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.

Machine Tool Database

Search and find specs for these machines.

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.



EDM Drilling Unit Improves Production for Aerospace Manufacturer

By: Matthew Jaster
This shop utilized a hole-drilling EDM to improve setup time, manage labor hours and provide faster turnaround.

Metal Resource Solutions wire

Wire Products Available

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
Metal Resource Solutions offers free machining brass and stainless steel wire from stock.

Accutex GE wire EDM

Wire EDMs Provide Fast, Automatic Wire Threading

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
Available from Absolute Machine Tools, the Accutex “Great Economy” (GE) wire EDMs combine high cutting speed and accuracy with automatic wire threading that provides fast submerged rethreading at the break point.

Wire EDM for Jet Engine “Fir Trees”

By: Mark Albert
Advances in wire EDM (electrical discharge machining) technology have made it acceptable for machining critical aerospace parts. It may now become the preferred method for cutting turbine disc “fir trees,” a particularly demanding application that highlights the benefits of this machining process.

A Hollow-Access Unit for Wire EDM

By: Mark Albert
By simultaneously rotating and tilting the workpiece, this rotary tilt/turn hollow-access device from Hirschmann enables the EDM wire to cut complex openings that may have different paths at the top and bottom of the opening.


MMS ONLINE
Channel Partners
  • Techspex