Machining Materials with Complex Shapes and Sizes: Why Choose EDM Spark Eroding?

August 20, 2019

With EDM Spark Eroding equipment in-situ, very precise material incisions become entirely possible. That might not seem like a big deal, as any abrasive cutting disc or milling tool can subtract workpiece material. Of some concern, however, aggressive cutting edges can’t make complex incisions, not without impacting the surrounding area. Well, electrical Discharge Machining uses charges that are so high and so hot that the area around its electrode remains untouched.

Immediate Area Subtractive Erosion

That’s the key to laying down a series of intricately cut incisions, the fact that only the material close to the EDM electrode melts. Therefore, with a workpiece and spark eroding electrode wired up to a powerful Direct Current power supply, the charge produced by the business end of this cutter allows high-tolerance parts geometries to be implemented with the greatest of ease. The cut zones are essentially getting so hot that the immediately adjacent metal evaporates and leaves tiny voids behind. The point being, only those minute craters are introduced, and no other part of the metal is impacted.

Deformation-Less Cuts On Hard Materials

Like a tiny pencil eraser, the eroding wire implements tight-tolerance incisions. Hardened carbides, titanium, super duplex steels, it doesn’t matter how dense the alloy is, the electrode cuts complex geometrical outlines into these ultra-hard materials without pause. Now, if a conventional cutter were to carry out this work, the abrasive nature of the tool would introduce heat, and that heat would soak into the metal. Inevitably, the microcrystalline structure of the workpiece metal would be adversely altered. Worse yet, the workpiece would deform and warp. EDM Spark Eroding services apply their energies so rapidly that detailed incisions can be performed without harming the surrounding metal.

A Fluid Flushed Workflow

Even if a piece of tooling metal would absorb the spark energy, and that’s unlikely, there’s a second material protecting measure at work. Typically, EDM rigs are submerged in a heat dampening dielectric fluid. The liquid insulates, cools, and flushes the cut site, thus assuring a fast-cooled cut zone.

Machine shops are loaded with cutting and milling tools, with equipment layouts that facilitate tight tolerance subtractive processes. Unfortunately, and this applies to dense metal workpieces, abrasive blades and spinning milling heads can’t always apply a detailed part’s profile. Even if that were possible, the heat generated by the tool would deform the material. To get around such alloy deforming issues, EDM Spark Eroding electrodes cut the hardest materials to size, then they inlay them with complex inner profiles and exterior outlines, all without damaging any adjoining metal.

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