What Is A Borescope?


A borescope is an optical tool and is used in visual inspections of places difficult to access.  In it’s most basic form, the tip of the insertion probe is fitted with a lens which captures light and images.  Using prisms and mirrors or fiber optics, the image is relayed through the probe to an eye piece at the other end.  Thus, places impossible to see with the naked eye become easily accessible.

Rigid borescopes are constructed with metal tubes, while flexible borescopes use a bendable probe with mesh or rubber exterior.  Inside fiberscopes, tiny glass “tubes” bundled in cables called fiber optics carry image and light, but this results in a “chicken wire” pattern over the image.  Modern day videoscopes use micro camera chips to capture images, and video screens to display them.  Endoscopes are a type of borescope most commonly used in medical procedures and are very delicate.  They often include extra functions like gripping claws.

Borescopes allow the user to see into tight, dark spaces like engines, wall/roof interiors, pipes, and etc.  This avoids costly disassembly accessing difficult to reach inspection targets or possible catastrophic damage.  Some probes slip through openings as tiny as 2.9mm wide.  Some model scopes have magnification features and most models put out bright light to increase visibility.  Almost all borescopes manufactured today have the option to take pictures or record video during inspections.

First Uses

Borescopes first came into use in the United States as early as the 1920s and were initially used for medical purposes.  In time, borescopes were found to be useful in industrial applications as well.  Because the eye piece was similar to bore sight of a gun’s scope, the common name for a century has been “bore”-scope.  Even so, stopping a random person on the street to ask them what a borescope is, most people won’t know!

The First Scopes


First Borescope for turbine rotor inspections, 1921. Created by Dr. George S. Crampton, founder of Lenox Instrument Company.First Borescope for turbine rotor inspections, 1921. Created by Dr. George S. Crampton, founder of Lenox Instrument CompanyThe very first borescopes were simple eye pieces attached to lenses by shiny, metal tubes.  Prisms and mirrors allowed the user to see at an angle.

Eventually, fiber optics came into use sending light into the area of inspection, and this opened the way for longer, flexible probes.  As technology advanced, microchip cameras replaced fiber optic bundles and integrated LED lights replaced external lamp units for light sources.


Getting The Job Done

At Borescopes R Us, the latest technologies are being used to find both economical prices for customers and top quality performance.

Sometimes the inspection job requires only a quick glimpse into a tight space for casting house inspections. In hours long inspections, however, the job may require advanced video recording.  Million dollar turbine engines require safety certifications and may also have strict requirements for inspection equipment to meet.  Sometimes the original manufacturer may no longer offer service or repairs for costly equipment, but Borescopes R Us can service nearly any make or model borescope.  And sometimes all that is needed is a replacement part for an accessory item, such as a light bulb for an external light source.

Whatever you need, Borescopes R Us is here to help!