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I made a simple tool for laying out grades. A 4' 1x2 with a cheap laser level glued in the middle of one edge with double sick tape. Then I cut some small blocks of wood about three inches long that can be screwed to the underside of the 4' 1x2. If the block on the end is 1" thick then when the level is showing level the grade would be 2%. Make sense? With the laser on you can "survey" the ground ahead. Used it to layout the grades on my whole layout.
 
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