Inspecting with Optical Comparators

Provided by: ToolingU

Simple optics display the part upside down and backwards on the glass screen. Corrected optics display the part right side up and backwards. Fully corrected optics yield an image identical to the part orientation. Regardless of type and complexity, all optical comparators measure by comparison, screen rotation, and motion. If optical comparators are properly maintained, measurement error is the result of the operator. By understanding the components and measurement methods of the optical comparator, operators can avoid unwanted variation. Variation in measurement can lead to faulty parts passing inspection and reaching consumers. After completing the class, users will be able to describe best practices for using the optical comparator to inspect parts.

Course Objectives:

  • Describe the optical comparator
  • Identify the parts of the optical comparator
  • Match an optical system with its resulting display type
  • Describe factors that affect optical system quality
  • Describe common methods for improving part illumination
  • Describe the properties of the viewing screen
  • Distinguish among different types of screen charts and describe their purpose
  • Distinguish between physical and digital scales
  • Match common methods of edge detection with their characteristics
  • Describe methods of measurement by comparison
  • Describe methods of measurement by screen rotation
  • Describe methods of measurement by motion
  • Explain how to measure "what is not there" using an optical comparator
  • Describe ways to reduce variation when measuring with optical comparators
  • Describe the proper maintenance of an optical comparator
  • Describe the advantages of an optical comparator. Describe the disadvantages of an optical comparator
  • Describe the characteristics of manually operated, digitally operated, and software-driven optical comparators.

Recommended Background

  • Recommended for manufacturing personnel, particularly for the quality control and inspection department.

Course ID







Communication, Critical Thinking, Personal Effectiveness, Optical Comparator, Inspection

Method of Delivery


Estimated Effort

3 hrs



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