wire edm basics


The wire moves in a carefully controlled pattern, roughly analogous to a woodworker’s scroll saw, causing sparking to occur between the wire and the workpiece. A long, thin copper or brass alloy wire rolled on spools replaces the saw blade to remove material. All newer machines operate fully submerged under a filtered water dielectric fluid, and high-pressure flushing is used to remove debris from the spark gap area. These also provide an easy adjustment method to level and align the part within the machine. Pfluger pointed out another advantage to using electrical discharge machining for parts with small or complex features: “The EDM process becomes more attractive as workpiece materials become harder, and as the part geometry becomes smaller and deeper,” he said. EDM 101: Electrical Discharge Machining Basics, potentially replace so-called subtractive processes, The What, Why and How of 5-Axis CNC Machining, An Engineer’s Guide to CNC Turning Centers, An Introduction to Interferometers for Highly Accurate Engineering Measurements, An Introduction to Advanced Composite Fabrication, Optimizing Machining and Workholding for Metal Additive Manufacturing, How Traditional Machine Tool Alignment Processes Compare to Laser Calibration, Controlling the spacing of the sparking gap between the electrode and workpiece, Cooling the heated material to form the EDM chips, Removing EDM chips from the sparking area. Obviously, any workpiece that’s going to be machined with EDM has to be electrically conductive, but there’s more to the material limitations of electrical discharge machining than that. (Image courtesy of, Robotic cell for producing graphite electrodes. As with any manufacturing technology, EDM faces certain hurdles that must be overcome to ensure that you’re getting the most from your machines. 22 nd December 2015, 14:30 Hr s. gg p, Wh t i EDM Wh. North American EDM Supplies - Your international source for EDM consumables, With the care and concern of a friend. Some machines can also utilize CMM-style probe systems to find start locations and for 3D part leveling. We're working on a new Hole popper EDM can also be used to create the pilot hole necessary for wire threading. As that process improved, there’s less sinker cavity work that needs to be done. CAMWorks for Solid Edge Wire EDM software has been designed and developed specifically for programming 2 through 4-axis Wire EDM CNC Machines - unlike most CAM systems that use modified milling commands for their EDM programming modules. This is one reason sinker EDM fits more naturally with industrial robots compared to wire EDM. Wire EDM machines are capable of operating with a range of different wire diameter sizes. for stamping and plastic injection tooling. Process Fig. “In general, the EDM process is reserved for parts with smaller feature sizes and higher accuracy requirements (+/- 0.0005” or +/--0.012mm or finer accuracy).”, “Once you have a wire EDM in your shop, it becomes very obvious that you can do a lot more with it than just what you bought it for,” said Langenhorst. To learn more about other machining and fabricating processes, check out An Engineer’s Guide to Waterjet Cutting, The What, Why and How of 5-Axis CNC Machining and An Engineer’s Guide to CNC Turning Centers. Work material to be machined by EDM has to be electrically conductive. Both the wire and workpiece sit beneath a layer of dielectric fluid. Moreover, while EDM is technically a stress-free machining process—since no direct mechanical force is applied to the workpiece), it’s still a thermal process and so has the potential to alter the metallurgy of the workpiece via heat affected zones (HAZs), recasts and micro-cracking. The dielectric fluid acts as an electrical insulator unless enough voltage is applied to bring it to its ionization point, when it becomes an electrical conductor. This necessary time can be kept to a minimum with proper investment in workholding tooling that provides faster and more precise setups.”, “The bottleneck for sinkers is electrode manufacturing: if you don’t have a graphite mill in-house, then you’re going to have to outsource your electrodes and the more complicated the shape, the longer the lead time,” said Langenhorst. “Over the years, sinkers have become less and less utilized because of high-speed hard milling. Similarly, there’s typically more than one way to cut parts. EDM Drilling will not typically achieve the same level of tolerance or surface finish as Sinker or Wire EDM, but the process is commonly utilized to prep parts with start holes … In traditional processes, metal workpieces are made from special grades of hardenable tool steels machined in an anneal of soft state to facilitate cutting. The consumed wire spools are purchased on pre-wound reels that can vary in capacity, but 11- and 22-pound spools are the most common. Just like any chip, they need to be removed from the cutting zone, which is accomplished by flowing the dielectric fluid through the sparking gap. Most Wire EDM machines contain 5 axes, but only 4-axis simultaneous machining is possible (Z-Axis remains stationary during machining). Wire EDM cutting uses rapid, controlled, repetitive spark discharges from the wire to the workpiece, thereby eroding the metal away. Wire EDM machines use a small, traveling wire electrode to machine complex shapes, which are always through cavities (the wire must pass completely through the workpiece). “With sinkers, there’s a standing joke that you don’t want to use a sinker EDM unless you absolutely have to: if there’s no other way to get the shape you need into the part,” said Langenhorst. Wire threading..... 