CNC Processes

Electrical Discharge Machining

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Electrical Discharge Machining Materials

A2 Tool Steel

Aluminum

Brass

Bronze

Cast Iron

Copper

Stainless Steel

Steel

Titanium

A2 Tool Steel

A2 Tool Steel has excellent wear resistance and toughness, commonly used to make fixtures, tools, tool holders, gauges, and punches.
Mill Lead Time:
As fast as 7 days
Finishing Options:
Media Blasting, Tumbling, Black Oxide
CNC Machining A2 Tool Steel Finish

Hobbing vs Wire EDM vs Sinker EDM

Hobbing Wire EDM Sinker EDM
Tolerance level ISO grade 6 to 12 ISO grade 7 to 12 ISO grade 8 to 12
Part size Min: 1.0x1.0x0.3mm
Max :500x500x800mm
Min: 3.0x3.0x0.3mm
Max: 300x300x200mm
Min: 3.0x3.0x0.3mm
Max: 200x200x150mm
Top use cases External gears External gears, shafts with gears, helical gears Internal gears and features< which are not through hole, internal features requiring minimal fillets such as a hexagonal shaped cutouts in a part
Materials All materials All metals All metals
Minimum fillet radius n/a 0.05mm standard 

0.01mm premium precision
0.05mm standard 

0.01mm premium precision
Lead time As fast as 12 days As fast as 7 days As fast as 7 days

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About Electrical Discharge Machining

Fictiv offers two types of Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) processes, which are useful for cutting deep pockets and complex features such as gears and holes with a keyway. EDM is also a non-contact machining method and does not exert cutting forces on the part, therefore it works particularly well for delicate structures.

Wire EDM

Wire EDM is performed by submerging a metal part in dielectric fluid where an electrically charged wire is then fed through the submerged metal component. The current passing through the wire creates sparks which cut through the material and form the desired shape of the component. Wire EDM is an ideal manufacturing process when you have clearance for the wire above and below the part feature.

Sinker EDM

‍The first step to performing Sinker EDM is to machine an electrode into the shape of the cutout you want to make. Sinker EDM is then performed by plunging your charged electrode into the metal component, which is submerged in dielectric fluid. The current passing through the electrode creates sparks which cut away the metal and form the desired shape of the internal feature.

Sinker EDM can be used to make bevel gears, internal gears, spiral gears, worm gears, however the process is very slow and costly so this may not be the best method for all applications. Sinker EDM can be used to create hard-to-reach, angular internal features such as blind keyholes which cannot be machined using other methods.

Electrical Discharge Machining FAQs

Technical FAQs

What kinds of gears can Fictiv manufacture with electrical discharge machining?

There are two types of EDM, each with their own gear manufacturing capabilities. Wire EDM can be used to manufacture both internal and external gears, as long as there is a through hole or area for the wire to pass through. Sinker EDM can also be used to machine internal and external gears, as well as gears with more complex geometry, like helical gears.

What materials can Fictiv cut with EDM?

Both wire and sinker EDM can only be used on materials that can conduct electricity, because the electrode needs to be able to wear away the material. This limits the EDM process to metals.

General FAQs

What is electrical discharge machining?

Electrical Discharge Machining, also known as EDM, is a non-contact machining procedure used to make parts where material is removed from a workpiece using electrical spark erosion. EDM is good for more delicate projects as it does not exert cutting forces on the workpiece.

What are the types of electrical discharge machining?

There are two main types of Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) processes - wire EDM and sinker EDM, which are useful for cutting deep pockets and complex features such as gears and holes with a keyway.

What types of shapes can a wire EDM machine produce?

Wire EDM machines can handle jobs that can be too intricate or delicate for other methods of machining, such as internal fillets, corners, or other very small and complex parts.

What happens in the EDM process?

The EDM process consists of a metal part being submerged in dielectric fluid, where an electrically charged wire is then fed through the submerged metal component to make the precise cuts.

Top Resources for Electrical Discharge Machining

Article

CNC Machining vs. Manual Machining

Article

EDM: Sparks Fly with This Gear Manufacturing Process

Article

The Basics of Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)

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