Metal Cutting

EDM Equipment

In EDM, or electrical discharge machining, the equivalent of tiny lightning bolts perform the material removal. Though slow in terms of metal removal rate, EDM is capable of machining complex shapes in hard materials. Mold and die makers, as well as makers of jet engine components, rely on EDM routinely. The process includes an electrode and a workpiece, both submerged in dielectric fluid. Current flows between the workpiece and electrode, repeatedly creating tiny plasma zones with temperatures around 10,000 degrees C. The high temperatures produce localized, instantaneous melting of the material. Though the process may seem violent, it occurs on such a tiny scale that the resulting metal removal can be precisely controlled. The electrode in EDM takes different forms. Wire EDM machines use a thin wire to cut with electricity, with the wire advancing into the hard metal part as if it was a slow-motion saw blade. By contrast, ram EDM machines, which are also called “die sinkers,” use electrodes that are custom machined into 3D shapes. The EDM process then produces a cavity in the part that is the opposite or female version of the “male” electrode form. Similar to the ram EDM machine is the small-hole EDM machine, or “hole popper.” On this machine, the electrode is a cylinder used to machine a hole. Often these machines are used simply to provide starter holes for wire EDM, but the technology may also be used to machine finished holes in materials that are too difficult to drill.

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Featured Zone Content

What it Takes to Do Unattended Wire EDM


The promise of running a wire EDM for long stretches without much operator attention is enticing, but many shops never manage to pull this off. Here are tips to make it happen, as offered by Mark Cicchetti, EDM technical director for Absolute Machine Tool’s Accutex EDM product line.

Hole Making as a Core Competency


This manufacturer leverages various nonconventional machining processes to create accurate holes in a range of tough materials. In fact, precision hole-making has become one of its specialties.

Scratching the Surface


Although this shop has yet to fully explore the capabilities of a new wire EDM’s unique motion system and other precision-boosting features, more incremental improvements have already spurred management to order a second, identical model.



MC Machinery comparison EDM wires CT hybrid

Zinc-Coated EDM Wire Speeds Cutting, Improves Finish

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
MC Machinery Systems, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., offers its ZT Hybrid Wire for EDM machining.

Getting Acquainted with Scott Fosdick

By: Mark Albert
Scott is the new head of Market Region Americas for GF Machining Solutions, the brand that includes Agie Charmilles (EDM and laser texturing), Mikron (high-performance milling), System 3R (automation and tooling) and Leichti (five-axis milling machine for blades and blisks) and Step-Tec (machine tool spindles). I had the opportunity to meet Scott and get acquainted at the company’s Open House “Solutions Days” last week. Here is my report.

Slideshow: Boosting Productivity with EDM

By: Stephanie Hendrixson
Features such as automatic threading, wear detection and ergonomic controls help to boost productivity in electrical discharge machining (EDM). View this month’s slideshow to learn more.

Accutex GE wire EDM

EDM Rethreads Broken Wire without Dielectric Drain/Refill

By: Edited by Stephanie Hendrixson
The Accutex GE wire EDMs from Absolute Machine Tools combine high cutting speed and accuracy.


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