The Popularity of Electrical Discharge Machining

Today, there are many different options in machining equipment and processes. While traditional options in machining will always have a place in any machine shop, newer processes, including electrical discharge machining or EDM, are becoming increasingly popular.

What is EDM?

EDM is also known as spark machining or wire burning, and it is a highly effective choice for removing material from any type of conductive material. As this process relies solely on the use an electrical spark, it is essential to have a workpiece that is conductive.

The process of Wire EDM uses a thin, taut, wire which is typically copper or another very soft metal. It is threaded from the head through the table the work piece is fixed to. The wire acts as a cathode. It does not actually touch the surface of the workpiece. The electric current that is created melts the material away without making direct contact. In addition, the tool and the workpiece are fully submerged in dielectric fluid.

When a charge is sent down the wire, a discharge occurs in the gap, which vaporizes the surface of the workpiece, removing a very precise and thin layer of the services. This charge occurs about 100,000 per second, which is very effective at removing a precise layer of the workpiece.

EDM involves three different options. These include hole drilling EDM, wire EDM, and sinker EDM. The different options provide the correct process for different machining requirements.

The Benefits

EDM is ideal for complex shapes and pieces that have multiple wall thicknesses. This is also a great option for exotic and hard metals that are difficult to machine using traditional cutting tools. In addition, as the process does not require the tool to touch the metal surface, there is no distortion, allowing for extremely tight tolerances that are difficult to achieve with other CNC machining processes.