Use a Laser Grading System

Updated Feb 19, 2013


WHY: Laser grading systems are time, labor and materials savers. They deliver precise results on grading jobs such as athletic fields and tennis courts where accuracy is essential. They also excel at grading for paver installations for parking lots and driveways or where a significant savings can be realized in the cost of concrete by precisely preparing the underlayment.

“For example, if you’re only 1/2 inch below grade on a 300-by-300-foot pad, you’ll need an extra 139 yards of concrete to complete the job,” says Justin Odegaard, attachment product specialist, Bobcat Company, “and that could cost an additional $10,000.”

Laser grading systems’ manufacturers include Bobcat, ATI Corporation and GeoBlade. The example shown features a Bobcat compact track loader, dual-slope laser transmitter and grader attachment.

1. Assess the site.

“Consider how your topography aligns with the proposed plan,” Odegaard says. “With the plan in hand (for example, sloping away from a house or leveling for pavers), compare start and finish points.” 

2. Complete rough grading in manual mode prior to setting up the laser.



3. Set up the laser transmitter where it can project the beam unobstructed across the entire site.

Establish the project’s high and low points (or beginning and end). “If you’re sloping away from a house, it’s your high (beginning) point, and where the site drains to your low (or end) point,” Odegaard says. “The laser helps you connect two points, so you’ll be able to shave or fill material as needed.”



4. Move the handheld receiver up or down on the grade rod to lock on to the laser. The height difference determines the slope. Then transfer the elevation coordinate to the receivers on the masts of the attachment.




5. Activate the automatic mode.

Begin grading, working from high to low areas by making slightly overlapping passes across the project area. (Fill material may need to be hauled in or off of site depending on slope.)



PAYOFF: Laser grading requires just one operator and eliminates the need for a survey crew to continually check grading progress.

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