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

A Big-Picture View of Micromachining


 Matrix Tooling makes injection molds for components that have features you cannot see.

Wire EDM with a Twist


Wire EDM units that swivel a horizontally guided electrode wire in a CNC-controlled E axis give this shop the workpiece clearance and flexibility to produce complex, high-precision PCD-tipped cutting tools.



Knuth ZNC EDM 250

Ram EDM Suitable for Small Workpieces

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The ZNC EDM 250 from Knuth Machine Tools is an entry-level ram EDM with NC-controlled feed on the Z axis.

Makino U6 general-purpose wire EDM

Wire EDMs Provide Versatility

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Makino offers its U3 and U6 general-purpose wire EDMs designed for ease of operation and versatility.

GF Machining Solutions

Introducing GF Machining Solutions

By: Mark Albert
Georg Fischer AG, the global industrial firm based in Switzerland, has a new name for the division that supplies well-known brands of electrical discharge machines, high speed milling, automation/tooling, spindles and more.

Accutex AL56SA wire EDM from Absolute

Wire EDM features High Speed Linear Shaft Motor

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Available from Absolute Machine Tools, the Accutex AL56SA wire EDM features a high-speed linear shaft motor said to enable precise linear and circular interpolation.

What it Takes to Do Unattended Wire EDM

By: Mark Albert
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.


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