An inspection system using estimated three-dimensional (3-D) surface characteristics information to detect and classify the faults to increase the quality control on the frequently used industrial components is proposed. Shape from shading (SFS) is one of the basic and classic 3-D shape recovery problems in computer vision. In our application, we developed a system using Frankot and Chellappa SFS method based on the minimization of the selected basis function. First, the specialized image acquisition system captured the images of the component. To eliminate noise, wavelet transform is applied to the taken images. Then, estimated gradients were used to obtain depth and surface profiles. Depth information was used to determine and classify the surface defects. Also, a comparison made with some linearization-based SFS algorithms was discussed. The developed system was applied to real products and the results indicated that using SFS approaches is useful and various types of defects can easily be detected in a short period of time.