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.



Methods Machine Tools FANUC RoboCut α-CiB C800iB

Wire EDM’s Thermal Compensation Maintains Positioning Accuracy

By: Jedd Cole
Methods Machine Tools introduces the FANUC RoboCut α-CiB wire EDM series which includes the C400iB, C600iB and the larger C800iB.

EDM Network HM43GT

Graphite Mill Armed with Oil Cover to Capture Dust

By: Jedd Cole
EDM Network will exhibit its HM43GT high-speed graphite milling machine, which features an “oil shroud” option that completely surrounds the 30,000-rpm spindle with EDM-compatible oil to capture all of the graphite dust created by the end mills.

Makino EDNC21

Sinker EDM Accommodates Large Workpieces

By: Jedd Cole
Makino’s EDNC21 sinker EDM provides dual heads to improve productivity and lower the tool build time for large molds.

MC Machinery Systems EA12PS

Sinker EDM’s Power Supply Enables Exotic Material Machining

By: Jedd Cole
MC Machinery Systems offers its EA12PS sinker EDM, designed with a fixed-table traveling column and intended for medium-sized sinker machining applications.

GF Machining Solutions AgiesCharmilles Cut E 350

EDM’s HMI Makes Job Management Flexible

By: Jedd Cole
GF Machining Solutions offers the AgiesCharmilles Cut E 350, incorporating a range of technologies designed to increase flexibility and accelerate time to market for medical manufacturing.


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