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.



More Accurate Taper Cutting with Wire EDM

By: Mark Albert
Cutting tall, steeply tapered surfaces with wire EDM often creates an overburn situation if the slope of the wire path changes from the top to the bottom of the cut. A feature called Volumetric Taper Compensation with four-axis overburn control compensates for this effect on FANUC wire EDM models from Methods Machine Tools Inc.

Sodick SL400G

EDM Stabilizes Wire Tension

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
Sodick's SL400G rigid, linear-motor-driven wire EDM incorporates a Fixed Jet (FJ) automatic wire threader, said to offer accurate and reliable threading rate for both submerged and non-submerged threading.

Sodick SL-G wire EDM

Wire EDMs Reduce Number of Cuts

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
Sodick offers two models of its SL-G wire EDMs, the SL400G and the SL600G, both driven by linear motors.

Accutex DS-550CMAX die-sinker EDM

Die-Sinker EDM Features Synchronized Pulse Generator

By:
Absolute Machine Tools will exhibit the Accutex DS-550CMAX die-sinker EDM featuring a dual, digital synchronized pulse generator to achieve optimal cutting conditions.

Accutex AL56SA wire EDM

EDM Driven by Linear Shaft Motor

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
Available from Absolute Machine Tools, the Accutex AL56SA wire EDM features a high-speed linear shaft motor designed for precise linear and circular interpolation.


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