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.



Submerged Wire EDM Provides Large Capacity, Flexibility and Speed

By: Lori Beckman (editor)
The AU-1440iA Z800 submerged wire EDM from Absolute Machine Tools is engineered to process large as well as small parts with accuracy, speed and convenience.

Sodick SLN-G EDM

Wire EDMs Equipped with Pulse Control

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
Sodick says that its SLN-G series of wire EDMs is designed with the operator in mind with a user-friendly control.

GF Machining Solutions AgieCharmilles Cut MoldTech wire EDM

Wire EDMs Equipped with Moldmaking Features

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
GF Machining Solutions’ AgieCharmilles Cut 200/300 MoldTech series of wire EDMs is designed to meet the needs of moldmakers.

Absolute Machine Tools AU-1440iA Z800

Submerged Wire EDM Expands Capacity

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
The AU-1440iA Z800 submerged wire EDM From Absolute Machine Tools is designed to quickly and accurately process large as well as smaller parts.

Studer WireDress electrical discharge wheel dresser

Electrical Discharge Device Dresses Metal-Bonded Grinding Wheels

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
Available from United Grinding, the Studer WireDress electrical discharge wheel dresser uses the wire erosion principle to dress metal-bonded grinding wheels on the grinding machine without the need to remove the wheel for external dressing.


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