Author Options:

Borescope Answered

Looking for a project to make a borescope for inspecting inside walls,drains & small confined areas. Have searched but no luck?? Thanks all.


I used it with a 25ft USB extension, and it still seemed to work fine.

Webcam seems to be the way to go. Next question?? How long a USB cord could i use before it would stop work due to line lose in the cable???

I just made one here https://www.instructables.com/id/10-Cube-A-Scope-WebcamLamp-Hybrid-Boroscope/ it was really easy to make, and will help me on the job and off. Was very easy and super cheap(free).

Tried dismantling a cell phone with camera included as I was looking for something portable & smaller than a lap top. Problem was the tiny connector that attaches CCD of the lense assembly to the board on the phone, very short ribbon cable and small?? Thought about trying to solder tiny wires on both ends to larger connectors but you would need a microscope & the steady hands of a brain surgeon. So in the end a cell phone camera assembly would work & you could view it directly on the phone screen but!!! big but how to make that transition from tiny to something managable?? any ideas anyone??

Been away from this post for awhile but project still in back of my mind?? Help.


7 years ago

Remove the housing from a webcam and get it as small as you can, add some LEDs (potentially running from the USB power lines if they are low-powered enough, or just tape down the switch on a keyring torch and attach that), attach the lot to the end of a long USB extender cable, plug into a computer, go.

As for making it "steerable" like an endoscope, that's probably quite tricky.

I've been thinking more along the line of mounting a ccd chip and some tiny (but freakishly BRIGHT!!) SMD LED's on a tiny board (~ 1/2" ??) and running the wiring through the tube, hook the whole mess to a USB port on a laptop or netbook. Of course, being the mad inventor type, a rigid scope just won't do... I just HAVE to make it at least slightly articulated, but I'm having no luck finding a breakdown for how such scopes are built.

By the way, an endoscope is a medical device (endo = inside) for use inside living critters; it's sterilizable (usually a liquid solution) without harm to the scope, and a borescope is industrial, for use on machinery & such. It isn't sterilizable.

I too have been longing for a diy borescope/endoscope (what's the difference anyway?). The #1 use I want it for is looking inside spark plug holes and head ports.. so it would be best if it was flexible all the way to the tip, unlike the pencam. Isn't there a fiber optic style scope? What type of fiber optic cable can transmit an image, as well as light? If that exists, that would be very simple and well, awesome! Lets keep this dream alive, and keep looking and posting any findings here folks.


10 years ago

I have a use for one of these thingies, too (and had done some preliminary research.) But if others are in the works, I'll just wait and learn.... :-)

There's an endoscope on sale on ebay

If you're after a flexible one, you're out of luck - that needs properly made and aligned optical fibres. If you're after a rigid one, try looking for a periscope, and adding LED illumination.

Or you could figure out a way of inserting a phone-camera into the crevice of your choice...

Spooky! I was thinking the exact same thing the other day, I was trying to take apart an old camera phone and put back together so the wire's from the phone to the lense was about a foot longer, so I could look under doors SAS style. Lost my rag with it in the end though, so I threw it at a wall.

So now we no why your called Slippy Fist. Anyway, you now have a hole in the wall & don't need to look under doors!! Anyway some great ideas, just happen to have an old phone camera around, thanks.

Thats Mr Slippy Fist! Joking, seriously though, good luck with the phone camera idea, the lens is moulded into the case of the phone and pretty much welded to the internal circuitry(at least in my case anyway, maybe an older phone?)Let us know how it goes anyway, that would be a good Instructable actually, for a wannabe spy/perv.