Cool Tool: Perfect Alignment Laser (PAL)

A few weeks ago in an email Pam mentioned a new sewing gadget, a cross hair laser attached to a lamp and it looked like a great concept, although I wasn’t keen on the fact that it has to be mounted to a table.  So Google to the rescue and I found the same company makes a smaller profile Perfect Alignment Laser, which was initially designed to make it easier to center and hoop embroidery designs.  After playing around with it for a little bit it has many other sewing uses:

Pros

  • Small footprint makes it easy to place
  • The metal gooseneck swivels 360 degrees
  • Uses only 3AAA batteries (included)
  • The laser diode in the lamp tip also swivels 360 degrees for perfect placement
  • It makes bright, crisp lines that do not distort from square even if the lamp is not parallel to the surface
  • Comes with a USB power cable

Cons

  • It does not really have a “weighted base” in reality it weighs only 5.2 ounces and that weight comes from the tiny batteries.  Notice in the photos I used steel washer pattern weights to hold it down when the neck was really extended or when I didn’t want it to get knocked over.
  • The goose-neck is only 15 inches and could actually be longer because the laser lines project perfectly even from several feet.   I think 24 inches would be ideal.  To make a grain line really long for this photo I put a stool on my cutting table with the laser on top.  Not high tech but it worked.
  • The base should be marked with the type of replacement laser because I never save boxes. For the record it takes a 640-660nm laser diode.  I wrote that on the base with Sharpie.

All in all a pretty cool tool, available on Amazon and also from Designs In Machine Embroidery.  I bought mine from Amazon for $45.99.

Grain: The photos show the laser used to establish grain on a busy fabric. I also think it can be used to match and square plaids or to mirror match wide stripes.

Buttonholes: Here it’s used to make sure a buttonhole is straight. After the fabric is set into the buttonholer I move the laser away..

Seam Allowance: I’ve been using a metal seam guide on my vintage Wilcox & Gibbs machine and the cut edge tends to ride up incrementally and actually makes the SA too wide, so here you see the laser set as a seam guide.

 

6 Responses to Cool Tool: Perfect Alignment Laser (PAL)

  1. Gorgeous Things October 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    That is a cool tool! Maybe I’ll ask Santa for one.

  2. Pam E ~Off The Cuff~ October 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    I am so glad you did this post, Phyllis…I haven’t yet had time to play with mine. And of course I threw the box away, so thanks too for the diode info!

  3. PVE October 28, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    The wonders of technology – - -

  4. PVE October 28, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    An after thought – wonder how long it’ll be before this becomes avaialble on the machine head itself?

  5. coudremode October 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    Good idea Mom!

  6. PVE October 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Time will tell. In today’s world, my guess it should be within 5 years. Mostly because of patent issues. Recently heard a most interesting exchange on the latter subject over WBUR.

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