Wire Cut

Wire cut EDM is a metalworking process in which the tool ejects thousands of sparks into a metal workpiece. The unconventional wire EDM process works on parts that are resistant to conventional machining processes, but only when those parts are electrically conductive; they are usually non-ferrous and include steel, titanium, super alloys, brass and many other metals. Instead of cutting the material, EDM melts or evaporates it, leaving little dirt and providing a very accurate line. Acceptance in the entire industry has led to a wide range of EDM applications because it is very versatile, it can cut hard metals and takes up a relatively small workspace.

Differences Between Wire Cut and Conventional EDM

There are two main types of EDM: conventional EDM and wire cut EDM. Conventional EDM, as described above, uses an electric current dissipation tool. This tool, the cathode, runs along the metal element, the anode, and the electric current reacts to melting or evaporating the metal. As a result of the dielectric fluid, a small amount of debris produced is washed away from the piece. The wire cut EDM (or WCEDM) discharges the electrified current using a tensioned thin wire that acts as a cathode and is guided along the desired cutting path or kerf. Dielectric fluid submerges the wire and workpiece, filtering and directing sparks. Thin wire enables precise cutting, with three-inch incisions and +/- 0.0002 ”positioning accuracy. This increased precision allows complex, three-dimensional cuts and provides very accurate punches, dies and plates for removal.

Wire cut EDM devices are operated using computer-controlled numerical devices (CNCs) that can control the wire on a three-dimensional axis to provide greater flexibility. While conventional EDM does not always produce tight corners or very complex patterns, the increased precision of the wire EDM allows for complex patterns and cuts. In addition, the wire EDM is able to cut 0.004” thick metals. With a certain thickness of EDM, the wire will simply cause the metal to evaporate, thus eliminating potential contamination. The WCEDM wire emits sparks from all sides, which means that the cut must be thicker than the wire itself. In other words, because the wire is surrounded by a current ring, the smallest and most accurate possible path is the additional diameter of the ring and wire; technicians easily include this extra dimension. Manufacturers of wire EDM machine continue to produce thinner wires to allow smaller cuts and even better precision.

Wire Cut EDM Applications

Due to their versatility, manufacturers use wire cut EDM machine for a wide range of applications. Because this process allows cutting very small parts, it is often the perfect choice for the production of small, very detailed objects that would normally be too delicate for other machining options. In addition, this process is cost-effective for small-scale projects and may prove beneficial in prototype production, even if the actual project is implemented by various means.

It is important to remember that the wire in this process is constantly moving and cannot be reused. As a result, copper, brass or other metal wire can be kilometers in length, which increases costs. And while the process does not consume force and therefore does not cause burrs and can be used for delicate objects, there is certainly the possibility of thermal stress.

Electroerosion wire processing involves the creation of an electric discharge between a wire or electrode and the workpiece. When the spark jumps through the gap, the material is then removed from the workpiece and electrode. Due to the inherent properties of the process, Wire EDM can easily process complex parts and precision components from hard conductive materials.

To stop the sparking process from shorting, the process of wire EDM also uses a non-conductive fluid or dielectric. The waste material is removed by a dielectric and the process continues.

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