Wire EDM Machining
American Wire EDM provides first-class wire EDM (wire electrical discharge machining) services, producing precision parts that match the dimensional tolerances of your designs within ± 0.0001”. With state-of-the-art wire EDM machining equipment and advanced programming, we can manufacture even the most intricate parts with perfect accuracy and repeatability, whether you need prototypes, short production runs, or quantities in the tens of thousands.
What is EDM Wire Machining?
Wire EDM, or electrical discharge machining, is a high-precision method for cutting nearly any electrically conductive material. A thin, electrically-charged EDM wire held between upper and lower mechanical guides forms one electrode, while the material being cut forms the second electrode. Electrical discharge between the wire and the workpiece creates sparks that rapidly cut away material. Both the wire and the workpiece are submerged in deionized water, which flushes away cutting debris.
As the charged wire never makes physical contact with the workpiece in EDM machining, there are no cutting forces involved, making it possible to manufacture extremely small and/or delicate parts. Parts that require levels of accuracy and intricacy that traditional machining cannot achieve can easily be produced via wire EDM.
History of EDM Manufacturing
Electrical discharge manufacturing originated in the 1960s when researchers in the Soviet Union discovered Wire EDM as a method for cutting steel to make tools. In the United States, an engineer named David H. Dulebohn of the Andrew Engineering Company combined the Soviet technology with a computer that used optics to follow drawings. Dulebohn’s development led to the creation of the CNC EDM machines we use today. CNC EDM machines became available for the first time in 1976, and since then, the technology has continued to evolve. For a more detailed history of electrical discharge machining, visit our History of EDM page.
Advantages of EDM Machining
EDM machining offers a broad range of advantages that other manufacturing methods cannot match. Some reasons to choose Wire EDM include:
- Precision: When you need highly accurate machining, EDM manufacturing is your best option. It is capable of making cuts that match your designs within ± 0.0001”.
- Intricacy: Wire EDM is an excellent option for manufacturing delicate and complex parts. With Wire EDM, it is possible to manufacture the same intricate part over and over again with the same accuracy.
- Shorter lead times: Because the EDM process is so accurate, it makes it possible to get it right the first time, significantly shortening the time it takes to get a product from the prototype phase to the marketplace.
- Less set up time: EDM manufacturing reduces the need for tooling, which in turn lessens the amount of time that it takes to set up.
- Tapers: EDM machining is useful for cutting long tapers that other machining methods cannot produce.
- Accurate internal cuts: Square-edged internal cuts are difficult to produce with other machining methods, but Wire EDM makes it possible.
- Better results: EDM machining is capable of producing parts that do not have burrs or require tooling. Wired EDM also produces a better surface finish than other forms of manufacturing.
- Fine hole drilling: EDM drilling is capable of producing very small holes that are difficult to produce with other methods.
Materials like steel are difficult to cut or mold without adding heat first. Wire EDM makes it possible to cut steel through and other materials without applying heat. EDM machining works best with materials that conduct electricity, such as:
- Carbon graphite
- Carbon steel
- High alloy
- Stainless steel
- Hast alloy
These materials can be very costly. A good way to keep costs low is to live by the old adage, “measure twice and cut once.” When machining results in inaccurate cuts or fails to reproduce parts with the same level of accuracy, these expensive materials can go to waste. Because EDM machining is so accurate, it can prevent waste of raw materials and keep your project cost-efficient.
Industries and Innovations: Who Uses EDM?
Wire EDM-manufactured parts are everywhere, touching every part of our lives. Starting a car, boarding an airplane or booting up a laptop are all possible thanks to electrical discharge machining. For instance, Wire EDM makes it possible to cut steel without treating it with heat first. As a result, EDM manufacturing is a preferred choice of medical device manufacturers who make life-saving instruments out of carbon steel.
Because EDM drilling makes it possible to create very small holes, EDM is used often in the production of circuit boards. The military and aerospace industries also rely on Wire EDM manufacturing to produce parts for essential equipment. Even automotive manufacturers turn to Wire EDM for its precision and efficiency.
Why Choose Wire-cut EDM Over Die-sink EDM or Water-jet cutting?
Concerns about residual stress are often the primary reason why manufacturers choose Wire-Cut EDM over other methods. Residual stress can contribute to premature failure of a part, so to avoid creating residual stresses during the manufacturing process is to extend the life of the part. Wire EDM creates minimal residual stress. Moreover, preventing residual stress eliminates the need to relieve those stresses – this is just another example of how Wire EDM makes the manufacturing process efficient.
American Wire EDM: Machining with the Precision You Need
There are many reasons to turn to American Wire EDM for your manufacturing needs. Our company is based in Orange, California, where we operate a 12,000 square foot manufacturing facility. Whether you need assistance with a prototype or a high-volume order, we can turn your project around quickly and efficiently. Our team is comprised of experienced operator-engineers and in-house tool makers who bring invaluable knowledge to every project we take on. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our team has what it takes to manufacture even the most delicate, complex parts.
At American Wire EDM, we use CNC-operated wire EDM machines that are capable of multi-axis movement to create intricate parts with outstanding precision. With nearly 30 years’ experience in wire EDM, we have the expertise and the versatility to manufacture parts of all shapes and sizes (as thick as 11.61”) for customers from a wide range of industries.
We take pride in delivering top quality parts at highly competitive prices. What’s more, we can help you get your product to market much sooner, allowing you to get there before the competition does. Lastly, we understand that the finished product needs to meet your specifications exactly, especially if you need to satisfy MIL-SPEC, FAA or FDA requirements. Because our wire EDM machines can match your designs to within ± 0.0001”, we can guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the results.
Contact American Wire EDM
At American Wire, we can help you take your project from prototype to market efficiently and cost-effectively. Request a quote on precision wire EDM machining services for your project, or contact American Wire EDM for more information on the wire electrical discharge machining process.