So....After rebracing an old Epi accoustic, and regluing some loose brace ends...Fumbling around up to my eblow blindly....Dry run after dry run...Fubling blindly to position brace sticks..I got the job done...Finally..Then I went flishing....I started to think about the last few years, ice fishing using my underwater camera....LIGHT BULB IN HEAD GOES OFF !...
I have just returned from the shop, where I had an old Harmony on the bench for loose back braces and a problem with the endpin jack for the electronics....I stuck my fish camera in the hole, set it up so I could see the loose braces...BINGO...How easy it was to position my feeler gauge with sandpaper to clean out old glue !..How easy it was to position my brace sticks when I could see exactly where I was going with them !...The camera ( at least on my unit ) has lights built in, altho' I could see pretty well with just the shop light going thru' the top of the guitar...Also...It magnifies everything at least 2 times...Turn to look at the endpin jack problem ! Solved because I could see, magnified, the problem...These units are available for a bit over 100 dollars, or less for a re-conditioned model....I thought to myself, man, I could come up with a modified unit just for this and sell tham and make a bunch of money...Then, I realized, that effort would cut into my valuable flishing time...So , I thought I'd just share this with the luthier community....Karma will send me excellent returns, I'm sure....
A real easy video cam on the cheap, if you have the opportunity to directly plug it into a computer or laptop is to go buy an Xbox video cam. Usually less than $39. Ebay for next to nothing for a used one.
It has a USB chord attached. On my Mac it is plug-and-play. It has the same high resolution as the built-in video cams found on Mac laptops. Works awesome for using Skype for free internet video chats.
They are small as it is, but you could reduce the size to tiny by removing the outer housing, perhaps attaching an ultra small LED light, and heat shrink tubing the whole package. You can also get tiny laptop LED lights that are USB powered.
Additionally, IKEA is currently selling a great small gooseneck multi-LED lamp called a Jansjo for $10!
I bought several and modified them for task lights for my drill press, bandsaw, and work bench. Very bright!
These could good internal inspection lights.
There ya go.
Since this thread was started Ryobi has come out with a more affordable inspection scope. At about $140.00, it features a 3-stage LED and 4x magnification. It also flips the image 180 degrees. Among other things, it's great for zeroing in on exactly which brace you heard clacking during the "tap test". The somewhat stiff goose neck can be a bit awkward but is managable. Using this scope imparts a neat, tingly, deep-sea shipwreck expedition feel to the rather mundane process of inner guitar exploration.
I also purchased a Harbor Freight unit a few years ago. It was on the clearance shelf as an "open box", the power supply unit was also missing. The cost was around $70. I use a video to VGA converter and 19" flat screen monitor. After a few modifications, the system has become a very useful tool along with other micro cameras for certain applications. Proper lighting makes the difference between "grade B" and a pro quality picture.
That a "mental image" that I could have done without, Len, but you may have a late night informercial winner there.