Electrical Discharge Machining means cutting conductive materials under water with a continually moving brass wire of different diameters that NEVER touches the work piece. The spark moves through the water across the tiny gap and vaporizes the metal. This means any conductive material and without concern about hardness which is a formidable variable for machining.
As an amazing manufacturing aid technology, Wire EDM machines are truly astounding on many levels. The capabilities would have been considered miraculous when Henry Ford started building cars. Computers and programming have revolutionized the world of manufacturing in so many ways that we pretty much take those capabilities for granted.
In the old days, tool and die makers and machinists would spend days and weeks making tools to machine and stamp out parts. A unique shape had to be made in two pieces, precision ground and then fitted together. The tolerances required made tool making extremely tedious and labor intensive. Time that is now better spent designing and engineering instead of cranking manual handles for hours and days.
Today’s EDM machines can ultra-precision cut tools in a matter of hours instead of days. And the wire doesn’t care how hard the material is, so the starting material can be heat treated and stress relieved to very hard states and the EDM machine will still slice through it like butter.
But, you need to remember that the wire has to be threaded through the material and a starting hole has to be put in first. This is where the two CNC hole poppers come in. A program is created to CNC start holes for the wire to feed through and once again there’s no concern about hardness. Like any skill, operators must be trained and given the chance to learn all the details needed to master the abilities to run these fantastic machines.