Compared The Sinker EDM And Wire EDM Differences And Application
Electrical discharge machining AKA EDM is a manufacturing process. The procedure is non-conventional, excelling at cutting very tough materials. EDM is unique because it can cut metal without making any direct contact. Such a trait comes from an electrical spark that erodes the material precisely. Although EDM doesn’t apply to all processes, it’s the machinist’s best arsenal. The process consists of two main variants. One of them being sinker EDM and the other wire EDM. At Creatingway, we use the two-machining process to better the efficiency of your project.
What is Electrical Discharge Machining?
Electrical discharge machining is a type of metal manufacturing. Whereby the metal cutting tool eliminates portions of a workpiece. The major difference between ordinary and EDM machining involves physical contact. Also, ordinary machining needs to be physical between the workpiece and the tool. As for EDM, it uses an electric current in making sparks. The creation erodes materials from the workpiece.
Due to the nature of EDM, we use it on electrically conductive metals. Thus, we can cut through very hard metals. Also, the process prevents damaging vibrations that may shatter the workpiece.
The electrical discharge machining grouping is according to another non-standard machining process. The process is like; water jet cutting and laser cutting.
What’s The EDM Process?
For the EDM process to take place, we require;
- An electric discharge machines
- A dielectric liquid
- A tool
- A workpiece
- An electric voltage
An electric voltage creates a series of current discharges among two electrodes. However, the two electrodes never come into contact with each other. A dielectric liquid acts as the separator by making a spark gap. The fluid consists of hydrocarbon oil or deionized water.
During the EDM process, we increase the voltage of the operator. The increase causes a dielectric breakdown of the fluid. Thus, the liquid instantly shifts from an electrical insulator to an electrical conductor. The sudden change of the fluid forms an electric arc. Whereby the formation takes place between the tool and the workpiece. The electric arc corrodes materials from the two electrodes. Even though erosion of the material is the main objective, it is done with care. Also, effective management takes place by constantly replacing the eroded section with metal.
Besides creating an electric arc, the dielectric arc has other functions. The fluid carries metal debris away from the metal piece while adding a newer fluid. Such a process is known as flushing.
What’s The Sinker EDM?
The sinker electrical discharge machining has a variety of names; ram, volume, or cavity EDM. The sinker EDM may share some traits concerning molding and forming processes. Such a tenuous relationship with the procedures is known as die sinking.
The main difference between sinker and wire EDM involves its movement and tool. The sinker EDM makes complex-shaped hollows in the metal piece. By which the tool takes a positive form of the desired hollow. For example, we use a pyramid-shaped tool to make a pyramid-shaped hollow.
The shaped tool of the sinker EDM is CNC machined from specific materials. The materials are; graphite, copper, and tungsten, which add cost and time to the process.
During the process, we slowly lower the tool into the workpiece. By doing so, the material erodes, creating a hollow matching the tool’s shape. As the tool descends, the spark-gap spacing is consistent. In a second, the occurrence of hundreds of thousands of sparks takes place. Hydrocarbon oil is the most common dielectric fluid for the sinker EDM.
Applications of Sinker EDM
Sinker EDM creates complex cavities and fabricates molds, dies, and tools. Some of the common sinker EDM applications are;
- Rapid tooling
- Mold making
- Sharp inside corners
- Fine details
- Deep and thin ribs
- Blind cavities
- Injection molding molds
- Blind keyways
- Internal splines
What is Wire EDM?
Wire EDM is also termed wire-cut EDM or wire cutting. The process resembles cutting cheese with a cheese wire process. Wire EDM uses a thin strand of wire as its tool. Deionized water is the dielectric fluid for wire EDM. As for the wire, it is mainly made out of brass.
At the beginning of the process, we hold the wire using two diamond guides. Each of the guides is above and below the workpiece. Movement occurs along the X and Y axes as per the CNC programming. Sparks form due to current discharges between the wire and the workpiece. The creation of the sparks makes tools corrode. If we use a supply spool to move the wire constantly, the sparks can effectively erode a specified area. Also, very thin gauges of wire make very fine cuts in the metal piece.
Applications of Wire EDM
Some common wire EDM applications are:
- Thick plates
- Extrusion dies
- Blanking punches
- Medical and dental devices
- Tight-tolerance parts
- Automotive and aerospace parts
- Parts where burrs are unacceptable
- Graphite electrodes for sinker EDM
In conclusion, the sinker and wire EDM are essential in prototyping. At Creatingway, we use both processes that best suit your project’s desire. Our experts have also specialized in giving good advice to better your prototypes. Kindly choose Creatingway while handling projects that involve sinker and wire processes.
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