The Utility and Functionality of Borescopes

What They Are, And How They Are Used

Borescopes are small, wire-like tubes with a lens on one end, and either eyepiece or video display on the other end. Also known as pipe cameras, these devices allow the user to see in small spaces (like pipes), around corners, in crevices, and in other inaccessible locations. In addition, borescopes also feature magnification to better identify objects. Sometimes borescopes will also have optical cables built into them to allow illumination into dark spaces.

According to Wikipedia, borescopes are most commonly found in work that requires in-depth visual inspection due to the aforementioned inaccessibility of some places. Without the use of borescopes, proper inspection may only be permitted with the use of destructive, time-consuming, or cost-prohibitive measures. This versatility makes them just as useful for visual inspection of the human body as they are for less delicate tasks.

The Many Uses Of A Borescope

In addition to the human body, there are many other tasks that necessitate the flexible capabilities of borescopes. These tools can also be used in nondestructive testing. This kind of testing is designed to examine materials for imperfections and defects in a manner that preserves an object’s integrity. Examining weld-work, and inspection of the structural integrity of complex systems frequently require the use of borescopes.

Speaking of structural examination, borescopes are of particular importance in the examination of complex engine systems. Examples of these systems include aircraft engines, industrial steam and gas turbines, automotive, truck, and diesel engines.

Borescopes are very beneficial for the examination of such structures because of the necessary safety and maintenance inspections they must undergo. Possessing the ability to complex and large structures without needing to perform expensive dismantling procedures is an effective strategy for saving money.

The Capabilities of Video Borescopes (Videoscopes)

The aforementioned purposes of inspecting complex structures require the use of sophisticated borescopes, called videoscopes. These ones possess electronic video displays and other advanced features – though the quality and range of features you can expect to find differ depending on the price. Let us briefly discuss the features that you should look for in a borescope. Ideally, high-end borescopes for use in maintenance should include:

• HD Resolution: A high-resolution display is a must. Typically around 5 or so inches or greater of HD display capability is ideal.
• Tip Articulation: This means that the last two inches of the cable can be articulated in any direction, up to 90 degrees. Necessary for directional navigation inside structures. Ideally, the video display should be articulable as well for ease of use.
• Image and Video Capture: A quality videoscope should include the option to easily record both still and video images since manipulation of such devices require care to avoid altering the position of the cable.
• High Durability: Because of their use in industrial environments and their high cost, a good videoscope should be ruggedized and very durable. Look for videophones with multi-layer sheathing and built using materials using Tungsten and Titanium.
• Long Cable length: The length of cable required for specific uses of a videoscope will vary by task and use, but you will want a cable length that you know can get the job done. A decent starting length would be around 6 meters for most inspection jobs.


Borescopes (and their digital counterparts videoscopes) are versatile cables that allow people to peer into crevices and small openings. They are of particular importance to tasks that require careful visual inspection, such as examination of the human body and of complex structures. Their value as expense-saving tools is of particular value to engineering and maintenance tasks, and their increasing level of sophistication and versatility stands as a testament to this fact.