Game-changing excavation tool pays for itself in weeks


JohnnyBall® measures level and slope accurately, efficiently

Dirtworks Products, a Michigan-based manufacturer, is set to introduce JohnnyBall, a revolutionary 3D measuring system for determining level and slope. Unlike any other tool in the industry, JohnnyBall allows operators to check level and slope from the seat of their cab. Previously, operators had to rely on GPS or lasers. Operators also had to spend extra time getting in and out of their machines, or rely on additional manpower to ensure an accurate measurement.

A key benefit of JohnnyBall is its portability. Featuring an ingenious base cup system, operators can take JohnnyBall from one job site to the next, or from machine to machine. It can be easily mated to dozers, graders, skid steers—any brand, any size. And, because JohnnyBall can handle extreme conditions, and doesn’t rely on GPS or electricity, it’s never down.

To ensure the highest quality, JohnnyBall went through three phases of prototyping and endured rigorous lab testing for durability. In 2014, extensive field-testing was conducted at multiple job sites with operators from Team Elmer’s, a well-known Northern Michigan-based excavating firm.

The results were clear: JohnnyBall saved time, reduced the need for manpower, and increased efficiency. On multiple job sites, including highway ditch and slope work, Team Elmer’s operators saved up to 2-3 hours a day, eliminated grade rod staff, and had to set fewer stakes. One operator concluded: “JohnnyBall worked pretty slick. I was able to eliminate one rod guy.”

“JohnnyBall worked pretty slick. I was able to eliminate one rod guy.”

Based on extensive field-testing, Dirtworks projects that the tool can realistically pay for itself within weeks or maybe even the first job. JohnnyBall is available through U.S. and international distributors including, Lasco Laser ( Made and assembled in the U.S., its suggested retail price is $1,950.00 with two base cups included. Additional base cups are priced at two for $99.00.

JohnnyBall was invented by John Miller, an excavation operator and industry veteran. Miller first conceived the product more than two decades ago in the gold mines of Alaska. As an operator, he first saw the need for accurate and easy determination of level and slope. Two decades later his idea is being launched internationally. Miller has other inventions to his credit, including the Rockland Smart Thumb, a patented extendible thumb attachment for legacy backhoes that is still widely available today.