I need a laser level, but I don't need one very often so dropping a few hundred on something I might use once in a while was just not going to happen.
That still left me with out a laser level, and the only solution was to make one.

So with nothing more than a few hand tools and some odds and ends from my junk pile I got to work.

For my automatic laser level I decided to use a gimbal and because I wanted to make the most accurate device possible I needed to make it as smooth and precise as possible.

What I needed was a cheap and highly precise bearing assembly already made. That's when I hit on the idea of using the bearing assembly from a HDD.

Step 1: Manufacturing the gimbal - first axis.

First job was to strip the HDD down to its components.

For this I used a Torx drive 8H and 6H.

Once the drive was striped I looked at how to use the motor assembly as part of the gimbal.

Whats first noticeable about the drive motor is that the are threaded holes on a wide drum, this will make a good seat for attaching my aluminum angle.

Using a peace of 25x25x1.5mm aluminum angle I drilled holes to match the threaded holes on the HDD motor, this was done using the collar that holds the HDD platters in place as my drilling template.

<p>How did you remove the Hard Drive Arm bearing without damaging it? Is it press fit?</p>
The hdd arm that I used has a small torx screw in the side of the arm, when undone the bearing just falls out. Saying that the first hdd I opened the bearing had no screw so glued or molded in position, you may need to try a different hdd. Also the hdd drives I have in abundance in my junk box are all old IDE drives, if that helps.
great use of salvaged hardware, I can suggest you to add an extra feature by adding a neodim magnet at the bottom end of your pendelium and a block of copper or alluminium underneath it on your casing leaving a little gap between the neodim and the copper, that will make your pendelium equilibrium faster as when it's oscilating the inducted magnetic field will produce a electical field in the copper wich will create a magnet field opposed to your magnet helping it to stop oscilating and as the copper is not magnetic it will not affect your level
Interesting idea, I may revisit this project one day and give it a go, but for my current needs it works just fine.
<p>Cool project. I'm interested in seeing pictures of the steps you took to calibrate (not really understanding your description) and what does the projected beam look like?</p>
Cheers wingman, sorry for the late reply, I missed your comment. I have posted a pic a few comments up showing the calibration technique and the projected beam is a spot.
I made this project today. It works awesome, though I took out the insides of the plate motor as to have less resistance, though minimal it may give better accuracy. Awesome project, works great
That's great, I'm glad my project inspired you and that's a good idea about taking insides of the motor out. I have had another look at mine and I'm more than happy that the weight of the pendulum overcomes any resistance that may be there. But in saying that if I modify my project to include a 45 degree or plumb laser I will remove the motor's insides.
<p>Congratulations. Can you please upload a video of it while it's is working?</p>
<p>Ok, video didn't really turn out very good so I have drawn up the calibration as a diagram to help explain what I did, hope it helps.</p>
<p>Thank you for the diagram.</p><p>I know what do laser levels do. (like ones on youtube)</p><p>but I cant understand the relation to the water level!</p><p>for example you set the laser level to 2meters above the ground and measure the difference between laser level and the water level? right?</p><p>and in what situations you need to measure the water level?</p><p>I'm really sorry for this much questions. I'm not smart at all :-D</p>
The water level was only used once to give me fixed points far apart so I could adjust my laser to a perfectly horizontal beam. The wiki &quot;http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_level&quot; probably explains the concept better than I can. And ask as many questions as you need, its great your interested.
Hi ameri110, will get a video up at the weekend to show it working.
<p>Thanks my friend.</p><p>I'm waiting for that :-)</p>
<p>what does this device do?</p>
<p>It shines a laser beam more or less perfectly horizontally even when the box is not quite level. It is a replacement for a water level.</p><p>A higher end commercial version of this uses sensors and actuators to level itself, rather than gravity, and then spins the laser to create a plane of level laser light rather than a beam.</p>
<p>Thanks for your good reply</p><p>Can you upload a video if you have made it?</p>
<p>It shines a laser beam more or less perfectly horizontally even when the box is not quite level. It is a replacement for a water level.</p><p>A higher end commercial version of this uses sensors and actuators to level itself, rather than gravity, and then spins the laser to create a plane of level laser light rather than a beam.</p>
<p>How did you power the motor? I've tried powering a HDD motor before and it would not spin.</p>
<p>if you want to make one of these drives spin you'll need a brushless motor driver circuit.. just putting power on will just cause the motor to jerk a little and not move.. there are 4 leads, 3 will have the same resistance to remaining lead, this is how you know how to wire it.</p>
<p>They have to be powered by the circuit board fitted to the drive, if you leave this connected to the motor and plug in a spare four pin connector from your computer, the drive should spin, these are brushless motors and develop a fair amount of power for their size, I'm sure I've seen something on Youtube about converting one into a miniature angle grinder, try this link</p><p>https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=running+hard+drive+motors</p>
<p>It's a pitty, it could be fun. :-)</p><p>This device doesn't use motors but gravity.</p>
<p>Goooood!!! :)</p>
<p>Very innovative use of surplus material.</p><p>Good work !</p>
<p>double plus good</p>
<p>Thanks for the great comments. I was originally going to pass the wires around the joints but the iPod wires are so thin and light that against the pendulums weight they really have no impact with the movement. The range of movement isn't to big so as long as the wires dont snag it works great.</p>
Very creative idea!
<p>genius idia</p>
<p>yes Rimar is right, you can also bring the wires passing near the joint, where they will make a smaller moment</p>
<p>Great idea, great design.</p><p>I suggest you to coil the thin wires, that will reduce the force it eventually can make on the pendulum/gimbal. Longer, better.</p>

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