Wire EDM cutting, also known as electrical discharge machining, is a process that uses an electrically energized thin wire to slice through metal. Wire EDM cutting uses rapid, controlled, repetitive spark discharges from the wire to the workpiece, thereby eroding the metal away. The workpiece must be electrically conductive.
Wire EDM cutting can provide high dimensional accuracy for close fitting parts. The process can make sharp inside corners.
Wire EDM can cut most any simple or complex 2D shape including cutouts and thin walls, intricate openings and sharp inside corners. Examples of a few types of parts that can be cut by wire EDM include:
- Stainless Steel
- Sterling Silver
- Spring Steel
- Super alloys
- Very hard and difficult to machine metals.
Cost optimization options for wire EDM cutting include:
- Reducing cut surface area
- Stacking parts during cutting (this is considered automatically by the eMachineShop CAD)
- Minimizing the number of holes and cutouts
- Creating holes by providing a small gap connecting the hole to the outer edge.
Wire EDM Design Considerations
- Edges are smooth but matte.
- Typical surface finish is between 16 and 64 microinches.
- The edges of the finished work piece will have virtually no burrs.
- Kerf width typically ranges from 0.001" to 0.012".
- Sharp internal corners will be slightly rounded (typically with radius ~.008")