There are two primary EDM methods: ram EDM and wire EDM. The primary difference between the two involves the electrode that is used to perform the machining. In a typical
application, a graphite electrode is machined with traditional tools. The nowspecially-shaped electrode is connected to the power source, attached to a ram, andslowly fed into the workpiece. The entire machining operation is usually performed whilesubmerged in a fluid bath. The fluid serves the following three purposes:
flushes material away
serves as a coolant to minimize the heat affected zone (thereby preventing potential damage to the workpiece)
acts as a conductor for the current to pass between the electrode and theworkpiece.In
a very thin wire serves as the electrode. Special brass wires are typicallyused; the wire is slowly fed through the material and the electrical discharges actually cutthe workpiece. Wire EDM is usually performed in a bath of water.
EDM die sinking reproduces, in a metallic workpiece, the shape of a tool calledelectrode.Injection molds for plastic parts are very frequently machined by die sinking.The shape given to the electrode is that of the object that is going to be molded.In the machining area, each discharge creates a crater in the workpiece (materialremoval) and an impact on the tool (wear of the tool/electrode).There is never any mechanical contact between the electrode and workpiece.The electrode is usually made of copper or graphite.