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Electrical Discharge Machining

Electrical Discharge Machining



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Published by: wunan07 on Nov 03, 2008
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EDM - Electrical Discharge Machining
EDM is a machining method primarily used for hard metals or those that would beimpossible to machine with traditional techniques. One critical limitation, however, isthat EDM only works with materials that are
electrically conductive
. EDM or ElectricalDischarge Machining, is especially well-suited for cutting intricate contours or delicatecavities that would be difficult to produce with a grinder, an end mill or other cuttingtools. Metals that can be machined with EDM include hastalloy, hardened tool-steel,titanium, carbide, inconel and kovar.Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is a machining process used mainly for producingmolds. The most common mold found in industry are those used in plastic injection molding. The animation on the right shows the molding process. Plastic granules aremelted and fed under pressure into a mold and then cooled. EDM is used extensively inthe manufacture of these molds.EDM can also be used to produce finished parts, such as special shapedcutting tools,  parts cut from solid pieces of metal,and other items of complex shapes.EDM works by using electricity rather than cutting. The electric spark actually vaporizesthe metal. The sparks, produced by a spark generator at regular intervals, create asuccession of craters in the work piece. In EDM, an electrical discharge is created between the surface of the object and the finishing tool that induces temperatures of  between 10,000 and 20,000 degrees centigrade. The size of the crater depends on theenergy turned out by the spark generator. The range of the sparks varies from a fewmicronsto 1mm.
Die sinking EDM
Wire cut EDM
EDM Miling
Wire EDM grinding
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
ram EDM
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
wire EDM
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.
Die sinking
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.
Wire cutting
EDM wire cutting uses a metallic wire (electrode) to cut a programmed contour in aworkpiece.Extrusion dies and blanking punches are very often machined by wire cutting.Cutting is always through the entire workpiece.To start machining it is first necessary to drill a hole in the workpiece or start from theedge.In the machining area, each discharge creates a crater in the workpiece (materialremoval) and an impact on the tool (wear of the tool/electrode).The wire can be inclined, thus making it possible to make parts with taper or withdifferent profiles at the top and bottom.There is never any mechanical contact between the electrode and workpiece.The wire is usually made of brass or stratified copper, and is between 0.02 and 0.03mm diameter.
Types of applications using EDM

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