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.



Sodick Dealers to Host Three Open House Events in May 2016

By: Jedd Cole
These events will cater to the Northeast region of the United States, spanning Ohio, New York and Massachusetts.

Makino EDNC

Expanded Sinker EDM Series Accommodates Large Workpieces

By: Jedd Cole
Makino has expanded its EDNC series of sinker EDM machines with the EDNC10, EDNC15 and EDNC20 models.

Seibu M35B

EDM’s Dry Annealing Process Stiffens Wire

By: Jedd Cole
Seibu’s M35B high-precision wire EDM provides X-, Y- and Z-axis travels measuring 13.8" × 9.8" × 9.0" and is ideal for the machining of small to medium size parts.

EDM generator

“Smart” Generator Technology Makes EDM Operation Intuitive

By: Matt Danford
GF Machining Solutions offers four generator features that enable users to input desired burning results into the CNC, and let the system do the rest.

Ford Tool automation cell

EDM Cell Cuts Lead Time in Half, Improves Quality

By: Emily Probst
Sodick's AG60L sinker EDM and an Erowa Robot Compact helped Ford Tool and Machining LLC cut lead time in half when it needed to reduce downtime and increase repeatability.


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