for 3D metrology of bores and other hard-to-reach spaces

BoreInspect is a modular, non-contact optical measurement system that provides micron-precision 3D measurements of bore interiors. Its rotational scanner easily enters hard-to-reach spaces to acquire their complete inside geometry at high speed.

  • Can measure every dimensional detail of tube inside diameter (ID) and outside diameter (OD), including undercuts, chamfers, threads, rifling, O-ring grooves, splines, lands, and edge breaks
  • Enables fully configurable automated digital inspection
  • Can measure dimensional or surface defects such as porosities, cracks, and scratches
  • Can measure dimensions, roughness as well as thickness of semi-transparent coatings

BoreInspect in action

Valve body bores – automated 3D metrology (automotive)

Video content: RS2, a non-contact rotational scanner and a key component of the BoreInspect system, acquires the 3D inner diameters (IDs) of several bores in a valve body as part of a fully automated digital inspection.

Benefits: 3D interactive modeling of valve bores, measurements of distance, absolute position, cylindricity, surface/dimensional defects, roughness, geometric tolerances of internal features, dimensional deviations, and more

Airfoil 3D inspection (aerospace)

Video content: Microcam-3D airfoil scanner delivers micron-precision 3D optical measurements of hard-to-reach places.

Benefits: fully automated inspection of component complete geometry, airfoil trailing and leading edge, 3D modeling, micron-precision defect detection, dimensional deviations, geometric tolerances, measurement of distances.

Turbine blade – high-speed 3D metrology (aerospace)

Video content: RS2, a non-contact rotational scanner and a key component of the BoreInspect system, enters the complex geometrical structures of turbine blades to completely acquire their dimensional geometry down to the micron.

Benefits: fully configurable automated scanning sequences, detection of surface or dimensional defects, characterization of EDM slots and airholes (control of fan-out angle, etc.),tolerance analysis, dimensional deviations, geometric tolerances, datum alignment capability, and more.

Bore ID chatter measurement (automotive)

Video content: Demo of a non-contact chatter gauge built by an integrator using Novacam RS2 rotational scanner, Novacam Chatter Analysis Software, and a robotic arm. This temporary automated gauge was used to measure the chatter in 16,000 turbo shafts over 4 weeks while the client was troubleshooting a faulty manufacture line.

Inspection achievements: bore ID measurement and chatter analysis fully automated, 45 second inspection cycle time, 65% of parts salvaged from a faulty manufacture line, downtime of a major automotive production line avoided.

Note: If a tube/cylinder you need to inspect also needs to be characterized on the outside, this can be achieved either by mounting the BoreInspect rotational scanner on a gantry or by using Novacam’s TubeInspect system, which measures both the ID and OD of tubes mounted on a motorized spinning fixture.


Overview of features and benefits


  • Optical, non-contact, non-destructive
  • 2D and 3D surface and subsurface characterization; diameter, circularity, cylindricity, runout, taper, distortion, straightness
  • High-aspect-ratio features: undercuts, threads, O-ring grooves, cross-holes
  • Sub-micron resolution and excellent sensitivity and measurement repeatability

Imaging options

  • Line profiles
  • 3D images of internal and external surfaces
  • Height and intensity images of “unfolded” surfaces
  • Cross-sections of semi-transparent materials
  • Deviation maps

Acquired 3D-ID of a drilled rivet hole (4.5-mm diameter) shows the presence of a burr


  • Easily integrated in lab, shop, or fully-automated industrial inspection setups
  • Reduces inspection cycle time: the rotational scanner spins the probe at up to 30 rotations per second, and obtains up to 100,000 measurements per second. Each measurement represents a 3D topographic point.
  • Flexible options for evaluating inspected parts: measured features can be compared to CAD drawings or to a user-defined set of locations, nominals, and tolerances
  • Simple scan definition and execution: The scanning sequence is defined once by teaching the system with a joystick. The scanning sequence can later be executed with the push of a button.
  • Time-saving automated reporting: Following a scan, go-no-go reports can be produced and results logged in a manner compatible with industry-standard mechanisms.
  • Adaptable to harsh environments
  • No consumables are needed: Optical probes do not come in contact with the measured samples, and therefore do not wear out like contact probes. Accidental damage is rare-probes are designed to be rugged.


