Nope. You simply cannot see the tiny amount of deflection that would set the front end of the rod 1/2" or better off of the front sprocket center. What you suggest is a good method, but it's very subjective. The rod is extraordinarily precise. Actually you can see it quite well if it is off at all at either sprocket juncture. Check it with a straightedge if you want however the side loading if it was off ever so slightly wouldnt even be measurable. Btw the laser should have worked fine had the beam been used and not been concerned about the device that shoots it. Chains are used to allow variances. I get obsessed during my time in the garage too. Back to the powder coating question. What precautions were taken and did you have any problems or have any sand come out of your frame?