Laser Grading

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Oversized2, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Oversized2

    Oversized2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I’m considering purchasing some type of laser controlled grading attachment. Would like to have some input about the good and bad of different boxes or graders. Also opinions of best type of set-up (automatic machine control, receiver on rod, dual or single slope, ect.. As long as were asking questions, Best all around machine to use. Would like to do primarily commercial flatwork preparation (Grading and compaction).

    Thanks, Bud
  2. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    So far, you can get mostly graders and track-type tractors with laser grading... any more specifics you can provide?
  3. Oversized2

    Oversized2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Would like to use something in the lines of a Bobcat T190, ASV 50 or 60, or a Cat 257. For the attachment, it would be either a Box Blade and, or Grader Blade. Would like to fit the niche of taking the sub-grade from +/- .1’ to +/- .25’ prior to pouring the concrete slab.
  4. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    Most likely your best bet would be to get a Cat loader and a Bobcat grader... I know Cat makes some sort of a grader, but in my opinion, Bobcat has the better attachment.

    Do a brief search for why Cat over Bobcat loader.
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Go to and subscribe. I see in there all the time that there are companies that offer a grader attachment for skids that come set up to run a laser, can't remember the brand off the top of my head, but they specialize in grading with lasers. I also suggest a Cat skid steer with some sort of grader setup. I think a 257B would be your best bet. The tracks will give you great traction that you'll need to push a good sized pile.
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I have been looking into the same thing. The best set up (I think) is that made by Laser Leveling. It has a box type scraper that can push material and pull it; grade is controlled automatically. The problem I have is I wanted a dual plane system. My question was how can a box scraper with one cylinder set a dual plane grade. The answer was (I was told) when operating you do figure 8's or checker pattern to do a dual slope grade. I am struggling to understand how that works. The other issue is $$$. The cost of the 7' foot box with all associated equipment including the dual slope transmitter was around 13K. Thats a lot of prep work. I have also pondered a grader attachment set up with a laser control system. The grader made by Van Boh is the best built I think. Heavy duty, all electronic controlled moldboard (unless you have the laser controled package). The graders electronics hook to the skid steer allowing it to be moved by switches on the joy sticks. Contrast this grader to Bobcats' which was built by Palm attachments until Bobcat bought Palm, and you'll see that the Van Boh is built to handle the bigger machines. Bobcats belongs on, well a Bobcat. I will second the request, if anyone has one of these setups let us know what you think.
  7. EngDave

    EngDave LawnSite Member
    from GA
    Messages: 19

    You might want to consider attending either the World of Concrete in January or the ConExpo in March. Both are in Las Vegas in 2005. Saw more laser control attachments/vendors for SSL's last year at the World of Concrete, sure to be more in 2005. Don't forget to consider the electronics vendor as well, Trimble, Topcon, Leica, etc. In some cases, your existing laser head can be used saving considerable cost.
  8. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I will be going to CONEXPO 05 in Vegas. The problem with that is it all looks good in a showroom. I would like to get some feedback from someone who runs one. Also have a single plane TopCon transmitter but if I go with a dual plane set up I'll have to upgrade. The dual plane transmitter alone is just under 3K.
  9. MidAtlantic

    MidAtlantic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Okay guys....

    I have a sports surfacing division called Mid Atlantic Tennis Courts. We peform laser grading during the construction of all of our tennis courts, ballfields, tracks, putting greens, and even large driveways patios. I also use the grader to do some fine grading of lawns. We have used laser graders for over 10 years now. The system I am currently using is a custom modified 7' landpride drag box. I converted the 3pt hitch to a tow behind tongue. It has 4 free floating tires mounted on a hydrolic leveling arm. The hydrolic ram pushes the leveling arm up and down. the hydrolic system is powered by a PTO pump. I tow it with a '98 John Deere 955 tractor with turf tires.

    As for the Laser part I use a Spectra Physics Dual Plane sending unit which shoots a beam 500+ feet in all directions. I can program it for multiple slopes. Once I program it, it will send the beam out to the receiver unit which is on a verticle rod welded to the drag box. It takes the signal sends it to my control box (auto level /manual level) and tells me with lights if it is high or low in a series of flashes. I can flip the switch to auto and it will self adjust the box to the laser beam.

    This system is compact and leaves a nice finished. Those "Push Graders" for skidsteers will leave tracks in the finish. Plus push graders dont work well in corners. I can back up the box drop it closer to a wall than with those skidsteer units.

    This system has saved me so much money. In one day I can laser grade the subase on 6 clay tennis courts, roll and then tailgate spread 6" of stone and laser grade to a slope of 1" in 30'. This is with 1-2 guys.

    Plus if you guys are interested I can build you the same box. If the price is right I might sell my system. Since I am looking at going larger.

    If you have any questions please feel free to ask...If you would like to see some pics of my grader in action drop me an email and I can email you some pics....I still haven't figured how to reduce the file size so that I can post pics on these threads....

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    We have a 257B with a 6 way Bradco dozer blade. Caterpillar is currently making their own 6 way. We also have a Cat D-3 with a 6 way. We have been renting a slope lazer and have a set or poles on each end of the blade. We can is we choose, go firther and connect all the stuff to make a computer work the blade when grading. At this juncture, I prefer to control the lift and angluation of the blade by hand. I feel it is easier to learn manually, then you can always add later, after you have mastered the manual version, so when the technology screws up, you can go back to manual and keep working. We can make precision cuts as needed in a manor that makes us alot of money. We purchased the 257 in August. After using it on several smaller jobs, we secured 3 lots to grade off and after all things are factored in, we will can if we choose,write a check to pay off the machine and it's attachments.

    I would not consider any other brand of equipment, simply because they will not be able to produce the same amount of billable production hours as the Cats. Billable production hours is all that counts when making a machine selection. This is accomplished by service, second to none in the industry, superior design, and ease of operation. You may beable to get a particlar piece of equipment for less money on the front end of the purcahse. But, when you add all the time that machine will be downed for maintenance where a Cat will be out working, it will never pencil out, and this is documented pretty well in the industry.

    If you consider a conventional tractor with big wheels in the back and a box scaper, even if you get a 4x4, it will not be able to out produce a track machine. If you get weather in your area, and soil is wet, a track will work when others sit. And, for working slopes, cutting grades, and simply grading off materials for driveways, or, fields, the track will still out perform the rubber tires. The one down side is maintenance, and overhead recovery for the process of operating the tracks vs rubber wheels. Tracks will cost you more to run. Tracks will cost you more to replace, and, there is a learning curve to optimize how efficient you can run with them. All in all, I would never consider a rubber tired vehicle for what work has been decribed here after operating a track loader.

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