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What is a Torpedo Level?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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Torpedo levels are carpentry tools that are utilized to ensure that a surface or angle is level or plumbed properly. As one of the modern incarnations of the spirit or bubble level, this level comes in handy for everything from hanging a picture to checking the alignment of joints during the construction of a wall or floor. While traditional models utilize a glass vial or bubble to determine the evenness of the slope or angle, there are also torpedo laser levels available today.

The body of a torpedo level is rectangular in shape. With many designs, the ends of the level are narrower than the middle section. While all levels of this type will included at least one vial in the middle section that is filled with some type of spirits, it is not unusual for a multipurpose torpedo level to have up to three different vials contained in the middle third section of the body. Multiple vials or bubbles make it possible to check more than one angle at a given time, which may be helpful when ascertaining the whether or not the joint where two walls and a ceiling meet.

Each vial found on a torpedo level will include two markings that help to identify the middle section of the liquid filled container. The vial is not completely full, making it possible for a bubble to appear in the vial. When using the level, a measurement or angle will be considered plumb or even if the bubble in the vial is floating within that middle section.

Today, there are a couple of enhancements found with some brands of the level. Some are constructed with bodies that are magnetized, making it easy to use them with metals or even when attempting to place nails in a wall. A magnetic torpedo level is usually constructed with some lightweight metal body, such as the aluminum torpedo level.

Laser technology is also included in some of the contemporary designs of the torpedo level. The traditional vials may also be present, but the laser level also includes a visible beam that can help outline a straight line for some distance. In addition, it is not unusual for the body to be magnetized, making it possible to position the level on a metal surface and leave the hands free to place marks along the line of the beam. While a good quality magnetic torpedo laser level is more expensive than a traditional model, the contemporary design can be very helpful when working with sections of pipe or conduit.

Torpedo levels of all types can be purchased at any hardware store. In addition, the tool section of most discount retail stores are likely to carry at least a few different sizes of the level. In many cases, it is possible to purchase pocket-sized models that are ideal for quick measurements as well as longer and more sophisticated models for more intricate tasks.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Telsyst — On Feb 24, 2014

This concept of a level playing field is a metaphorical representation of fairness.

Everyone wants to believe that when trading or playing or learning they have just as much of a chance as the next guy. There are times when one person does have an unfair advantage. Money, popularity and nepotism can give someone an advantage over another person in certain situations.

There are sometimes precautions put into place to try and help those who have things that tip things unfairly against them. This is why games have impartial referees or judges. A student who doesn't have money to go to school may get financial help for their education. There are laws against monopolies that control the market destroying competitors.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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