A borescope is a viewing device used to visualize objects that might otherwise be unable to be seen. A borescope has many applications and uses. When used for medical reasons (to look inside the human body); a borescope is called an endoscope. Endoscopy is a procedure in which an endoscope is used to visualize internal cavities without the need for invasive and painful incisions.
Borescopes are used to inspect the internal parts of such items as aircraft engines, industrial turbines (such as gas and steam), diesel and truck engines. Due to the maintenance requirements of these machines, careful and frequent inspection is crucial for safety. Borescopes make the visualization of the internal working mechanism of these possible.
Borescopes are also used in manufacturing to view items such as the interior of gun barrels for metal burrs, finished surface smoothness and hole accuracy. Building inspectors and law enforcement officials find borescopes useful in their work as well.
A borescope consists of an eye piece on one end and a reflective mirror on the other. A flexible or rigid tube connects the two pieces. This tube contains a relay optical system that has optic fibers to illuminate (light up) the object being viewed. The object image travels up the relay system and is magnified for viewing through the eyepiece. There are two main types of borescopes; the rigid borescope and the flexible borescope.
The rigid borescope has a solid tube that connects the imaging lens and the eyepiece. The rigid borescope has the limitation of only viewing items that are in a straight line such as engine cylinders or gun barrels. Despite this limitation; the rigid borescope can be obtained at a lower cost and provides a higher quality image.
The flexible borescope may not be as clear due to the mixing of pixels during relay. The flexible borescope allows viewing around bends and turns. Determining the clarity of the image you desire and where you will be using the borescope will help you decide which borescope will meet your needs. If you are looking for the highest quality clarity and the image is accessible via a straight line, you should choose the largest diameter borescope that will fit through the opening you are viewing the object from.
If a rigid borescope will not provide the access you need, then you must choose a flexible borescope. There is a large variation in the clearness of an image with different models of flexible borescope. These variables are determined by the number of fibers and how the fiber image guide is made. The fiber image guide is the optical relay system used for reflecting the image to the eye. The higher the number of fibers in the borescope; the better the image quality. The clearest images are provided by flexible borescopes with 15,000 to 22,000 pixel fibers.
The greater the bent angle at which an object is viewed through the borescope also affects the image clarity due to pixilation. There are additional features you can purchase with a borescope such as video and digital cameras.
Borescopes are not only a very useful tool; but with less expensive versions available; they are a great educational item as well. Anyone with the desire to see the internal workings of objects you otherwise would not get to see; might consider purchasing a borescope.