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An approach is described for the automatic inspection of solder joints on printed circuit boards. Common defects are identified in solder joints and a joint is classified as being good or belonging to one of the defective classes. The motivation for this classification is not just the detection of defective joints, but the desire to automatically take corrective action on the assembly line. The features used for classification are based on characteristics of intensity surfaces. It is shown that features derived from facets and Gaussian curvature are effective in the classification of solder joints using a minimum-distance classification algorithm. Class separation plots are shown to be useful for quickly studying individual effectiveness of a feature or pair of features in classification. Results show the efficacy of the described approach.