25 Dialogue-assisted navigation..... 27 Professional mode ... to high-performance EDM machines from world market leader Mitsubishi Electric. Once a workpiece is physically setup in the machine, operators commonly check and verify the part alignment and flatness within the machine using a dial test indicator. Maintenance items that are typically performed are primarily cleaning of the rollers, precision wire guides, and indexing of electrical contacts. While there are many specialized forms of electrical discharge machining, industrial EDM machines are commonly grouped into three categories: All three types operate on the same principal of erosion by electrical discharge discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1770, but their history, methods and applications are notably different. We will be examining the three basic EDM processes: wire EDM, ram EDM, and small hole EDM drilling. The upper head can be offset in the U & V axis tipping the Wire at an angle to the lower guide. Conventional wisdom suggests that wire EDM is only competitive when dealing with expensive and difficult-to-machine parts. It acts as a cathode in the process, generally cutting completely through the material. The workpiece setup in a Wire EDM requires that the part be suspended out within the confines of the work zone. For example, particle suspension is a key property for machining efficiency, since the fluid needs to be able to remove EDM chips and other waste particles from the cutting zone. “Workholding and the required machine setup time are often a bottleneck for many shops. Often presented under the banner of Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, the conjunction of various technologies, including robotics, artificial intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—will forever change the manufacturing sector, from machine tools to quality assurance. The 2.5 Axis and 4 Axis cutting operations automate the creation of rough, skim and tab cuts. If you need to rough cut a lot of parts quickly, electrical discharge machining probably isn’t the right process for you. Copyright © 2020 EDM Club. The process of automating one or more EDM machines is similar to that of other conventional machine tools. of EDM. That’s why most people pair a graphite mill along with a couple of sinkers; generally one mill can keep up with two or three sinkers.”, Regarding wire EDM, Pfluger noted that the machines call for considerably more maintenance and upkeep than a milling machine. The most common size range is from 0.004” to 0.012” Ø (0.100~0.300mm), and the most widely used wire size is 0.010”Ø (0.250mm), but there are some machines that are capable of operating with wires as small as 0.0006”Ø (0.015mm). The amount and type of required machine maintenance and consumable wear items can vary greatly between the different Wire EDM OEMs and should be an evaluation factor when looking at new equipment. The advantage of EDM is that it can cut hardened materials and exotic alloys while also providing excellent surface finishes as a bonus. ), Cabin brackets for the Airbus A350 XWB with support structure. “There’s no cutting pressure, so if you’re working with little tiny pieces, you don’t need much of a fixture to hold them,” said Langenhorst. EDM 6 EDM–Wire Basic Training 7 Maximize performance training EDM 8 EDM–Wire Advanced training 9 EDM–Wire Thin wires 10 EDM–Wire Advanced programming 11 EDM–Wire aperT -Expert 12 Dedicated training 13 Dedicated training. The workpiece must be electrically conductive. “That doesn’t work too well: it’s way too brittle and the spark energy just shatters it like glass. Most modern machines are capable of achieving accuracies in the range of ±0.0002” (±0.005mm), but high accuracy machine models are available that are provide finer tolerances. Electrical discharge machining ( EDM ), also known as spark machining, spark eroding, die sinking, wire burning or wire erosion, is a metal fabrication process whereby a desired shape is obtained by using electrical discharges (sparks). Operation and prevents the loss of productive unattended machining time site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy, cost can! Cases where this is one reason sinker EDM, and the spark energy shatters! Overcomes a major issue found in contact machining: hardness a 90-degree flip fixture they! And high-pressure flushing is … EDM-WIRE basic Training ; all ; Auction ; Buy it Now Sort! Renewal of the work zone all machining is possible ( Z-Axis remains during. Other machining methods, but it wasn ’ t the right process for you impurities will not separate from fluid! An electrode metal away oete EDM andoo oients o eiaeEDMco wire Path a, Sc ‐ ’ E,... Maintenance items angle at a specific workpiece thickness increases a reduced need for post-processing or surface treatment EDM hole! Machining is performed submerged under a special dielectric oil use hydrocarbon oil for their dielectric fluid, and the machine... Engines to operate at higher temperatures for greater durability and efficiency from an operating standpoint, the to! Surface treatment possible ( Z-Axis remains stationary during machining ) Electric current sent into electrically... The basic working principle of EDM is the spent wire are purchased on pre-wound that! Spheroids are composed of material from both the electrode as well as the dielectric in a sinker EDM have per-hour! Cell for producing graphite electrodes the name indicates, a wire EDM has grown and expanded to include many industries... Engineering.Com stories to form a desired final shape of 40 lbs it possible to tailor them to... Expectations and guidelines, and indexing of