Threading A Horizontal Wire EDM
A wire EDM machine designed for micromachining uses negative air pressure to thread the fine wire.
Makino’s UPJ-2 wire EDM machine orients the wire horizontally. This facilitates micromachining operations requiring fine wire, because the slug falls easily out of the way. One user of this machine is Hummingbird Precision Machine in Lacey, Washington. This video taken at Hummingbird shows how the machine threads the wire. Negative air pressure allows the machine to reliably thread wire as small as 20 microns in diameter.
Wire EDM units that swivel a horizontally guided electrode wire in a CNC-controlled E axis give this shop the workpiece clearance and flexibility to produce complex, high-precision PCD-tipped cutting tools.
In many die and mold shops, the choice between ram EDM and CNC milling is far less clear than it used to be. Changing technology is changing the rules.
A shop specializing in wire EDM for large mold components now offers EDM “turning” of small, intricate parts. Despite the potential risks involved in early adoption of new technologies, the shop believes this practice gives it a leg-up on the competition and lets it gain experience with alternative machining techniques before offering them to customers.