Metrology Applications

3D metrology and imaging of bores for industry and R&D

  • Quality control
  • Automated 3D production inspection, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)
  • Statistical process control (SPC)
  • Research and development (R&D) inspection
  • Reverse engineering and part-to-CAD
  • Maintenance, repair and operations (MRO)
  • Profilometry in harsh environments

Typical measurements inside bores

  • Full geometry, diameter, circularity, cylindricity, taper, runout, etc.
  • Deviation from CAD model
  • High-aspect-ratio features: undercuts, steps, O-ring grooves, threads, channels, sharp edges, steep slopes, and cross-holes
  • Volume loss: surface wear or other damage
  • Defects: corrosion, pitting, cracking, denting, scratching, porosity
  • Surface roughness: linear or area roughness
  • Thickness of semi-transparent coating: single-layer or multilayer films

Examples of bore inspection applications

Measurement, visualization, and GD&T inspection of ID surfaces in:

  • Parts made by casting, high-precision drilling, deep gun drilling, injection molding, 3D printing, additive manufacturing
  • Extrusion dies, feed-through holes, blind holes
  • Automotive industry engine components: valve bodies, valve seats, cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, camshafts, crankshafts, drive shafts, combustion chambers, any die cast parts, and more
  • Aerospace industry: valves, cylinders, manifolds, and other engine components featuring bores or slots; drilled rivet holes at aircraft fuselage assembly
  • Aerospace and industrial gas turbine engines: compressor and turbine airfoils and vanes, vane rings, duct or nozzle throats, shafts
  • High-precision machining: bores and slots in parts for defense, industrial, medical equipment, nuclear, oil and gas, power generation, transportation (train and marine as well as aerospace and automotive) sectors

Gallery (click images for close-up)

Cast engine block 3D measurement

Automotive valve body bore metrology

Following the execution of a fully automated inspection sequence, all 4 bores are shown and analyzed. Automated go-no-go reporting evaluates acquired bore measurements against user-specified criteria.

Turbocharger impeller – inner thread measurements

Airfoil 3D measurements

Turbine stator blade (nozzle guide vane) 3D metrology


Metrology Software

Data acquisition

The BoreInspect system comes with Novacam high-performance data acquisition software, which is

  • PC, Windows®-based
  • User-friendly for scan programming and visualization

An application programming interface (API) is available for system integrators and OEMs. With the API, a wide variety of online and offline applications can be accommodated.

Novacam data acquisition software

Data analysis and 3D imaging

The following options are available for data analysis and 3D imaging:

  • Data output options: 3D point cloud, height image, intensity image, roughness, diameter, STL file format
  • Integrated turnkey solution with PolyWorks Inspector
  • Output is exportable to turnkey integrated 3rd party CAD packages selected by the client:
    • CAD/CAM software: PolyWorks, Geomagic, SolidWorks, Creo Elements/Pro (Pro/ENGINEER), etc.
    • Imaging, visualization and numerical analysis software: ImageJ, Octave, MatLab, Mathematica, IDL, IGOR Pro
    • Surface and roughness analysis software
  • Exported data can be integrated with data loggers and SPC software

3D measurements of a bore ID displayed as deviation map

Option: Novacam Volume Loss application

Novacam Volume Loss Application processes the acquired surface dimensional data to determine volume loss from abrasion and wear:

  • with micron precision
  • on samples and components of various shapes and sizes including inner diameters of bores

Low Coherence Tomography Volume Loss

Novacam Volume Loss Application

Novacam Volume Loss Application: scan control user interface

Novacam Volume Loss Application

System components

System components

The BoreInspect is a modular system comprised of 1) an optical probe, 2) a rotational scanner that spins the probe, 3) Microcam interferometer, 4) an inspection station, 5) a PC, and, optionally, 6) multiplexing hardware (not shown in diagram).


optical probe


rotational scanner that spins the probe


Microcam interferometer


inspection station



The inspection capabilities of the BoreInspect are determined jointly by its components:

1) Optical probe

Novacam non-contact optical probes come in several standard sizes and lengths and can be custom built as well.

Scanning setup

Standard probe characteristics*

Bore diameter range
Probe diameter
Spot size
Probe length
4-203.05 (extended range)
6-254.6 (extended range)
*Only standard probe characteristics are listed in this table. Non-standard diameters and lengths are custom-built upon request.
**Maximum probe length may be limited by mechanical constraints. Probes as long as 2 m have been built.

2) Rotational scanner

The rotational scanner spins the optical probe at up to 30 times per second. It is fiber-based, meaning it is connected to the interferometer with a fiber-optic cable that can be hundreds of meters long. More than one scanner may be connected to one interferometer.

Rotational scanner models

Range of bore diameters inspected6-250 mm
This RS is ideal for extra-long and extra- wide bores
1.25-25 mm
Rotational speedUp to 2 rotations/second (120 RPM)Up to 30 rotations/second (1,800 RPM)
Approximate size of rotational probe enclosure (i.e., does not include probe or stages)13 cm (W) x 18 cm (H) x 14 cm (L)
5” (W) x 7”(H) x 5½” (L)
8 cm (W) x 6.5 cm (H) x 17 cm (L)
2” (W) x 3½” (H) x 7”(L)
Motion & displacement capabilityRotation + linear (Z-axis)
+ optional X/Y-axis
Rotation + linear (Z-axis)
+ optional X/Y-axis
Rotation + X/Y/Z-axis

3) Microcam interferometer

The system comes with a Microcam-3D (shown here) or Microcam-4D interferometer

The Microcam interferometer provides the light source to the rotational scanner probe and processes the optical signal received back from it.

