What is a Borescope?

June 19, 2020

A Borescope is a remote visual inspection tool. Borescopes are typically used to inspect environments where the human eye cannot access or may be unsafe. While borescopes have been around for decades the industry has seen major advancements with new technology.

Industrial borescopes are used in a variety of markets which include Aviation Manufacturing, Aviation Maintenance, Automotive, Metal Casting, Power Generation, Metal Machining, Security, and Precision Shooting. There are various types of borescopes to choose from depending on your inspection requirements.  Optical borescopes are typically viewed using an eyepiece but can easily be adapted to a camera. Some borescopes have a camera built-in eliminating the need to use an eyepiece. Most borescopes require an external light source but some have an integrated light source.

Video Borescopes (sometimes known as videoscopes) are the most common type you will see in the market today. Video Borescopes relay the image using a micro camera in the tip. Depending on the manufacturer this camera can be a CMOS or CCD. Video Borescopes typically have a flexible insertion tube and may or may not contain articulation. Some Video Borescopes have a handheld monitor, and some have a separate monitor and processor.

Flexible Borescopes also known as fiberscopes relay the image using a glass fiber image bundle. The more fibers the image bundle contains the higher resolution the flexible borescope will have. You view the flexible borescope image by looking through an eyepiece. The image is typically round and looks like you are looking through a screen door. If the inspection requires video or picture documentation flexible fiberscopes can easily be adapted to a camera.

Rigid Borescopes relay the image using only lenses. The lens system can vary but is typically a relay or rod lens system. Rigid Borescopes typically offer the highest resolution, but you are limited since the entry must be a straight path. Rigid Borescopes typically have a variety of viewing directions using either mirrors or prisms. Rigid Borescopes are typically viewed using an eyepiece but can be easily adapted to a camera.

Micro Flex and Semi-Rigid borescopes relay the image using a fused fiber bundle which is less flexible than the image bundles used in Flexible Fiberscopes. These fused bundles can be made much smaller and at a lower cost. Typical Micro Flex and Semi-Rigid borescopes can be made as small as .4mm. These scopes provide much needed access in small part inspections, but due to the small diameters, they can be very fragile. Micro Flex and Semi-Rigid borescopes are typically viewed through an eyepiece but can be easily adapted to a video camera. 

For more information on choosing the best borescope for your application feel free to contact us.