

Drop me an email if you know of any.

GG