Microcam interferometer models

General characteristics
Technologylow-coherence interferometry
Light wavelength1310 nm, infrared
Interferometer enclosure4U rackable enclosure
445 (W) x 445 (D) x 178 (H) mm
Non-contact measurements
Depth of fielddepends on selected probe parameters,
see table "Standard probe characteristics" above
Scanning depth range options *3.5 mm7 mm5 mm
Acquisition (A-scan) rate2.10 kHz1.05 kHz100 kHz
Axial (Z-axis) resolution< 0.5 µm
Light spot size (Lateral [XY-axis] resolution)4.1 - 146 µm, depends on selected probe parameters,
see table "Standard probe characteristics" above
Standoff distance1 - 100 mm for standard probes
up to 1 m for non-standard probes
Repeatability< 1 µm
Thickness measurements
Thickness measurement range (in Air, IR = 1.0)10 µm - 3.5 mm10 µm - 7 mm20 µm - 5 mm
Typical materials for thickness measurementsglass, polymers, multi-layer films, coatings, plastics, silicone, liquids, specular or non-specular
Sample reflectivity0.1 - 100%
*To further increase maximum scanning depth, a mechanical displacement axis is available.

4) Inspection station

Inspection station configurations are application-dependent and can be supplied by Novacam.

Types of inspection stations

Lab and shop floorsAutomated and inline metrology
BoreInspect setups in labs and shops typically include an inspection station with scanner displacement in 2, 3 or 4 axes.
- Motion controllers are included
- Fixturing for the part is not included
- Granite tables are optionally available and recommended for some applications
BoreInspect rotational scanners may be integrated with:
- third-party CMMs (coordinate-measuring machines)
- CNC (computer numerical control) machines, or
- any robots (as a robot end-effector) to support high-volume continuous flow manufacturing.

5) PC, monitor and joystick

The BoreInspect system comes with a PC (with Novacam acquisition software), a monitor, mouse, and joystick.
Polyworks InspectorTM metrology software for full GD&T inspection of the parts can be purchased with the system. Custom data processing, reporting and defect detection programs can also be written based on client requirements.See “software” tab for more detail.

6) Hardware for multiplexing support (optional)

Optical switches are available for multiplexing up to 8 probes to a single Microcam interferometer.

Additional info

Standard system configuration

A standard configuration of the BoreInspect includes:

  • RS2 rotational scanner with a standard 4.6 mm-diameter side-looking probe (for inspection of bores up to 660 mm (26″) deep)
  • Microcam-3D profilometer
  • 3-axis inspection station and 3-axis motion controller
  • PC with Novacam acquisition software
  • 1 year warranty

Instrument safety

  • Microcam systems feature an in-probe red laser pointer (650 nm wavelength) for alignment purposes.
  • Microcam systems are Class 1M Laser products, with < 20 mW of infrared and < 5 mW of in-probe laser pointer.

MicroCam profilometers are Class 1M laser products

BoreInspect in the news

The BoreInspect system was recently featured in the following tech magazine articles:


Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to scan a bore?

  • Scan time depends on the bore size, bore length, and what aspects of the bore you need to measure. The scanner rotates at 1,800 rotations per minute (or 30 rotations/second) and the BoreInspect (with Microcam-4D) acquires up to 100,000 measurements per second, or roughly 1 million 3D topography points in 33 seconds. The user selects the rotation and acquisition speeds and the pitch of the spiral, which together determine the number of points that will be acquired and the time the scan will take. In general, dimensional measurement (for GD&T) require the least amount of points and can be achieved the fastest. Roughness callouts may take 3 to 4 seconds each. Defect detection requires the most amount of points, of course depending on the size of defect you are looking for. For help on estimating the time required to scan your sample, please contact us.

Is the system easy to use?

Is the system able to work right on production floor?

  • Yes. Both inline and robot setups are possible.

Can BoreInspect give us automated measurements and reports?

  • Yes.

I noticed the probe spins. Is runout an issue and does it affect the scan data?

  • No, runout is not an issue. Gauge rings are used to calibrate the probe and validate the results. The system provides micron-level diameter measurement repeatability.

Does the BoreInspect rotational scanner (RS) probe have to be on the centerline of the bore?

  • The BoreInspect RS probe should be positioned close to the centerline of the bore (within a mm) to capture the entirety of the features. For irregularly-shaped objects or slots or crevices, the RS probe can acquire the entire surface by scanning from several positions.

Related links

 Contact us or request free sample analysis to see if BoreInspect is suitable for your application