DIY spirit level | a step-by-step guide

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In this article, I will show you step by step how I build my own spirit level.

I got the idea to make this spirit level myself after making my own version of the Kreg multi-mark and measuring tool.
At that point, I realized that the Kreg tool has a spirit level.
Because I use it to hang things up from time to time, I wondered, Can I make my own spirit level, but then a little bigger?

Here you will find all the information to build yours too, and as an extra, I’ll show you how to check the accuracy of your spirit level.
Whether you built it yourself or not.

Okay, let’s go!

Before we start building

To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Building the spirit level step by step

Step 1 | Preparation

For this spirit level, I used 18 mm thick birch plywood. For the housing of the level bubble vials, I placed the wood perpendicular to the wood of the spirit level, and that in a double layer.

This is important as it will help you know the width of the strips to cut for the base of the spirit level, which is 36 mm (2 times the thickness of the 18 mm plywood)

If you are going to plane the base after gluing to make the edges even, you can make these strips a little wider. If you do not have a planer and thicknesser, you can alternatively sand the edges until they are flat, but this can involve a lot of work.

For the base, you will need 4 layers of plywood.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Step 2 | Making the base of the spirit level

After sanding the strips, I joined them together with wood glue.

Tip:

Don’t just use any wood glue for your projects!

To find out which different types exist and for which applications they serve, check out my blog Understanding Wood Glue + 8 awesome tricks you should know. Here you will discover everything you need to know about wood glue.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

After gluing, I clamped the strips together tightly and set them aside to dry.
Meanwhile, I made the bubble level vial holders.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Step 3 | The bubble level vial holder

To make these holders, I cut out 2 discs per holder with a 40 mm hole saw.

After gluing them together with wood glue, I put these discs over a piece of threaded rod and clamped them between two nuts.

That way I could fix the discs in the drill press and sand them down to the diameter I needed.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

By turning the drill press and holding sandpaper against it, I was able to sand the holders to 38 mm, which is equal to the hole in the spirit level where they have to fit later.
(The hole in the spirit level was drilled with a 35 mm hole saw, but you have to keep in ind that the outside of the hole saw is a little larger)

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Once the diameter of the holder was correct, I was able to drill a hole right through the holder, into which the bubble level vial later fits.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Then I drilled out the center of the holder with a 24 mm Forstner drill

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Now I was able to insert the bubble level vials into the drilled hole and secure them in place with epoxy glue.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Step 4 | Finishing the base

While the epoxy glue was drying, I was able to continue with the base of the spirit level. The wood glue had hardened, and I was able to remove the clamps.

To make the sides even, I flattened them with the planer/thicknesser.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Then I was able to drill the 2 holes for the bubble level vial holders, with a 35 mm hole drill, and a smaller hole that I can use to store the spirit level.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Step 5 | Assembling

After finishing the edges with a 45-degree chamfer bit in my router, I was able to place the holders with wood glue.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

When installing these bubbles in your spirit level, do this on a surface that you are sure is level. If you’re not entirely sure about this, later in this article, I’ll show you a trick to check your spirit level’s correctness. 

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Step 6 | Installing the rubber caps

To protect the ends of the spirit level from impact, I applied a rubber cap.

After pre-drilling holes and making a countersunk hole in the rubber, I attached these caps to the ends with contact glue.

Then, to hold the rubber caps firmly in place, I fitted 2 screws per end..

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

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How to check your spirit level

Here’s a trick you can use to check your spirit level for accuracy. 

Place it against a wall and make sure the bubble is perfectly centered. Make a control line at the top (or at the bottom) of the spirit level. I did it on the top of the spirit level, because this works much easier.

Now, mark a control point above the center of the bubble. 

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

Now flip over the spirit level, align it over your control line, and move it until the bubble is under the control point. 

Once you completed that, the bubble should be in the exact place. 

Now you know your spirit level is ready to use.

DIY spirit level a step by step guide

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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration


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