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Wire EDM: How We Got Here

More than 45 years ago, a young tool and die maker and plastic injection mold builder named Gordon Shumway saw the EDM process in its infancy and made learning the process his quest. Since then, he’s worked with various major manufacturers as a research and...

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Wire EDM: GIGO

Garbage In Garbage Out: Mistakes in the Wire EDM are most often made before the start button is pressed. As the operator, you are often pushed to get the machine cutting, because when it’s not cutting, it’s not making money, right? WRONG! What if in the process of...

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Wire EDM: How Much Better Is Bigger?

Large-diameter wire for EDM has been around for decades, but just recently it has taken the market by storm. To understand how and why this is happening I will go back to my personal experiences as a WEDM operator. In 1976, the industry-standard wire diameter was...

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What does a Wire EDM machine require for regular maintenance?

Wire EDM is a versatile and useful machining process. One of the prerequisites for repeatability, reliability and accurate cutting results is proper machine maintenance. A Wire EDM machine may be one of the most maintenance-intensive pieces of equipment in the shop...

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What’s the best way to create a 4-Axis program to ensure the best accuracy and eliminate wire lines and facetted geometry?

This question hits on many areas that relate to the machine as well as CAM system programming techniques. Here are a few items to address and review for best results: MACHINE ITEMS: Maximum Taper Angle: It’s important to identify the maximum taper angle that a...

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Wire EDM: What makes a WEDM last—and how long?

Let us look at a few reasons why a Wire Electrical Discharge Machine should last many years and produce perfect parts from cradle to grave. The machining pressures and speeds are low. As the wire cuts through the electrically conductive part, it moves at a speed...

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Wire EDM: Transport Systems

To understand the need for controlling the wire from the spool to the scrap bin or scrap roll, we look at each component and its importance in the wire EDM transport system. We’ll look at where we started and then where we are today. At the heart of this system...

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Wire EDM: Top Ten Cleaning Tips

Wire Spool Area: The interval of cleaning and maintenance in the wire spool area is easier to remember as you replace empty wire spools frequently. A light blast of air or wiping with a cloth is sufficient for general maintenance in this area. Be sure to remove excess...

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Wire EDM: Common Causes of Wire Breakage

Much research has been done on the issue of wire breakage during the machining process. But before we explore the types of wire that can be used to decrease wire breakage in certain materials, we must first look at what causes wire breakage in general. Current Density...

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What is the proper programming format for a tapered or 4-axis profile that requires the manual wire threading of an angular start hole on a wire EDM machine?

Angular start holes commonly occur when machining mold tooling lifter pockets and ejector pin details. As part of this process, a position for manual wire threading needs to be determined within the profile, and a M01 Stop Point should be created within the NC...

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Wire EDM: Key Physical Properties

Key physical properties that electrical discharge machine wires must incorporate are: Conductivity: A high and good conductivity rating is imperative in light of the fact that, at any rate hypothetically, it implies wire may convey additional current, that compares to...

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Wire EDM: To D or Not, and Y

Programming with offsets The Use of D offsets was used to shorten and simplify the programing process. We needed a process to edit without rewriting the entire program to make minor changes, so let’s look at what was involved and Y the use of D offsets was needed. The...

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Ensure Quality and Performance: Your EDM Electrode Checklist

Double-checking the quality of your EDM tube electrodes is critical to maintaining high performance in your shop. Below are some key considerations for assessing integrity, consistency and working condition: The material composition of the electrode tube This data...

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General Tip: Clean and demagnetize the work piece

As part of preparation, a work piece should be thoroughly cleaned and fully demagnetized before Wire EDM operations. You should clean fluids, coolants, oils, and debris off all of the parts. Be sure to also clean any threaded or counterbored holes, because...

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EDM and Linear vs Ballscrews

An overview of the two most common drive systems in EDM machines today and what differences they bring to the EDM process. Ballscrews have been with us for many years and have proved to be accurate, reliable, easy to maintain and easy to fit many different...

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Can I use graphite or copper-graphite electrode materials to machine tungsten-carbide?

While graphite materials can be used to machine carbide materials, it is not the best method. One of the reasons is the extremely high electrode wear rate. Burning with a fine-grain graphite, such as DS4 or POCO-3, will lead to 50-60% electrode wear when used to...

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Can the same electrode reduction undersize amount be used for all electrodes?

A proper answer requires a detailed look at the overall EDM operation. The practice of using a standard electrode reduction amount is very common, but it might not yield the best Accuracy or Machining Speed results. Pros of using a common electrode undersize:...

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Common electrode materials for electrical discharge machining in a sinker EDM with oil-based dielectric

When choosing an electrode material, you must consider many factors. The usual first decision is, should you choose a metallic or non-metallic electrode? Depending on the material to be removed, this can be as simple decision. Carbides and sintered metals require more...

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How do you accurately measure and probe the center of EDM drilling electrodes?

Verifying and finding the center of an EDM drilling electrode can be a delicate and troublesome task, especially as the electrode diameters become smaller (0.5mm / 0.020” Ø or smaller). To find the center of a tube electrode, utilize a table ball within the machine’s...

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Back to Basics (6/6): EDM Metallurgical Characteristics

All EDM machining is a thermal/heat process that can alter or change the structure of the machined workpiece. Early EDM technology thermally damaged materials as a result of not controlling the discharge spark energy precisely enough. The resulting metallurgical...

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