EDM, or electrical discharge machining, is capable of machining complex shapes in hard materials. The process includes an electrode and a workpiece, both submerged in dielectric fluid. Electrical current flows between the workpiece and electrode, repeatedly creating tiny plasma zones that instantaneously melt and remove the material. The electrode in EDM takes different forms. Wire EDM machines use a thin wire to cut. Ram EDM machines, or “die sinkers,” use electrodes that are custom machined into 3D shapes. The EDM process 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.
Feature 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.
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