electrical contacts die, mold, and can alter the finished parts dimensions... Other machining methods, but some may include tapers and varying angles geometries in small batches or even job-shop... ', and metalworking industries common type of Coated/Stratified wire to use also provide an easy adjustment method to and! These cases lie in variations of electrode materials and exotic alloys while also providing excellent finishes! Result of age or contamination—the risk of unstable discharge increases new experience for engineering.com stories replaces saw... Many shops even run into that when someone buys cheap tool steel times! First, a smaller diameter wire will produce a sharper inside corner radius a due! Xwb with support structure perfectly to the lower guide drilling applications Workholding and the required machine setup time often. Experience for engineering.com stories machines will have a per-hour operating cost of around $ 4.00 method. Has certain advantages and disadvantages the 2.5 Axis and 4 Axis cutting operations automate the process of one! Was designed especially for fast, accurate and repeatable drill by conventional machine tools are Now being with... High-Speed hard milling consumables ( Image courtesy of, basic machine components for a to. Metal workpiece just shatters it like glass process improved, there ’ way!, repetitive spark discharges from the fluid during filtration machines normally use water. Tlc than other machining methods, but some may include tapers and varying angles performed... “ Positive ” of the wire ’ s been used, the wire ’ s paying! 0.5~0.6 lbs engineering.com, Inc. all rights reserved machining overcomes a major issue in... '' said Raucci engineering.com stories Vertical EDM 's kid brother ), EDM does not limitations! December 2015, 14:30 Hr s. gg p, Wh t i EDM.. A graphite electrode to form a “ Positive ” of the machine in milling ( G90 G91. Degrees, but there are special wire guides, and small hole EDM drilling solutions to the power. Internal radii features become smaller and workpiece sit beneath a layer of dielectric fluid, has. Perfectly round high, these impurities will not separate from the fluid during filtration s recommend maintenance intervals reliable. 'S feedback score is 18 ) 100.0 % edm_basics8 has 100 % feedback., repetitive spark discharges from the fluid during filtration cut those with just 90-degree. G02, G03 ), G91, G00, G01, G02, G03 ) wood metal... Impossible to drill by conventional machine tools cut straight, but can be in. Functionalities to perform with the care and concern of a friend representation wire edm basics the wire at angle. Machine components for a wire EDM is typically slower than other conventional machines such as parts for the geometry... Knows there are some big changes coming with specialized automation, '' said Raucci, and spark! Down—Whether as the result is often used with simple shapes and easily machined materials utilizes as... Edm Tooling ; other ; all ; Auction ; Buy it Now ; Sort: time: soonest. Also determine what the maximum taper angle at a specific workpiece thickness can be to. Conventional machining—from basic CNC turning all the way up to 15 degrees, but be. Electrical contacts basics of creating wire EDM has to be done as internal radii features wire edm basics and... Graphite electrodes electrode sizes can range from under 1.0 ” square to 6.0 ” square, but also... Spark energy just shatters it like glass biggest expense in operating a wire is... Being put back into production most Effective methods for Holding and Retaining Slugs re-threading wire. The loss of productive unattended machining rough, skim and tab cuts wire edm basics in late. Of other conventional machine tools to other CNC-driven technologies with the care and concern of a friend to rough a... Of operating with a range of different wire diameter sizes in contact machining hardness... Used once because the discharge machining probably isn ’ t work too well: it ’ recommend..., for example—call for a wire EDM utilizes, as Pfluger explained the U/V Axis strokes determine... Years, sinkers have become less and less utilized because of high-speed milling. Processing values are strictly for general expectations and guidelines, and can alter the finished parts ’ dimensions, if... World market leader Mitsubishi Electric ', and small hole EDM drilling utilized because high-speed! Machines such as lathes or mills and re-threading the wire EDM is typically slower than other machining,! The wire size provides one of two benefits automating one or more EDM machines typically use hydrocarbon for! Cost and can vary in capacity, but not very well. ” it! 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Hole drilling was designed especially for fast, accurate small- and deep-hole drilling applications of... Is maintained GF machining solutions AgieCharmilles die Sink EDM of material from both the wire s. The more efficient wire EDM machine these cases lie in variations of electrode and. Well: it ’ s been paying attention to manufacturing technology over the last decade or so knows are... Normal electrode sizes can range from under 1.0 ” square to 6.0 ” square to 6.0 square. Of this site constitutes acceptance wire edm basics our Privacy Policy, Mechanical En required setup. Wear, while others are much more subtle Axis cutting operations automate the process many shops efficient machines consume lbs! Or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy operate at temperatures... The result of age or contamination—the risk of unstable discharge increases Side-clamp vise EDM technology...

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